by Sue A. Fairchild

Here we are in the last month of 2018. At this point in the year, some of us might be focused solely on Christmas presents and holiday parties, but some of us might still be scrambling to finish up editing projects before the end of the year. A lot of us are probably considering what 2019 might be like. Will we increase our editing business? Will we finally write that best-seller? Will we be able to retire to some tropical locale? (I hope so!)

It’s typically around this point that I like to reflect on the past year and consider what the next twelve months might have in store for me. As Christians, we rely on the goodness God provides us and are thankful for whatever might cross our desks in the way of work. In addition, we must pray for His guidance in all that we do. However, as freelancers, we can also think (and pray) about the things we know are working or the things that did not work so well so we can make good decisions moving forward.

Here are a few things I like to assess at the end of my year.

  1. What worked well – I like to consider all the work I’ve done in the past year and rank items in order of what worked best. This way I can ascertain what projects I might take on in the future by determining what created the best overall outcome for myself and my business. Criteria include: Time it took to complete the project, Income, Ongoing client (If so, this might rank higher as more work will be forthcoming.), Impact (Was the work glorifying to God? If so, maybe the income wasn’t as important.).
  2. Things I’d like to do/accomplish – This list is often a long and sometimes unrealistic list. I want to edit for everyone and help everyone. I want to have tons of work (which equals tons of income) as well as have enough time in my day to rest, read, exercise, spend time with my husband and family, take trips, help worthwhile organizations, and find new clients. During this reflection, I look back over the past year and determine what I truly enjoyed doing as well as what offered the greatest impact in both my financial and spiritual life. Anything that didn’t provide enough of both, gets cut. (See #3 below.)
  3. Extracurricular activities assessment – This is where I look at the non-income-producing items in my life and decide if they are still worth pursuing or if they are taking up too much of my time. This can be a difficult list to make and scrutinize. We always want to help but need to be cognizant of our time, health, and finances before committing to a plethora of other activities. Items to consider include: organizations like DAR, church, social organizations; helping others (Although this is always a good thing to do, we can’t give of all our time.) I look at what takes up most of my time and determine if it’s beneficial for me, my family, and my work.

I am a firm believer that God has a plan and directs our steps. However, we can thwart His plans and goals for our life by not being mindful of things we may be adding that cut into the scope of His plan. By taking an assessment at the end of the year (as well as sometimes during the year), we can ensure that we’re utilizing our time and talents in the best possible way and in the way God intends.

Sue A. Fairchild is an editor, writer, blogger, webmistress, and the PEN Tips blog coordinator. She is a proofreader for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an editor for Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., and an editing coach for Redemption Press. In addition, she has published close to twenty devotions in The Secret Place and The Upper Room devotional magazines, as well as numerous articles for her local newspaper. She is a member of the Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network and St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. You can learn more about Sue on her website: