Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to Achieve Your New Year's Goals

with guest Sherri Shackelford.

 Recently my local writers group conducted a weekend retreat based on Productivity. Keeping up with the changing landscape of publishing is difficult, but one thing remains true: It never hurts to have an extensive backlist. Sales of new books will boost the sales of backlist books--that much remains true. And if you want to speed up your writing process, you’re going to need a plan. 

By this time, you’ve probably already set your goal. Do you want to finally finish a book this year? Do you want to increase your output from one book to two books? From two books to three books? Chances are, you made a decision on January 1st. 


Setting a goal is the first step. By now we should all know the ‘smart’ rules of goal setting:



  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Assignable

  • Realistic

  • Time Related

But there’s more to setting goals than simply writing them down.


If you were building a house, would you simply stand on the empty lot and declare your intention? No! You’d have a plan. You’d gather tools and supplies and you’d put together a team of builders. 


Writing a book is no different. Whether you’re committed to finishing a project, or you want to write faster and more efficiently, you’ll need a plan. 


Goals = Life Changes


And life changes are difficult. You need more than willpower for success, which is why I’ve outlined a five-step plan for change based on the book, Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Ron McMillan.


First, decide on a Value. 


Picture yourself achieving your goal. Are you holding three finished manuscripts at the end of the year? Are you writing, ‘the end’? (And let me tell you, there is no better feeling than writing, ‘the end’.) 


Picture your success. I’ve always been skeptical of this step, but more and more I’m realizing the value. Years ago I wrote a ‘mock’ biography of myself as a published author. Some of my grand predictions ultimately came true: award-winning and multi-published to name a few. 


And, honestly, what do you have to lose by picturing something? 

Second, work on your Skills.


When I started writing, I printed dozens of articles on craft. I poured over how-to books and attended seminars.


If your weakness is plotting, then work on plotting. I tend to be a bit of a ‘pantser’ and that can slow me down. This year I vowed to always end my writing day on a hook. That way, I’d have a solid place to start the following day. While I still don’t outline my books in detail, I always have ‘plot points’ to keep me on track. 


Figure out your weakness and get to work.


Third, you’ll need a Support Team.


In life, there are accomplices and there are allies. Accomplices are those people who encourage our bad habits. When you’re on a diet, an Accomplice will encourage you to eat cake…one piece won’t hurt! Accomplices aren’t bad people, and we often subconsciously create them to feed our own insecurity. When I began my journey, I had an acquaintance who had been writing for over a decade and had never finished a project. When I published, she said, “That’s great. But I would never take that much time away from my children.”


Huh?


That statement was a reflection of the excuses she used to justify the fact that she’d never finished a project. It had nothing to do with my success or me. 


An Ally will encourage and celebrate your success. Allies are coaches and cheerleaders. As you consider the people who influence you, be aware of Accomplices versus Allies. 


Fourth, you need Incentives.


Reward yourself! When you finish a book, get your toes done. Celebrate. Take a day off. If you’ve achieved your writing goal for the day, STOP. Really. This one was hard for me. I figured if I had made my goal, I should push ahead. I should do more. 


Don’t ‘should’ on yourself. 


Sure, sometimes you’re in such a good place, you WANT to write more. Just remember, it’s okay to meet your goal and relax. 


Really. Taking a break will not kill the butterflies. 


Fifth, create an Environment that’s conducive to your goal.


This doesn’t have to be complicated. When I started, the only computer I could afford was a netbook. I propped up the pillows on my bed, set my cup of tea on the nightstand, and wrote. 


I had exactly 2 ½ hours while my youngest was in preschool.
 

I didn’t answer phone calls.
 

I didn’t grocery shop.
 

I didn’t surf the net.
 

I wrote.
 

Are distractions creeping into your writing time? Are you spending more time blogging and less time actually writing? Are you Shadow Writing?

Shadow Writing is a deceptive killer of productivity. 


Shadow Writing includes all the little tasks clustered around writing. You plan. You research. You check your email. You write a blog. You start a blog. You join a blog. You rearrange your desk. You take a class. You read an article. 


The only thing you don’t do….Write.


Monitor your productivity. Is Shadow Writing chipping away at your word count? 


I have two friends, Cindy Kirk and Renee Ryan, who meet and plot together in an intensive session. Once they have a plot in place, they write 20 pages a day for two weeks, then they go back and edit, edit, edit. Each day of writing they send their progress to each other and they only allow ENCOURAGING responses.


