Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - the basics

Out of all the answers I've got from the many people I've asked how they do it, I think Jennifer Hudson Taylor's answer sums it up.
How do you get to be a person who has sticktoitiveness?
Jennifer Hudson Taylor: Actually, everything requires sticktoitiveness or I'd never get anything accomplished. Blogging, writing, marketing, just getting to work each day. It helps me to set a schedule and a deadline for things. I keep a calendar that helps me stay on task.
To sum up Jennifer's answer, and every answer I've done all month, the key to sticking to something is simply to decide to stay on task, and to know yourself well enough and know what you need to do to accomplish it.
Thank you Jennifer for that succinct summary.
I invite everyone to check out Jennifer's book "Highland Blessings" which comes out in May, the same time as mine. Check out Jennifer Hudson Taylors book, or anything else you want to know about her
(okay, maybe not everything) at
I'll end the month's topic with my thought/question of the day. I hope that some of the ideas presented help you with the sticktoitiveness you've already got, or, like me, to help enhance the sticktoitiveness you'll need for your next project. What is your next project, and how will YOU stick to it?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - and prayer when there's nothing left

Sticktoitiveness. Sometimes we just don't have it when we need it.
My friend Lena Nelson Dooley has this to say.
Lena Nelson Dooley: This question has really applied to my life this last year. I had a book deadline for my first long novel.
While I was writing the novel, my husband became gravely ill with a long recovery time followed by three skin cancer surgeries.
I knew that I had to apply sticktoitiveness to the novel writing in the midst of all this.
How did I do it. God is the main answer. Without seeking His face every day, I would have never made it.
By that I mean, that I read the Bible and prayed in the morning. Then when I sat down at the computer, I prayed.
After reading over what I had written the day before, I prayed about what He would have me write that day.
In the midst of this, I prayed while I gave my husband three IV antibiotics a day, drove him to the doctor, and sat alone during the surgeries.
But He is faithful to help us do what we need to do--in His strength, not our own.

I can see that being a very difficult and trying time. Often people joke about prayer, but prayer works. Visit Lena Nelson Dooley and check out her new book on
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. What do you do to stick to something, when you feel there's nothing left inside?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - for the long haul

Now here is a person who has the longest record of sticktoitiveness of everyone I've spoken to.
Author Myra Johnson, tell me how you feel about it.
Myra Johnson:Considering it took me 25 years and over 200 book manuscript rejections before I received my first contract offer for a novel, I'd say I've got sticktoitiveness! When you want something badly enough, you do whatever it takes. You learn and adapt and just keep working. And praying. That's not to say it's easy. Giving up can be so, so tempting. And believe me, I considered giving up many, many times over those 25 years. But obviously my sticktoitiveness paid off, because as of today I have three novels in print and another releasing later this year.

Nowadays, the need for sticktoitiveness comes in other forms. Drafting a detailed proposal when I still don't have a fully formed story idea. Working through pages and pages of editorial revisions. The business of marketing/PR that falls more and more upon an author's shoulders. Because I work at home, people tend to think I'm readily available for their agendas, so the only way to stay on track is to commit to regular "office hours" and insist that others respect my time.

And it doesn't hurt to hold out a "carrot" or two as a reward for getting the work done. Lunch with a friend, a trip to the mall, a chocolate truffle or two, a movie date with my husband . . . you get the idea!

Wow... 25 years. I can't compare to that, but you certainly did get results!
I invite everyone to check out Myra Johnson's book at and see the great results of sticking to it.
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. What's the longest you've ever stuck to something, and how did you do it?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - Hurry Less Worry Less

I don't know if there is anything that requires more sticktoitiveness than getting a newspaper out on time each and every day. But that is what Judy Christie did before she was an author. So naturally I asked Judy how she stuck to it.
Judy Christie: For many years I was a newspaper editor and had to make sure the paper came out on time each day. That helped me learn how to stick to something and get it done! My joy in life is helping busy people slow down and enjoy each day more -- both in my fiction and nonfiction books. Hurrying less and worrying less takes a large amount of sticking to it -- or you find myself running around like a chicken with your head chopped off.
My debut novel, "Gone to Green," launched last year, and the second novel, "Goodness Gracious Green" will be out this summer. With all of the excitement and to-do's that accompany that adventure, I've had to go back and read my own "Hurry Less Worry Less" series. It's hard not to be drawn into frenzied living. I focus on my priorities, keeping the Big Picture in mind, taking the best next step, and realizing -- gasp! -- that I can't do everything. The great peace comes in knowing that God doesn't expect me to do everything!
And there are the words I have to live by. Judy said she can't do everything, and I certainly can't either. No one can. What a relief!
I invite you to go to Judy Christie's website at and check out her new book, "Gone To Green"
My thought/question of the day of course has to do with the very uplifting quote "I can't do everything." Knowing that, are there times when you still try? What can you do to remind yourself to slow down, so you don't have to do it all, and only do the things you need to do, and still do them well?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - rewards

