Each month I like to assess my time on creative projects and progress on specific goals in my work as a creative entrepreneur and author. Here is my report for March 2019.
My 2019 Goals
My One Word: Together
77% / Double the number of members of The Religion Teacher (December 2017 to present) (+0)
3,162/5,000 copies sold of Christ in the Classroom (+unknown)
131,920/465,00 words for kids (A part of my #1millionwordsforkids goal) (+19,352)
0/4 new published works of fiction on Amazon.com (+0 published books)
4/7 paid speaking gigs (+1 gigs)
15/100 books read (+5 books)
2/73 Books / Read the entire Bible from beginning to end. (+0 books read)
17/100 30-minute workouts (+6 workouts)
Incomplete / Play Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” on the harmonica.
How I Spent My Time in March 2019
I track every minute of time I spend working on projects using an app called Toggl (here is why). Here is a list of the top ten projects I spent the most time on last month:
- 19:22 – The Religion Teacher Email & Customer Service
- 14:48 – Los Angeles Religious Education Congress Workshop
- 9:57 – The Religion Teacher’s Parable Worksheet Pack
- 7:52 – Beatitales Fables
- 7:30 – Daily Review
- 6:07 – Last Supper Skit Script and Lesson Plan
- 5:08 – Weekly Review
- 4:29 – 2018 Taxes
- 4:05 – Morning Preview
- 3:29 – Social Media Content and Communication
Total Time: 113:36
March 2019 Highlights & Lesson Learned
Los Angeles Religious Education Congress
I was blessed with another invitation to speak at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress this year. It is the largest gathering of Catholics at a conference in the United States. I had a full room of about 300 people who came to hear me give a new workshop about teaching faith with fiction. I was really pleased by the response.
It was a strange experience for me to go for the first time as a speaker and not an employee for Ave Maria Press. I’ve been going to the event for ten years, but this one felt very different. It was a great, but short trip and I was glad to be back at home after only a few short days out there.
The Religion Teacher’s Parable Activity Pack
As I was brainstorming ideas for new products to serve religious educators through The Religion Teacher, I realized that I was only about a dozen worksheets away from having a full collection of handouts for every parable.
So, I put in some time creating new worksheets for young people to use to help meditate and pray with the parables. I was glad to finish these up and I look forward to creating more worksheets for the many more stories in the Bible that I haven’t covered yet.
The Religion Teacher’s Parable Worksheet Pack is available here.
I was hitting many birds with one stone with this project. I couldn’t find a skit I liked online for the Last Supper to use in my own catechesis class, so I wrote one of my own. I used the words to count towards my #1millionwordsforkids project and published it as a test resource on The Religion Teacher.
I was really pleased by the response both from my students and from the many religious educators who used the script this year. It has already been downloaded more than a thousand times. I’m looking forward to writing more skits for more Scripture stories.
I wasn’t planning to write plays, but there is clearly a need for them in religious education classrooms and it’s something I’m going continue to do. In fact, I’ve had a few emails asking if some short stories I wrote could be turned into plays.
When I started writing fiction, I had no idea there would be a need for scripts for kids. It is something I could have only figured out by putting in the time and doing the work by testing out new ideas.
The Religion Teacher’s Tenth Birthday
We were just a couple months away from the birth of our first child. I remember sitting in our living room with the computer on my lap when I hit publish for the first time. It’s funny looking back on moments like that. I didn’t have a grand vision for becoming a full-time author, at least not yet. I didn’t have big dreams or big goals. I simply wanted to share what worked for me. I thought there should be more and better resources for religious educators online, so I started creating and sharing them.
I thought maybe I would be able to get a publishing company interested in hiring me to work for them someday. Seven months later, I got that job.
Ten years later and that little blog turned into my full-time job. I had to leave the publishing company that had been my dream job ten years earlier. We’ve been very blessed.
God has a lot in store for you when you place your trust in him.