{5 WAYS TO GROW THIS YEAR} as a writer and as a christian

January might be nearly half over (okay, that’s an exaggeration), but there’s still time to be making resolutions and goals!

 

Here I’ve compiled ten ideas for growing as a Christian and growing as a writer (five ideas each). What do they have to do with each other? Not much—it was just convenient to put them in a post together xD

 

1. Commit To A Bible Reading Plan

They are millions of them out there, and they all encourage you to do the same thing—spend some time, at least five minutes, in God’s Word every day. I’m the sort of person who does bible-reading marathons—five epistles in one day. Maybe a Gospel. And then…nothing for two weeks. And I bemoan how impossible it is to finish longer books like psalms when the real reason why I can’t is because I’m not consistent.

 

The solution?

 

A bible reading plan. Mine takes readings from three parts of the bible every day and only takes me about ten minutes. And while I have my bible open, I’m more encouraged to go and read other sections beyond my reading plan as well.

 

 

2. Schedule Time To Pray

Schedule, I say? Yes, because if you don’t block off time, your to-do list is going to take it. While prayer and conversation with God should be constant, I try to take twenty minutes a day specifically for quiet prayer and reflection. It doesn’t always work, but having “I need to set aside time to pray” in my mind during the day encourages me to make it happen.

 

 

3. Begin A Spiritual Journal

GUYS. This. Is. Amazing. I started a spiritual journal back in September and do not regret it. What is it, you might ask? It’s whatever you want it to be. For me, I just ramble about things I’m wrestling with in my mind, or praises, or, most often, prayers. I have a difficult time forming coherent prayers in my mind, especially when I’m stressed, so writing them out really helps. It’s also wonderful to flip back through the pages and see what God was teaching me at the time.

 

 

4. Meditate On God’s Love

“God loves us”—we’re told it and say it all the time. But do we actually understand how much He loves us? Do we really, fully realize how much Christ suffered for us—nobodies? Do we realize what our sin does to Him? Do we realize what He has done for us in freeing us?

 

Questions like that are great launching pads to deep prayers where you get lost and overwhelmed by the realization of how great His love is.

 

 

5. Pray For People You Don’t Usually Pray For

Remembering to pray for friends and family comes pretty naturally. But what about the people who don’t always come to mind right away, like the person you met at church last week or a friend you haven’t talked to in years? Remembering them can help us grow to love our neighbor, even if our prayer for them is simply “bless them and draw them closer to You.”

 

1. Join Or Spend More Time On A Writing Community

I used to be skeptical about writing communities, to be honest. I thought I didn’t have enough time, enough knowledge, or (sadly) I didn’t think I could get much out of them with the stage I was at on my writing journey.

 

Thankfully, I recently discovered how wrong I was! Writing communities keep you motivated, inspired, and connected with other like-minded people. There are billions of them on Facebook, but my go-to places are Kingdom Pen and the Young Writers Workshop.

 

 

2. Invest In Tools To Help Your Craft

Yes, you can learn a lot by reading and writing often. But you can learn more by studying how to do it like you study school subjects—only it’s ten times more fun, because you actually like what you’re doing 😉 . Reading blogs, reading books, and even spending a little money on writing courses can really help you improve.

 

I personally suggest Kingdom Pen and Helping Writers Become Authors as blogs, K.M. Weiland’s writing craft books and the Emotion Thesaurus series for books, and Kingdom Pen for writing courses. If you want to invest monthly, the Young Writers Workshop opens up again at the end of the month 😊 (I promise I didn’t write this post as a promotional 😉)

 

 

3. Join A Critique Group Or Find A Critique Partner

*guiltily has not done this for several months* But when I was in a critique group, I found it very helpful. Everyone says writing is a solitary craft—I care to differ. Two minds together are smarter than one, and ten are much better than one. Ever try brainstorming a plot twist by yourself? It’s hard. But with several people? It’s going to be one great plot twist.

 

 

4. Get A Writing Mentor

Aka, the #1 way to grow as a writer. Writing mentors are tough to find, but having someone who has done what you want to do is invaluable as a writer. Even if you can only talk to them once a week or even once a month, it can go a long way.

 

 

5. Attend A Writers Conference

LIKE REALM MAKERS *clears throat* yes, that’s probably the best one out there for speculative writers. Anywho, you’ll learn a ton, spend a lot of money on books, and your dream of publishing will solidify as the people you’ve been stalking on the Internet finally meet you face to face. It’s also great for networking and pitching your novel!

 

 

There you have it, before I ramble on and add something about challenging yourself to use bible verses as short story or poem prompts to help you remember them.

