My Writing Goals for 2014

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“Write. Start writing today. Start writing right now. Don’t write it right, just write it –and then make it right later. Give yourself the mental freedom to enjoy the process, because the process of writing is a long one. Be wary of “writing rules” and advice. Do it your way.” ― Tara Moss

Path SignEach year, around New Year’s Day, I sit down and set some goals for myself. I find goals inspiring and look at them as guides, not something written in stone. Here are my writing goals for 2014:

1. Finish writing my novel, Olga’s Discovery. I’m working with Kathi Macias, the acquisitions editor for A Taste of Chocolate (an imprint of Elk Lake Publishing) on this project. She liked my proposal and I’ve promised her the first 20,000 words by mid-February. Currently, I’m at the 18,000 mark of my first draft. After that, I’m aiming to write at least 10,000 words per month until the story is finished.

2. Write a Twitter Manual for Writers. This was on my list last year, but I didn’t do it. I’m giving myself a goal of having the rough draft done by the beginning of May. Ongoing discussions with a publisher have given a kick-start. I’m aiming to get it done.

3. Write a full-length novel about Cecile and Colin. In December 2013, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, a novella, was released. I’ll admit that I packed a lot into the plot – too much to be resolved in the length of the novella. Several people have told me they are waiting to read the next part of the story. I’m in the early stages of working out plot details and doing research, with a view to continuing the story in a series-style manner – releasing several chapters at a time. My goal is to have the next part of the story released in October or November and then continue the story on until it’s a full-length novel.

Those are my main writing goals. I know that there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes as well. I want to move my website and blog from over to I also want to continue to post regularly. The plan right now is to post 3 times a week:

  • Mondays – Writing related posts
  • Wednesdays – Posts about what I’m learning in my walk with God
  • Fridays – My fitness journey

Of course there’s social media to keep up with as well. I’m still figuring out how I’m going to fit this all into my schedule. (If you have any tips, I’d be happy to hear them.)

As I start this new year with enthusiasm and optimism, my prayer is that I will always be sensitive to God’s leading in my life and that if I have to choose between my writing goals and spending time with people, I’ll choose the people.

What are some of your goals for 2014? I’d love to hear about them so we can encourage and support each other throughout this coming year.

Day 2 on the Treadmill

TreadmillI have a confession to make. I don’t like exercise. No, let me be totally honest – I hate exercise! It’s something I’ve always had to work on and often I make excuses NOT to do it. If I can do something fun (like play volleyball or curling) and get exercise at the same time, great. However, with my current family responsibilities it’s difficult to do those things on a regular basis.

Not exercising is bad enough, but add the fact that I love to cook AND eat, and you have a recipe for disaster spelled O-V-E-R-W-E-I-G-H-T. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve moved from thinking about changing, to making choices that will help me change. I’m still working out the details so that I’ll stick with my decision to get back into shape. However, here are the choices I’ve made so far:

  • Set a weight goal
  • Decided to use my treadmill again, including an i-fit walking program
  • Asked my husband to move my treadmill so I can use it
  • Figured out a time of day I can consistently exercise
  • Started the walking program

I’m on day 2. I huffed and puffed my way through the 20 minute walking routine which helped me walk just over a mile and burn 143 calories. This is hard. I don’t like it. But I’m going to grit my teeth and do it, because I know it will be good for me in the long run. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are 7 benefits:

  1. Exercise controls weight
  2. Exercise combats health conditions and disease
  3. Exercise improves mood
  4. Exercise boosts energy
  5. Exercise promotes better sleep
  6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
  7. Exercise can be fun

Add to that I Corinthians 6:20:

“Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (The Message)

If I forget, I give you permission to remind me. I’m looking at this as a life change, not a resolution. I’m aiming to blog about my exercise journey every Friday. I hope you’ll join me.

What about you? Are you choosing to do something that’s hard for you because you know it’s the right thing to do?

5 Steps to developing good habits

good habits

Happy New Year! It’s a greeting we exchange every year at the beginning of January. None of us know what 2014 will bring us. Many people try making resolutions only to have them fall by the wayside. Some people even refuse to set goals, explaining that only sets them up for disappointment and failure. Many of us want to make changes in our lives, but how do we set ourselves up for success rather than failure?

