Thursday, 25 February 2021

Behind the Scenes: In Want of a Wife by Meredith Resce


Today we go 'behind the scenes' as Jeanette (Jenny) O'Hagan interviews Meredith Resce

Jenny:  Congratulations on your upcoming release. What inspired you to write to ‘License to Meddle series’ and this second book In Want of a Wife in particular.

Meredith: Thanks for having me, Jenny. The whole middle-aged mum with adult children situation is one I have experienced first-hand. Coming up with great advice and hints towards this nice person, or that nice person, is generally received with not much enthusiasm. Sometimes the exact opposite. So this series is probably mostly fantasy, in that meddling and matchmaking is not often done with success. I know of three or four cases where matchmaking has worked and worked really well. But the middle-aged mum still likes to dream of young love and romance.

Jenny:  Tell us about the main character Luella Linley. Who is she and why does she feel compelled to meddle? Also, how many daughters does she have? And will there be a book 3?

Meredith: Luella Linley is a popular Regency Romance author and seems to have trouble in drawing a line between coming up with plot for her characters and plotting for her adult children. She is unrepentant about her daughter’s chagrin, not fazed by being told off for meddling. She has two daughters and one son. Yes, book three is in production at the moment, and you can see the pre-order cover live on Amazon now. All Arranged Book#3

Jenny:  I have to ask, is ‘In Want of a Wife’ a direct quote from the opening sentence in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?  How have authors like Austen and other romance authors influenced your writing.

Meredith: You’re quite right. In Want of a Wife is a direct quote from the opening scene in Pride and Prejudice. Austen is my favourite author, and Mrs Bennett is annoying and unrepentant about her matchmaking. Luella is not as annoying, but just as incorrigible. You will find in all three Luella Linley books, excerpts from Luella’s latest work in progress, Regency romance in Austen style, each plot bearing a resemblance to the contemporary plot that is going on.

Jenny:  That sounds delightful and sure to be a hit with Austen fans. My favourite book of yours is For All Time. Would it be true to say that most of your previous books have been historical romance? What challenges and joys have you found changing from historical romance to contemporary comic romance.

Meredith: For All Time was my one and only foray into time slip novel. I loved it. So much fun mixing contemporary characters with 1500s culture and context. Most other of my work has been historical drama, and while I enjoyed it, writing light-hearted contemporary romance is more fun. I like the funny side of the Brooker family. They are all blunt, a bit sarcastic and witty.

Jenny:  You’ve now published over ten novels, plus a number of novellas and short stories. How do you come up with fresh ideas?

Meredith: Actually, In Want of a Wife is the twenty first title released (this includes two novellas, a self-help book, a fantasy novel, biographical account and a faction.

New ideas were nearly always inspired by old buildings, in the case of most of my historicals. With this series, I guess when I started, I was in the middle of parenting single adult children, and I was inspired by their lack of moving forward towards marriage. They’re all married now, without any assistance from me.

Jenny:  That's an impressive output :) How would you say publishing has changed since you published your first book in the late 1990s? How are the challenges and opportunities changed for writers over this time? Do you have any tips for new writers?

Meredith: Publishing has changed soooo much since 1997.  The market has changed, so the way the book is produced has also had to change. The main change agent was the advent of digital marketing, eBooks, and algorithms. These things have decimated the bricks and mortar bookstore market, selling the paperback from the shelf. I used to pre-sell approximately 1700 copies to bookstores on new releases, without anyone having ever seen the cover. Now, I’m lucky if I can beg them to take 60-100 copies.

Algorithms now dictate how the book buyers will see what is new and available, and learning to provoke the algorithm to show your book in the top twenty is a game we’re all playing.

Also, when I started, I was one of two Australian Christian fiction authors, the other being Mary Hawkins. Now there are heaps of us. The writing is better, the range is better, and there is a wonderful group of Australian Christian writers. But the market is the most difficult it has ever been.

I only use print on demand now, and produce to the eBook platforms as well.  Australian Christian writers supporting one another, as you are doing here, Jenny, is the only way we are going to push through and see our work find a home in the hearts of Australian and international readers. Getting on Goodreads and getting activity going about your own books and other Australian writers’ books is going to be a great positive thing to do in the reality we live in now.

