First Steps: Goals

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. A Real. Published. Writer. See my name in print. Anywhere. But I couldn’t just wiggle my nose and think my name will miraculously appear on the cover of a best-selling novel.

As a special education teacher, I’m programmed to think in terms of goals. What do I want my students to achieve with a given period? I think that way even in my personal life. To say, “I want to be a writer”, is so vague. I can’t do anything with that! So my first goal was to determine not what I wanted to write, but WHY I wanted to write. That was easy: be a good steward of what God has given me. This desire to write had to come from somewhere, right? So while trolling a Barnes & Noble, I picked up The Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction (appropriate for a newbie, right?) and from there, decided to enroll in the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild (CWG). Best thing I could have done to start learning the craft of writing while maintaining my goal.

After that, I wanted to publish something I’d written. The beauty of the CWG is that many completed assignments are actually publishable. And that’s what happened. In 2010, I published an inspirational piece titled “The Light of the World” in The Lutheran Witness. I had achieved my goal.

Now I wanted to write a novel. Done. Took about two years. It’s sitting on my laptop right now.

With a couple of writer conferences under my belt, I know my next goal should be publication. But that’s a whole ‘nother animal. It’s scary. Rejection is a constant companion, no matter how many other people say my work is good. I doubt myself all the time and when rejection comes knocking, I comfort myself by saying, “Well, you did publish something. That’s what you wanted, remember?”

But that was never my PRIMARY goal. It was being a good steward of my writing talent. Being a Christian writer. That means asking God to help me set goals and quitting when He tells me, not the other way around. My writing may reach a wide audience or just the tiny sphere of my critique group. As long as I never lose sight of why I write, then hey, I’m good.


About Michelle McGill-Vargas

Michelle hails from Gary, Indiana where she enjoys writing historical fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. Her writings have appeared in "Lutheran Witness", "Splickety Magazine", "The Copperfield Review", and "Typehouse Literary Magazine." She served as vice-president of the Indiana Writers' Consortium. Until the day her historical fiction manuscripts get published, she pays the bills as a special education administrator with a background in deaf education. In October 2018, she will be a contributor to Concordia Publishing House's quarterly devotional series "Portals of Prayer." Visit her blog at
This entry was posted in Christian writer, Emerging Writer, Goal Setting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to First Steps: Goals

  1. jollymoments says:

    Hello Michelle! First of all, I want to say I am excited that I found your blog. I am not really sure how I found it, but I am here. I just read this post and was encouraged. I too, know and believe God has given me a gift to write and inspire others. I allowed fear and doubt to push back my goal of being a published writer for years. I know now is the time to overcome my fear and work towards my goal. You sharing your journey is encouraging me to overcome fear and start my own. Be blessed and I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!

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