Are You Moving Forward Toward Your Goal

Doyne Phillips

Doyne Phillips

Today, a friend of mine, Doyne Phillips who is the Managing Editor of Southern Writers Magazine joins us with a great post on goals.

What is your goal? Are you moving toward it? Do you make progress each day? We all need to know what our goals are. Someone once said a goal without a plan is just a wish. We need to have a plan to move in the direction that will ensure success in reaching those goals. How do we get this done?questiongoal (1)


First determine your goals. In the business world we have a short formula we use to determine our goals and it has three steps. They are: “How Much? By When? The Details?”


Let’s say you are building your platform and you decide you want as part of your platform 1,000 Followers on Twitter and 1,000 Friends on Facebook. There is your “How Much?” question answered.


Now we move on to “By When?”. You want those numbers reached by the end of the year. This will coincide with the completion of your first draft and you can refer to these numbers in your query letters you send to literary agents.goal2


Next “The Details?” step is more complicated. You determine the steps you must take in order to meet those numbers by that date. You know you can’t reach your goal in an hour, day or even one month. So you will need to determine what you will do and how you will do it consistently to complete your goal. You must break it down. An example: you have 200 days left in the year and need 2,000 new Friends and Followers. You need to add 10 a day for 200 days. How will you do it? You will need to say “I will reach my goal of 2,000 additional Friends and Followers by contacting 10 to 20 new contacts a day and request they become my Friend or Follower.” With that decided you must act.

I love the quiz; three frogs were sitting on a log and one decided to jump. How many frogs are sitting on the log? The answer is three. A decision without action has no results. In order to reach your goal you must act and do so in a continuous steady fashion. Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, calls it “sustained effort”.AndyAndrews, author of The Traveler’s GiftThe Butterfly Effect and The Final Summit said, “I persisted without exception.”  If Canfield or Andrews had made the decision and not moved on it we would not have these great works available to us today.

The only way to get nearer to your goal is to move toward it. Determine how much, by when and work out the details. THEN JUMP! 


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Who Would You Like to Ask?

The University of Mississippi once invited William Faulkner to the English department to address one class per day for a week. Faulkner devoted the entire time to answering the students’ questions.

Photo from Commercial Appeal

Photo from Commercial Appeal


When asked what is the best training one should have for writing he said, “Read, read, read. Read everything – classics, good or bad, trash; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it. Write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”


That was good advice; however, I would have added practice writing. You see I think you can read how to do it, how others are doing it but if you don’t practice you’re doing it, then how can the cycle complete itself? In other words, how will you know if you can even write.

That is the same thing with any profession. We have to learn by reading, studying, and trying it. Only by doing, will we become proficient at the trade we’ve chosen.

The students asked Faulkner another question. They wanted to know if it was good to copy a style. His answer was somewhat profound. “If you have something to say, use your own style: it will choose its own type of telling, its own style.”


Each of us is unique. We each have our own style of voice, writing, creating and to copy someone else in anything steals your style from you. Eventually your style will fade into the background.


Whom would you like to ask? What question would you like to ask that would help you succeed in your endeavors? If they are still living, do what you can to get in touch with them. If they are the kind of people they should be, they would be most willing to answer your question. If they don’t, then perhaps you might want to rethink why you would want answers from this type of person.


A successful person who is confident in who he/she is, doesn’t mind giving advice to others who are trying to learn and accomplish their dreams. They want to pass on and share their experiences and their wisdom. When we can help someone else on that road we are all traveling on, it imparts a piece of us and helps us live on even after we’re gone.


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Who is Your Cheerleader?

I have a question I like to ask people when I am speaking in groups about achieving, being motivated, being their best–– “Who is your cheerleader”?

Everyone seems to look stunned when I throw this question out. I don’t blame them, how could they have expected such a question, after all we are not in high school.

When I was in high school, they had pep squads. Yours did too I imagine. Do you remember what their duty was? Their duty was to promote school spirit. Yes, they are similar to a cheerleading squad, but they are usually separate. You would find both cheerleaders and the pep squad on Friday’s decked out in their uniforms (which were different in style) going around with their posters they had spent hours on making and bright and bold colors of our school. The cheerleaders would lead the cheers and the pep squad would move through the crowd clapping and jumping shouting the cheers just like the cheerleaders. Between the pep squad and the cheerleaders, they created a whirl of optimism and positive energy flowing for the game that night. Why if someone from out-of-town had heard all this they would have thought we had won the game. Because that is how we sounded and that was how we were acting. They wrapped the football players and the student body up in a winning whirlwind.

This brings me to the second question I like to ask. “Do you give yourself pep talks”? When you look in the mirror, are you your cheerleader, your pep squad? We all need a cheerleader. Who better to cheer us on than ourselves? Oh yes, we also want our family and friends in that squad and on our team but we should be the captains–– the first to start the cheers. It is our responsibility to work ourselves up in that whirlwind of enthusiasm, optimism and positive energy flowing through our veins.

In order to feel good we need inspiration. We have all been to meetings where they inspire us to do greater things and when we come out of there we feel like we are walking on air and not a doubt in our minds we are going to make it to the top. Be a winner But by the time we get home, someone has let the air out and we are back down on the ground…pecking around.

If only we could feel like we did in those meetings, we could jump tall buildings, move mountains and soar with the eagles. They might even think we were ‘Superman’ (or ‘Superwoman’).

You can feel like that. Just decide to become your own pep squad and cheerleader. Tell yourself how good you are, how wonderful you are and that you can do anything. Just tell yourself that everyone you meet is going to have his or her hearts open to you and that everything you endeavor to do is going to be good. This reminds me of a scripture: For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor, You will surround him as with a shield. Psalm 5:12

You may not feel it the first few times you do it, but if you work at it, every day, eventually you will believe in yourself. You will notice you walk straighter even with a skip almost in your step. People will be smiling back at you because you are smiling at them. Your heart will feel lighter because the baggage has been moved out and been replaced with wonderful accolades.

So start now, be your very own cheerleader and see for yourself, soon you will feel every day just like you did when you left that meeting and being and doing all you were meant to do and be..


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Friday’s Author and Book Report: Ann H Gabhart

Ann Gabhart  “A new Rosey Corner book, Love Comes Home, is now available at your favorite bookstores or on-line book retailers. I can’t wait for readers to take another trip back to Rosey Corner to see how the Merritt sisters are doing as they begin life after the boys come home from World War II.”

Meet Ann H Gabhart. She says she is a country girl, born and raised on a farm in the Outer Bluegrass region of Kentucky. ” I know you’re thinking horse farm, but no, not out my way. Mostly cows on the farms around here. My grandfather did have a big old workhorse when I was a little girl. My family grew tobacco and corn. We had a few milk cows, some hogs and sheep, but mostly beef cattle. I grew up working on the farm and enjoying the woods and animals. My roots grow deep in the land, and I now live on a farm just a mile away from the farmhouse where I was born and raised.

I started writing when I was ten and have been writing ever since.

Love Comes Home (1)Ann’s newest book is “Love Comes Home”. World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are busy welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline wants a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be–a life with a man who will never come back. And little Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.

Through the heartfelt storytelling of bestselling author Ann Gabhart, readers join these endearing characters as they walk an uncertain road. Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.

Don’t miss Ann’s newest book. You will love her characters and her books will take you into worlds you want to visit.

To find out more about Ann H Gabhart, visit her blog and website below.

Find her book at


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Did you say from Bumps to Best?

Sometimes we are going along on life’s road, it is smooth sailing, and then we hit a bump.

phoo from flicker

phoo from flicker

That bump may be our testing ground. How we handle it will determine where and how far we go in life.
The first thing some of us do when we hit that bump is start telling ourselves all the reasons we can’t overcome this bump. Have you ever wondered why you start out telling yourself the reasons why you can’t make it?
Some of those reasons we use we heard in childhood and some we allowed to be dumped on us in adulthood and some we have spoon-fed ourselves.

