Stepping Stones Blog

Writer’s Manifesto – Introduction

It was about a year ago that I felt the call to write full-time.  This was too important a decision to make hastily, however, so I began to flesh out the possibility.

In October, 2013, I found a local writing group and attended my first meeting of the Heartland of America Christian Writers’ Network.  I then registered for their annual writers’ conference in November, where I attended a break-out session on scheduling time to write by Rebecca Thesman.  At the end of that class she challenged us to set a writing goal for the month, and then email her December 1st with the results.  If we met the goal, we would receive a free writing coach session.

My goal was to complete NaNoWriMo, which was to write 50,000 words in the month.  Despite two bouts of flu and the Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to meet the challenge and win the free session.  By refusing to give up, I gave myself a priceless gift – a wonderful ongoing relationship with my writing coach.

finding meaningThrough Rebecca’s constant encouragement my passion to write has continued to increase, however, I still struggle to call myself a writer.  There are so many expectations I associate with that title.  It was shortly after retiring in May that I discovered two resources to help me overcome that mental block:  Jeff Goin’s website (where he shares his writer’s manifesto) and the book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis.

In that book, Hollis claims that we all have a soul’s agenda, and by remaining faithful to that agenda, we will find meaning and purpose in life.

I have spent much of these past three months in deep introspection using a system that has helped me identify my soul’s agenda.  It is this system that I wish to share with you in the hopes that it might be valuable to someone else with similar struggles.

While I am sure this system has its roots in Rick Warren’s SHAPE formula from his popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, (another resource that has proved invaluable to me), I found that a focus on these four components helps with self-understanding and acceptance, as well as identifying the Soul’s Agenda:

  • Heart’s Desire
  • Core Values and Beliefs
  • Skills and Talents
  • Stepping Stones of Life

It is my plan to detail each of these components over the next four weeks, culminating with my personal Writer’s Manifesto on October 15th.  I hope you will join me on this journey of self-discovery.


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