September 5, 2012

Little by Little: Staying the Course


First, I wanted to take a moment to announce the winner of the giveaway for Lisa Jordan’s new book, Lakeside Family. The winner is

Loree Huebner!

Loree, I’ll email you to ask where you’d like the book sent.

***

“I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27, The Message)

As most of you know, I’m a writer.

I love making words come alive on a page. I love creating characters and, yes, hearing their voices in my head. I even—gasp!—love editing. But I AM an editor in my day job, so that shouldn’t be THAT shocking.

And yet, despite my love of writing, I often find myself with a whole day, whole week, maybe weeks gone by without adding to my WIP (work in progress).

Why?

Because there’s simply no time. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Because I can somehow find time for other things, can’t I? Like watch The Bachelor (I know, I know). Or read (hey, it’s called market research…ahem). Or Facebook (yes, it’s totally a verb). Or just sit here staring off into space.

But I’m tired, or I’m out of ideas, or I’m this or I’m that. There always seems to be SOME excuse standing between me and my writing, isn’t there?

Between me and my dream.

It’s so easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or even “I’ll double my efforts tomorrow to make up for slacking off yesterday.”

But the thing is, as we all know, dreams are not achieved overnight. They’re not. No, dreams and goal achievement are the direct result of continued, disciplined practice.

We cannot write a novel overnight or even in a week. Instead, we write a novel in 1,000-word chunks, or 3,000-word chunks, or maybe even 100-word chunks.

The point is, anything worth achieving takes time, focused energy, and a plan.

Let’s compare it to running a race.

I’m comparing it to this because I signed up to run a 5K at the end of September.

I am a writer. A runner? Not. So. Much.

But I have a goal of losing weight. Thus, the 5K.

I’ve only run one race before and I trained for like five months. I was surprised how much I loved the results. I was thinner and I accomplished something I never thought I could do.

But I didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “Hmm, think I’ll run a 5K today.”

While some may be blessed in this area, that sure ain’t me. (Can I get an amen?!)

And since I haven’t run in awhile (um, since that last race), I have to train again. This time, my training window is a lot shorter.

So I have to get up early to run. I have to run even though my side aches. Even though I’d pretty much rather be doing ANYTHING else at 5:30 in the morning…or anytime, for that matter.

But I’m doing it—little by little—and I see my progress. It’s not much, and someone else might not notice it right away. But it’s there.

Just like with writing. One thousand words does not a novel make—but enough 1,000-word scenes, over time, WILL make a novel.

So, friend, stick with it! Whether you’re writing a novel too, or running a race, or working your way toward a degree, or potty training your kids…whatever you’re doing, just do what you can today.

Make yourself face what’s difficult…today!

And realize that today DOES matter.

Your Turn: What goal are you working toward, and how are you planning to get there?

*I’m guest posting today at Jessica Patch’s blog. Come say hi!

**Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

31 comments:

  1. Hi Lindsay,

    Run like the wind!!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement to run the course before us. It's good to know we're not on the track alone, isn't it?

    Blessings,
    Becky

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    Replies
    1. It definitely is good to know we aren't alone. That's what I just love about our writing community.

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  2. For me writing and running are so intricately linked. Both have restored my sanity at times. Both get me to the place I want to be. I’m working toward a solid running schedule again and completing my WIP by Christmas.
    ~ Wendy

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    1. I admire you with the running. I wish I could be that way--to just run for my health, etc.--but I have to have a goal attached!

      Yay for completing another WIP!

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  3. I hate running but I did several years back. Working my way up to four miles. Now, I zumba. I like it way better! :) Excellent post, girlfriend!

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    1. As you know, I love me some zumba. Even if I look ridiculous. Hehe.

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  4. Great post.

    My goal right now is related to speaking instead of writing. I've been working on building my platform. I want to speak to women's groups at churches and to youth group girls.

    I've given up the weight loss goal for a bit.

    That's the problem with goals for us one-track-mind people. We can only work on one thing at a time. I need to keep going on the WIP even as I pursue opportunities to speak. I'm trying to wrap my mind around doing the 100 words at a time deal. I'm trying to become more rounded--well that was a poor choice of words...hmmm. I'm trying to learn to chew gum and walk at the same time.