My friend Laurie Alice Eakes has an interesting perspective on how to stick-to-it when you have to stick to something you don't want to do.
Laurie Alice Eakes: Housework. It has to be done but I'd rather be writing than vacuuming. So, to keep myself at it, I remind myself that it has a reward beyond a clean house that will be dirty again in five minutes with all the dogs and cats and the dusty Texas winds.
That means it's reading time. I pop an audio book into my portable player and slip on the headphones. It can't be just any book; it has to be one I've been saving for days because I've been too busy to read, otherwise I don't want to get hung up on reading and not work. Or it's justifiable loud music time. I turn on the stereo as loud as I want - provided the windows are closed - and even sing along.
Then, after every task is complete, I get to stop for a break, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, check my e-mail, or even write down ideas that may have come to me while scrubbing the tub.
This used to be how I got myself to exercise until I got to the point that not exercising made me feel so physically bad the exercise was in itself a reward. Housework hasn't gotten to that point though, and I doubt it ever will.

I have never thought of rewarding myself, even with something small after an unpleasant job is done, I've only felt relief when it was over. I think I'll have to try that, maybe... chocolate!
You're invited to check out Laurie Alice Eakes and her latest book "The Glassblower" on her websie at
My thought/question of the day is an easy one. If you were going to reward yourself for finishing something you hated doing, what would your reward be?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

sticktoitiveness - being organized and making lists

Sticktoitiveness. Some of us have more of that quality in us than others.

Author Debby Mayne is someone I know who obviously has a lot of Sticktoitiveness.
Debby, how do you do it?

Debby Mayne: I'm super organized, stubborn, and I don't get too rattled by distractions. I have a running to-do list that I break down by the week and day. Whatever is critical goes to the top of the list, no matter how long something else has been on there. Then I break the list down by the day. A little OCD, maybe? Each day, I have 6 to 8 items on the list. Yeah, definitely OCD. :-)

Most days, I get up early, before anyone or anything can start tugging at me. I often get more done before 8:00 AM than the rest of the day because there are fewer distractions.

My children are grown now, so my husband and I are empty-nesters. I don't have as many distractions as I used to have, but I still need to guard my time. I've gotten really good at saying "no."

Some things that others might find distracting I see as blessings. When people call just to chat, I'm honored they'd think of me when they need conversation. There are days I want more distractions because I tend to be obsessed with whatever I'm working on, and I need to be pulled away.

Wow, I wish I could be so organized as Debby! Debby, thank you so much!

Debby Mayne is the author of many great books. For more information on Debby Mayne you are invited to go to

So here is my question/thought of the day. Obviously being organized helps with sticktoitiveness. If you're not as organized as Debby, even if you'll never be that organized, what can you do to get just a little more organized? One thing is sometimes all it takes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - distractions, distractions...

When asked about sticktoitiveness, I found that I am very similar to my friend Martha Rogers, and she gave me some good ideas. When I asked what in her life reequires sticktoitiveness, here's what she said.
Martha Rogers:
I have a difficult time sticking to a number of different tasks and completing them because my mind is working overtime on so many things. I am so easily distracted. If I'm cleaning a room and find something that belongs in another one, I will take it that room and then find something there that I think needs to be done, so I start on it and forget the other. Hence, I have a lot incomplete jobs that need to be done.
After all these years I've finally learned to set a schedule, list what has to be done then do it in order and don't stop until that task is finished then do something fun. It has worked because I tend to find all sorts of excuses. If I stick to a task and finish it, I feel satisfied and that gives incentive to get the next job out of the way. Then when it's all over, I can have fun with what I want to do.
I've had to apply this same routine to my writing or I would spend all the time answering emails and/or playing games. Now I set a goal of a certain number of words then read the email.
That's me all over! Distractions. My husband tells me that I can get distracted on my way to the bathroom. I won't comment further on that one. But I will invite you to check out Martha Rogers and her website at
Of course you can guess my thought/question of the day. Are you like Martha and me and so many others who get easily distracted? What do you do about it, when that happens?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - from a not-so eager beaver

