"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."-Sir Winston Churchill
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.-James 1:4
Today I received a cute little black and gold badge from ACFW. It will sit in my inbox for a little while, so I can take it out on discouraging days and remember.
Because one year ago today, finishing my novel was a joke. I didn't think I would ever accomplish it. I was discouraged by my first year of homeschooling and all that entailed. I didn't make the time to write. I didn't think I had the time.
Yet somewhere along the way I discovered I needed to make the time. Writing is a ministry and even if I don't ever show my work to anyone else God has used it in my own heart to craft changes in me.
ACFW 2011. My homeschool group was starting that week. It keeps me quite busy with teaching and serving, I didn't think I would have a minute to miss the fact that I wasn't at ACFW. The truth was...I didn't deserve to be at ACFW, right? I didn't even have a manuscript finished. That night I decided to watch the ACFW awards streaming. Our dear Alley friends were sweet enough to send those of us at home pictures from their phones, and Sherrinda and I were able to chat online from our homes.
That night I broke down bawling. I told my husband, Chris, I really didn't think I would finish my manuscript. Maybe it just wasn't my time for writing and maybe I should let go of the dream. Maybe someday I would finish my book, but I was skeptical.
My husband reminded me of all the "accidents" that had happened in the short time since I had started writing. He knows we don't believe in "accidents."
Then he gave me an ultimatum. "I want you to write every other day for one hour for at least a month. If you do, I'll buy you the ACFW conference CDs."
It wasn't about the CDs. It was about the challenge. I needed to prove to myself that I could finish this book.
Shortly afterward I talked to my dear Alley mate, Casey, on the phone. Y'all know that Casey is a bonafide cheerleader!! She told me about #1K/1hr on twitter. Now I had a challenge and a goal. Casey held my toes to the fire (just kidding, of course), the truth is the Lord knew I needed accountability to finish my book and so he gave me a persisent online pal and a husband who wanted me to reach my dreams.
So this novel I started a year and a half ago has been finished in 1K/1 hour segments several times a week from September through February 4th.
Do you have to give something up to reach that goal?
I loved blogging and book reviewing. I still review for the Title Trakk on a regular basis, but I've given up my personal blog and the rest of my book reviewing. I do not get on Twitter or Facebook. (Although I do click on the bottom of the post to "tweet" my Alleymates posts when I can). I no longer keep up on blogs.
Possibly I have missed some great contacts that will help me later on. I know I have missed catching up with online friends I have met.
But writing is just one piece of my pie. I prefer to spend that time on my novel, as per Jody Hedlund's advice here ("How Much Time Should Writers Devote to Social Media").
There are other things I've had to give up along the way. That's just part of the journey.
I don't know how its going to end, this writing journey. In the end I just keep pressing towards the mark. Falling far short at times. Many times.
If you've finished a manuscript or even if you haven't, I challenge you to take the time to thank someone who has helped you along the way.
What has helped you reach your writing goal? Who has helped you along the way?
(I hope you'll permit me the indulgence to post my badge here, since I no longer blog on my personal blog).
The Title Trakk, a Christian review site.