Janice Hanna Thompson

Janice Hanna Thompson—a south Texas native—is the author of over sixty novels and non-fiction books for the Christian market. She supplements her fiction habit by writing magazine articles, devotions, write-for-hire books and more. One of the chief joys of Janice’s life is training writers to earn a living with the written word. Check out Janice’s “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer,” course at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. The ten lessons in this course were developed to strategically train freelance writers to earn top dollar. Each lesson includes an audio file (mp3 for download), a corresponding audio script, a downloadable worksheet, a power point video, a bonus feature, and full access to the site’s forum. Email Janice at booksbyjanice[at]aol[dot]com to learn more, or visit her website at www.janicehannathompson.com.

Supplementing Your Fiction Habit

2012: Go for the Gusto!

We’ve talked about it, danced around it, wondered about it . . . and now it’s here. 2012: the year of the Mayans.

All doom, gloom, and sarcasm aside, 2012 proves to be an exciting year for freelancers. How do I know this? Because I’m a woman of faith, of course! Instead of looking at this year as the “end” of something, let’s see it as a new beginning! Opportunities abound. Grab hold of them as never before, and do so with newfound enthusiasm.

As we kick off this New Year, we’ll look at new possibilities for income and new ways to get excited about freelancing. I plan to spend the next several months breaking down the word GOALS so that we can accomplish more than ever with our writing:

G: Go for the Gusto! (January)
O: Over, Not Under (February)
A: Attitude Is Everything (March)
L: Less Is More (April)
S: See It! (May)

There’s something about the word goals that motivates me. Then again, I’ve always been a “looking ahead” sort of girl. Years ago I attended a New Year’s seminar titled “Advance.” That name has stuck with me. I can’t think about January without hearing the word advance in my heart, mind, and imagination.

And why not? We’re all about advancing, aren’t we? Sure! We want to advance the kingdom, advance our careers, and advance our know-how (as it relates to the craft of writing). Advance speaks of gusto. Enthusiasm. Exuberance. And that’s exactly what I want to focus on.

Let’s start by defining the word:

1. Vigorous enjoyment; zest. See Synonyms at zest.
2. Individual taste.
3. Artistic style. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gusto)

If I could give all freelancers one piece of advice as we start this New Year, it would be “Pray for God-given gusto, then go forth and do what you’ve always longed to do!” In other words, advance! Don’t remain stagnant.

The problem is most of us are dreamers not advancers. We’re always talking about what we “want” to do or what we “hope” to do. It’s time to pray for a newfound exuberance, both for your fiction writing and your supplemental freelancing. Don’t depend upon your own energy or want-to. Ask for supernatural enthusiasm. Spirit infused. Heaven drawn. Don’t just step out . . . step out in the power and might of the Lord.

Oh, I know. We’re always excited about setting goals in January. Always looking for a fresh start. Then February rolls around and the dream is forgotten. This doesn’t have to be. Sometimes dreams really do come true. Sometimes we set goals . . . and meet them!

Last January I set out to accomplish two major things in 2011: lose weight and earn more money with my writing. By the time February rolled around, I’d done both. And when March arrived, the pounds were still coming off while the book deals (and article deals) continued to roll in. April brought more of the same. So did May. And on and on it went.

Why did these things keep happening? Because I refused to give up. I had the heart of a hustler. The same Spirit-led gusto that propelled me to lose weight in the first place kept me steady when things got tough. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself advancing, even when the scale got stuck on the same number.

Because of my “can do” attitude, (completely inspired and energized by the Lord), the journey continued. And by the way, I’m starting 2012 seventy-six pounds lighter than 2011. That’s what gusto will do for you! I’m also starting this New Year with a higher income base than last year. I’m advancing into 2012 with more God-breathed energy than ever before, and you can, too! Remember, it all starts with prayer. Give your desires to God, and watch Him breathe life into them.

Do you see yourself going for the gusto in 2012? That’s what it’s going to take to succeed as both a novelist and a freelancer. Pray, pray, pray! Advance, advance, advance! If you get knocked down, stand up, dust yourself off, and start moving again. Develop and maintain the heart of a hustler.

What does this mean as it pertains to your freelancing? It means you’re willing to try new things. Balance your fiction writing against nonfiction writing. Write about topics you’ve never explored. Look for stories under every bush. Seek out work when others say there is no work. And you do it all with gusto (vigorous enjoyment and zest) as never before.

One last piece of advice: If you really want to advance your career in 2012, call it done. Begin to speak about yourself and your career in a positive, upbeat way. Let your gusto spill throughout your words so that your faith can be built up. Follow the example of King David, who, in the midst of one of the toughest challenges of his life, found the perfect faith-building solution: “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God” (I Sam. 30:6 KJV).

David didn’t look inside himself for encouragement. Instead, he encouraged himself “in the LORD.” By focusing on God, he found the necessary gumption/gusto to keep going, even though the obstacles before him were huge.

You can do the same! That’s the answer for 2012, my friend. May God-given gusto light your way and invigorate your heart! And may you advance into new opportunities as never before.

Questions to Ponder:

What have you longed to do?
What dreams are yet unfulfilled?
What goals are yet unmet?
Do you have a plan?