Thursday, March 9, 2017

Aim High Or Shoot Low? Examining our Strengths and Weaknesses

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Welcome to Speedbo 2017, my friends!!! Now first, let's dish: If you've gotten off to a slower-than-you-wanted start, fear not. The tortoise overcame the rabbit because the rabbit got winded, so remember: Slow and steady wins the race. (well, not always, I know a couple of sprinters who tip sideways on curves they're going that fast, so in that case, the fast person is going to win. Just so you don't get confused...)

But in a long race or big project, it's often the plodders among us whose steady progress builds. So get back to plodding. Or racing, Or medium speed is fine, too.

JUST DO IT, DARLINGS!

Commercial message: Waterbrook Press/Random House has JUST RE-RELEASED book one of the "DOUBLE S RANCH" series "Back in the Saddle" in mass-market paperback form!!! Now found nationwide in any store where paperbacks are sold!!!! Thank you, Waterbrook and the powers of Random House - Penguin Publishing!!!!


So here's the thing about attitudes and objectives. I've thought a lot about this. Like for an hour or so. Maybe less. But here's the thing: Do you aim high and then disappoint yourself if you don't reach your goal?

Or do you shoot low, and then get happy when you've not only met your goal but surpassed it?


This is not a trick question. I bet some smart person out there has done studies about which is more effective and which gives better return on investment, but we don't want to know what he/she/they think.

I want to know what YOU think.

How do you set up your plan? Is it workable? Does it help you stretch... or keep you in a comfort zone so you don't get mad at yourself and quit.

There are no wrong answers here. None.

It's not a trick question or a crazy exercise in futility.


This is one of those fun, quick self-examinations that helps us to see ourselves and our methods. I'm a Catholic gal, and we were schooled in doing an "examination of conscience" on a regular basis. Honestly, regardless of denomination, every child should be taught the value of doing an evaluation of conscience because this is the base-line platform for success in multiple areas of life.

Have I done my best this week?
Did I do my work in a timely fashion?
Was I kind to others and treated them with respect?
Did I help others?
Was my work neat and precise?
Was I mean?
Did I lie or say something I shouldn't have?
Did I share so much that I feel it inside?

It seems like a little thing, doesn't it? The ability to look at ourselves and do self-examination. But it's not little. It's huge. Big. Ginormous.


Self-examination illustrates our strengths and reminds us of our weak spots. It blesses us with internal knowledge, and that leads to being a better person, writer, mother, sister, daughter, friend, brother, Dad, whatever.

The few minutes it takes to examine our conscience regarding our lives... and our work ethic... can be one of the most rewarding habits you ever acquire because it's not just about life or work or family or love or faith... it entwines. It weaves, much as God intended our lives to be woven of many threads, many colors.


Tell me today how you plan. What's your modus operandi? What's your methodology? Do you keep yourself rigid or allow slack?

And when you think about this examination of conscience exercise, you might be surprised how it makes you feel... And you might be more surprised about where you need work.

It's not a test.

It's more like a gift, from me to you. And with that gift, my constant encouragement for you to be the very best "you" you can be!

Coffee's on and there's breakfast pizza hot and ready for you! I know some of youse are on diets or you gave up sweets for Lent... either way, the Ruthinator has you covered!


And I've got two copies of "Back in the Saddle" mass market edition to give away today... or if you already have Colt's amazingly wonderful story, I've got two copies of "Their Surprise Daddy", my third Love Inspired book set in Grace Haven, New York.... And if you should be writing right now, well, don't be standin' there, peeps! Get to it and come see me later!

I'll be here!

Christian inspirational author Ruthy Logan Herne is living her dream of writing beautiful love stories studded with unforgettable characters... the kind of folks you like to read about again and again... she lives on a farm in Western New York with Farmer Dave, way too many chickens, a couple of good old dogs, a few cats and enough wildlife to keep them busy, shooing critters off the farm on a regular basis. You can visit her website ruthloganherne.com  but it's way more fun to chat with her on facebook.... or go back and forth on Twitter! She's delighted to have five books releasing this year, "Their Surprise Daddy" (4/17) "Peace in the Valley" (5/17) "A Light in the Darkness" (9/17) "Welcome to Wishing Bridge" (11/17) and "The Lawman's Yuletide Baby" (11/17)... Which means Ruthy's hard at work and counting her blessings!




115 comments :

  1. Breakfast pizza??? I am so in. What's on it? I'm still in, but curious.

    Modus Operandi.

    Make a list.
    Have the pleasure of checking each item off during Speedbo. I LOVE CHECKING THINGS OFF!!!!!

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    1. I love checking off lists too. And if I do something extra, not on the list, I add it to the list for the satisfaction of checking it off!!!

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    2. I love lists... or rather, I love checking things OFF my lists! :)

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  2. Hi Ruthy. I'm up late so thought I would check into Seekerville before I go to bed instead of late in the day after I get off work. Thanks for the interesting post. That is a good question about whether we aim high or low. My goal of 1,000 words a day is a good one for me. It is certainly achievable for me, but on the days I work both my jobs it can be a stretch, so it isn't necessarily too easy. But I have made my goal every day for a week now! Although apparently my husband has great confidence in me. Yesterday he sent me a text to "be sure I wrote my 10000 words. I had to correct him that it is one thousand not ten! Wouldn't that be a goal! :)

    Please put my name in the dish for Back in the Saddle. I would love to read it.

