Diligence. Careful and persistent work. Slow, plodding, steady effort that isn’t crushed by setbacks. Keep moving forward.
As soon as I finished college, I started learning the disappointing lesson that big achievements don’t just happen. Maybe if you went to an Ivy League school and had the right connections, you got your dream job right after graduating, but for most of us, job #1 isn’t the one we always wanted. And neither is job #2, #3, #4. (Or maybe we get the dream job, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and we’re left scrambling for purpose, because what we idolized for so long didn’t follow through.)
Right now, I’m actually okay with that. I’m okay with having limited reach and responsibility so I can continue to practice and learn and improve, especially in writing.
Ideas often come to me in the shower, and that’s how diligence ended up being my word for 2018. I was thinking about the coming year as I rinsed shampoo out of my hair, and diligence literally just popped into my head. I’ve never had a word for the year before, but as soon as it came to me, I knew it was right.
2018 will be about diligence. Setting myself to work steadily each day, taking small, seemingly insignificant steps toward long-term goals.
My goals this year will require that I work diligently, rather than swinging back and forth from all-hands-on-deck productivity to lethargic stagnation.
Here’s what I’m aiming to accomplish by the time 2019 rolls around:
- Write 300 words of unnamed work of fiction every day for total of 109,500 words.
- Get 10 articles published in actual publications.
- Make a sustainable living doing just freelance writing and editing.
- Receive 300 pitch rejections.
- Get more efficient at researching, writing, and submitting story pitches.
- Start building a freelance network/support/friend group.
- Get back into CrossFit and compete at least once.
- Be a responsible adult: Get a physical and go to the dentist—use my insurance.
- Stay faithful with Scripture reading all year long.
- Intentionally memorize a verse or passage each month.
- Hike regularly (maybe do a 14er).
- Write three one-act plays.
- Read plays (see above). Suggestions welcome.
- Read one biography, more narrative nonfiction (books and magazine stories), and at least five good novels, for a total of at least 20 books. Suggestions welcome.
- If financially feasible, go to the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.