 

….

 

Anyone ever tried that? 😉

 

<3

audrey caylin

 

P.S. Riley and I started a really cool challenge on Instagram. Check it out in my highlighted story!

 

How do you want to grow this year? Any tips on how to grow spiritually? What is your favorite tool for growing as a writer?

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Ivie Brooks @Ivie Writes
    January 13, 2018 at 4:50 am

    This is super helpful and inspiring! I try to read the Bible everyday, but it can be hard to stick with it, especially when I become bored. I should look for a new plan.

    And posts about Writing and God are the best!

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Ivie! And yeah, having a good plan definitely helps. Mine takes two readings from the OT and one from the NT, mixing in epistles with books like Numbers and Leviticus.

      Absolutely! 😀

  • Reply
    cherryvillegirl
    January 13, 2018 at 5:09 am

    #5 of the spiritual list is something I never think about, but looking back, I remember a specific time where this made a huge impact. A year or so ago the Lord brought a girl I knew from my youth symphony days to remembrance, so I prayed for her. A few days later I learned that she ran away from home. I realized I probably prayed for her in the moment she needed it the most. The Lord works in mysterious ways! And he also brought her safely home! You never know who might need your prayers.

    I’m thinking about going to Realm Makers next year. I would love to make it this year, but it’s not feasible right now. Is it at the same place each year or in different places?

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      That’s such a beautiful story! God’s ways are incredible <3

      They move it someplace different every year. Last year, it was in Reno, Nevada. It's in St. Louis this year. You should definitely try to go sometime!

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Kate Flournoy
    January 13, 2018 at 5:35 am

    Great post, Audrey.
    One thing I like to do is combine them. I’m bad at doing things in a straight line anyway so I’m usually studying one thing about the Bible, jumping from place to place. And so when I’m starting a new project or having trouble with an old one, I’ll switch my topic of study to whatever thematic questions I’m addressing in it and then go rooting through the Bible for ideas. It helps me pay attention, not to mention gives me lots of extra wisdom on the side. 😛

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks, Kate! 🙂
      That’s a great idea! The bible is THE place to go for thematic inspiration, that’s for sure! It’s especially handy to look up your theme (say, justice), and go to all the verses that talk about justice.

  • Reply
    Gray Marie
    January 13, 2018 at 6:47 am

    This is so encouraging! I really need to work on my spiritual walk, it’s one of my mental goals for 2018, so thank you for this post. <3

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Aw, thank you, Gray! I’ll pray that the Lord helps you grow closer to Him 🙂

  • Reply
    Madison Grace
    January 13, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Awww, this is amazing! Since the start of 2018, I’ve scheduled daily time for praying and reading the Bible, too, whereas previously my to-do list would take its time. Not good!

    Oh my goodness, K.M. Weiland is AMAZING. I’ve read all of her writing craft books except for her one on character arcs, but I’ve been through its workbook. She’s incredible and I love her blog!

    Thank you for such a beautiful post!

    Madi

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      That’s great 😀 If bible time and prayer are on the to-do list, the sneaky little thing can’t steal that time 😉
      I LOVE K.M. WEILAND’S STUFF SO MUCH. You should definitely read her book on character arcs. It’s incredible!

      Thank you, Madi!

  • Reply
    Catherine Hawthorn (Farm Lassie)
    January 13, 2018 at 7:52 am

    I really should investigate Realm Makers one of these days!

    Can’t say enough about good critique partners. When I was in my creative writing class in college, those guys and gals were the best critique partners I’ve ever had. I mean, gushing never hurts, but I need solid hard critiquing from someone who knows what they are doing.

    Lovely post, Audrey!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      Yes, you totally should! 😀

      For sure! That’s great that you had that in college. I’ve yet to have a full-time critique partner, but like you said, they’re wonderful in growing as a writer.

      Thank you, Catherine!

  • Reply
    Abigail Lennah
    January 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I really need to undergo a spiritual journey… it’s been awhile since I’ve embarked on one, and it kind of feels like I’ve been slowly drifting away from God because of it, which stinks but I’m not sure how to get back to hearing God again.

    This is so true, what you said about joining a writers group! It’s such a fun way to connect with others, especially as a way of getting feedback (and, not going to lie, fangirl over the ENTIRE process).

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      I’m sorry, Abigail 🙁 I’ll definitely be praying for you <3

      Haha, yeah xD Critique groups are epic!

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Lila Kims
    January 13, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I love this post! <3 I believe it's important to read the Bible for at least a few minutes every day, so I love the idea of that reading plan!!