Tips for new writers – welcome to the time when the most opportunity to learn to write well is available to you through many different conferences, writing chapters and online resources. Work on your craft (this was something I did not have access to when I started). You may have to go forward with the understanding that you may be writing for a small audience of family and friends, and thank God for ever little opportunity you get beyond that. It is a tough market to publish and sell into, but writing is often its own reward.


Thanks again, Jenny, for having me, and for supporting Australasian Christian writers from here and New Zealand.

Jenny: You're welcome. Thanks you Meredith for taking the time share about your books and experiences.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Back to Basics

 by Jeanette O'Hagan

The last few years, I've felt increasingly overwhelmed with all the things I'm supposed to be doing. Each year, I'd think once this major task or that major task is over, I'll have more time to slow down, to breathe. Instead each year I only seem to get busier, to get more behind. And then in 2020 a family situation took up most of my focus and I found myself even more behind than ever and even more exhausted than ever. 




I realise, part of my problem is I find it hard to say 'no' or, when seeing something needs doing, often jump into the breech - and then find it hard to let go, not wanting to let people down. But then, when I'm so busy, sometimes things do fall between the cracks. 

Another slice of the problem is that there is so much to do as an Indie publisher, as a mother and wife, as a part-time worker, as friend, a member of a church, as admin or coordinator of this group or that, and as a daughter when my mother needs  me to be more involved in her affairs, and as a family historian (and then there is the housework and the garden so needy and demanding). 




For me, 2020 was a big black hole for my writing and books sales due to the need to focus on family and not having the time or energy to put into getting that next book out or maintaining my social media platform or promoting my books. After so many years of effort, it felt discouraging -  to such an extent that I would at times question my calling. Am I being indulgent in  wanting to write, in wanting my books to reach a wider audience? Did I mishear God's promises, His call? Yet, over the last eighteen months, God has answered prayers in respect to financial needs and my mum's needs in ways far beyond what I imagined possible. I'm not sure what happens next, but I'm trusting in God's provision - for finances, yes, but also in terms of the future and impact my writing. 





After much soul searching and prayer, I believe that God hasn't taken back the charge he gave me in 2011. I need to trust His timing - and maybe I need to go back to basics. To re-examine everything I'm putting my time and energy into. To test the advice about all the things authors 'should' be doing and all the things other people want me to do for them. Obviously, some things are non-negotiable like family responsibilities, my commitment to God, the need to encourage and upheld others, and yes the writing.

At the end of last year, I finally got back into writing - well, editing - with a major edit of Rasel's Song. It took way longer than I expected - from November to the beginning of February (but then my last look at this manuscript was six years ago).  Now, I'm researching a short story (and loving it).

As a Indie author, if I don't do it, it doesn't get done. But I can't do everything. 

I'm not sure what this will all look like and it may involve more experimenting, maybe cutting back on things that are time consuming but haven't fulfilled their promise, maybe being more intentional about what I do. 

At this stage, it looks something like this:

  • Remembering why I'm doing this and who I doing it for.
  • Publishing the next book (and the next one) - and focusing on writing and publishing.
  • Being intentional about promotion - giving things a go, yes, but making sure I assess what works for me and my books and what doesn't - rather than trying to do everything because that's what this expert or that expert reckons all authors should be doing. 
  • Maybe shedding or passing on to others some of my responsibilities (I'm still praying about what this might look like). 
  • And maybe being a more patient with myself and relaxing into God's purposes.

How about you? Where are you in your writing journey? Do you need to breathe, refocus, hold on  - or maybe power on, take a sabbatical or at some other stage of the process?  

Jeanette O'Hagan has spun tales in the world of Nardva from the age of eight. She enjoys writing fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic. Others include space stations and cyborgs. She has published over forty stories and poems, including the Under the Mountain Series (5 books), Ruhanna's Flight and Other Stories, and Akrad's Children. She hopes to publish Rasel's Song in April this year. Jeanette lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Facebook |Jeanette O'Hagan Writes | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Thursday, 18 February 2021

A Bag of Goodies!

 by Anusha Atukorala

In Jan 2019, I flew to Sri Lanka for a family reunion. My Mum was a well known journalist for almost 70 years, so we put together a book that comprised some her articles. We her seven children came from the corners of the globe to celebrate Mum’s life and work at her book launch. It was precious time, filled with love and laughter, family and friends, food and fellowship.


