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january-calendarA new page. A clean slate. A blank computer screen. An unpainted canvas. An unfilled calendar

For those of us in the arts, these phrases – new page, blank computer screen or unpainted canvas – take on a different meaning. Instead of representing a metaphorical new start, these phrases literally depict the start of our creative process.

Last year I began setting goals instead of making resolutions, some of which were vocationally related. Some I accomplished (finish The Fall of Niagara, begin the outline/treatment for The Fall of Tecumseh and continue work on the Stone Churches Project). Others weren’t (start a Love Inspired historical romance, start the outline for a book on the intersection of faith, arts and Canadian culture and find funding for the Arts Connection broadcasts on 94.3 Faith FM). One vocational project I hadn’t planned, but completed, was co-writing and seeing the Audience of One Christian Theatre Company production of the musical Meet You at the Manger.

I’ve continued this practice and created a list of vocational goals for 2016: find a publisher for The Fall of Niagara, continue the first draft of The Fall of Tecumseh, complete the photography and research for the Stone Churches Project, work on an other play for the Audience of One and look at the start-up of an event photography business.

The concept of goal-setting can seem to fly in the face of the creative spirit.

To some, the concept of goal-setting can fly in the face of the creative spirit. Until a year ago, I was more like the boy who shot an arrow at the side of the barn and painted the target around the arrow. Some targets were missed, but others were hit. And that encourages me. My experience last year showed that goals can be as motivating as an editor’s deadline.

As artists who are Christian, spiritual growth may not be among the list of vocational goals, but I hope it’s a life goal. Topping my list of goals in 2015 was the desire to maintain a consistent devotional life with daily prayer and Bible reading. The one-year chronological plan through the YouVersion smart phone app was key to meeting the last part of that goal.

Working on my 2016 goals, topping the list, again, was a desire to grow spiritually through prayer and study. As the calendar turns a page and I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to me, I pledge my faithfulness to God. I don’t know what this year will bring—happiness or pain, loss or gain, health or illness—but I know that God will be in the midst of it all, carrying me through whatever happens.

My new year’s wish is that your blank slate, unwritten page, unpainted canvas, empty computer screen will be filled as God breathes His creative spirit into your life.


Portions of this column appeared in the January 2, 2016 edition of the Guelph Mercury column “Make the spiritual a priority in your new year.”