As they said in their workshop: What do you have to lose? If you have two hundred and eighty awful pages at the end of two weeks, so what? Haven’t you wasted two weeks of writing time on less? And, chances are, you’ll have something worth saving. 


They put all five steps to work. They’ve honed their plotting skills by working together. They picture their success. They are good allies for each other. They use incentives. They create an environment conducive to intensive work (frozen meals and crockpot dinners). 


No matter what, be realistic about your goals. Most published authors will have revisions, line edits, promotional tours, etc. etc., etc. These things take time and concentration. Know your obstacles. 


It’s not enough to ‘say’ you’re going to do something. 


(Four frogs sat on a log. One of the decided to jump off. How many frogs were left? Four. Because deciding to do something and actually doing something are two totally different things.)


Remember, it’s okay if your method changes over the course of your career. As you grow and learn, you’ll develop new skills. This reminds me of the story of the woman who always cut off the ends of her ham before cooking. One day, her husband said “Why do you do you cut off the ends?” The woman replied, “Because that’s how my mother did it.” Having never questioned this step, the woman approached her mother and asked the same question, “Why do you cut the ends off the ham before you cook it?” And her mother said “Because my pan was too small.”


Sometimes we rely on old habits because we’re too afraid of change. When I first starting writing, I’d work on the synopsis first. Because, OF COURSE, that makes perfect sense. Program the GPS and then start the trip. After a few books, I realized that I needed a few chapters to ‘get to know’ my characters. I realized my process was evolving. Now I start with the characters, their backstory and conflict, and the inciting incident. I take these pieces and write the first three chapters, THEN I finish the synopsis. 


It’s okay to change. You won’t kill the unicorns. They were never here in the first place.... 


Whatever you have planned this year, whether you want to finally finish that book, or if you’re going to write a rough draft in two weeks like Renee and Cindy, make sure you have the five steps in place first!







Sherri Shackelford is an award-winning author of inspirational, Christian romance. A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.


Sherri is busy writing three more books for her Cimarron Springs series. Her current books include Winning the Widow’s Heart and The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family. The Cattleman Meets His Match releases in August of 2014. 
You can find her here: website | Facebook | Twitter




The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine. Susan Mobley says, “A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to start.”


Gentlemen don't court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she's resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town's handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she's come to love. 


Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he's hidden about his past. The lawman can't jeopardize Cora's future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett's long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.



Comment today to be selected as one of TWO winners of The Marshal's Ready-Made Family, ebook or paperback. Winner announced in the Weekend-Edition.

73 comments :

  1. Great post, Sherri, and relevant to other areas besides writing.
    Bringing Double chocolate fudge Coca Cola cake from Cracker Barrel. Great breakfast food...eggs, wheat, beans, milk!

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  2. Oh wow. I needed this post. I start out the year with great intentions and then go downhill from there. I should post these points next to my monitor so I see them every day.

    And on a different note, it's only 3 days til my short romance is released! I've been in the mountains since last Thursday and without much internet access. So I have lots of promoting to do. And my writing pals helped me start plotting a new story that I want to do for SpeedBo.

    Now where's that cake?

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  3. Great post Sherry. One I definitely need to re-read and post at my desk. I always have great intentions but something always happens to upset my apple cart. Then I wait for the other shoe to drop and nothing gets on the page. Sometimes it is a vicious circle.

    Have a wonderful day here in Seekerville.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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  4. Sherri! This is a great play-by-play of setting a course of action into motion and then following it!

    Thank you so much for your plain speak. I love the differences between "allies" and "accomplices" and I've seen that pattern repeat itself in many aspects of life. And yes, it's totally applicable in writing.

    Love the cover of The Marshall's Ready-Made Family. CHARMING!!!!!

    I'm laughing at CINDY W.'s good intentions because plugging into that writing time purposely is HUGE. A big first step. Cindy, kick the apple cart to the curb, dear girl!!!!! Who needs an apple cart, anyway????



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  5. COFFEE IS HERE!!! AND THERE ARE APPLE FRITTERS, FRESH FROM THE FRY-POT! JUMP IN!

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  6. Marianne, I'd like some, please and thank you! I've never been to Cracker Barrel. Can you believe that??????

    And Marilyn, so excited about your upcoming release!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy dancing in upstate!

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  7. Thanks for the great post, Sherri.

    Last year we cleared out a room to be my office, so I'm a little less distracted.