We give ourselves mental beatings. It’s a wonder some of us can still walk. We spend our time convincing ourselves why we can’t do something when we should spend our time telling ourselves why we can do it.
Instead of developing fear, let’s concentrate on developing courage. It’s our life, let’s make the best of it.
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Linda Yezak, Texas Author

Linda W YezakLinda Yezak is an author, but first a  Texan through and through. She believes her state is the best and has the ability to tell tall tales with the best of them.

give-the-lady-a-ride-2She is also a fantastic author pinning books like “Give the Lady  a Ride” which won the 2011 Grace Awards. The book is about Patricia Talbert, no bigger than a newborn heifer who is lured to the Circle Bar Ranch where no one knows her or cares that her father is a senator. Maybe on the ranch, she can separate herself from her father and develop an identity of her own.

Cat LadyHer newest book “The Cat Lady’s Secret is fabulous. It’s about Emily Taylor who loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true.

Millie wears crazy clothes and carries a tote bag and a fish net to capture feral felines. She walks all over town, and everywhere she goes, she encounters people with wishes, wants, and needs–and all are fulfilled.

But who is the real force behind these blessings?

When a con man ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes. When one of Emily’s gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town’s anonymous benefactor-as well as  her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart-are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls.

Aside from her writing, she is a freelance editor. She enjoys speaking for writing groups and conferences.A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association (WFWA), and The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network).

To find out more about Linda Yezak visit her website:

You can also get her books on her site or go to

Don’t miss Linda’s books. You will love her way of weaving the stories she has to tell.




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Did You Play Well With Other Kids Growing Up?

photo from

photo from

Remember when we were little playing with our friends?  I don’t know about you but I did not always share my toys willingly. Now, sometimes I did. I think all in all I was a pretty nice little playmate.

It seems to start out nice, you are handing them your toys, you want them to play with them, but into the hour we begin to see they are having so much fun with our toys we want them back.

I now wonder if it was because we wanted to have the fun they were having or was it we didn’t want them to have that much fun on us.

The other day while watching two children sitting on the floor playing with each other, I noticed the little host was handing his toys to his friend, and both were chattering away to each other and glowing with smiles and laughter while playing with the toys and with each other. However, the child who was playing host tired of playing with the toy he had and decided he wanted his other toy, the one his friend was playing with. So of course, he reached over, grabbed it out of the kids’ hand, and told his friend it was his toy and he wanted it. The little kid went bonkers. He began crying in such a way that startled the customers; even the server dropped a cup onto the floor shattering it. Thank goodness, it was empty. Then the kid started screaming “Mine, mine, he took mine. Get it. I want it back, Mommy.”

photo from

photo from

I watched the mothers of the two kids. They both turned around, at the same time…smiled at their kids, and both said in unison, “play nice boys” and turned back to continue their conversation, which of course was so much more important and continued drinking their ‘vanilla latte and caramel ice coffee’. Naturally, the children minded the mothers–wrong. They continued to fight over it until it escalated and one of the children hit the other. You know the scene you’ve seen it too.

While watching this vignette with the four characters play out I couldn’t help but wonder why it is we humans have such a hard time-sharing and helping each other sometimes. It’s as if we revert to the days of childhood, we don’t want the other person to get what we have.

If what we have is great, how can we not pass it on to others? How can we not shout from the rooftops, “Here it is, come get it?” If I know how to do something and it will help someone, I should be glad to show him or her how to do it.

When I share with someone my knowledge and my experience, I do help them, but I also help myself. I get better. The old adage practice makes perfect is true. I become more experienced and if I keep on, eventually not only will I be a master at it, but people everywhere will know that I, me, am the master and I create a following that will carry me to new heights. Fortunately, because I have learned to share my toys I won’t be alone on those heights.

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One Step At A Time

Picture from

Picture from

David J. Schwartz, PhD said, “The person determined to achieve maximum success learns the principle that “progress is made one step at a time.”

We would all love to wake up in the morning and be an outstanding-successful bestselling, sought after author with people clamoring for our books, so much so the publisher can’t get them printed fast enough. Movie studios are knocking at our door with contracts.