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    1. Hi, Sally! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. :)

      That's a great goal. I haven't really tried to get any speaking gigs. That might be intimidating.

      But I know what you mean about having one goal. It's hard to multitask and feel like you actually achieved anything when you have more than one major goal. I'm that way too.

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  5. Fantastic post! Every little bit is progress... success. Don't forget to celebrate each success, no matter five words or 1000 words-no matter one mile or five miles.

    I'm rooting for you!

    P.S. I love editing too!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Leanne, and for rooting for me! I'll root for you too. :)

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  6. Oh goodness, the thought of running a 5K kinda makes me want to cry, but honestly, I should try 'cause I've got some stubborn chubbyness I'd love to lose. Hehehe...

    But my immediate goal is to finish my next book. As you well know, I've had some trouble with that. Hahaha! But I love your encouragement and challenge to do what's difficult...today. Each little step of forward motion counts! And I really think there's something gratifying in plain ol' hard work.

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    1. It makes me want to cry too, Mel. :P

      And yes...forward motion. Makes me think of that relient k song...

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  7. Great reminder! (The Bachelor, hmmm..., I know, why, oh why? But, I just can't stop myself!)

    Everyone is so right, each footstep forward builds toward a finished project. Keep pressing on!

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    1. I know...what's the addiction? I don't get it either, but sadly, I still give in...

      Thanks for the encouragement!

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  8. Great inspiration today, Lindsay! I walk 4 times a week, and I run once a week. My knees are getting old now :)

    I won? Yay! Awesome, I have Lisa's book on my TBR list. I look forward to reading it! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Yay for you! Excited for you to read Lisa's book. It's really sweet and so good.

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  9. Yes - I'm with you. I just crossed the finish line to completing my WIP (ahh!), but it still needs work. I'm also working at losing that last ten pounds of baby-weight accumulated over the past three pregnancies (but I've lost 15 already!). It's all about the little goals, which, strung together, make up a big accomplishment.

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    Replies
    1. That's so great! I've heard the last 10 pounds is the hardest to lose, but stick with it!

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  10. I hate running, but I love writing.

    Every day I strive to improve my writing in some way. Thank you for being on this journey with me. God bless.

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    1. I actually don't enjoy the running itself, just the results. :P

      Thank YOU too. I've loved getting to know you.

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  11. Great encouragement today, Lindsay! I am working on finishing the edits on my current novel. For me editing is not my favorite. Goals are a huge part of success!

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    1. Way to go, Michelle! You're right...I'd be lost without goals.

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  12. What an impressive goal you've set, Lindsay. I'll walk a 5K. But run? No way. I wish you the best as you train.

    I'm working on a new story--and doing my utmost to ignore distractions. Laundry and dishes are easy to shove aside. Facebook and blog reading? Not so much. However, I have to set limits, or my story won't get written. Life is all about choices. Speaking of that, I need to get back to my characters. They're calling, and I'm answering. =)

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    1. Thanks, Keli! And hey, I've been so impressed with you and your increase in fitness this last year. You rock!

      And LOL about the characters calling you...

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  13. I love running and writing!! Yay! Good for you. You will do it. :)

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    1. Thanks. I'll definitely need your help getting out of bed to run on the treadmill at ACFW. Hehe.

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  14. Way to go, Lindsay, for doing another 5k! I'll be lucky if I ever attempt a 1k...What is that? From here to the stop sign? :) I love the parallels to writing. Even if I can't do much in a given day, I always try to do something. It may be a baby step, but it's one step closer.

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    1. I'm sure you could do it, Sarah! You're the one that's certified to teach fitness. :)

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  15. I'm trying to get back into running too after having my son. Hopefully knowing someone else will be on the treadmill at ACFW will motivate me to get myself out of bed and into my gym gear early too!

    Going to need it because man the food is always sooooo good!

    Kara

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    1. I'll be soooo tempted to sleep in, I know, but it'll give us that extra burst of energy we need, right? :P

      Hope to meet you there!

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  16. So true. I have to remind myself that it's hard for almost every writer - not just me. I guess there are those few people who say, "The whole book just played like a movie in my head, and I just wrote it down," but I can't be friends with those people. LOL. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

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