    I also now have an accountability partner. We share daily goals and long term goals and check on each other. This has really helped me.

    As I look over you post, I think turning off the internet is my next goal. (Irony is I'm online while stating this.)

    Sherri, congrats on 4&1/2 stars.
    Marilyn congrats on the release of your short story.

    I hope you all have a great day!

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  8. Hi SHERRI and welcome to Seekerville. What a great post and one I really truly need to print off and look at every day. Like CINDY W. I have so let my apple cart tip over and I need to do like RUTHY said and kick it aside. Great advice all around today.

    Have fun today and thanks again for joining us.

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  9. JACKIE you are so right about an accountability partner. What SHERRI's friends RENEE and CINDY did was make a plan for accountability. I truly work better when I work with a crit partner because I have to have something to take to them when we meet each week. (or email)

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  10. Hi Sherri!

    I love this post. I'm a VERY goal orientated person. I also credit my writing successes to setting goals.

    Glad to 'see' you here today!

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  11. Sherri,
    Your guest blogs are always memorable! Thanks for providing great motivation today.

    Love how Cindy and Renee work together. Twenty pages each day for two weeks. Do they critique at the end, after the edits?

    Would you mind sharing your goals, page count, books per year? Or did you mention them? I was trying to pull everything in. So much great info.

    Yes to allies and accomplices. Even a loved one can try to take us off course, never realizing they're not being a supporter when they do so.

    Julie Cameron talks about Shadow Writing. Easy to fall into the trap of staying busy but not writing. Being on deadline helps keep me focused, for sure!

    Hope to tidy my environment today, AKA clean the office! LOL!

    Your latest book sounds wonderful!!! Great cover too.

    Pouring another cup of coffee and reading your post again to ensure everything soaks in.

    Hugs!

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  12. ooooo... straight shootin' and hitting the mark for me. the shadow writing thing is my big take-away. still prioritizing my goals, but this post will definitely help me.

    would love to be in the hopper for a book. i love the blurb. will have to put it on my wish list to make sure i don't forget about it.

    thanks for sharing your wisdom with Seekerville. you sound a lot like my mom (and that's a good thing).

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  13. Marianne...I'll start with the cake :)

    Marilyn...Congratulations on the new release! I figured February was a nice time to remind everyone what they started...

    Cindy, I know that cycle - so frustrating!Listen to Ruth - she's smart AND good lookin'

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  14. This is an amazing post, whether you are writing or reading. I ordered the book and it's coming today btw.

    Thank you, thank you, Sherri.

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  15. Congratulations, Marilyn!! Where can we buy it? Amazon right?

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  16. BTW if you do a search on the book,Change Anything on Youtube, there is a nice 9 minute video to watch. Very good.

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  17. Love Cracker Barrel. They've closed so many it's hard to find them.

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  18. Welcome back to Seekerville, Sherri! Your book sounds fabulous.

    Thanks for the excellent post on achieving our goals. Your steps to setting our goals are exactly what we need when determining our characters' goals. Fun.

    I hadn't thought of all the writing related stuff we do as shadow writing, but they can overshadow what we writers are to do. And that's write. Any tips you can share for getting the blog posts written, the research done? Do you save those things for the weekend or do them in the evening?

    I brought all the fixings for omelets and a hunky chef to prepare them for us. The plates are even warm.

    Janet

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  19. LOL, Sherri, I love the frogs : )

    There is so much great info here, I'm going to have to read it again to glean ever ounce of wisdom. Thank you for grabbing all these brilliant bits and including them in one post.

    I so agree with you about deciding to do something and then actually doing it. You've got have a plan!

    I love the cover of your new book. Best of success!

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  20. Thanks for bringing the goodies from Cracker Barrel, Marianne. I love poking around that place and finding treasures I really want but don't need, LOL. And the FOOD!! Great homestyle cooking!!!

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  21. Jackie - You're working the steps! I don't think people realize how important a support system can be.

    Sandra - Having an encouraging accountability partner can be REALLY helpful. Winnie Griggs sometimes helps me out :)

    Rose! Hello!! Lovely to see you at Lorna's. Can't wait until we all can get together again.

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  22. Great timing,Sherri.
    I hit send on Saturday and now need to work on my other half-finished wip.

    I have always fantasized about writing a book quick like in a week or two. If I had to write a book that fast to save my life, I had better start telling my loved ones goodbye. But I can try to write a littler faster...