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    1. Sandy, YOU GO GIRL! 1000 words daily for a week! Wow.

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    2. Sandy that's a marvelous goal! I've watched so many authors turn themselves around by simply doing 1000 words a day. And I love your hubby!!!!

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  3. Tina, I make lists when things really stack up. And sometimes they do. A four or five book pile-up happens. And then out comes the list so I do NOT forget anything.

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    1. Mary I do too. Then I realised that doing it regularly helped juggle day job and farm and writing and family. Mostly so I don't forget where I'm supposed to be!
      Big windstorm here. No power. No Internet. No heat for lots of folks. Over 100,000 without power and temps in 20's...Rough stuff but everyone is safe.

      Lots of kids here today!!! We have a wood burning stove!!!

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  4. Ruthy I am so jazzed for this mass market paperback! YAY! And this series is so perfect for this. I love every word I've read so far.

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    1. I AM TOO!!! Of course I'm scared to death no one will buy it and they'll realise what a mistake they made!!! So I'm putting it in God's hands... Leap of faith Ruthy!!!

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    2. There will be people to buy it, 'cuz it'll only take one and then the buzz will start. Your stuff is too good to fail in mass market, Ruthy.
      *note to self to post FB msg about Ruthy's mass market availability of book*

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  5. First of all, I've always wondered what a "mass market edition" book is. I see on Amazon where you can buy different versions of a book; eBook, Hardback, paperback & mass market. The first three are self-explanatory, obviously. If someone could explain that to me, I'd really love to know :-) Thanks!

    I'm with Tina!!! CHECKING OFF A LIST OF THINGS!! I'm a huge list person; grocery, things to do/get done, trip/packing checklist, review schedule, etc. Nothing more satisfying than seeing a squiggle mark through whatever item is on my list....it's the best thing since sliced bread as my mom used to say :-) And it has to be on a REAL piece of paper, haha! I know we all have these nifty little Memo apps on our smartphones, but nothing beats the real deal in my opinion :-) I also tend to remember what's on my list if I physically write it down. I actually once read up on a study someone did that people who do that, are more likely to remember whatever it is they have down.

    Ruthy, you had me laughing of how you put some things in your post, for example; "I know a couple of sprinters who tip sideways on curves they're going that fast, so in that case, the fast person is going to win. Just so you don't get confused..." or this "So get back to plodding. Or racing, Or medium speed is fine, too." I love how you put things, because sometimes my mind works that way too. Probably some people think I think weird or something and give me a look like I really am crazy...haha!! Sometimes I even think I think weird...now that's bad :-)

    So the question at hand is, how do you plan? Aim high and get disappointed or go low and be happy when you exceed that? Since I'm not a writer, I'll come at it as such. I USED to go low because I never had any expectation of accomplishing a "goal" I set for myself. Then I didn't get discouraged or disappointed. No pain, no gain right? A lot of that was because I had very little self-esteem and didn't really have anyone on my side. Or feel like I did anyway (talking about my past). Nowadays, I tend to aim a little higher, but yet I have learned what my limitations are and what I can and can't realistically accomplish. I've had an excellent marriage partner who helped me see the potential in myself and has encouraged me all the way. Sometimes he's even pushed me higher and I've seen some great personal growth. Of course God is right there cheering me on too :-) There are also times where I've challenged myself beyond what I would normally feel comfortable with. But instead of getting discouraged if I didn't make my higher goal, I tend to see how far I really DID come. Most of the time it's far better than what I had thought. So I celebrate the little victories now. And it feels good to know that even though I didn't make it all the way, I also didn't give up and pushed myself a little more than last time :-)

    I've always been the slow and steady wins the race type person. As long as I'm making progress, big or small, I'm still moving forward! And that's always something to celebrate :-)

    Toss my name in the cat dish for a copy of your May LI "Their Surprise Daddy" since I have read/enjoyed/reviewed "Back in the Saddle"

    Finally....GO SPEEDBO PARTICIPANTS, GO GO GO!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!

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    1. I forgot to add, I'll snag a piece or two of that breakfast pizza and wrap it up to put in the fridge for morning. Just so I know I don't miss out...haha!! Sounds divine!!

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    2. This is such a great response, Trixi!! I love the growth you demonstrated, it's the kind of thing that helps mold us into the person God wants us to be.

      Tucking your name into the cat dish!!!

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  6. I tend to aim high, or at least have very high expectations, in the beginning of any project. Along the way I tend to go with the flow. Peace of mind wins over supposed perfection.

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    1. I love your wisdom. I think we're a lot alike. I take on a lot but I know we can only do our best and I'm not a worrier. That inner peace is huge.

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    2. We have to realize we're not perfect, cut our losses, and make sure we don't neglect the most important things. I have a daily list and it's usually way more than I can accomplish with interruptions, traffic etc., but I have a sense for what I can roll over to the next day, and I'm developing a sense for what matters.
      KB

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  7. Ruth,
    Phooey! My almost complete post evaporated. I am a tortoise and a list-maker. No sprinting for me.