Or perhaps the CEO of the most successful-profitable company in the world.

The truth is that normally doesn’t happen to anyone…and if it should, there is a strong possibility that it would be fleeting. Why? Because you may not have built a foundation strong enough to sustain a lasting success.

As Dr. Schwartz said, “foundations are built one brick at a time. Football games are won one play at a time.” When you see someone hit it big, look close, you will see that person used the one-step at a time approach. One-step upon another until they reached the star they were focusing on obtaining.

picture from

picture from

To become a bestselling author, many steps come into play. We have to write every day to finish our manuscript. Then we need to find an agent who will find the publisher or we need to find a self-publisher. Our work doesn’t stop there. Then comes the marketing phase of this foundation. Every day we have to make efforts to market our book. We have to Facebook, Twitter, and then we need to blog. There are many bricks needed to build our foundation. Remember in anything we undertake, to succeed we need to take one-step, one brick, and one day at a time.

When we have a project to work on, we should never look at the entire scope of the project, just the part that can be achieved that day. We have all heard the expression ‘One day at a time’. That is all we have. Take today; write what you can, market what you can. your one day starts today!

This advice goes for whatever you are striving for. Whether you are a teacher, business person, student–what ever the profession.

Start your step today!


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Friday’s Author and Book Report: Lauraine Snelling

Lauraine Snelling Lauraine Snelling loves to read. She is also a member of the more than 2 million books in print club.

She writes about real issues within a compelling story, which she shows, in her contemporary romances and women’s fiction, which has probed the issues of forgiveness, loss, domestic violence and cancer. In The Brushstroke Legacy, she wrote about three generations of women that discover God’s gifts are powerful enough to speak across centuries. In her book, The Way of Women, three women delve deep into their hearts as they encounter a volcanic eruption and prove that when women strive together they can face even the unthinkable.


Heaven Sent Rain In this book, Dinah Taylor has an orderly life that is just how she likes it. A perfectly furnished luxury apartment, a satisfying career as a scientist and CEO of her own company, and an uncomplicated personal life. But all of that changes when she meets seven-year-old Jonah. 

The boy shows up one day, a scruffy dog by his side, in front of her office building. Dinah knows nothing about kids and even less about animals, but after she buys him breakfast, he shows up the next day…and the next. She tries to learn more about him, to help him, but he’s remarkably skilled at evading her questions. And then, late one night, he calls her in a panic-his dog has been badly injured. Dinah rushes them to a local animal clinic, where she meets Garret, a veterinarian with a thriving practice and a passion for drawing. Though Jonah takes to Garret right away, for some reason neither understands, Dinah and Garret just don’t mesh. But for Jonah’s sake, their lives continue to collide, and slowly the relationship between these three strangers begins to change.

For more information on Lauraine Snelling and to check out and see what books she has written visit her website


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Stories Are Here, There, and Everywhere.

angeerHave you ever wished you could just sit down and write something you were thinking about. Perhaps it was a memory of your childhood, or just a thought, or a prayer.

Or maybe, you want to write but you have no idea what you would write. Well, guess what there are stories everywhere.

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”  Orson Scott Card

I agree with Mr. Card. As a matter of fact, I was thinking the other day, about all the possible stories I walked past when I worked in downtown Nashville in the 60’s and 70’s. It was somewhat different then that it is now. There were more colorful people on the street. If only! Yes, if only I had jotted down notes about the things and the people I saw each day.

One day in particular, I was watching some men who were working on the roof of a building. They were constructing a building in downtown Nashville. The construction had gone on almost a year when one day, watching out my office window, I see a man fall off the roof. I was dumbstruck. Why did I not make a note about this happening?

I agree, wherever we look, there is a story. Only the writer sees the story– while others go on about their business not seeing.

I have learned to carry a notepad with me wherever I go, so I can capture what I see. What sticks out? What looks odd or funny? Creativity and imagination can take those things we see and conjure up different worlds of fantasy and science fiction, romance and mystery.

Jane Hyatt Yolen said, “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.”

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