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”   -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Choose your thoughts – UCLA claims that we have approximately 48 thoughts per minute, 3,000 thoughts per hour, and 70,000 thoughts per day. Those thoughts affect what we do or don’t do and how we feel about ourselves and others. What kind of food are we giving our thoughts? Are we feeding on the truths of God’s Word? Philippians 4:8 instructs us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (NIV)
  2. Choose your actions – Just because we think about something doesn’t mean that we need to do it. We need to carefully choose our actions, sorting out our thoughts and picking out what should take precedence. As the quote above says, it’s easier to give up good habits than bad ones. Will I choose to be thankful today or complain when something doesn’t go my way? Will I choose to react when someone is mean or will I choose to love them anyway? These are little choices, but they all lead to results.
  3. Choose your habits – I find that my morning routines set the tone for my day and make it easier (or harder) to accomplish what I want to get done. I’m a morning person, so getting up at 5:30 works for me. If you are a night owl, perhaps what you do just before bed sets the tone for your next day. Find out what works for you. In my routine I include time to read the Bible and pray, time to sort through priorities for the day, time to catch up on e-mail, and time to share something inspiring on Facebook. This year, I’m also including 20-30 minutes of exercise because I want to do more than think about becoming more fit. Although some people say that a new habit is formed in 21 days, some researchers from UCL say it is probably closer to 66 days before something becomes “automatic”.
  4. Choose your character – When was the last time we stopped to think about what kind of person we want to be? What character qualities do we want to develop in life? (Check out Character that Counts if you need some ideas.) Some of the character traits that are important to me are: godliness, dependability, empathy, and joy.
  5. Choose your destiny – Where do we want to end up? What do we want to accomplish before we die? These are questions we often avoid. However, if we don’t tackle them, we will probably be disappointed. Those who do set goals start with a destination in mind. We have to dream before we can get down to work. Some people think it’s morbid, but what epitaph do you want on your grave? Martin Luther put it this way: “If you’ve got nothing worth dying for, you’ve got nothing worth living for.”

Lately I found myself thinking I should lose some weight and become more fit. These thoughts would flit in and out of my mind on a fairly regular basis, but that’s where it would end. In her book, 100 Pound Loser, Jessica Heights gives some helpful tips, including breaking goals down into small, attainable steps, like losing 1 pound a week. Last night I chose to take some steps towards healthy weight loss and fitness. This morning I shared my decision with my husband, so that he can keep me accountable. He also made my treadmill accessible so that I can use it again. I know that there will be ups and downs, but I plan to keep my destination in mind.

What about you? Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for yourself?

New Year’s Resolutions NO! My Goals for 2013 – Ruth L. Snyder


Although I do not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do review the past year and write down some goals for the coming year. I find it encouraging to review the progress I made in the past year and inspiring to think ahead to where I want to be a year from now. Here is what I’ve come up with for 2013. Feel free to ask how the goals are going!


1. Gifts from God Jar: I have placed a jar on my kitchen counter with the label, “Gifts from God”. I aim to place at least one slip of paper into the jar each day noting the special things God gives me/does for me each day.

2. Exercise: This is an area I’ve struggled with for many years. Although I enjoy volleyball and curling, I find it difficult to be consistent in getting the exercise my body needs. I purchased a treadmill a couple of months ago. My aim is to use the treadmill (or participate in a similar form of exercise) at least three times a week.


1. Devotions together My husband and I both lead very busy lives. Spending time together reading God’s Word and praying together helps to keep us connected and communicating openly. My aim is to make sure this happens at least three times a week throughout this year.

2. Weekend Away We have five children. I’m looking forward to attending the Break Forth conference with my husband at the end of January. Grandma Snyder does a wonderful job of caring for our kids while we are away!


1. Time with Children:  It is easy for our family to be pulled in different directions with our individual interests and activities. My goal is to do something special with each of my five children at least once a week.

2. Prayer: My children need guidance and protection in their spiritual lives. My goal is to pray for each of them at least once a day.

3. Family Activity: My children need quality time and quantity time. My goal is to plan at least one fun family activity we can do together each month. Any ideas out there?


1. Playground: I presently serve as the president of the Glendon Playground and Park Society. We’ve been busy raising funds. My goal is to install at least one playground facility this year.

2. Bible Study: A couple friends and I are currently meeting every Thursday for Bible Study. We are all busy and it’s tempting to cancel this time or schedule other activities. My goal is to continue to learn and grow together spiritually by meeting regularly.


1. Novel Writing Course: I’m currently enrolled with the Longridge Writers’ Group in a course called, “Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel”. I’m working on lesson 6 out of 8 and aim to have the course completed during 2013.

2. Blog: In my busyness with other projects, I’ve neglected my own blog. I aim to correct that this year by posting on this blog at least twice a month. I hope you’ll come back and check in with me on a regular basis.

3. Twitter Resource: I’ve enjoyed learning about Twitter and how to use it effectively as a writer. In the past year I’ve been asked to present workshops on Twitter a couple of times. This year I would like to develop a webinar and an ebook which will make the information available to a broader audience.


1. Relationship Building: As a school board trustee with Northern Lights School Division No. 69, it is my duty to represent a broad range of stakeholders. My goal this year is to continue to build relationships with these stakeholders so that I can listen to their input and make responsible decisions on their behalf. I look forward to attending school council meetings, talking with administrators, spending time with students, and listening to community members  whether they have children in school or not.

2. Municipal Election: The next Municipal Election in Alberta is scheduled for October 21, 2013. My goal is to be prepared  and put my name forward again in the school board election.


1. Marketing: I currently serve as the publicity coordinator for ICWF. This year I want to expand our marketing by developing a LinkedIn Company Page, by writing and submitting news releases at least four times this year, and by continuing to develop the professional blog associated with our website.

2. Leadership Capacity: My goal is to develop more leadership capacity within ICWF, encouraging others to develop and use the skills they have to build our organization.

3. Membership: I know there are many Christian writers or potential Christian writers who need encouragement and support. My goal is to attract these people to ICWF through targeted emails, phone calls, invitations to events, and even possibly offering the opportunity to participate in our conference via live streaming.