    Breakfast pizza w lots of veggies sounds perfect.
    Laura

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    1. Oh, congrats on mass market of Back in the Saddle. I'd love to read it!

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    2. Laura I hate when that happens!!! Silly Blogger! We plodders can march in step, quietly getting it done. Ain't a thing wrong with that!

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    3. Oh, congrats on mass market of Back in the Saddle. I'd love to read it!

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  8. Good morning Ruthy! Thank you for the great post.

    When I was younger I always seemed to aim too high (my dreams were in the clouds) then when I landed low, it really hurt and I was extremely disappointed. As I have aged (like a fine wine)I try to make realistic goals that I'm pretty sure I can meet so when I do, I'm elated and proud of myself. I do however tend to keep raising the bar just a little each time. I guess to push myself.

    As for planning...I do make lists (sometimes on Post-It notes). As I achieve something on the list it is crossed off and if I was able to achieve it, I float it to the next day.

    I would love to have my name tossed into the hat for Their Surprise Daddy. Thank you for the chance.

    May you all be blessed today.

    Cindy W.

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    1. That should be "if I wasn't able to achieve it, I float it to the next day."

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    2. Cindy isn't it revealing when we look back and see how we've changed? I think change helps us grow... And gives us choices to shape the kind of person we want to be. And I float stuff too!

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    3. Cindy, I do that too (float things to the next day).
      KB

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    4. I suppose I should have two lists, one for the absolute "
      musts" and one for the floaters, but that would be way too complicated. You develop a sense for what matters.

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  9. Great post, Ruthy! Congratulations on your mass market paperback! I'm so happy for you. I can't wait to start hunting it down in our local stores. As for planning, I try to keep my goals realistic...no point setting myself up for disappointment. I get tremendous satisfaction writing daily tasks into my Day Planner and checking them off...even doing the laundry. :)

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    1. Exactly!! I cherish the simple accomplishments along with the bigger ones. They're all part of the fabric of our days.

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  10. I used to aim WAY too high and then get so discouraged when I didn't meet my goal. Age has taught me to figure out what I can do and not aim quite so high. I need to challenge myself, but know that life interrupts and it is okay. :)

    The cover of your book is YUMMY! I can't wait to read it...in April. :)

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    1. Sherrinda you're not alone... And that's so true. The disappointment weighs us down and it's really us setting ourselves up for failure because in the real world life interferes... Oh life!!!

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  11. Ruthy, my aims vary w/what I'm doing.
    If I write out a year's calendar, I aim high. Too high. Yes, technically I could do it and it looks easy, but even I know it probably won't happen. When I'm working on my first draft, I pressure myself to work faster and try to get in daily writing. But like now when I'm trying to sort out that very rough draft, it hard to give a time schedule because I don't know how long it will take to get the job done.
    I used to set writing goals all the time that I never met. Now I have an internal goal to continually keep moving forward. Deep down I want to go faster, but I don't beat myself up anymore. The plan is to continually get a little faster w/each book.

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    1. Connie that makes perfect sense. The goal of gradually gaining speed works so well because speed takes practice.

      Works for me, pretty lady.

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  12. Hey Ruthy!
    Evaluation of Conscience-such a good way of taking personal inventory!

    For the most part I'm 99% optimist when shooting for goals, even when there hard and I struggle I think on the quote, "When you feel like giving up remember why you started" (more personal inventory) When discouragement strikes and the "evil voice" says "don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed" I remind myself dis-couragement is nothing more than "lacking courage" and pull myself back up by my bootstraps and carry on. Personal pep talks are mandatory. Another reason you're so inspirational, when I can't give myself a pep talk I know you will, you are the Queen of Motivational Pep Talks!

    Congrats on your mass market Back in the Saddle, you know I love this series!

    I'll be reading Their Surprise Daddy one way or the other, but throw my name in the dish for the fun of it! I love that cover, that dress!

    Happy Thursday all and happy writing speedboers, go forth and achieve those goals!

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    1. Hey I'll be sending out advance copies this week so you guys on the influencer list will be getting copies of the spring books soon!

      There are 3 families staying here for heat... And I will not say how many cute kids are here! Crazy fun!!!

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  13. Is "The Examination of Conscience" an actual thing? I like it, it has a sweetness to it, a lack of external judgment.

    When setting goals for writing, diet, or exercise, my best results have come when I set the goals low. Writing: Open manuscript, read what you wrote before, write something. Diet: Open My Fitness Pal, read the blog, track a meal. Exercise: Get up several times during the day, walk around the backyard.

    Seems lame when I write that, but I seem to do more than when I set higher goals, and there's less guilt.

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    1. Dana, it is. I find it very effective to help me see myself and my motives... But also just as a way to reinforce how I want to live. I love it.

      Your goals are fine, aren't they? Varied but focused! Imagine if everyone did that daily... Sweet!!!