Before I returned home to Australia, my sister Sal gave me a generous gift—a voucher from a clothing store. The blouses and skirts in the shop didn’t catch my eye, but I did find something I loved—a spacious canvas bag! The eloquent black and white pattern on it called out to me like a kookaburra’s laugh and the bag fit snugly on my shoulder. I knew I’d find good use for it back home. However, as the months rolled on, I found I didn’t have much reason to reach for it. The thing is, that I had numerous other handbags that were more useful because they, unlike this one, contained numerous separate sections that helped carry the innumerable small items I usually take with me. Did I choose the wrong gift, I wondered!


Last year, when winter’s icy chill had waned, when birds began to twitter and colour-splashed flowers danced in the light of day, God wooed me to my backyard. I have been spending hours there with Him every day, enjoying the beauty and solitude. I use an interesting assortment of items for my Quiet Time—a folder containing worship songs, one with lyrics of songs I’ve composed while a third is crammed with spiritual tools that nurture my walk with God—prayers, pictures, reminders, blessings.


And of course I take my well-worn bible, a notebook and pen, my reading glasses, sunglasses and even my phone, in case I need to take pictures. I’ve a few tissues for when tears drench my blouse—as they often do in God’s presence. I take a book I’ve created, crammed with evidence of God’s love for me and thoughts I reflect on daily. There’s a book on prayer by Richard Foster and another on healing by Agnes Sandford, both which have been a help in my journey with God this past year.


One day, as I collected my Quiet Time Treasures to take to my garden, I dropped my packet of tissues and my reading glasses. Clumsy me! Like a feather falling from a bird in flight, an idea dropped into my mind then … soft and sure. I went to my bedroom at once and found my new but unused bag. I placed my folders, Bible, pen, tissues, books, folders, phone, notebook, sunglasses and reading glasses inside it, slung it on my shoulder and with a steaming cup of English breakfast tea in hand, went out to my favourite spot in our backyard. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?


I had a bag of Treasures and oh how it enhanced my morning routine! No dropping items on the way anymore! Since then, I’ve kept my bag filled—I don’t waste time any more, gathering my belongings each morning for my time with the King of kings and Lord of lords.


Did you know that you also have a bag of goodies which you can dip into daily, on order to enhance your life as a Christian writer? Let me warn you though. There could be unfortunate scraps inside our bags which should not be in there. Things like …


Negative thinking.




Past mistakes … and more. Lots more.

They get in the way of doing God’s work, so let’s discard them.


Here are some of what you might need in your Writer’s bag of Treasures:

1.     Jesus

2.     God’s love

3.     Your calling

4.     The Holy Spirit

5.     Books on writing

6.     An uncluttered self

7.     Faith, hope and love

8.     The Word planted in you

9.     Writing ability. Writing ideas

10.  Christian  Writers Downunder

11.  Life lessons learnt from the past

12.  Family. An anchor and a catalyst

13.  Friends. To help us on our journey  

14.  Courage to write. Clarity of thinking

15.  Perseverance. Hope. Wisdom. Knowledge.

16.  Good books that teach us as we enjoy them

17.  Writer friends who walk the journey with us

18.  God’s forgiveness and mercy for past failures

19.  2020. A year with many experiences to write about

20.  The realisation that you have something important to share

You are rich in the things that matter. Did you know that? Which of these have eluded you of late? Which of them you do need to put back into your bag before you go out to your writing space today?

 Let’s walk together into the rest of 2021 with a song in our hearts.

Jesus has called you. He has called me. He has called us.

Let’s join hands and change the world, one word at a time.

We have our bag of treasures. We have Jesus. We have each other.

What more do we need?

  Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab

 technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full

 time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until

 one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God

 tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him.

 She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She

 loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite

 to hurry the process in her world through her writing and

 through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song

 through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus.


Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 little God

 stories that will bring you closer to your Creator. Her second

book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ brings you hope and comfort for

 life’s soggy seasons. Her 3rd book, ‘Sharing the Journey’ is

 a sequel to 'Enjoying the Journey' and was released in March

 2020 and comprises of more God stories to bring connection

 and hope as we share the journey of life together during

 Covid's challenging season.


Do stop by at her two websites to say G'day! She'd love to see you.

 Dancing in the Rain 

Light in the Darkness

Dancing in the Rain:

Sharing the Journey:


Monday, 15 February 2021

2021 CALEB Awards Wants You ... to Volunteer as a Judge


It is almost time for the 2021 CALEB Awards from Omega Writers. CALEB stands for Christian Authors Lifting Each other's Books. The CALEB Award:

·         Supports excellence in Australasian Christian books by encouraging and educating writers, regardless of genre.

·         Encourages excellence in Australasian Christian books by recognising and rewarding our best writers across a range of genres.

The 2021 Awards will be for books published in 2019 or 2020 in the following genres:

·         Adult fiction

·         Young Adult fiction

·         Early Reader and Middle Grade (also open to books published in 2018)

·         Picture Books

·         Adult Biography or Memoir

·         Adult Nonfiction (also open to books published in 2018)

The 2021 Awards will open for entries in March (watch this space to find out more).

However, before we open for entries, we need judges.

Who can judge?

Anyone! Well, almost anyone.

  • This is a contest for Christian writers, so we want judges who agree with the Omega Writers Statement of Faith.
  • We’re looking for keen readers who can read and judge the first fifty pages of between four and ten entries between 1 May and 20 June.
  • Books (other than picture books) are provided as PDF files, so you will need to read on your computer, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle device. Picture books are judged in hard copy.

All we ask is that you judge each entry fairly, according to the judging criteria.

Judging is a great opportunity to sample books from some new-to-you authors and perhaps discover a new favourite.

Each entry will be judged by three judges in the first round. Finalists will be judged by three new judges. That means we need a lot of volunteers to support the contest. If we don’t get enough judges, we may need to combine or cut some categories.

Each category is judged separately, so we encourage you to enter the awards in one category and volunteer to judge another.

Note that judges in the Published contest only have to provide scores for each category in the judging sheet. We’re not asking for feedback from judges, like we do for the Unpublished contest.

(But if you enjoy the book and would like to bless the author, may we suggest a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Koorong? Just remember to mention you received a free copy of the book.)

To volunteer as a judge, fill out the form at

Thank you!

Thursday, 11 February 2021

CWD Member Interview – Nicki Edwards


Each Thursday we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today interview: Nicki Edwards

Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from. 

I’m a wife to Tim (29 years on Monday!) 

I’m a Mum to 4 adult kids (aged 20, 22, 24 and 26). 

I’m a nurse currently working in a very busy GP clinic. 

I’m from Geelong where I have lived for most of my life.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I write contemporary women’s romance. My books are sweet/clean romance stories featuring relatable heroes and heroines dealing with medical dramas in small town locations.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

I’ve had a 99 year old lady in a nursing home read one of my books! Her daughter took a photo of her sitting up in her bed reading.  That was very cool. I’ve also had my friend’s daughters read my books and love them. I think anyone who enjoys a heartwarming story will enjoy my books. There’s no smut and the storylines are simple.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

The biggest challenge I face is time. I’m currently working 4 days a week in a busy GP clinic getting ready for Covid vaccines. Prior to that I was working in the Emergency Department and ICU of hospitals in Geelong. 

In terms of my process for writing – I have to fit it in around whatever else I’m doing at the time. It’s not easy! What helps me the most is brainstorming tricky scenes and having encouraging writing buddies who remind me I can do this!

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 

I don’t read writing craft books – sorry! (Am I allowed to admit that!). I also don’t listen to podcasts on writing either. I have a dozen or so craft books on my kindle but they’re all unread! The only ones that I have used in the past are the writing thesaurus books.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

Shout out to Andrea Grigg – she’s my biggest cheerleader (and she reads writing craft books then tells me what I need to know!). 

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2021? How will you achieve them?