    Love your cover and the book sounds delightful.

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  23. Debbie, sometimes loved ones can be our greatest accomplices...because they know us best after all :)

    DebH, Shadow Writing can be especially dangerous for historical writers because of RESEARCH. I mean, RESEARCH is work, right?! Too much research, though, can kill productivity.

    Good morning, Tina! Thanks for making my post looks so BEAUTIFUL.

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  24. Janet, thanks for having me. And, yes, those pesky blog posts and promotions :)

    Blogs and promotions I do in the evenings. While I'm watching TV or while I'm 'on call' when the kids are doing homework. I don't need quite as much brain power and I can step away and come back.

    When I'm writing and someone interrupts...oooooh!!! At our house we call that 'Poking the Bear.' Mom is working, DON'T POKE THE BEAR!

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  25. Thank you for having me by, Audra. And now I'm hungry for Cracker Barrel!!!

    Connie, Congratulations on hitting SEND!!! Woo Hoo.

    I haven't been able to achieve the two-week rough draft. Although I did once write a proposal in five days.

    My editor said she wanted to put me on the calendar, and did I have anything available in proposal!? Well, OF COURSE...just let me dig around here and write one...VOILE...Why here it is, just where I left it!!

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  26. Tina, there's two Cracker Barrel close by...one one Glendale Ave and 101 loop, the other is Bell and 101 loop. There are more here in the valley, but those are closest.

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  27. Sherri, what a fabulous post! I loved your line: "Don't should on yourself." Sooooo good. I do this. More often than I care to admit. :) I also loved your thoughts about Accomplices and Allies. Sometimes I'm my own accomplice. Sigh.

    Your five steps make a lot of sense. I plan to read this post again and see what I need to begin implementing.

    I love that, "Don't Poke The Bear!" I get the same way. I might have to steal your phrase. ;)

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom today!

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  28. Sherri, this is an amazing post that really spoke to me. I've heard all about Cindy and Renee's plotting retreats and writing goals and am really impressed. What a great way to work! Everything you said is a great reminder for me to take more action. No shadow writing!

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  29. Ah, Sherri! You have put a name to the thing that keeps me from writing most days--Shadow Writing. Oh my. It is so easy to procrastinate writing that first draft. Sigh. But this is all wonderful advice. You really hit me between the eyes in so many ways! (But that's a good thing, in this case!) :-) Deciding to write three books this year and actually writing them are two different things. I wish it weren't so, but it is, alas.

    Hey, where can I get one of those brainstorming partners who will do an intense brainstorming session with me? Not sure I want to write a rough draft in two weeks, but ... it might be fun to try, if I actually plotted out the entire book beforehand. Very thought-provoking post! Thank you, Sherri!

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  30. Sherri, THANK YOU! I needed this writers 'prescription' this morning. I've saved it, and I'll 'take' one 'dose' every week until I've finished my WIP. :-)

    Shadow writing... hmmm, so that's what it's called? :-)

    I'd love to win a copy of your book, 'The Marshal's Ready Made Family'.

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  31. Jeanne, I would NEVER be as mean to someone else as I am to myself. Why do we do that?! My goal is to be nicer to myself ;)

    Missy, we have to get Renee and Cindy over to Seekerville to talk about their method. They are phenomenal!!

    Melanie, I have not attempted the intensive plotting yet, but I'd love to try it!

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  32. It's sad, though, when you are your own accomplice. And I must disagree with you about the unicorns. :)

    I do like this way of looking at goals. Thank you for being part of my support system!

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  33. Welcome, Sherri! Lots of great advice here--thanks for sharing with us in Seekerville today!

    Um, so I'm not the only one who frequently walks into a room and asks the burning question, "Why did I just come in here?" Good to know.

    I think.

    Love your recommendation of a support team. It's so important to have that support from family and friends. I've been blessed in that area, but it saddens me to hear from writers who simply don't receive the support they need. It's bad enough when friends and family just don't understand us or what we're doing. But so much worse when they unwittingly or on purpose try to sabotage our efforts.

    All the more reason to hang out in Seekerville!

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  34. Seriously, RUTHY??? Never been to a Cracker Barrel? Honey, go find one right now!!!

    Although I have no doubt YOUR cornbread and biscuits are so much yummier!

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  35. *lizzie, How true! We are often our own accomplices. (And we have to keep the unicorns secret :)

    Myra, I feel so bad when I see writers discouraged by the people around them. It's a tough business when an author has all the support in the world. It's an uphill battle otherwise.

