Mapping out the New Year

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By Tina Radcliffe

With the New Year comes reflection and evaluation as we map out the course for the year ahead. In order to reach your goal you must have a map and you have to plan. Come on. When was the last time you started a long road trip without checking the oil, the tires, gassing up and buying a map?

Maps provide the rough draft for our trip. Our writing careers are truly about the journey. Set the cruise control but, don’t become obsessed with checking off every mile marker on the way. Yes, you have to know where you’re going in order to arrive at your destination, but you also have to know that there is much to be learned from those unexpected exits and wrong turns. They’re what makes your writing and your journey uniquely you.

10 Lessons for the Road

1. Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.

2. Don’t drive in circles. Ask directions. (Be brave, ask someone your questions.)

3. Always be prepared. (Have a query, a partial, a full ready for that impromptu opportunity or contest.

4. Road kill will haunt you. Slow down and don’t run anyone over. (Make friends and play nice, publishing is a very small world.)

5. Don’t keep driving from Point A to Point B and wondering why the scenery is always the same. (Stop revising the same manuscript over and over. Start something new. Do this over and over again until you have a stack of them.)

6. When the road ahead looks dark and scary and impossible, KEEP DRIVING. You’ll only get to your destination if you keep driving.

7. It’s always good to have a copilot. (besides God). Someone to hold the map and remind you to turn right, or write faster.

8. Everyone’s map is different. Don’t try to find success on someone else’s map.

9. The road to publication is long, full of bumps, pot holes, traffic tickets and it never ends. The good news is, the further you get on the journey the more you learn to enjoy bugs in your teeth and you make a lot of friends on the road.

10. Savor the journey. Keep a journal or a scrapbook and enjoy every single step of the way.

Okay, get your sunglasses, your beverage and snack of choice. Get in the car and let’s get this 2013 trip going.

Tina Radcliffe’s third Love Inspired romance, Mending the Doctor’s Heart will release in April 2013. She’s just moved from Colorado to Arizona and is learning to adjust to sunshine and fruit trees. You can find her at

Comments 0

  1. LOVE THIS, Tina!!

    Especially No. 1 — Sometimes you?re the windshield, sometimes you?re the bug, and No. 8 — Everyone?s map is different. Don?t try to find success on someone else?s map.



  2. Excellent, excellent, excellent advice, Tina!!!

    #3 is my favorite–“roadkill will haunt you.” What a great reminder to be kind, considerate, and appreciative on this journey.

    Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and fruit trees!

  3. Isn’t it an interesting industry. That editorial assistant you cut off in the ladies room rest room line at conference is now the Senior Editor at the line you are pitching and gee, she read your name tag when you cut her off.

  4. Tina said: ” The good news is, the further you get on the journey the more you learn to enjoy bugs in your teeth and you make a lot of friends on the road.”

    Amen to that. 🙂 I love it!!

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