I’ve spent today thinking about what lies ahead for 2017. Here are a few things on my list:

  • Our oldest will graduate from high school
  • We’ll be sending that same child off to college!
  • Our youngest has ten gazillion dance competitions and performances coming up
  • I have a book deadline . . .
  • . . . and a (different) book releasing! So that means: writing, editing, research, research trip(s), promotion, and writing conferences (at least Mount Hermon and Oregon Christian Writers. Possibly ACFW?)
  • Some long overdue home remodeling projects
  • A possible family vacation?

What’s on your list for the year? Maybe instead of resolutions, we should think of some fun challenges for ourselves.


Challenges for Readers

If you’re a reader, there are some great reading challenges out there. Have you seen any of them? I like the one put out by Bethany House a few days ago–and not just because they suggest reading a book set in a national park! (Read more about Bethany House’s 2017 Reading Challenge).

Goodreads.com also has a reading challenge. You enter how many books you want to read in 2017, and I think it will help you keep track.

Frankly, just reading a certain number of books doesn’t appeal to me, but it might work for you!

My Twitter friend Amanda Geaney (@AmandaGeaney) tweeted this challenge for readers:

How are you going to challenge yourself book-wise this year?

Challenges for Writers

Here’s a challenge I’m going to try as a writer: The Seinfeld method. Jerry Seinfeld once told a young comic that his secret to productivity was writing every day. He’d purchased a large year-at-a-glance calendar and hung it on his office wall. Every day that he wrote, he drew a big, red “X” through the day. The goal? Don’t break the chain.

I like the visual aspect of this. I just might try it. (Read more about the Seinfeld Method here).

Another thing I would encourage ALL writers–both published and unnpublished–to do is to go to a writer’s conference in 2017. This is one of the best things you can do to jump-start your career.

For unpublished writers, it will give you a chance to mingle with published writers, editors, agents, and other industry professionals. Even if you’re not quite ready for the writing contract, this will show you what you need to do to get there!

For published writers, don’t stop attending just because you’re busy and no longer see the value. We still need rub elbows with editors and agents (who knows where we’ll be tomorrow?), keep aware of changes in the industry, and help to mentor new writers. Most of us got to where we are because someone invested time and energy into us. Let’s make sure we’re doing the same. Even if you’re not part of the faculty, you can still cheer on new writers just by being present and available. I was stunned to run into one of Christian fiction’s best-known authors at a recent conference. She was there as a paying conferee–just like the rest of us. We all need to keep learning.

Which conferences do you recommend? My favorites are:

There are many other great conferences held around the country each year. There is value in attending small regional conferences (more intimate) and large national conferences (better attended). If you can swing it–do both.

So, how are you going to challenge yourself this year? I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below or send me email at karen@karenbarnetbooks.com.

By the way–for those of you who entered my giveaway for an early copy of The Road to Paradise… the winner is Mary Struck. Congratulations, Mary!


Here’s praying that 2017 brings each of you many intriguing new chapters!

Happy Reading!


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