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  36. Hi Sherri,

    Great article! I could so relate to many things here, especially Shadow Writing! (had never heard the term before, but boy does it describe my biggest waste of time!)

    I find when I'm initially plotting a new story, I do a lot of this. My mind ruminates in the background while reading blogs, etc. But I need to put a time limit on this exercise! LOL.

    Thanks for the nudge to healthier habits!

    I'd love to be in the draw for your next book!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  37. I was at this retreat with Sherri and it was so encouraging. All about productivity.

    And the really cool thing is, everyone has their own way to be productive...if they are productive.

    There's no one right way, but forward progress and completing projects has to be the end result or you're doing it WRONG.

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  38. I spend so much time Shadow Writing. I have to remind myself I do make progress, I do stay productive.

    But wow, if I'd cut out all the time spent online I'd be cranking out twice or three times as many books a year.

    And a book in two weeks? Wow, but it really works for them. Listening to their method was fascinating. they're so ENERGIZED by it. Very cool.

    I'm not thinking that would work for me though, but maybe I should try it.

    I once wrote about 70,000 words in a month and I think I might have caused some physical injuries to myself, so that's a little worrisome.

    And I wrote most of Cowboy Christmas during my Shadow Nano month and that ended up winning a Carol Award. I think intense writing works because your MIND never lets go of the main idea. You never forget little details and lose track of what you're intending to write.

    Spreading the writing out let's you lose direction if you're not careful.

    Still, I'm probably NOT going to adopt that plan.

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  39. And what would I do with all those books anyway, huh?

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  40. Shadow writing. It has a name. Oh no. Is visiting here part of shadow writing? I *look* productive! lol I have always admired your dedication to your writing time.

    I LOVED The Marshal's Ready-Made Family!

    Great blog. xoxo

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  41. Susanne, There's nothing wrong with percolating an idea :)

    Mary is SO right! No one way is the 'correct' way. And sometimes what has been working stops working and you have to change the process. Which just goes to show there's no ONE method.

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  42. It's snowing! And it's the release day for The Marshal's Ready-Made Family and it's Sold Out in print on Amazon! Woo hoo. (Thanks, Mom!)

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  43. Great advice about goal setting! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  44. I haven't purchased the book on Amazon, Sherri because I like to buy them in stores, just to support brick and mortar, you know?

    AND NOW THEY'RE GONE???????

    But I'll get it one way or another. I prefer books to ebooks just because I can share them and pass them on. But I'll go digital if I have to. :)

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  45. Great post, Sherri - - thank you! Anything that helps me focus on achieving my goals goes into my keeper files *smile*.

    Ruthy has never been to a Cracker Barrel?? Oh, bless your heart...come to Georgia - - there's a Cracker Barrel only 15 min. from my house (LOVE their vegetables--YUM!!).

    Thanks again, Sherri, and CONGRATS on your books (LIH are some of my favorites!).
    Blessings from Georgia,
    Patti Jo :)

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  46. Sherri, congrats on being SOLD OUT!!! Woot!!!!

    Just saw Tina's good news on Facebook!

    Tina, are you sharing your news on Seekerville?

    Hope so!!!!

    Whoo-hoo!!!

    Good news is always...well, so good!

    Hugs!

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  47. WOW, SHERRI ... I totally agree with everyone else ... this is an exceptional post!!

    LOVE THE STORY:

    "Four frogs sat on a log. One of the decided to jump off. How many frogs were left? Four. Because deciding to do something and actually doing something are two totally different things."

    LOL ... SOOOOO true, and guilty as charged!! Thanks for the kick in the butt. :)

    Love this too:

    "It’s okay to change. You won’t kill the unicorns. They were never here in the first place...."

    This is a keeper and printer-offer post if I ever saw one, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

    HUGS,
    Julie

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  48. A wonderful post. I had just written down my goals this morning, but of all things, I forgot incentives! That's a hard one for me.

    So....what do ya'll reward yourself with? I am very bad at procrastinating, so I need something DAILY to reward myself with that doesn't take time (I'm a wee bit short on that most the time)

    I'm gearing up for speedbo, and I'm pretty excited! I'm actually starting now, and hoping that by the end of March I will have my series of Novellas finished.

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  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. Hi Sherri! Good stuff in this post. I'll have to keep it posted near my computer. I have a tendency to "Shadow Write" a lot. :)

    Hope you stay warm with all this snow!