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  14. Thanks for this motivating post! I would love to be entered for a copy of Their Surprise Daddy! A great reward for all the words written this month! I am most definitely a plodder. I need to get past the thinking that if I don't have a day, I can't write. I need to grab those few minutes I get every now and then and not let them slip by. We didn't have power for a few days, so I have notes, scenes, dialogue on scraps of paper that I need to type up before I forget what I wrote, and can't read it lol.

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    1. Sally fist bump on the no power!!!

      And you brought up a great topic that foils many of us... If we don't have a day we can't write... And of course that becomes self-defeating. Our heads can mess with us!

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  15. How exciting to have your Waterbook release, Ruthy. And yes, we have all learned different approaches to our writing style. When I was younger, I had huge goals and accomplished them. As I am older and have more responsibilities with taking care of others, I have dropped down to a minimum goal and feel great when I exceed it. I had to do that because I was getting too discouraged with the big goal and not getting it accomplished. Works for me. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your release.

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    1. Sandra that's a great example of adjustment as needed. That's clutch in life, isn't it? And thank you!!!

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    2. Sandra, you are so right, we have to adjust our goals or rather our goal-setting style as we get older and have different responsibilities.
      KB

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  16. Hi Ruthy
    I love how you're such an encourager. I'm going to run with that "The Examination of Conscience" list for Guppy and me. We need it, plus it will help him for his cub scout stuff. yep, he just started scouts.
    I tend to set goals low, so I don't get disappointed. I tend to hold myself to a too perfect standard when I do stuff though. Can't have mistakes.
    Not doing well on Speedbo. Work is on overtime to meet an impossible Gov't deadline and Guppy is in scouts, swimming and just starting spring baseball. Guess who covers all that? Mommy. I'm so tuckered out, my muse has just enough energy for ideas, not enough to get them on paper. Yep, paper - not getting to the computer except at work, and even then, internet only in small doses. The graphics computer is my focus now, cranking out stuff for deadline.
    I thought 500 words/day was so do-able too. *heavy sigh* Of course, after visiting Seekerville, I feel like I can do Anything, so that's cool. *yay*
    You know me, I'm into any draw where I can get me a Ruthy book... in this case the LI book, cuz I've got the others. *double yay!!!*

    Wishing I hangin' with the cute kids on the farm. Sounds like chaotic fun!

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    1. Hey you're talkin'to the mom who didn't start writing until kid #6 was 16.... And I'm living proof that your goals are always waiting for the right time. Cut yourself some slack. Kids first is my favorite mantra. Don't feel badly about that!!!!

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    2. And the examination of conscience is such a big help to me. It reminds me to do better... And be less of a jerk. 😎

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    3. You got this! You're taking care of the important things. Getting your guppy where he needs to be. And if you get your ideas on paper, that counts. Then later, when things settle down, you can put those ideas from paper into a story. When you do get some time to put those words onto screen, you'll find the story flows because you've been thinking about it. One word in front of the other is still moving.

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  17. Wow, Ruthy! I'm not as far along as I'd like to be, that's for sure! I always enjoy surpassing my goals, but does that really push me to go farther? No. But writing is such an emotional journey, is it okay to set smaller goals and then surpass them? I really need to consider which is best. I can tell you this though, I'm nowhere near my Speedbo goal. So, I can't think about it too long.
    Thanks for sharing and congrats on the re-release of Back in the Saddle!

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    1. You've had such a crazy time, Jackie. I think it's clutch for us to recognise the season s of our life and work with them.

      Ecclesiastes 3:1.... Love that.

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  18. Good morning Ruthy! Congrats on the re-release! I loved Colt's story :)

    As far as setting goals, I'm a textbook overachiever. It used to get me in a lot of trouble, as I'd set unrealistic and completely unachievable goals and then be upset when I didn't reach them.

    I've learned, though, that I still thrive under high expectations, so I like to set my goals *just* out of reach. In the back of my head, I expect that I won't quite reach the goal, but having it there pushes me to write more than if I were to set a "realistic" goal. If I set the goal too low, I tend to settle and write only to the lower number instead of taking the opportunity to push past it.

    So, I'm technically WAY behind my Speedbo goal this year, BUT I've still written a ton and I'm really happy with what I've been able to produce!

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    1. Hahahahaha! I love this! I can totally see it, the push to excel and the brilliance of realising that "failure" is still success! I think this should be a writing course!!!

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    2. Hmm... now the brainstorming wheels are turning. "How to Fail Successfully"

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  19. RUTHY, I tend to critique myself and end up covered with red ink. :-) But I'm a forgiving person, even with myself, and claim start overs every day.

    I love lists. I'm learning to aim low.

    Janet

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    1. Janet I can't imagine you being red-inked!!! The very idea is cray cray!!!!

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    2. Ruthy, I was born with a big conscious.

      Janet

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  20. Good Morning, Ruthy,

    Pizza any time of day is my favorite. Being a Vegan, I'll have mine with lots of veggies, hold the meat and cheese!

    Being a caregiver cuts into my writing time. I don't let it bother me as I only set my goal when I sit down to write. I love "The Examination of Conscience" list. Never heard of it, but it sounds like a good credo to live by. I printed it out, and will put it on my bulletin board with the rest of my inspirational keeps.