My goal this year is to finish the book that’s due and regroup and decide what’s next. I have lots of ideas but the reality is, with the covid vaccine coming, my work hours will increase and it’s likely I won’t have much writing time in 2021. But bring on 2022!

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I like to think my faith is interwoven through all my books in subtle ways. I tend to ensure relationships are patched up with my characters seeking and receiving forgiveness from others. 

Personally, I feel God has shaped my writing from day one and He has lead me to write mainstream romance, not Christian romance. Every time I’ve put my toe in the water to investigate writing a Christian romance, I feel God gently tug me back and remind me what He has asked me to do.

About the Author

Nicki is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on acreage outside Geelong in Victoria, Australia, Nicki spent her formative years riding horses, hand rearing lambs and pretending the neighbour's farm was her own. After spending three years in a regional town in New South Wales in her twenties, Nicki’s love of country towns and rural life was further developed.

​Nicki’s dream is to one day escape to the country with her husband Tim to live surrounded by horses. Unfortunately, until that happens, Nicki lives vicariously through the lives of the characters in the books she loves to read and write. But she recently got a horse, so hopefully the country escape won’t be far off.

A voracious reader, Nicki always wanted to be an author. After returning to university as a mature aged student to study nursing, Nicki juggled full time study, part time work and raising four small children to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse. But her other dream—the dream to write—never left, and in January 2015 Nicki had her first book published.

Nicki works as a nurse in a busy General Practice, which is where many of her stories and characters come to life. In between work and riding her horse, she writes. 

Nicki and Tim have four young adult children, two spoiled border collies (#mollyandindie) and an ancient Burmese cat (Roxy). Nicki’s latest love is Monty, a Thoroughbred who has his own Instagram page!

To stay up to date with her latest releases, please visit Nicki’s website: or find her on Facebook or Instagram where she spends far too much time!

Monday, 8 February 2021

Finding Spiritual Parallels in Stories

As Christian Writers, we all have a desire to infuse something of God into our writing. Whether it is a clear gospel message or something more subtle. Even if we are writing for a general audience we would desire that God would work through us, and that there would be something of him in our work, that he might speak through it.

The interesting thing is that God can speak through anything. We can find nuggets of his truth in all sorts of writing, even when the author didn’t intend it. Creators such as Geek Devotions specialise in finding parallels and contrasts of a Biblical nature in popular entertainment such as movies, video games and comic books.

A few weeks back, I was watching an episode of Star Trek Discovery, and something jumped out at me. Allow me to set to the scene for those who are less nerdy than me.

It’s an important diplomatic meeting between the representatives of two superpowers. Admiral Vance represents the United Federation of Planets. While something of a shadow of their former glory, the Federation represents peaceful cooperation, compassion, and scientific advancement.

One the other side of the table, we have Osyraa, leader of the Emerald Chain. Officially, a mercantile exchange. In reality, it’s a vast gang of thugs who use bullying, intimidation and slavery to rule over lesser races.

Star Trek Discovery. CBS All Access

Both nations are suffering from the shortage of dilithium, a catalyst that makes warp speed travel through space possible. With their supply rapidly running out, the Emerald Chain are going to face a disastrous collapse. If they want to continue to exist, they need to make a significant change.

Osyraa has approached Admiral Vance with a surprising offer. The Emerald Chain will ban slavery. They will turn away from their intimidating ways and will slowly release worlds from their grasp. In return, they will ally with the Federation and be recognised as a legitimate nation. It seems too good to be true. But it is. OIsyraa is making a genuine effort to change her ways here.

Admiral Vance is excited by the prospect. Together they could be the architects of peace. But there’s a problem. Osyraa’s past crimes. She can’t be the figurehead of this new alliance. She needs to be put on trial, by her successor.

Osyraa is taken aback. “You’re staring at the past. I just drew you a real map to the future,” she says. She has a point. If they can forget the past, they could move into a real peace.

“The past is the only light with which we can see the future,” Vance says. The Federation has been through hard times of its own in recent years. Hard times that have threatened to cloud their moral judgement. A moral code that Vance fights for every day, and asks his people to lay down their lives for. He can’t ignore Osyaa’s sins, as much as he desperately wants to. Because the Federation is a just society.

