Wednesday, December 30, 2009

5 Ws and H

5Ws and H

I love ushering in the new year. Really, I do. New Year=New Start. I can put all the mistakes and disappointments of the previous year behind me. Several moments are spared to rejoice over successes and to count my many blessings…but then, as with most people, my focus turns to the coming year. What can I do different? What do I want to change about me? About my life? Every year I make several lists of different kinds of resolutions…and every year, about two weeks in, those resolutions fly out the window along with my motivation. Sad, I know.

Ironically, this year one of my resolutions is going to be to keep all my resolutions. Ha ha…we’ll see if that works.

One of the oddest things about letting my resolutions fall through, is I know how to make goals, and I know what I need to do to keep them…I. Just. Don’t. But, as with the other disappointments from last year, I am putting that behind me, and letting my infectious optimism take over.

So, now I look forward to 2010, and consider what I want to accomplish, what I want to change.

In the meantime, let’s consider what a goal/resolution should look like. A goal should be three things: Realistic, Specific, and Measurable. A goal needs to be realistic for your person. While someone may be able to lose 30 pounds in three months, that doesn’t mean you are able to. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and while a goal should push you, it really shouldn’t set you up for failure.

Any goal you make should be able to be measured in some way. If we stick with the 30 pounds in three months, you can break that down by week or month (2.5 lbs/wk, 10 lbs/mo). With a goal like writing 500 words a day, you can keep a spreadsheet where you record your daily word count to keep up with your progress.

And last of all, the more specific your goal, the better idea you have of what you need to do to accomplish it. A good way to achieve this is when writing out your goals, use the 5Ws and H. You remember learning those in elementary school, right?


Who is involved in this goal? Most of the time this is you…but sometimes it could be a family goal or group goal.

What is the goal? Be specific. Lose 30 lbs? Write 500 words a day? Read from your Bible more?

When will this goal be accomplished by? Some goals take less time than others. Like I said earlier, the goal should push you, but not over the edge. Lose that weight in four months? Write so much per day, five days a week? Read every night before bed?

Where will you work on this goal? Now, this one won’t always apply. But, if you’re like me, you work best under certain conditions. I always write better when I’m at my computer desk with a soda and gummy bears. Therefore, I know that I need to set aside time every day to go to that place to get adequate work done.

Why is this goal important? What is your biggest reason for accomplishing this goal? This is important because we discover our passion for this goal. If you don’t care about it, why will it matter? Why will you give it priority?

How will you accomplish this goal? That’s right…an action plan. This is where most people fail at goal setting. We write out our goals, but then we have no clue how we are to go about pursuing them. If we sit down in the beginning and plan it out, we’ll have no excuses later on. Want to lose 30 lbs in four months? How? Are you going to work out three times a week? What kind of workout? Where? Are you going to alternate exercise routines? I’m not saying that the plan has to be complicated, or even thoroughly planned out, but you have to give yourself some sort of jumping off point.

So a goal might look something like this:

I am going to write at least 500 word/day, every day except for Sundays for a grand total of 156,500 words for the year. I am going to set aside at least two hours every night to sit at my computer desk and work on either my novel or blogs, and then record my progress on a spreadsheet I set up on my computer.

So, that’s one of my goals—now you’re turn. What is one of your goals for 2010?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lost Mission Winner

Whew! This holiday season finds me behind on just about everything. I finally got around to letting my four-year-old draw a winner for Lost Mission by Athol Dickson.

And the winner is...


Congrats to her, I hope she enjoys the book.

Monday, December 14, 2009

An Award

Mireyah over at Crimson Ink is scared of my whip, so she awarded me with the Superior Scribbler Award. hehehe... I'm honored that she thinks so highly of me.

So, now I'm passing it on to five friends who I think are amazing writers.

1. Cathy over at Word Vessel is my critique partner and an amazing writer. She's very real and insightful. Be looking for her novels on the shelf one day people! In the meantime, check out her blog.

2. Anne over at Building His Body has been truely blessed with the gift of words. She uses them to share her love for the Lord, and what she's learned, insights gained, etc. on her blog. I have been blessed over and over again just by visiting her daily postings.

3. Cindy over at her self-named blog shares a bit of what she's working on every Wednesday, and invites her readers to share what they are working on as well. Reading her short excerpts is always exciting because she has so much talent.

4. Jill over at her blog always has such interesting posts. Lately, we've been enjoying one minute vacations. Click on over and join her!

5. Peg over at Suspense Novelist is a fellow suspense writer (obviously). I love clicking over to see her interesting posts on everything writing, with glimpses of life with Peg.

I enjoy these blogs very much and I highly suggest you all hightail it over to each of them and check them out! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lost Mission by Athol Dickson

Often times we pick out a novel to entertain us—whether it is a suspense or romance or action. Sometimes we choose a novel to take us away, an escape from reality. Occasionally we select a novel just because we’re bored. And then again, sometimes that book unexpectedly teaches us far than we ever expected.

That’s how it was for me with Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. I had heard good things about this novel, and when I saw Rachelle Gardner of Wordserve Literary advertising a free book for those who would write a review, I jumped at the chance (who doesn’t love “free” books?).

And let me just say one thing—WOW! It has been a long time since I read a book that forced me to examine, not only myself, but deeper issues, such as the essence of Christianity, and the effect our choices have on ourselves as well as those around us.

Lost Mission parallels the stories of two sets of people—a trio of friars from the 1700s, and a trio of Christians in modern times. The two main characters (one of the friars, and a young woman in Mexico) both answer God’s calling and travel to California (well, in the friar’s time it’s still New Spain) to save souls—and everything goes wrong. Both stories begin with a quest and end in fire. I won’t tell you what kind of fire…you’ll have to read the novel.

Mr. Dickson is a phenomenal storyteller. I will admit that I did have a little trouble with the writing style at first. It had a formality to it that just wouldn’t let me relax. It took me about a week to read the first 40 pages or so. After that, though, I read it in two days. I was stunned by the twists and turns the story took.

I enjoyed the unique way he changed POVs. Each chapter began with the friar’s POV, and when it was time to switch to modern day, instead of a hard break, he took a different approach. He would ease into a sort of narrator speaking, showing how what happened in the friar’s POV reflected what was about to happen in the modern POV. It was all very intriguing.

My favorite thing about this book is the way it has stayed with me, and probably will continue to do so. He shows us how easy it is for Satan to work his way into our lives, even as Christians. It brought to light how fear and grief, as well as desperation can not only render us useless, but can lead us down a frightening path.

I could go on to list the many things I learned, or that I was reminded of, but I think that would take away some of the surprise of the book. Instead, let me offer up the book to one lucky person! Leave a comment and your email address below and a week from today, I’ll draw a winner.