I’m No Stephen King, But–

“No, I don’t consciously set goals for each year,” my friend said. “I wouldn’t meet them and just end up feeling dejected and a failure.”

“But, how can you know you’ve reached a goal, if you don’t set one?”

Goals for weight loss/gain.

Goals for learning a new skill.

Goals for travel/education.

Goals for writing.

Here are my writing goals for last year, which may not seem quite so lofty. However, remembering that I needed to set aside time to be with my father in Memory Care, do my volunteering with Hospice, spend time in Bible Study, help my husband with renovation of a condo, and spend time with grandchildren, these are pretty realistic goals:

  1. Write and publish one more book.
  2. Attend one writing conference.
  3. Attend monthly Christian Writers of the West meetings.
  4. Take part in monthly critique groups (2).

Did I meet my goals? Absolutely.

And the only thing better than that is when one surpasses the goals they set.

In my case, I found that during the year, there was also time to take advantage of opportunities to write and publish a novella and five short stories, as well as take one online course.

These goals worked for me. 

No, I’m no Stephen King or Isaac Asimov. And certainly not a Mary Faulkner, who is known as the most prolific novelist at having written 904 books under six pen names.

But I am doing the best I can, meeting goals one-at-a-time. And learning to love life outside of writing, too!

I’m trying not to compare myself to my author-friend who wrote seven fiction books and battled Covid, herself, in 2020. She also helped home-school her grandchildren!

For sure, making goals helps one be productive and feel accomplished.

And that, after all, is the goal.


Tomorrow’s Achievements


Like all new years, it is welcomed as an opportunity for new beginnings.

“New year’s babies” are born.

New year’s resolutions are made.

We turn our backs on the previous year and look forward to future possibilities.

It is a time when writers (and aspiring writers) set goals. We shake off the failures and disappointments of the past and vow to do better. 

Write more.

Improve our skills. 

Work harder.

In our personal lives, especially in times of emotional trouble, “taking it day-by-day” is often good advice.

But what about writers?

It’s often hard for those of us who are planners, list makers and goal setters to take it one day at a time.

We plan. Look at the year ahead. The big picture.

Writers break goals down book by book, chapter by chapter, scene by scene, page by page.

Often, even word by word.

Breaking our writing into increments that are too small won’t get that book written; taking on too much will often lead to frustration and disappointment.

In the end, we must attempt what is challenging, yet doable. 

Meeting our goals for 2022 will lead to bigger and better ones in the years ahead.

The “New Beginnings” today will be tomorrow’s achievements.

Writing Acuity



Most of us look ahead to the coming year–2020. This one, especially, since it is historic—number-wise, at least. 

Many of us set goals for the coming year, so I decided to clarify just what 20/20 means in relation to eyesight.

20/20 is considered “normal” vision when measured on a Snellen visual acuity chart. It is a Fighter pilot minimum. It is required to read stock quotes in the newspaper, numbers in a telephone book and (in almost all states) to drive a car without the restriction of eye-glasses on one’s license.

However, 20/20 is not perfect. 20/15 and 20/10 are even better.

Should 20/20 be our writing goal for the coming year? 

Well, if you are content to be “normal” or average, then aim for 20/20. But if you are intent on raising your game, then a goal of 20/15 or 20/10 might be worth striving for.

So, what would 20/15 or 20/10 writing look like?

Imagine exciting “show-don’t-tell” writing, colorful adjectives, stimulating conversation, vivid imagery.

Imagine superior editing, unique style, interesting characters with real depth.

You get the idea.

If our personal goal is to be the best we can be, if our writing goal is to achieve more in the coming year than in the last, then we cannot settle for average. 

We cannot be content with what we’ve achieved thus far.

We must set our sites on a “writing acuity” that will reflect excellence in the year ahead.


Try Writing Backwards



You are beginning to write Chapter Six.

Before you start to type, you ask yourself how the chapter fits into your overall plot. What do you want to include? How should the chapter begin?

You’re stuck.

But, if you do know how you want the chapter to end, try this:

Start at the end (the part you do know) and write backwards until you get to the beginning scene of the chapter.

Even if you’re not stuck, you may find this to be a great exercise. You will be forced to focus on exactly where you want to take the reader—from point A (beginning scene) to point B (the cliffhanger that makes them want to read more).

Sometimes simply getting a visual of where you want to end will inspire you to write a stellar beginning.

Truth or Dare


Truth or Dare_ebook cover_2019-04-23


A year ago YESTERDAY, I published Simon Says.

At that time, I promised myself I would publish the second book in the series within a year.

I began to write. I had a few set backs, but I persevered. 

It felt like I had been writing for a decade, but I never really looked at the calendar until yesterday, when Amazon informed me that Truth or Dare was live on their site.