So far I everyone I've asked about sticktoitiveness seems like they are so organized and full of boundless energy, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels exhausted just sitting at the computer reading about it.
The comment from Ronie Kendig about sticktoitiveness greatly encouraged me! When I asked Ronie about the things in her life that require sticktoitiveness, here is her reply.
Ronie Kendig: So very many things require that. I'm not one of those get-up-and-go eager beavers with endless energy. I homeschool my four children, and that sucks dry every morning, and part of my afternoons. Then I need to get things organized, emails done (never can seem to get them all tended to the way I used to), and then evenings are dinner and some time with hubby who's escaped the madness for the day. Somewhere in there, usually around 8pm-midnight or 1:00AM, I try to write. That's where I'm struggling right now. But if I don't, I only have an empty canvas. That's not much to work with. :-D
I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles, and I'm glad I'm not the only night owl out there.
To see more of Ronie Kendig I invite you to visit her website at
Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. For all of us not-so-eager-beavers out there, often the only way to do something we need to do is to do it when all else is done and the distractions of the day are over. Even if all you have when the day is over is 20 minutes, that 20 minutes is better than an empty canvas. What's on your canvas today?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - and moxy

Sticktoitiveness. Some of us are better at it than others, and here is one star who has more of that quality than anyone I know.
Fellow author Michelle Sutton, tells us about you and sticktoitiveness.
Michelle Sutton: Sticktoitiveness is my middle name, or as one editor told me, I've got "moxy" which includes a lot of drive, which is true. How do I juggle so many balls? For one thing, I have goals I set for myself, like deadlines for book reviews or submitting my manuscript. I also leave a bit of cushion in case I get sick or something gets in the way unexpectedly. I refuse to look too far down the road or I'd start hyperventilating. Also, I married a man who loves to cook and I've got two teens who help around the house so I'm not doing everything. I don't waste time on stupid stuff like watching TV, and this is probably the biggest reason I can do so much. I also told myself no matter what, I will finish what I start, unless God tells me otherwise (or the book puts me to sleep). That's it. Not much of a secret but it works for me.
In other words, this includes not getting involved in things that either waste time, or are unproductive, or my favorite, delegate housework! Which of course means the support of family, and often friends, too.
Michelle Sutton has definitely got what it takes. I invite you to check out her books at
Which brings me to my thought/topic of the day. When you have a project that you simply must get done, and you're in it for the long term, do you have the courage, or moxy, to ask for the help you need with other tasks to get it done? And most important, are you able to put aside what doesn't need to be done in order to accomplish your goals?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - interesting or... not

Sticktoitiveness. I approached my friend Christa Allan on this topic, and she said:
Christa Allan: What in my life requires sticktoitiveness? Assuming you're not referring to my kitchen floors on any given day, I think it's paying attention to my darling husband as he's discussing interest rates and compounding and amortization. Yeech.
Gail Sattler: Uh... kitchen floors is one thing, but I'm not sure I'd know how to stick to those "interesting" topics. What do you do so your eyes don't glaze over?
Christa Allan: ... I think of story ideas...

Now every time I read a book, I'm going to be wondering what was going on in the mind of that author when he or she thought of a plotline that has me hooked.
Speaking of plotlines, I invite everyone to check out Christa's book "Walking On Broken Glass" at her website - click here at

So now it's time for my thought/quesetion of the day. When you get caught up in a sitation that is beyond you, what runs through your head while you stick-to-it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - the big one - Marriage

There are so many things in our lives that require good ol' sticktoitiveness.
A comment on this topic made by my friend Jennifer AlLee really made me think.
Here's what Jen has to say about sticktoitiveness.
Jennifer AlLee says - The most important place for me to exercise sticktoitiveness is in my marriage. Like all couples, my husband and I have had our highs and we've had our lows. We also had a patch or two that was painfully rocky. But we know God put us together, so giving up has never been an option. We've learned we sometimes need to take a step back, especially when emotions are running high. He's pretty even tempered, but I can be kind of a hot-head. Over the years, I've gotten much better at sharing my frustrations and opinions in a calmer, less defensive way. And he's gotten better at listening and really hearing me. (Although he's still working on REMEMBERING what I've said!) Eighteen years later, we're stronger, and happier, than ever. Here's to sticking together for another eighteen and beyond!
That sounds great, but the opposite of what so many of us do when we in the middle of something when tensions are running high - and that is to step back and take a deep breath, and then continue on when times are calmed down. Good advice. For anyone who says they have never had any rocky points in their own marriage, I am thinking they are either lying or delusional.
Thank you Jenifer AlLee for those wise words.
Jennifer has a book just out now, check out "The Pastor's Wife" on her website at
So, sometimes stepping back helps, and I can understand that, because sometimes we do need to make a fresh start.
And this means it's time for my thought/question of the day, which is, when tensions are running high, what do you do when you know this is something you're committed to for the long term? Is it fight or flight, or something in the middle?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - a new "Outlook"

