Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Normal

I've discovered my hands! (Crystal as an infant.)
As a writing consultant, I've examined and evaluated many manuscripts in various capacities and settings. My personality, and the jobs I've held in my life, have always encompassed some sort of assessment or evaluation--it's how I roll. I may have even examined your manuscripts, whether you were aware of it or not. (Sometimes I'm the Ninja of writing evaluation.)

So, with that kind of personality and skills set, of course, I do some self-examination to improve my own writing, but also to see if I'm covering the bases when I have any manuscript in front of me, or when choosing the things which fill my days. 

Here are some evaluation points I used in recent days for choosing projects. See if it will help your own situation: 

1.   What is my passion? Name some things that push your buttons.
2.   What are my 3 favorite fiction books? Nonfiction books? 
3.   What are my 3 favorite movies?
4.   Do I see a pattern  in these favorites? What do these favorites say about my personality and my passions?
5.   What will people say about me at the end of my life? What do they not know about me?
6.   At this stage in my life what do I want to do,develop, nurture?
7.   What boundaries do I need to set in order to accomplish my goals? What am I allowing to eat away my time? Who is pushing too hard on those boundaries I'm trying to set? Examine if it is something I need to incorporate or let loose.
8.   How can I build a persona or platform around my authentic self? What do I need to pluck out that really isn't "me?" 
9.   What is the main thing I need from others in my relationships? I, too, need nourishment. What is draining me.
10. What shows up again and again in my passions, what do I admire in others, and how can I use these things to reset my normal setting?

When I work through these bulleted points, I make it a priority to be the person that God created me to be, move outside the old comfort zones and answer my calling on a daily basis, or even for this stage of my life. 

Someone may have evaluated you or tried to push you into a place where you are not supposed to be. A Christian worldview doesn't mean that we all must be the same in either outlook or passions. God doesn't expect us to be the same. One part is not better than another part, either! This thought should keep us humble in what we do, and keep jealousy from clouding your calling.

While we can listen to those who evaluate and judge, giving us a humble servant's heart, we also must not allow others to distract us, even with good things or intentions. We are reminded of this in the Bible when Peter was imploring Jesus not to go to Jerusalem.  Peter thought this was best. After all, he was in Jesus's inner circle, someone Jesus relied on for input and support. Why shouldn't Jesus listen to Peter?

"Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16: 22-28 is where you can find this.)

Jesus knew securely His mission and His purpose, so while His words to Peter sound harsh, He wasn't meaning to put Peter down, but to show him how serious He was in this. He was also letting His enemy know that even using His best and loved friends would not put Him off course. Jesus showed us in His words to Peter that sometimes we need to not only be sure of what God is asking us to do, but not to allow even those close to us to take us off course. 

Are there verses or self-evaluation points that you keep in front of you while you accomplish your calling in your writing? How do you set your boundaries? Or are you still working on it? How do you know when it's God's Voice you are hearing, or that it is someone who is trying to step in, trying to take God's place? If you are feeling overwhelmed or that you are not setting your boundaries, how do you reset your normal? 

Share with us how you approach this part of your writing and I'll be praying for you all as many of you prepare for the ACFW Conference in St. Louis.


  1. This is a wonderful post.

    I've struggled on and off with several of these points over the last few years. It's only recently that I've found my writing mission.

  2. Hi, Loree! Can you tell us a little at how you arrived at your writing mission? Thank you so much for reading. Keep on writing! What are you writing? (Genre?)

  3. Good post Crystal. I need to cut and paste and save this.

  4. Thanks, Sharon. I need to go over my answers again. :)

  5. Great blog, Crystal.

    Also, I enjoyed the picture, though I'm partial to the one of you alligator wrestling.

    Have a blessed day.

    Jeff Reynolds

  6. I've discovered that, even within a Christian worldview, there are way too many topics than I can tackle well. From time to time, editors will request that I write an article on a particular topic, and sometimes I accept those assignments. However, when topic rises from within myself and I'm eager to address it, then I always much more excited and eager to sit down and begin shaping the manuscript. Although "passion" can become a cliché among writers, it's still vital to recognize one's own innermost interests and to capitalize on them. Thanks Crystal!