    (Your hair is so much longer in this picture than it is right now!)

    And whoops-- I initially posted this comment under my work account for the Omaha Symphony. Please disregard that handsome African-American gentleman in the tuxedo with the baton.

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  51. Great post Sherri! Shadow writing... now that it has a name maybe I can squash it. Must stop surfing the internet!

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  52. Yep, Tina, it will be on Amazon on release day. It's already up for pre-order on B&N if you have a Nook.

    Thanks to all of you for the congratulations. Even though I don't write inspirational fiction, you are all an inspiration to me.

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  53. Sherri,
    I liked your comment about stopping work when the daily goal is met.

    Often we just keep working and working and working, with no end point in sight. Until the book is done, of course.

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  54. You can apply this to other goals too (although my goal this year is more between my and my dr! its to see any dr less often it was around 24 times last year). Wonders if seeing the dr in surgery rather than an appointment counts.

    But many goals need people to keep you accountable and to help etc.
    would love to win your book.

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  55. Ruthy, I have been to Craker Barrel
    its really good. I was actually surprised in a good way at the quality of food. The fact it wasn't greasy and oily. The chips/fries there are better than here. And the choice of sides was huge. On the other side of the country we went to Sheri's and it was garden salad or about 5 types of potato (fries, wedges etc). They were so dripping in oil I could not eat them.

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  56. Mary, I'm sure there were ten print copies available and my mom bought them, but it sounds fun to say.

    CatMom, Who doesn't love a Cracker Barrel?! And all the fun stuff they have while you're waiting.

    Hello, Julie! It's like how I've 'decided' to train for a 5k this year. I have downloaded the app on my phone...so that's a start.

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  57. Debbie, I've got to pop over to Facebook and figure out the news!

    Uh oh, Cheryl is Shadow Writing :)

    Hello, Stephanie! I liked you as the "Symphony"...that was fun!

    Amber...hmmm...rewards...I often reward myself with reading time. I don't get to read nearly as much as I did before I started writing.

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  58. Love the term Shadow writer...sounds mysterious and fantastical. :-)

    I also love your encouraging words...you make this goal achieving stuff seem achievable!

    I've read The Marshal's Ready-Made Family already so don't enter me in the draw. Loved it -- really enjoyed the inner conflict in both Jo and Garrett. Loved how it both pulled them apart and drew them together. Great stuff.

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  59. Lots of helpful tips in here that I'm going to implement. I especially loved reading about shadow writing. This is one of my biggest downfalls, but I didn't realize it until you pointed it out. My 'aha' moment. Thanks for a great post!

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  60. Congratulations, TINA. Once again, you rock!

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  61. I have the app for Couch to 5k on my phone too. Me and the frogs all have it.

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  62. You're an inspiration too, Marilyn!!!

    Happy to preorder!!

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  63. I have a mom who drives to all the Walmarts in her area to buy my book. I tell her I can order them online but she likes to do it. Almost as good as a daughter who is a doctor or a lawyer.

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  64. Welcome to Seekerville, Sherri!

    I'm afraid I'm into shadow writing big time! Must change. Thanks for all the tips.

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  65. Great post, Sherri! I'm going to try visualizing more this year as well as continuing to meet my daily word count goal!

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  66. Sherri -- thank you for sharing such wise words. I particularly need to remember incentives. Just little rewards. Strive to be as encouraging with myself as I am with others. Glad to say I've done well with eliminating the Internet distraction -- amazing how it can't distract when I'm not connected. And I blush to admit this but I am finally set to read my copy of "Winning the Widow's Heart" :-)

    Nancy C

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  67. Marilyn -- congratulations! What is the name of the story and where can we order it?

    Nancy C

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  68. My story is TEA FOR TWO and it's currently available for pre-order at www.boroughspublishinggroup.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Smashwords.com. It will be available on Amazon this Friday when it's released.

    Here's the blurb:

    Take one tea shop-owning divorcee, add a new-to-town attorney and two meddling grandmothers and the result is a romantic brew that will make everyone's dreams come true.

    And as the old Bartles & James commercial guys used to say, "Thank you for your support."

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  69. Cara & Chill N -

    I see two themes here:

    1. As authors, we need to be aware of 'shadow writing.'

    2. As women, we need to reward ourselves!!!

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  70. A fantastic post thank you. I always love those OF COURSE moments.

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  71. What a great way to get inspired and prioritize

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