Sticktoitiveness - I think it's a learned skill, and many days I'm not so sure I've learned it well, I need a refresher.
My friend Sandie Bricker is someone else, like me, for whom this did not come naturally. Sandie, do you have sticktoitiveness, and how do you do it?
Sandie Bricker says: I've only developed it, with focused intent, over the last five years or so. Fo most of my life, I was distracted by metaphoric "shiny objects." But working a full-time day job, developing deadlines in my writing, and just a general desire to see more things completed rather than half-finished, I began praying for help in this area.

The first step toward turning over new leaf was becoming a list-maker. I make them weekly, detailing the projects I want to accomplish that week. If items have to be carried over the following week, then they move to the top of the list so that I make a concerted effort to follow through.

The second part of my plan was to master the Outlook calendar. I load my lists into my calendar each week, with little reminder pop-ups during the week, and beyond.

Now, many years later, I have a more organized approach to my life that helps me in my writing, as well as with the little details of life such as making appointments and follow-ups. The Big Picture has much more clarity, and I now follow through on a much higher percentage of things that used to slip through the cracks.

Thanks Sandie. I haven't ever used the Outlook calendar, but I did much the same thing in my PalmPilot, which works for me because it is in my purse with me, everywhere I go.
Sandie Bricker, aka Sandra D. Bricker, is an author like me, please check her out at

Here's my thought/question of the day for everyone else. Do you have a way of catching those things in life that often slip through the cracks? Do you have a way to stop that from happening?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

sticktoitiveness - having a non-negotibale deadline

Sticktoitiveness - I like to think I'm getting better at it with so many ideas.

I asked my friend Bonnie Calhoun about it, because she is very good at Sticktoitiveness.
Bonnie, what do you have to stick to, and how do you do it?

Bonnie Calhoun: I have to stick to an organized schedule for both booking, creating and posting our CFBA twice weekly blog tours, and gathering columnist articles, giving them a first read-thru, acquiring rotating columnists, doing marketing, and creating the HTML layout for each of the 50 pages in the CFOM magazine.
I first must say that I have an incredible team consisting of a line editor, graphics guru, and QC person who do an amazing job but the rest I accomplish with dogged and unfailing organization. My schedule is not arbitrary and everything has a deadline.
I keep running "to-do" lists for out of the ordinary things that need to be done. And I always list them in their order of importance and work from most pressing down.
My wall calendar has large boxes and each day has specific tasks listed in it. Most months are identical repeats, but I don't get to go to bed until the day is checked off! LOL...granted most days I'm up till 3 AM...but the day is done when my head hits the pillow.

Wow... and I thought I was obsessive with my PalmPilot... You've given me some ideas, thank you very much!

Bonnie Calhoun is the successful editor of Christian Fiction Magazine, and I invite you to check it out at

Here is my question/thought of the day. Do you have a way to help you schedule what needs to be done by a certain day and/or time? How do you keep track of things that can't be missed, including birthdays and anniversaries?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sticktoitiveness - what is that?

My theme for the month of March is Sticktoitiveness.
I thought this was a made up word from a cartoon many years ago (who remembers Snagglepuss?) (and who will admit it?) but I googled the word and was quite shocked to find it. Here is the definition according to

Main Entry: sticktoitiveness
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: dogged perseverance; resolute tenacity; also written sitck-to-it-ive-ness
Example: the only way she had published so many books is through stick-to-it-ive-ness.

Wow, did that ever hit home. Book writing and getting published is right in the definition of sticktoitiveness. Which is the reason I've chosen it as my theme for the month. (my next book comes out in May, only 2 months away.)

I must have a lot of sticktoitiveness. My friends and family might call it by another word (stubborn maybe?) but I really like the word sticktoitiveneness.

Of course I have written not just one, but a number of books, which you probably already knkow about me. Also as a musician, it takes countless hours to learn an instrument and master it. Not that I'm a master, I just think I've learned enough to know what parts to skip and what parts to play, and the more time passes, the more I learn, the less parts I need to skip. Hey, it's a learning curve. Life is a learning curve.

Lots of things in life require sticktoitiveness. Jobs. Hobbies. Music. Knitting. Writing. Blogging. Driving a car. Parenthood. Relationships. The list is endless, and some things require more sticktoitiveness than others. Some things are also more important than others.

So here is my question of the day. What in your life requires your personal sticktoitiveness, and why?