Start with the End
My friend Mandy’s daughter Kenzie just got engaged. After all the congratulations and ring admiring settled down, Mandy was ready to get down to the business making some wedding plans. Of course, with two sons, I wanted to get in on the action of doing something girly, like joining my friend Mandy and daughter Kenzie in the wedding planning.
The first place we started was to ask the young couple, What do you want your wedding to look like? Give us your top three priorities.
We probed with questions: Elegant or casual? Large or small? Indoors or outdoors? Black tie or rustic?
Their answer, because I’m sure you’re wondering…. An elegantly casual, festive celebration with outdoor and indoor areas.
Now that we know the end goal, we’re ready for wedding planning.
In the same way knowing the end goal of your writing will shape your writing journey.
What’s the end goal for your writing?
I can think of many ways you might answer this question. Maybe you’re not sure; you’re figuring out your goal in the process. You’d like something written to share with your family. You’ve been speaking for years and want an accompanying manuscript for your audience. Maybe you want to try self-publishing. Maybe your ultimate goal is a contract with a publishing house.
I know you may be in the very beginning of your writing journey. Maybe all you can consider right now as an end goal is simply to stick to a consistent writing time. That’s okay, but trust me. The early stage of the writing journey is the best time to define your end goal. It will motivate you, increase your efficiency, and save you from feeling overwhelmed as you write.
Let these questions help you define your writing end goal.
Describe your audience.
How old is your reader? What makes her happy, what brings her down? What’s her typical day like? What does she wish or hope? What kind of relationship does she have with God, her family, and her friends? Does she go to church? Has she been a Christian for a while, or is she just learning about her faith? Let your imagination roam, as you picture her reading your manuscript.
Identify your purpose.
Entertain, inform, encourage, exhort, or teach can all be purposes. Can you be even more specific? For example, help women to engage with God’s Word; reach freedom from strongholds; or provide encouragement for everyday parenting.
Determine which genre (fancy word for type or form of manuscript). A memoir looks different from a devotional, which looks different from a how-to book. A combination of several forms?
One more thing. Write down your end goal. Display it in a place where you will see it daily. Review it on a regular basis. Let it have space in your mind, heart and schedule.
It’s okay if you wander off the path some; rabbit trails and tangents can be part of the journey. I’ve already gotten off track a bit with the wedding planning. Kylie gently reminded me of her end goal when I sent her a few photos (okay, a whole lot of photos) of reception ideas. In response to one picture of tables covered in white linen tablecloths and burlap napkins, she texted, No burlap, please. The end goal reminder got me back on track.
Take some time to talk to God about your writing destination. He made you a writer, and He has a plan for your writing. Then write down your end goal, and let it be your guide as you write.
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So happy for all of you!!
Thanks Lisa! It’s a fun time!