2016: a new year for thoughts & stories

“What are you interested in writing?”

People ask me this whenever they find out I’m a writer. They’re looking for a topical answer or a single genre. Science writing, novels, jokes — the general population sort of understands a person interested in one of those areas.

At various times, I’ve tried narrowing my answer to

health & fitness

outdoor adventure

science & technology

comedy

realistic fiction

but the reality is I don’t want to limit myself to one area of writing. Cut fashion, cut celebrities, cut outrage, and what’s left are things I’d probably like to write about at some point.

This year, I wrote several things I felt were risky. Stepping into the blogosphere with Christian thoughts on abortion, transgender identity, and BDSM culture, when you don’t want to write exclusively for Christian publications or only about faith-related topics, is scary for a young writer. Could this impact my future job prospects? Will an employer hold my views against me?

I’ve been careful to respond to issues and outrage only when I believe a crucial perspective is missing from the conversation. As I wrote these posts, my fear actually sharpened my thinking. Not one of these posts was reactionary. Each was written after careful research and meditation. The goal is to be heard and understood, to write in a way that provokes thought, even if it doesn’t change minds.

Still, I fear being labeled a faith and culture writer. I care about those things, but I care about many other things, as well. Because of this, in 2016, I’m going to make a conscious effort to write about other things.

In the new year, expect to find:

Book reviews: These will be classified under the “Good Reads” section. I’m aiming for one book review every two months, with the first launching mid-January. These books will vary from old releases I’m finally reading to new releases in both fiction and non-fiction. I’m always open to requests so comment if you have any. The “Good Reads” posts recommending longform articles will continue in 2016, possibly with a post per article. Let me know if you’d prefer the compiled recommendations.

Strong women from history: This new post series will present a written profile of an outstanding woman you may or may not have heard of. Right now, I’m planning to post a profile every two months, so I can research thoroughly while continuing my other writing projects. Some possible subjects: Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, Louisa May Alcott. Please comment below with any suggestions. The first post will go up in February.

The “Thinking” section will continue filling with posts of quotes, thoughts on faith and culture, and a possible series involving etymology. More on that as ideas develop and when I’m sure I can keep another promise.

Other things I’m doing in 2016:

  • Reading the Bible in a year with The Bible Project‘s Scripture reading plan. This plan is different from most in that it provides some teaching to help you see what you’re reading in light of the whole Scripture narrative. I love stories, I love the Bible, and I’ve never successfully read the whole Bible in a year, so I’m pumped — and determined — to successfully do this. You should do it too.
  • Working on fiction. But I’m not giving details about this, because fiction ideas are best written into the stories they’re meant for and not talked about until the stories are at least drafted. I may have developed a bit of superstition about this. Suffice it to say, I will be working on some short stories and possibly a new re-plotted draft of my book that you know nothing about. This should make you smile.

What are you planning for 2016?

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