14 01, 2019

Starting 2019 with FOCUS

By |2019-01-12T11:19:36-06:00January 14th, 2019|Monday Motivations, Writer's Life|0 Comments

2018 is history. 2019’s clock is ticking.

A New Year signals

  • a fresh start
  • a new chapter in life with blank pages to fill
  • new questions to be asked
  • new answers to discover

It’s a time to move closer to fulfilling dreams and achieving goals. An opportunity to bring new focus.

Many pick a guide word for each New Year to help them focus. Words like Achieve, Joy, Balance,  Learn. You can find ideas here.

In the past, I’ve chosenHope fuels the creativity engine. That year I published two books and ultimately creativity has led to seven published books.

Last year I chose PROGRESSIt’s from the Elsie Joy Get to Workbook, a fantastic planner for projects. In spite of 2018’s many interruptions (some good, some not so good) I did make progress last year. Not as much as I planned, but forward movement is forward. I’m just saying.

This year my 2019 focus will be CONSISTENCY.2018 was full of spurts and fizzle outs. I’m determined to be more focused on my writing. My 2019 SMART goals are set to accomplished that focus.

In case you’re not familiar, SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, and results-focused – guidelines to achievement. Schoolteachers will recognize the idea from lesson planning. Setting SMART goals help me clarify ideas, focus efforts, and use time and resources productively. More about SMART goals in next week’s blog.

Have you picked a focus word for your new year? What did you choose? If you haven’t, what would it be?

26 06, 2017

Rest vs Busyness

By |2017-06-13T10:30:19-05:00June 26th, 2017|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Summer officially arrived on June 21. The time of lazy days and easy living.

But is it? For most of us, life doesn’t slow down at all.

Why don’t we give ourselves permission to rest in this wild, busy world? What compels us to think we have to meet all the demands put upon us?

Writers face manuscripts to finish, blogs to post, social media to keep up with, craft books to read, conferences and workshops to attend. It’s easy to constantly be busy, moving, doing, and fail to slow down to settle into peace even on the rare occasions where it’s right in front of us. And, it’s not only writers.

So many things pull for our time and attention. We become weary. Yet we keep on keeping on, endlessly moving and doing.

Have you noticed that even when we do stop to rest and sit on the porch swing with a favorite book to sip a glass of iced tea we fidget? Our toes tap. Thoughts hammer rat-a-tap-tap like a woodpecker in our heads. It’s not easy to be still.

For some reason we tend to think by working hard and wearing ourselves out, we validate our value to the world. Faulty thinking that hinders rest.

We equate being busy with worth. But does being productive prove our worth?  Not necessarily.

Busyness can be an addictive, but busyness doesn’t have to be the boss of us.

We can break the habit. We can step off the busyness treadmill by taking moments for inner peace.

All we have to do is STOP.

Take five minutes to sit in the quiet. (If small children or pets are around, this may involve going into a closet or the bathroom and locking the door.)

Just. Be. Quiet. No TV. No music. No books, no journals.

Sit, close your eyes, and breathe. In – Out. In – Out.

Enjoy the peacefulness.

You might be surprised by what a time of rest can do to your peace of mind and productivity.

25 02, 2015

4 Ways to Keep Your Productive Faucet Flowing

By |2015-02-25T06:00:34-06:00February 25th, 2015|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

February is almost over. We’re moving at warp speed through 2015. So how are you doing on those plans and resolutions from New Year’s Day?

If you’re like me, that faucet of enthusiasm has slowed to a trickle or off entirely. Barely a drip.water1

It’s time to heed the words of a great writerly quote from Louis L’Amour, an American author of hundreds of authentic western novels:

“The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

The full quote, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” provides great advice for writers.

You see when life spins out of control writers, well at least to this writer, lets the distractions stop my writing. Instead of moving ahead, I tend to think, “I’ll just finish __________ then I’ll get back to writing.”

Fill in the blank with whatever distracts you from working toward your goal. You don’t have to be a writer to fall into the distraction trap.

What happens is each passing day we don’t work on our goal or resolution, it becomes easier not to do what we planned. Doesn’t take long before self-doubt makes us question if our project is even worth the time at all.

Here are four ways I plan to get myself back on track, and turn my faucet on again.water2

Establish a Schedule

A schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone or the same every single day or week. Make it adjustable. Most important, put the time slots on your calendar the way you would any other appointment or commitment.

Seize Small Chunks of Time

An hour may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised at what can be accomplished in a small, consistent, and repeated amount of time. Snatch those minutes wherever you can.

My goal for 2015 is two books published so I’m training myself to keep my iPad with me and write wherever I go like when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office or a passenger in the car. Since I live in the mountains and the nearest Wal-Mart, doctor, or grocery store is at least thirty minutes away. I’m amazed at how my word count builds.

Set your goal as your priority every day.

I work toward my goals BEFORE I do any other tasks for the day. I find if I do the laundry, clean the house or any of those other very necessary tasks first, I always run out of time. You will too.

Reward Small Successes

Be proud of small incremental steps. I remind myself almost on a daily basis that one word a day gives me 365 words of my novel by the end of the year. When I write an entire chapter, I celebrate with chocolate, usually M&Ms!

If you’re like me and your faucet isn’t flowing as it should, it’s not too late. Do not give up or abandon your goals and resolutions altogether.Rejuvenate that motivation you had six weeks ago. Turn your faucet on.

water3Hear that water rushing?  Now turn your faucet on and let it flow steadily.