This struck me as an interesting parallel to our relationship with Jesus. We too have a past. We have a legacy of sin we can’t escape from. God loves us desperately, and wants to have a right relationship with us. But he can’t just ignore our past sin. He is a just God. And that justice demands those sins be made right.

But the real story goes further than this episode of Star Trek. Imagine if Admiral Vance stepped forward, looked into Osyraa’s burning eyes and said, “We’ll put me on trial for your crimes. I will go to prison in your place, so that justice can be served.” That, of course, is what God did for us.

I’m in no way trying to suggest that the episode’s writer, Kenneth Lin, intended this parallel. (Although it’s possible. I don’t know him.) But I enjoy looking for deeper spiritual themes in my entertainment.

What about you? Do you look for these kinds of insights? What other examples of spiritual truths have you seen shadowed in stories?

Star Trek Discovery: “There is a Tide” was written by Kenneth Lin and is available in Australia exclusively on Netflix.

Adam David Collins is a speculative fiction author from Tasmania, Australia. He draws inspiration for his stories from his over-active imagination, his life experiences and his faith. Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam discusses these, along with his monthly Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Bulletin on his youTube channel. You can find him at

Monday, 1 February 2021

Reaching for our creative goals in 2021


Photo of a man on a mountaintop, his arms raised in triumph.
Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

2020 was a bad year for most of us: The COVID outbreak, the restrictions, loss of work, weeks of being focused on the news, pondering our mortality, some even losing friends and family to the awful thing... We’ve done okay in Australia compared with many countries but still COVID took its toll on life as a whole including our finances, mental health and especially on our creativity. My friends in Victoria have done it especially tough, with three months in hard lockdown. I spent much of the year ghostwriting a non-fiction book and even with deadlines there were weeks when I couldn’t write. When I was done I wanted to get straight into a project for myself but I couldn’t. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.


But 2021 is a new year. We have hope of a vaccine program for COVID and we’ve (hopefully) had some kind of break or holiday over Christmas. It feels, at least for me, that it’s time to start running again. A new year brings new hope and new purpose as we reach for our goals. 


You may already be doing this. If you’ve stayed focused and super-productive through 2020, I applaud you. In the comments, please share some of the things that have helped you do this. For the rest of us – those wanting to pick up again and get going afresh in their creative journey – let’s take a quick look at some things we can do to help us rock our creative goals in 2021.


Define your goals


I've never been a huge fan of the goal-setting gurus and their five-year plans. Especially not when they recommend the hyper-organised break-everything-down-into-the-minutia approach to goal setting. Maybe I should be. I know some people thrive with that level of organisation and they are a lot more productive than I am. But I get exhausted even thinking that way.


My writing ‘muse’ doesn’t like too much pressure. She’s sometimes like a frightened kitten – only sneaking out of her hiding place when everything is quiet to lap from a saucer of fresh milk and nibble at juicy chunks of topside steak. The pressure of high-powered goal setting immediately sends the poor thing hissing and spitting back into its dark corner under a cupboard. 


Having said that, I don’t work well without any goals, either. If we don’t aim toward a target, we are unlikely to hit it, right? I think it’s all about balance: having clear goals that guide our focus but don’t put so much pressure on us that we become creatively catatonic.


Have you thought about your goals for 2021? What's your definition of success?


I recently read Stop Worrying; Start Writing by Sarah R Painter. It’s a lovely book about overcoming your fears and neuroses as a writer (hint: I have lots ;)). Some books on productivity make you feel guilty – and exhausted before you get started. But Painter is so encouraging... like having a good friend grab your hand and say, 'It’s okay, keep going. You can do this!' 


One of the things she encouraged writers to do was to consider their own definition of success. For some it might be to one day win a literary prize, for others it could be having a book published for their family and friends to read. Others could have the goal of becoming a high-earning independent author. Success is a very individual thing and that’s okay. We shouldn’t feel pressured to have the same goals as our author friends.  