    Speedbo is going slow for me, but as Julie assured me yesterday, "you will have way more written on March 31st than you did on March 1st, and that has to count for something, yes?"

    Yes, I will, Julie.

    Thanks for the great post, Ruthy, and congrats on your re-release. I've read your books through my library, but would love to have a copy of Back In The Saddle in my personal library.

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    1. Marcia! I'm so glad to see you here! I'm glad you like the list, it's chuck full of good advice because it encourages us to think... Now some days I:m better off not thinking!!! Oooops!

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    2. Marcia, being a caregiver is a definite priority, so that's brilliant to set your goal for when you are able to sit down and write! Praying you will surprise yourself by the time 3/31 gets here ...

      Hugs!
      Julie

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  21. Mary C., I LIVE by the list.
    Ruthy, that is splendid, five books releasing in one year, you show that it CAN be done.
    I'm not published yet, but I'm still working on multiple-book goals because each one is at a different stage and has different needs. Kind of like home-schooling, only with words. I have my Speedbo WIP, which is being created from scratch; the sequel to my Oregon Trail story, in draft form, which I'm working on with my crit partner; the sequel to my Post World War I story, in draft form, which I'm rewriting on my own; and my perennial Christmas novella which would be finished if I could figure out how to almost kill someone in an 18th-century sawmill. I do one chapter a month with my crit partner, so when that's done it's done; I work on the other sequel in chunks and batches so it will be ready if the first book sells; and I work on my Speedbo project just about every day. I am on time and on budget. (There is no budget, it's just a saying.) Stalled on the Christmas novella, so I have to get out this spring and VISIT an early sawmill. But yeah, I have different stuff in different stages of completion, and different work goals for each.
    I've had to develop goals that fit me, but at least I have them. I'm where I need to be for who I am. My goals aren't unrealistic, but they do involve a fair amount of juggling. I live by the list and the Post-It note.
    Of course I would love to win any of your books Ruthy.

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    1. kaybee, go with the list!!! :)

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    2. I do love my lists and it's crazy typing on this teeeeeny tiiiiiiny screen.

      Kaybee, don't you lose sight of that dream. Your goals are wonderful and reachable. We've proven that over here...And we believe it's a reality you'll love

      Must love new reality!!!

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  22. Good Morning Ruthy! Yeah, I'm that tortoise, still behind at the starting gate, but I will get there! My goals are doable. If too high, I give up, if too low, I don't try hard enough. It's a fine line to find that balance. Congratulations on the new release of Back in the Saddle. Anyone who picks up that amazing book is going to LOVE it!

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    1. Oh thank you so much, Cindy. I here you loud and clear about that balance...

      Balance and growing self-confidence are key ingredients.

      My cell phone is going to a friend's house to be charged... The no power thing is cramping our style!

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  23. I will try again and hopefully Blogger will let me post. The sad thing is they lost all I had written before and this is taking away from my writing.

    I set two goals for this months speedbo because of failing on Nano and Speedbo last year I wanted to be sure I had a success that goal was to write every day and achieve 20K by the end of the month, The other goal is to see how much I can blow that goal away which is my heart's desire. So far I am close to 40% of the first goal and this is only the first week.

    My question for Ruthie is this. If I am writing children's stories for a newsletter for children, should I have the children talk in the dialogue parts of the story using the way children talk or should it be in perfect grammar. For instance my friend who was proofing the story changed it to perfect grammar. The dialogue was of a 3 year old. "I catch it for you."

    Hoping this time it works.

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    1. Wilani, story dialogue should reflect the age and personality of the speaker, so correct grammar for a 3-year-old would be highly unnatural!

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    2. Thanks, I thought I was right.

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  24. Interesting questions, Ruthy! I probably fall into the "aim low, shoot high" category. I'd rather set goals I know are within reach and then hopefully surpass them so I feel really good about my productivity.

    Actually, I guess I always sort of have a loftier goal floating around in the back of my mind, but I can't make myself commit it to paper or say it out loud because . . .

    WHAT IF I FAIL???

    So it's . . . just there, lurking, so if I do achieve it, I'm thrilled!

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  25. Ruth, you always encourage. I've learned not to expect too little or too much of myself, but whatever the Lord chooses to accomplish through me. If ideas or new projects won't leave my inner thoughts, I know I need to get it out of my head and in a file, either handwritten or computer. All in His time.

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    1. Hi LoRee, always so fun to see NEBRASKANS on Seekerville.
      Whatever works for you is a system you should embrace. Good for you.
      Unless your system is to THINK about writing but never do it.

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  26. Congrats on your new release! As for goals, I try to aim and shoot for about the same area -- knowing myself and my capabilities is always important to me. I like to be in control. :) And then, of course, my publisher decides the first of March is a good time to send galley proofs. Slightly behind on my goal for Speedbo, but should be able to catch up by the end of the week.

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    1. Angela isn't that just the way. And things like proofs come and you've got to get on them. I just got proofs for a novella, which are GOOD revisions so I appreciate it. But it detracts from the forward march I have planned for Speedbo.

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  27. Good morning Ruthy! You are fantabulous, lady! Congrats on your re-release!