I went into my Bookshelf on Amazon and looked for the publish date of Simon Says. To my surprise, it was May 18, 2018. 

Exactly one year!!!!!

Wow. I can hardly believe it. 

If I did it once, surely I can do it again. 

My goal is for Tug of War (book 3 in the Simon Says series) to be published by May 18, 2020—or sooner.

Stay tuned!


Excuses vs. Reasons

I don’t know what to write about.26889457414_4dcd7726b9

I don’t know the correct way to write. 

My friends might not like it.

It could be a flop.

I don’t have the time.

Last year, I read a book called, Excuses, excuses: Living the Excuse Free Life. It is a religious book, but I think there are some things the author, Peter Lopez, Jr.,, said that might be applied to the discipline of writing.

“He that is good at making excuses is seldom good at anything else.”   Benjamin Franklin

Excuses somehow make us feel good about not being as great as we can be—about living up to our full potential!

But, guess what? Excuses are lies, by definition: An excuse is a lie that you give to explain why you have done something or have not done something that you should have done. 

Excuses: Why We Can’t  

The Excuse of Family: “I would, but my son has a…, my wife wants me to…, my parents…”

The Excuse of Yourself: “I’m just not motivated…knowledgeable…creative…rested…”

The Excuse of other People: Fellow writers or potential readers cast doubt or fear. Fear and doubt are the reasons most people don’t achieve their dreams.

The Excuse of the Past: Failures and insecurities keep your past in front of you, not behind you, where they should be.

The Excuse of ‘I Can’t’: “I’m too young… I’m too old… I just don’t have what it takes.”

While excuses are lies, reasons are truth: a fact, situation, or intention that explains why something happened, why someone did or did not do something, or why something is true.

Reasons: Why We Can:

1)  It is ok to say “no,” if it is the truth. 

“I don’t have the time.”

“I’m too busy.”

“I don’t have the money to do that right now.”

“It’s too far away.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“No, thank you.”

2) If you set goals that are specific, make sense, are attainable, are relevant, and are time-bound, you will be able to achieve your writing goals.

3) Consider getting a mentor.

4) Use a weekly planner.

5) Make both long term and daily goals. Set priorities.

Remember: Don’t use excuses. They are lies. They are damaging and they poison your future.

Make yourself a NO EXCUSE card. Put it in your wallet or purse. Pull it out and read it every time you feel you are starting to use excuses!!!

Binging Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

A well-known personality has a commercial on television on the subject of binging. It is, indeed, a serious eating disorder. One not to be taken lightly.

I have found myself binging, lately. Oh, not on food, but on writing.

You see, things like doctors’ appointments, haircuts, and volunteer opportunities cut into my daily writing routine. This frustrates me—often putting me in a bad mood.

I’ve tried putting all of my appointments on the same day, but something always happens to mess up my plan.

So, lately, I’ve tried binging. If I see I have a couple of hours, I lock myself away and hammer something out. I make use of spare moments that, at one time, I might have squandered by reading a magazine or watching a T.V. show.

As I’ve gotten older, I have found it increasingly harder to go to sleep or at least sleep all through the night. I often wake up around 3:00 a.m.

By following my “new” binging approach to writing, I get up, grab a cup of coffee, and head for my office. I’ve found it to be a great time to write and as I work my way through my day’s appointments, I’m not nearly as frustrated. After all, I’ve already accomplished several hours of writing!

So, I guess binging isn’t always a bad thing. Lately, it has been a necessary thing.

However, in all sincerity, a steady schedule of writing is what I am striving to get back in my life. It is more predictable and makes it easier to work toward a goal or deadline.

Things get accomplished.

That book gets written.

And, who knows? There just may be another idea ready to hatch and, when it does, I don’t want to be in front of the refrigerator with a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in my hands.


So, here it is. A brand new year. If you’re like me, you contemplate making a few resolutions—goals for your lives, for your writing. Rather than hear about mine, perhaps now is the time to spend a few minutes in reflection of the past year and set your face toward the future. Will you be content to let the days go by without a plan, or will you resolve, as I have, to attempt more control over your writing life?

I say make a plan. Put it out there for all to read and enjoy their encouragement along the way—every day of 2015. Spotlight your goals. Update often. Revise when necessary. Feel free at any time to scrap them, rethink them, rewrite them. Go for it.

If you don’t start out to achieve, I think it is dead certain that you won’t. I’ve never heard of an athlete, musician, or public figure that didn’t work toward their goal, on a daily basis. One step, one note, one idea at a time.

One stroke of a key can mean the difference between meeting that goal or forever wishing that you had. It’s all at the tip of your fingers.

That next broken record, sonata, or humanitarian act is just waiting for someone to achieve it. Will it be you?