Friday, December 30, 2016

Five Year Goals: Year in Review

Last Friday of the Month

It’s the last Friday of the month, which makes it time to review the goals I made a little over a year and a half ago with the Five Year Project (thanks Misha Gericke for putting this on), but it’s also the last Friday of the year, which makes it a good time to review things in general.

My goal initially was to have The Newstead Project to be the next great American novel, but somewhere along the line (about 6 months), that didn’t seem to fit anymore. My goals weren’t just about my writing, my books. It needed to be about something bigger. So it became bigger—so big it was almost ridiculous—to have a World-Class Publishing Company. Even as I type this I feel the arrogance of it, and I know it must sound that way, but really it isn’t.

It can only be arrogant if it’s about me, and it’s never been that.

Now, about a year and a half into this whole goal thing, a year with this ridiculous goal, I’m looking at how it’s going. On the surface I’m nowhere near there. True, Black and White has now published other authors besides myself, but none of those stories/books are at the top of any lists—can’t that be said of any other middle-of-the-road publishing house? True, we have a team now: A Musical Director, Marketing, Illustrator, new Authors…but how does that separate Black and White from anyone else?

There is one thing, though—a dream, a spark, an idea that God whispered into my soul six years ago. More than a dream, it was a question, and that question was why. Why are things done the way they are? Why can’t books be set to music? Why do they have to be certain lengths for certain genres? Better yet, why does there have to be genres at all?


A year ago, an idea, a gift, was given to me. That idea was Ubooks, a patent-pending book format where reading material is placed on video feed, so the words come on the screens of devices at reading pace, words finally set to music at just the moment they needed to be set. Now that idea has become a reality, a living, breathing thing that I am so proud of that every time I think of it I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to the point I can hardly breathe.  

Because, this, too, is not about me.

Those closest to me know how inept I am in all things technology based. They are my witnesses. There is no human way I could have invented something so groundbreaking. God gave this to me, and only He knows the reasons why. I can only keep on being so grateful it hurts to breathe.

So here I am, at the end of the year, at the end of a year into this Five Year Goal, and while on the surface it looks arrogant, and impossible, I end with this:

1. It’s not about me.

2. Nothing is impossible with God.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: December

First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, making it IWSG time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on each month. It’s a safe place to be authentic and vulnerable in regards to this crazy thing called writing.

Usually writing takes a major backseat for me in December. In a typical year I’ve just completed NaNo, therefore am completely burnt out, but it’s more than that. For our family, all of December is Christmas. We go caroling, make cookies, decorate like crazy; the list goes on and on. And while that part is still true this year, for the first time in six years I did not participate in NaNo. I still feel fresh and excited when it comes to this whole writing thing. Not that I’m working on a project, personally. Producing and publishing Ubooks has taken and will take up most of my time. It’s more a wanting to write, an excitement about it. I’ve had an idea for a middle grade story for a long time now. The story is there, but the main character isn’t. I’ve tried just about everything, but I can’t quite get the make-up of who this person should be. Just recently I took a job on a children’s psychiatric unit—hopefully I’ll find some inspiration there.

How are your projects going? Ever been stuck like me?