    Fun to see everyone's answers to this. I used to fall into the aim high and stress out and miss catagory, but I have learned a thing or two. I have to give myself some cushion, because I have days where I'm too exhausted or I end up having to work late, or unexpected dinner guests, etc.

    Now I set a goal that is a little on the conservative side, but still enough to keep me on a good track. But the goal I keep in mind is not to meet it, but exceed it.

    For me, this helps keep stress levels manageable. And I know what I have to do to hit my goal. And exceed it.

    Plugging along pretty much on schedule for SPEEDBO. :)

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    1. Hi Amber. IT really sounds like you're finding your own way. Good for you.
      If you can keep up a steady system and KNOWN WHO YOU ARE, that sounds like something you can really live with!

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  28. Such a good post, Ruthy. I love your enthusiasm. It comes through in every post you write. Congratulations on your re-release!

    You asked: Tell me today how you plan. I'm a detailed planner. In real life this is good. In writing life this is good. But this school year has been a tough one for having the time to plan. So not much writing has gotten done. I'm working to shift priorities and carve out more writing time in each day. When I have a clear vision of where my story is going, I can fast-draft with the best of them. When I don't? I'm still at the first turn when everyone else is on the second lap. Not that I'm comparing. It's just reality. I get stuck. and then I get discouraged. So, having a plan, a vision, is my way forward.

    You asked: Do you keep yourself rigid or allow slack? I used to keep myself rigid to my schedule, but with growing boys and health issues, I can't do that as much, so I'm working to be intentional about the time I do have and use it wisely. :)

    These questions made me stop and think. Thank you for that!

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    1. Usually ever time Ruthy makes me think it ends badly.

      Thinking can be so confusing!!!

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  29. Good morning, all. I'm here with strawberry / vanilla jello birthday cake to share!

    Ms. Ruthy, I love your encouragement. I am a planner to the max. My calendar has its own calendar for cryin' out loud. But I am a way over aimer then I'm bummed when I can't make the goal. I'm learning to be more realistic about how many hours are in a day and being satisfied with less checkmarks on my to do list. I'm speeding through SpeedBo and keeping up with my daily goal.

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    1. SHAREE!! I saw it was your birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you sweet, young thing!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  30. Congratulations, Ruthy!

    My SpeedBo goal is a stretch one but hopefully reachable. Unfortunately, I'm not writing as often as I planned due to health challenges. It helps to have a clear head for writing. So if I don't reach it, it's probably more from all those sick days than the goal being too hard.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  31. Catholic Gilt --
    a Golden Rule for Writers

    "Examine your conscience, confess your sins, plan your work and work your plan, say five writer's prayers and write 1,000 words a day."

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    1. LOL Vince. Love how your mind works.

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  32. RUTHY!!! It is SO exciting what Waterbrook is doing with your books, so you go, girl!! You're going to have a permanent place on the bestseller list before all is said and done!

    You said: "Do you aim high and then disappoint yourself if you don't reach your goal? Or do you shoot low, and then get happy when you've not only met your goal but surpassed it?"

    I don't shoot low, but I definitely don't shoot high. I'm more of an even-keel gal when it comes to writing (I know, shocking, isn't it, for a high-wired CDQ??).

    Your statement makes me think of a phrase that Keith and his coworkers always used to say when they were out on the road, beating down a show deadline hours before a huge car-reveal business meeting was to start: SOMETIMES DONE IS BETTER THAN GOOD.

    Seems like a fitting motto for a writer during Speedbo, doesn't it? Because the "good" actually comes in the revision stage.

    Hugs!!

    Julie

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    1. SOMETIMES DONE IS BETTER THAN GOOD.

      Love that, Julie! A perfect motto for Speedbo!

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  33. The RUTHINATOR! Good morning!

    Thanks for the encouragement today. Last year I sprinted during Speedbo. This year I'm taking things slow. My goal is to get an R&R off to the editor and I'm right on track.

    I'm definitely a planner--carry one with me at all times. I check things off, make goals and review them quarterly.

    I tend to make high goals, but miss the mark occasionally. I give myself plenty of slack. The key for me is I EXPECT to fall short, knowing that I wouldn't have achieved so much if I hadn't aimed high.

    ~ Renee

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    1. That's a healthy approach, Renee! I like your attitude!

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  34. Hi! Thanks for a great post.
    I always figure out how many days I want to take to write the story (I don't write on the weekends) and divide that into my word goal. Then I know how many words to shoot for on a daily basis. I used to get frustrated if life happened and I had to extend my self-imposed deadline. Now, I know God's trying to teach me patience and help me cultivate my story better, so I'm more flexible if I don't hit my word goal. I take the time to think, research, or whatever needs to be done to maximize my time in front of the story.

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    1. Toni, that's one reason I LOVE Scrivener! It lets me enter my projected word count for the project and my self-imposed deadline. Then it calculates how many words I need to write each workday to reach my goal. I love watching the bar advance each day, both for my daily word count goal and the project total.

