Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The View from the Top--How Will You Get There?

A new year has us all thinking about goals and how we'd like to spend the coming year. When you get to my age, you've already spent a lot of time. I've done some amazing things! I admit, I haven't always been purposeful about what kinds of things I do, but I've been happy with much of it. (Not all, but much.) I'm a seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. How do you make sense of everything to move on?

My photograph (taken this summer) from underneath of Cloud Gate. It was sculpted by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor and is in Millennium Park, Chicago. 
This past year I was semi-purposeful about my reading. I read through the Bible (again) with a certain eye on how it came to be and with my faith path in mind. I coordinate the ACFW Book Club, so I tried to keep up with the books (2 a month) in that forum. (You can email me with questions. If you're an ACFW member with published books, your book could be eligible for the polls.) 

I read over 50 books having to do with my spiritual path/faith. I read a set of books (fiction) that were poignant/hilarious that I wish I could've written (but I'd have to have a completely different life. Not in my realm of knowledge. LOL.)

My photograph of a chapel steeple in St. Louis from The Arch area.(Also taken this year.)

This year I've seen some very beautiful sights, but experienced a lot of physical pain, too. I've explored my ancestors and their stories. I've blogged very little. 

I've also put my own writing sort-of-aside as I just didn't know what I really wanted to write, but I continued to help some people get published. I took some writing classes just for me this year and was able to see what I could do in writing (she was the best/most encouraging-to-me writing teacher I've ever had.) I still couldn't move past all those children's' stories this year that I have in some file from the time when Diann Hunt and I were in Doc Hensley's classes.  In the new year, however, I've overcome the genre block and because of that teacher, I am moving on and not writing any more children's stories.

This is what been used on me this year by well-meaning people. Lectures tend to suck the life out of me--how about you?? (Photo taken in the Old Capitol in St. Louis, this year.)

With that teacher's help, I saw that I could write anything I wanted, and she showed me that I could be confident about it. I got some really encouraging words from an agent with a kick in the pants, too, so maybe this year will be different for me. I will move on to stories that are wanted and not hang on to the past stories I've written that I wanted, but because of those novels I read this year that had humor and passion in them, I saw that I could make what I wanted combine with what readers want

My photograph from my car window near Effingham, Illinois from a trip to St. Louis this year.

Questions, Questions What kinds of things have you been doing? Are you working on a bucket list? Did you find a purpose and goal for this year? Are you entering contests? Do you have a certain type of book you're writing? What highway path are you on for the year? And will you take an exit from that path if opportunity presents itself for a side path? Who has encouraged you in writing the most this year? (And hasn't "lectured/preached" at you?)

My photograph of the sky lift at Natural Bridge, Kentucky. I took the hard, narrow path up to Natural Bridge, but even so, I wish some with me had taken this sky lift so we could've seen the view together at the top. Instead, all they got was my lousy photos and my descriptions.There is something profound in that...


  1. Go, Crystal, go! You know the saying, "Just ride?" Well, girl, just write! You can do it. I know you can. After all, you're a Hensley student, right, er, I mean write?

  2. In Doc Hensley's class he encouraged me to continue my path in children's stories and humor. And he directed what themes and stories to write. I just wrote for a long time after that, wrote with teams to try to get into "group" books and nothing has happened. I have book length stories, but none are wanted or else I'm not happy with them. But I'm pretty good at recognizing someone else's stories to go to print. :)

    But after awhile, all those discouraging, preachy words from others penetrated my discipline and I just threw all my stories away. However, the teacher I had this year actually was encouraging for a change. She was honest and really does make a difference. But for so long I've been told I cannot write what I wanted to, so it's taken me awhile to break through that negativity. :) But, just write...what? LOL. I dunno.

  3. Thanks for the great article, Crystal.

    I loved that photo of the cross in Effingham, I remember driving past it before with my wife while traveling.

    And working on my bucket list? Sure am. I'll take original recipe. Forget that extra crispy. Oh, you're not talking about that kind of bucket?


  4. LOL, it could be ANY bucket, Jeff, because it's your story.

    That cross is amazing, isn't it? I always feel this swell of overwhelming humble gratefulness knowing what the people meant who put it up. :) It was awesome. I took photos from far away clear up to passing by it!