This is how Painter defines her own success:



Wouldn't this be fantastic? I had to copy this because her words echoed my own long-term desires – except I would have thrown in ‘and honouring God’ at the end of the last sentence. The problem is that for me you’d need an earth-bound version of the Hubble telescope to see that far into the future. I earned freelance income last year but nothing from my fiction writing.


It’s generally held that good goals should be both measurable and achievable. I also think that if we are to succeed in reaching our goals, they need to reflect our deepest motivations, otherwise, we’ll start out okay but fall away quickly. The ghostwriting experience I mentioned at the beginning of the post taught me a lot. I gained valuable experience, but it also showed me I don’t want to spend my writing life crafting someone else’s words. I gave it everything I had, but it didn’t satisfy my deeper desire to have my own words set loose to scurry around the universe and dive into readers’ hearts.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash


While there are many facets to creative success for me in 2021 the most important is to get my own words down on paper. 


Success for me involves planning a series of books and writing at least one new novel to a publishable standard in 2021 (ideally, I’d like to write two – or three – I'm greedy). 


There are other parts to my creative journey. I want to encourage others, so I’ll still do some freelance editing work. I also have a YA novel that needs a publishing home (or to be published independently). I'd also like to develop the animal art side of my creative business. However, the priority is getting new words of my own ‘out there’.  


What about you? What is your definition of success in 2021?


What changes are needed to reach your goals?


One of the things many of us are guilty of, is saying we want something but then not counting the cost and doing what it takes to get there. If we are to reach our goals, we’ll need to make some changes. Here are some things to think about:


Make your creative goals a priority


As a society we often devalue creativity, but I reckon that if it's important to God, it needs to be important to us. If creativity wasn't valued by God we'd be living in a flat monochrome world, where everything functioned but there was little beauty. Instead, he gave us a world with soaring mountains, azure oceans and brilliant blue butterflies. 


Not only does creativity make our life more meaningful, our creativity can help and heal others. Books and poetry are powerful. Wouldn't it be fantastic if the book we wrote made someone's life better for a few hours and gave them the hope they needed to keep going in hard times? 


Even if we are convinced that our creative goals are important, it's easy for life to subvert them. How much do we want this? Very few of us can do everything we'd like to do, so we need to set priorities. If we're going to write fresh words this year, we need to allow time and energy for this. 


Make your wellbeing (and the wellbeing of others) a priority too. 


On the other hand, there's no point reaching our goals if we make ourselves sick or neglect our family and friends. It's important to look after ourselves and others as we go. This may mean moving more slowly than we would like or doing things differently. 


Make changes with both your goals and wellbeing in mind. 


I hurt my back badly last year working under pressure with a less than ideal desk set-up, so it's important for me to make changes that help protect my health. For me this means trying to lose some weight, moving more (hydro-exercises are my friend), learning Dragon dictation and hopefully increasing my hours of non-writing part-time work so I can afford to spend my desk-time on my fiction. This will hopefully help me reach my creative goals 😃.


I also need to develop regular quality time for creative flow that fits in with the rest of my life. I do my best and most focused work between 10 pm and 2 am, which is okay if you never have appointments in the real world, don’t need to work a part time job, don't have a husband to encourage and don’t suffer from a fatigue-inducing chronic illness. The late night/ late mornings are not conducive to my health and the rest of the flow of my life. If I’m to accomplish my goals, I need to change. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Definitely!


I could say a lot more here but I’m out of time and well out of word count. Now it’s over to you.


What are your creative goals for 2021? What steps are you taking to get there? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you are reaching for this year. 




Susan J Bruce, aka Sue Jeffrey, spent her childhood reading, drawing, and collecting stray animals. Now she’s grown up, she does the same kinds of things. Susan has worked for many years as a veterinarian, and writes stories filled with themes of suspense, adventure, romance and overcoming. Susan also loves to paint animals. 
Susan won the ‘Short’ section of the inaugural Stories of Life writing competition and won the 'Unpublished Manuscript' section of the 2018 Caleb prize. Susan is the editor of'If They Could Talk: Bible Stories Told By the Animals' (Morning Star Publishing) and her stories and poems have appeared in multiple anthologies. Her e-book, 'Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story' is available on Amazon.comYou can check out some of Susan’s art work on her website