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  35. I LOVE a Ruthy-post!! :) I always feel energized after reading Ruthy-posts and it's not just from her awesome coffee. ;)
    I prefer to set goals high - - but not SO high that it puts tons of pressure on me. Yet I do tend to work better under *some* stress, so if I set my goals low then I'd end up not doing much at all - - but that's just moi.
    CONGRATS on the re-release of Back in the Saddle!! YAY!! I have that (loved it!) and have already won your April LI book on here (can't wait for it to release!). :) Thanks for sharing with us today!! YAY for SPEEDBO!!!! (started off slowly but have picked up big-time!)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, you're always such a supporter! Bless you for reading Seeker books! :)

      Hope all is well. Hugs!

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  36. Do you have power yet, Ruthy? Hope so!

    I evaluate where I am with the writing on a regular basis.

    I've struggled with the current WIP but cranked out 7,000-plus pages yesterday.

    Getting a late start today...

    Hugs and stay safe in the storm!

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    1. Haven't heard from the Ruthinator in a while. Hope she's okay!

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  37. My comment yesterday disappeared, so here's hoping this one doesn't.

    Your post puts me in mind of New Year's Resolutions, Ruthy. I used to make them every December, and regularly felt defeated by February when I'd failed to keep them. Eventually I realized even making them was setting myself up for failure, so I quit. I began listing 'Intentions' -- things I intended to do. Intentions are more forgiving than resolutions. It's desire versus promises to myself. That worked much better, especially in the years when I was busy raising family, being a pastor's wife, and running a home-based business.

    Now that I've retired, my life accommodates more personal goals, but I still approach them with an 'intent' to reach them. I'm easier on myself than I used to be, too. Occasionally I'll create a set of lists -- three columns that itemize priorities as 'must do now', 'should do soon', and 'want to do but not crucial'. When I cross something off the first list it makes room for something to be transferred across from one of the other two lists. There's an incentive to get those 'must do' things done.

    I'm not doing Speedbo this year but I'm happy to be free to work at my own speed on other projects. I think success in reaching goals is knowing oneself and one's strengths and limitations. It took me fifty years to learn that! (I didn't have a Catholic background. LOL.)

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    1. "Success in reaching goals is knowing oneself and one's strengths and limitations."

      Exactly, Carol!

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    2. I like your lists, Carol! When I'm stressed, I always make a list. Somehow that helps me get the tasks done!

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  38. Ruthy, congrats on the mass market paperback! That's wonderful! The rest of your post was great too. Good luck to all of you who are doing SPEEDBO!

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    1. Hi Valri! Good to see you here today. Hope all is well! :)

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  39. Ruthy (without Internet?), I like the idea of self-examination. Right now in my life, I need flexibility, so I'm shooting low right...then happily surprised when I exceed my expectations. Perfectionism is a weakness I fight. I'd never get anything done if I waited for everything to be perfect...which I tend to do. So I believe I must do the best I'm able with the time I have. I generally plan...lists, goals, semi-plot books... but don't always accomplish what I started out to do.

    FIVE books in 2017! Fabulous, Ruthy!!! Congratulations!

    Go Speedbo!

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    1. I hear you about flexibility, Sherida! With our daughter's family of 6 living with us, flexibility is the name of the game!

      I think Ruthy went somewhere to recharge her cell phone. Makes me extra glad to be living in the South!

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  40. Thank you for the great post, Ruthy...sorry I'm so late to the party! :) I'm learned to set goals low, as I build speed and get more momentum after I surpass them. I've also got the luxury of a great critique partner and accountability buddy that helps me get back on track when I derail. This year has also taught me to let go and forgive myself when I derail due to life events beyond my control...family illness, surgery, etc. I agree with everyone who is mentioning the importance of flexibility. Adapting to life's situations can always help you...with writing and beyond. :) Thanks again for a great food for thought post!

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  41. Thanks for the great post!

    I tend to aim too high and get sad when I fail. I try to look back and see my progress, but sometimes I get too focused on today. Thanks for the reminder to be realistic. :)

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  42. Awesome post! I shoot low so as not to be disappointed.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

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  43. Praying for that hydro to be turned back on soon! We've got a lot of folks without power just west of us as well from that freak blizzard we had this week. I always appreciate Ruthy's posts on here because she makes me *think*! This time I may have aimed too high for Speedbo but that's just because I'm coming off a 4 day migraine. I'm going to concentrate on just opening up my WIP doc and reading the last chapter. As long as we're challenging ourselves every day, whether it seems like a lot or a little, then we're on the right track in my mind. I make lists too and it must be the Type A personality in we writers but crossing things off the list feels so accomplished! So does writing "THE END" to a WIP. Please put me in the drawing for Colt's story because I haven't read that series yet. :)

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  44. I always shoot high, but I love to look back and count wherever I accomplished even if is not everything I wanted, its still progress. This time I'm falling behind my goals for this month, but I'm regrouping and resetting my goals for the next 3 weeks. You seekerville gals are awesome motivators I love every single post here, it keeps me going. Thanks!

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  45. Ruthy, I thought I was aiming low when I decided on my editing page count per day, but it turns out that my figure is on the dot. So far, I'm where I thought I would be, but I'd been hoping I'd be further ahead, but I'm not, but it's okay because I'm editing and I'm layering in and fixing things.

