Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Having The “Big Vision” of a Project by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

For multi-published authors, at some point the plan to do a project has to be balanced against the “cost” of doing so. Cost means far more than financially—it includes the time taken away from your family and friends and other pursuits, time spent seated in a chair when you might be better off exercising, costs incurred and time in traveling for research, time spent not only in the “fun” parts of the story but also in the more difficult parts. Those harder aspects of writing vary from author to author, but in identifying the aspects that tax you emotionally and physically you’ll have an idea what those are. It might be the first edits, could be the galley reviews, could be in doing marketing and promo.

Early on, the idea of having something published can be such a motivator that the “big vision” is an unknown. And in some ways it is, until you get into your own pattern of writing, self-editing, being edited, promo, etc. That’s why novice writers are encouraged to engage in those activities before getting published.

Unproductive approaches:

  1. Denial. This way of looking at a “Big Vision” chooses to overlook what is required. Or could result in passive-aggressive behavior. An example, instead of going over the editor’s comments and making the corrections, this person might simply accept all suggestions and then blame any mistakes on the editor, ditto when their galley edits come. Or this author may choose to stick their head in the sand when it is time to promote their new release. Facebook party scheduled? –they don’t show up. Blog hops set up – they never bother to comment nor share. You get the picture. 
  2. Avoidance. This looks a lot like hand-wringing. “I don’t know what to do.” So no proposals are submitted. Lots of ideas are flung around but the blurbs are never written for the proposals that others have offered to submit. Going AWOL from all social media then popping up once in a while. 
  3. Blaming. It’s your husband’s, children’s, or someone else’s fault that you can’t put in the planning for your project. I don’t mean reality intruding. I’m going to address that in a moment. 


  1. Realistic appraisal of your schedule for writing, based upon the facts as you know them. Daughter getting married? Upcoming surgery? Parent in serious medical problems? Building a new home? Things that take a lot of focus and attention are going to cut into your writing. That’s reality. Plan accordingly. Take some time off. A sabbatical might be exactly what you need to come back refreshed.
  2. Acceptance. “If I don’t keep putting in proposals I won’t get another contract and I’ll be dropped…” See #1 under Productive. You live on earth in a mortal body with real life going on around you. Story world will wait. Sometimes we have to accept that publishers and fans might not. And acceptance is needed.
  3. Confidence. Because you know the real cost of everything that it will take to get your novel out there you can have confidence that you have what is needed to make it happen, with God’s help. 
  4. Trusting in God. He’s got a plan. Trust in Him. He’ll help you get your “Big Vision” just right, in His good time!

Do you have any tips to add for new writers or those struggling to be productive?


Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers.
Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at

New releases – “His Anchor” in The First Love Forever collection and “Shenandoah Hearts” in The Backcountry Brides collection – both from Barbour. 

Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 - Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia) As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

My Pinterest page for 18th Century clothing 

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  1. I am learning a lot from Carrie. I am writing my first Christian romance and also, self publishing a children's book. Carrie is very encouraging and she inspires me with her dedication.

    1. Hi Melissa! Thanks so much! I am so glad to see your journey progressing!

  2. Great practical advice. Keep it coming, it's all appreciated!

    1. Hi Cathryn! I hope my suggestions are helpful!

  3. Great insights! Carrie Fancett Pagels, you are proof that planning and timing are important. I have enjoyed your books. My mother always wanted to be a writer and belonged to an encouraging writers club. I don't think I am wired to write and my skin is too thin for rejection...but I admire people like you who consistently turn out works that readers like me enjoy and learn from. Bless your heart!

    1. Thanks, Mardell! And God bless you for encouraging me to go forward with the audiobooks! We're making progress. Hey, ask God to give you rhinosaurus skin. When we're called to write, the Lord makes a way with His anointing and provision! Bless you right back!

  4. They say procrastination is your own worst enemy so I have to totally agree with you on the blame game as being part of procrastinating. When life gets too busy we need to slow down and focus on what is really important in our lives and on our true calling in Christ... and go for it! Casting off all those things that so easily beset us and pressing on to our high calling in Christ Jesus! Great thoughts Carrie, I needed to hear that today.
    Linda Marie Finn
    Faithful Acres Books


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