27 08, 2014

PERFECTIONISM – One Word Wednesday

By |2014-08-27T06:00:00-05:00August 27th, 2014|one word Wednesday|1 Comment

I seem to be stuck on words that begin with the letter P this month. Not on purpose. Oops another P word.

There’s a reason PERFECTIONISM is today’s word.

As I rewrote the beginning sentence of my WIP (work in progress) for the jillionth time, I realized that I was striving for the perfect opening hook and not moving on with the story.

That led me to thinking about how the need for perfection can stymie all of us.

The dictionary defines PERFECTION two ways:

  1. a quality, trait, or feature of the highest degree of excellence
  2. the highest degree of proficiency, skill, or excellence, as in some art

Creating something that is perfect is not a bad goal — until that need leads to perfectionism where you regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable.

iStock_000021270771SmallWhy is perfectionism bad?

According to, perfectionists regard life as an endless report card on accomplishments or looks, which is a fast track to unhappiness, depression, and eating disorders.

Perfectionists focus on avoiding failure and miss all the joy of learning from mistakes.

It’s easy to slip into the perfection trap. I did.

My fear of a lengthy revision letter from my editor brought out a desire to produce a perfect opening. In reality, all I ended up doing was road blocking myself.

If you’re worried you might be slipping into the perfection trap, here’s an on-line test.

To overcome a tendency toward perfection, I’ve found a Hemingway quote as a reminder for those times when I start down the slippery slope of perfectionism.

Since we’re all apprentices in one way or another, maybe the quote will work for you, too.


SOURCE: Thank you, Edie Melson



13 08, 2014

Procrastination – One Word Wednesday

By |2014-08-13T06:00:51-05:00August 13th, 2014|one word Wednesday|0 Comments

Procrastination is the act or habit of putting off or delaying something. A clever enemy of everyone, not just writers.

I’m not sure whether procrastination is a deliberate act or subconscious, but, according to Wayne Dyer, “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.

Author of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield, calls procrastination a form of resistance. He believes creative types face lots of resistance and offers inspiration to overcome that resistance. Words from his little book have gotten me over more than one bumpy writing slowdown.

I believe his idea of overcoming resistance applies to everyone plagued by the habit of procrastination.

Even if you’re not be a writer, procrastination can hold you back and prevent you from doing something you should be doing.

Goethe said, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.

Writing is hard  and solitary. Those two truths stall many writers. Procrastination wins.

I refuse to let procrastination to win. I get up every morning, put my butt in the chair, and W-R-I-T-E.

Note, I didn’t say when I feel like writing or whether I think what I write is worthy of a Pulitzer. I sit at the computer and write. EVERY DAY.

Does procrastination stall your dream?

I suggest following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s advice so beautifully depicted in Edie Melson’s graphic?


12 03, 2014

Solitude – One Word Wednesday

By |2014-03-12T06:00:52-05:00March 12th, 2014|one word Wednesday|1 Comment

Most of us have been held captive by winter’s hold for so long now. Too long.

We’ve been isolated. Stuck inside. Alone.

Consider Lord Byron’s take on solitude.


Thanks to Edie Melson of The Write Conversation for sharing her creative photo that so accurately portrays Byron’s words.

I believe Bryon suggests, rather than isolating, solitude stirs us to introspection, which in turn feeds our soul and nourishes our creativity.

Do you agree?

27 02, 2014

Don’t look down!

By |2014-02-27T06:00:54-06:00February 27th, 2014|Company's Coming|10 Comments

Welcome with me our first guest blogger for Company’s Coming Thursday. Her thoughts on life resonate with me. I’m thinking they will with you too.

Don’t look down!

by Jody Payne

Don’t look down. But it’s okay if you hold your breath while looking up. That’s what I’m doing today as I post this on Judythe’s blog.

I have to admit I have no idea why anyone would give a hoot about my opinion of anything, but I’m always willing to give an opinion.

Jody's blog 02-27-14Sometimes, I see myself as one of those pebbles you find on the beach.

I’ve been washed and polished and tossed ashore. Then, just as I start to feel the sun on my face, I’m thrown back into the ocean by a wave with the force of a tsunami.

However, next thing you know, there I am on the beach again basking in glorious sunlight.

Is this how you see your life?


I do know this much; life, with all its troubles, all its anguish, is a miracle.

Yep, life is a total miracle to be enjoyed even when we’re in the deep, way over our heads and wondering if this time we’ll ever surface again.

Do this for me, for yourself and everyone you love: Vow to take time to understand you’re being cleansed and polished.

Trust me; next time you are tossed ashore, you will discover you are stronger and your life will be more beautiful than ever.

What’s going on in your life right now?

Can you remember a time when your life was at its darkest? And then, voila! You were thrown back on the shore to rest in the sun.

If you’ve never been in the depths of real trouble, never been afraid this time you’d never get a happy life again, I’m thrilled for you.

I also think you’re lying.

Tell us the truth. We’ll all feel better. I’m just sayin’…

jodyJody Payne is

a writer (fiction and non-fiction),

a horse woman (dressage, no less),

an animal lover (just ask her two rescue dogs Annie and Janie or my two four-legged boys, Toby and Buster),

and most of all she’s southern through and through.

Want to visit with Jody more? You can find her on FB: or her website:

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