    Thanks for your post and making me think about whether I'm setting my daily goal too high or too low.

    I'm so glad for the breakfast pizza, and I'm glad none of you can catch my cold. Ick, but I can still manage, so I'm not complaining and I'm thankful I was able to work today because I have Ruthy's ten tips and number 7 is stop whining and number 8 is I mean it, stop whining.

    Happy writing (or editing or brainstorming).

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  46. Thank you for the 'gift,' Ruthy. I thought it through while I was folding laundry this afternoon -- one of my writing breaks. I think I qualify as a low-shooter :-) primarily because I've learned that if I'm rigid about schedules/goals/whatever it never works. I get frustrated by delays, interruptions, and interference.

    I have a 'gee I'd like to accomplish this today' plan. When I achieve that plan, super. When I don't, I've learned not to beat myself up ... that leads nowhere.

    Today my writing goal was to review the first 100 pages of a WIP watching for inconsistencies. I went through 95 pages, and that's just fine. That's more pages than I had reviewed yesterday at this time :-)

    Cheers for all who Speedbo!

    Nancy C

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  47. P.S. So glad to see "Back in the Saddle" in mass-market paperback! It is SUCH a good book!!

    Nancy C

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  48. Hmmm... I don't know. I tend to be the person who stretches high with my aspirations (and I will have to stretch faaaaar because let me tell you- I'm short) only to lose my balance and land hard back on earth with nothing but bruises and a wounded pride to show for my efforts.

    But for Speedbo I kept my goals reasonable (maybe I've learned my lesson from all those times I fell), only 1,000 words a day and as of yet I have been able to not only meet my goals but also surpass them by a lot. It certainly feels a lot better to strut around with my victories and completed goals, instead of limping away due to all the bruises I gained when I fell back to earth.

    But only time will tell if I've truly learned my lesson, or if this is just an anomaly.

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  49. Hope Ruthy's power is restored soon. She is such an encourager, and all of us love her enthusiasm. I would love to have my name tossed into the hat for Their Surprise Daddy. Thank you for the chance.

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  50. Great post, RUTHY! You said: "Tell me today how you plan. What's your modus operandi? What's your methodology? Do you keep yourself rigid or allow slack?" I definitely have to cut myself some slack. If I try to stick with a too rigid schedule (of any kind) I start to feel almost claustrophobic (weird, but true). My favorite stress reliever is to make a whole bunch of plans for the week (in my own mind, I try not to involve others in my craziness), and then cancel all but one or two. LOL. There may be no hope for me.

    Congrats on the mass-market paperback release!!!

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  51. I am definitely a list maker. I have a to-do list on my computer where I can check things off and see the list get shorter. It keeps me going. I've also learned to adjust my goals if I set them too high because not meeting them can get discouraging.

    Congrats Ruth on your new release.

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  52. I appreciate the reminder. I've had a week where I've had to play catch up on my word count. I'm in release mode for my debut novel and lots of marketing to do. I'm tweaking my second novel that my agent has been shopping around. Based on some feed back I'm finishing some rework. Add my goal of 1,000 words a day to finish the rough draft of the sequel to my debut and my month is kinda crazy.
    I know my weakness is having a nettling feeling in the back of my mind that I am going to fail. The little voice can torment me at the most inopportune times.
    I try to get God's mind on where to aim my goal. I think of Hezekiah when the prophet told him to shot arrows out the window. Each arrow represented victory over his enemies. He was rebuke for not shooting the whole quiver. Some writers quivers are smaller than others. Mine is not huge but I don't want to do less than God is directing in writing, marketing and networking with fellow-writers. But I don't want to take on more than I should closing off my family and my time with Lord. You remind me to seek God's balance and that is a great key we writers never want to forget. Thanks for the post. Throw my name in the hat.

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  53. I am a list maker also because as I get older my ability to remember EVERYTHING has somehow diminished :-) I have mixed emotions concerning setting your goals too high versus "just accepting"! I believe that you should try to do your best plus a little more but I also hate to see discouragement cause defeat. Thanks, Ruth, for sharing the list from your school days. These are great reminders for all of us.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  54. I try to set realistic goals, but for this month I set my goal high. I plan to write every day. So far this week, I've done pretty well. I haven't written in two years since I received my foster daughters. So frankly, I'm happy with any accomplishment.

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  55. This was a great post. I tend to aim too high, but have a "low" that I can accept. Those goals are sweet when we reach them and, thanks to Speedbo, writing regularly helps achieve that goal. Blessings to you all.

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  56. Hi, Ruth. Thanks for the advice about becoming clear and concerned about mindfulness and self-discipline.

    Like others, I write lists. I have a list for almost everything (I'm secretly addicted to post-it-notes & 8"x5" legal pads). I keep a running list of to-do that I use to write my daily must do list. I even have a "project list" noting projects I'm currently working on, desiring to work on and considering working on.

    "She believed she could so she did" is my modus operandi. So, if I have some faith and reasonable expectations about a project I'll list it. When I get into a slothful stump I tell myself; either do it or decide not to.

    I alway myself slack because being rigid doesn't work well for me as a self-employed, single mom. To me, balance is everything in all things pertaining to life.

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