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Making Wise Investments

By John W. Tucker

Balance in each day’s activities is something we all strive for. Full-time or part-time writers, we must plan ahead and stay focused when we write.

Think of the potential activities a writer may be involved in: writing into an article or book daily, writing a blog weekly or biweekly, setting aside money toward a writer’s conference and then scheduling dates, and choosing workshops for that conference, attending weekly critique groups prepared to share some of our writing, reading books and articles about the craft of writing, reading books and articles in our genre, taking notes and applying great ideas, principles, and tips we’ve studied, taking online courses, teaching others online and at conferences, phone calls to/from editors, authors, and the list goes on.

Moses said, “So teach us to number our days, [t]hat we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12, NKJV). I think he’s referring to the activities we choose to invest in each day, to make sure we are adding value to our character and our writing, and that we are getting a return on our invested time, talents, and treasures.

We struggle in these areas because we have families, church commitments, personal devoted time in the Scriptures, careers in other areas unrelated to writing, friendships to keep, and exercise programs to attend to throughout the year.

“Stop this Merry-Go-Round!” we shout. If we are investing our time wisely, we will not over-commit. We will carefully choose activities that allow us to remain active writers, teachers, attenders, speakers, and bloggers. We will make time for rest, walks, vacations, and friendships because balance is our main goal.

When I juggle three tennis balls, it’s just that: three tennis balls. It’s not a bowling ball, a Ping-Pong ball, and a tennis ball. Balance is the key to a juggling act and a life wisely lived. It’s one of the hardest challenges we face as writers. But we must “cut-and paste” each day’s activities so we “gain a heart of wisdom” and make time to write.

Evaluation of our activities will help us. Do the activities we’re involved in allow us to write something everyday? Where are we over-committed and what can we cut out? Are we taking classes/courses or going to conferences and actually applying principles/techniques we’ve heard about? This is a big one for me. It’s hard to cut out time to reread my notes from a conference and use that author’s suggestions in my personal writing time. Where are you struggling as a writer? Have you given yourself time to study the notes you’ve taken from a class, workshop or conference?

Someday, I hope to be a full-time writer. But what is a full-time writer? It’s a juggling act no matter who you are! So, wisdom and balance and periodic evaluation all play a part in our daily lives. Active people who are writers make time to write.

Investing time to set short- and long-term goals will prove wise in the long run. Look a year ahead and plan your “sacred deadlines” (Jerry Jenkins) into it: when you will post to your blog, what conferences you will attend, what online course you will take, when you will vacation with your family, etc. Plan each year in advance, by setting the dates into your busy schedule. Then, we will be making wise investments.

John TuckerJohn W. Tucker started writing as a teenager with pieces for the church bulletin. He was a children’s pastor for over twenty years, and is presently a city bus driver in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He completed a science fiction/fantasy trilogy for young adults in 2015, entitled Dragon Riders of The Realm.

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