    Oh, dear. I really should crawl out of my lil hole and go to a writer's conference or something. It's just… MONEY. Money makes it really hard. 🙂

    Great post, Audrey! xD

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm

      YES. I haven’t gotten behind on my plan (yet) and it’s incredible how much spending a few minutes with God’s Word makes a difference in my day!

      Money is hard 😛 But writers conferences are also worth it. It’s a fine line to walk 😉

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    rileyalinewrites
    January 13, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    YESS! I really need to set aside more time to pray this year, and starting up a spiritual journal sounds like a really good idea.

    I have yet to look into Kingdom Pen…but I’m planning to. Annnnnd SO excited about possibly attending Realm Makers!!😆

    Awesome post, Audrey!!
    ~ riley aline

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      YOU NEED TO START ONE. Seriously. They’re incredible XD

      Go check them out! Become a Kapeefer (you’ll understand the reference if you watch their video series xD).
      *flails* REALM MAKERS. I really hope you get to go!!

      Thanks, Riley! <3

  • Reply
    Jonathan // Fishing For Ideas
    January 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    MM YES I THINK I APPROVE OF THIS POST. *NODS* I love reading things like this–things that are super practical and aren’t trying too hard to be profound and poetic. (not that profound and poetic is bad, it can just be overdone haha) Plus a post like this gives me some SUPER SOLID tips which is naturally a very good thing. xD

    I love your focus on prayer because it honestly took me FOREVER to learn the importance of prayer. I DO have a question about it though? Except it’s semi-personal… so I’ll leave it in a separate comment that you can just read without moderating if you want to. 😀 Except also I have to run eat dinner so: STAY TUNED. BRB.

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      THANK YOU SO MUCH JONATHAN. I love being profound and poetic myself, but then NOTHING makes sense except to me so I try to avoid that XD

      That’s awesome! Prayer has definitely been hard for me at times…like running in water until you suddenly realize you’re supposed to swim 😉

      Yep, sure! I’ll go check it out 😀

  • Reply
    S.F. Dekreel
    January 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    That is some great advice! I second the one about God’s love, as well as the writing mentor.
    I’m hoping to focus more on character arcs. I am aware that it will be hard and will require a lot of thinking. NOT the comfort zone of my impatient impulsive brain. But I know that it’s a big part of good writing.

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks, Dekreel!

      Character arcs are so fun to study! It definitely takes a little bit of thinking and patience to get into the right mindset, but they’re SO interesting. K.M. Weiland has some great posts on them, if you haven’t checked out her stuff already 🙂

  • Reply
    Jane Maree
    January 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    Aaah I love all these ideas. YES PLEASE THOUGH. They’re all brilliant and I’m now inspired, thank you. ^-^

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      AAAHH THANK YOU JANE <3

  • Reply
    Emily Mundell
    January 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

    These are all great ideas! I need to commit to like, 90% of these! Especially finding a critique partner!

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 19, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Thanks, Emily! I hope you find one! 🙂

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Emily! I hope you find one!

  • Reply
    Mikaylatheordinarygirl
    January 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Those are really awesome goals, Audrey! Especially your spiritual goals! I LOVE my prayer journal. I do need to get better about actually setting aside time to pray. I’m really bad about that. =/
    Amen to finding a critique partner! I really need to find one this year! Oh, how fun! Are you going to be able to go to Realm Makers this year? I really wanted to, but it doesn’t look like its going to happen. =/
    Thank you so much for sharing your goals! I hope they go well!
    -Mikayla-

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 19, 2018 at 9:22 am

      I’m so glad you have a prayer journal! I can’t believe I didn’t have one until recently 🙂

      Ack, yes, Realm Makers. 😛 I wish it was less expensive. Idk if I’ll make it either :/

      Thanks for reading, Mikayla! And thank you!

  • Reply
    amynikitawords
    January 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

    AH AUDREY. I haven’t commented on your posts for ages and I’m so sorry. I always read them though, but often don’t get the chance to comment. I’m gonna try remedy that this year 😉

    This is another incredible post and just what I needed to hear at the moment. I’m going through a bit of rough patch with my writing and Christian life, and this really spoke to me. I’ve also started a Spiritual Journal after reading this, and it’s going really well so far. Thank you 🙂

    Great post!

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      January 19, 2018 at 9:23 am

      AMY! *hugs* Aw, don’t worry about it. I need to get better too 😛

      I’m so glad to hear that! You’re definitely in my prayers <33

      Thank you!

    Let's chat!

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