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

Glancing Back...Looking Ahead

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
                                                                                                    Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

It’s hard to believe 2012 is just around the corner! I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about the prospects. What will the New Year will bring? Only the Lord knows. Still, it’s good to face the next year with a plan of action, and that’s exactly the topic I’d like to discuss over the next couple of months as we close out 2011.

Reflect on the Past

For some, this past year has been glorious. You met your financial goals and then some! You’ve figured out a way to supplement your fiction income and it’s paying off. For others, however, the elusive dream of earning your way as a freelancer seems fleeting at best. Don’t give up the ship, writers! There’s plenty of money to be made, and next year can be different.

Look to the Future

Isn’t it fun to think about where you’ll be a year from now? Maybe you’re not currently published but hope to be next year at this time. Perhaps you’ve been published in one particular genre, but are giving thought to moving in a different direction in 2012. Maybe you’re a multipublished author unsure of what the future holds, yet ready to take that next step. There are so many unknown variables, aren’t there? Thank goodness we serve a God who sees what’s coming. And He also knows just what it takes to get us there!

As I’ve discussed in prior articles, there’s money to be made in the writing world, even during tough economic times. This is especially true for those of us needing to supplement our fiction income. I know that many of you are chomping at the bit. I can hear you chanting, “Show me the money!” Well, don’t worry! We’re going to look at some creative ideas for making even more of it over this next year.

I’d like to take some time to look at our goals for 2012. Let’s start by examining the Scripture we’ve heard countless times, no doubt: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Another translation says, “Where there is no revelation, the people perish.” Before we can talk about becoming successful, we’ve got to have a clear vision/revelation. And that, my friends, can come from only one place—the Lord. His thoughts are higher than ours; His plans are higher than ours! (Can I get an amen?)

Ponder these writing-related questions as we look ahead to the New Year. Try to answer them as honestly as you can:

1. In 2012, I need to spend more time ____________________ and less time _____________________. (C’mon now, be honest!)

2. If you could name one major flaw in the way you approached your writing career last year, what would it be? (Just one, you say?)

3. How are you at starting new projects? (If you’re like many, you’re a great starter but a poor finisher.)

4. How are you at carrying through? (Oh, help!)

5. Where do you see yourself in one year, as it relates to your writing and your writing income? (Hard to imagine? Well, speak it in faith!)

6. Where do you see yourself in three years, as it relates to your writing and your writing income? (Stretch yourself! Think big!)

7. Where do you see yourself in five years, as it relates to your writing and your writing income? (Do you see yourself working full time as a writer?)

8. What circumstances (and/or excuses) have kept you from fulfilling your writing goals thus far, if applicable? (Excuses, excuses! We’re full of ’em!)

9. What are some of the ways you’ve tried to earn money with your writing—outside of publishing a novel? (In 2012 begin to think outside the box.)

10. What are some creative things you’ve not yet tried? (Make a list and check it twice.)

11. Over the next year, what are you planning to write? (Aside from your novel.)

12. Are you willing to try new writing-related things to earn money? (The correct answer is yes!)

13. What specific plans are you making to accomplish your publishing goals in 2010? (Plans? I’m supposed to have plans?)

14. Who mentors you/your writing? Whom are you mentoring? (This is important to the equation.)

15. What classes/conferences do you plan to take in 2012? (Yep. It’s vital, especially if you’re venturing into a new area, such as nonfiction or magazine article writing.)

16. What is your greatest weakness as a writer? Your greatest strength? (It’s okay to admit your weaknesses, folks. And your strengths, too!)

17. What would you like to see God accomplish through your writing in 2012? (Be specific.)

18. What are your monthly and yearly (writing related) financial goals for 2012? (Be specific.)

19. What steps do you need to take right now to move toward those goals? (Take baby steps.)

20. What specific plan do you think the Lord has in mind for your writing in 2012? (Do you feel Him tugging you in a new direction, perhaps?)

I’ve given you a lot to think about. It’s important that we put everything into perspective, because getting God’s plan is critical. Laying a foundation is key. I don’t know about you, but I certainly want God’s plan, not mine. He alone knows what’s out there for us in 2012. (Doesn’t it boggle your mind to realize He knows what next year holds?)

As I sign off, I’m going to leave you with a great quote, one I hope you find inspiring. I’ll be back next month with more advice on looking ahead to the New Year. In the meantime, happy (upcoming) holidays, y’all!

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
and next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.


                                                    T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”