Set Goals and Log Results

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I recommend Stephen King’s book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  to anyone interested in writing. One of the tips he gives is to write every day. I have this goal but I also had a goal to get my website up by the end of March. I missed the deadline but I finally got everything up last week. There were many obstacles (excuses).  First my laptop died. I had to wait for the new one to arrive. Next I needed to learn how to use my new computer. Windows 8 has not been friendly. I forgot to order Microsoft Outlook so I had to purchase that and had problems installing. My home internet connection is slow and it took hours to stream. Today my website is up and my email is working but my writing has suffered. I’m on page 56 of my third novel. I can’t remember what I wrote two days ago much less two weeks ago. So I had to start at the beginning to refresh my memory. It’s impossible for me to read my work without editing so I’ve used all of my writing time today reading and editing what I’ve already written. My progress was zero. I had the opportunity meet Judy Christie (author of the Green Series) last fall at the East Texas Christian Writers’ Conference. She gave me the advice to keep a writing log. I can look at my log and tell you when I’m making progress and when I’m making excuses. I’ve learned to schedule my writing time at 5:00 am. If I plan to work in the evening, something usually intervenes plus my brain is tired after working all day. I’m not a morning person but by the time the coffee has brewed and I’ve said my morning prayer, I’ve discovered that I’m ready to write. One morning, I was absolutely empty and I prayed “Lord, if you’ve got something you want written today you’ll have to write it.” And He did. When my husband came out of the bedroom at 6:30 am I was wiping tears from my eyes. I knew the words were not from me but from HIM. I am only the vessel. Anything I write that’s worthwhile is from Him and anything that’s not is when I took over the steering. If you’re serious about writing, make the commitment, schedule your time and log the results. If you follow this plan, your book will get finished and the more you write, the better your writing will be.

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

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