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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Day At A Time

Okay, this is not a Christmas post but I do wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Talking to a friend the other day, we hit on the topic of life-survival. 

She’d been exhorting her college son on how to manage his time, get through the rigors of his day.

“Take it one day at a time,” she said. “Don’t get lost by looking too far into the future.”

It hit a chord with me. 

I remembered reading an article about POWs during Viet Nam. 

The ones who were hopeful, looking forward to getting out, knowing release would come soon ended up being the ones who did NOT survive.

The prisoners who lived just for today, whose only goal was to survive the day, were the ones who endured their years in prison. Some were POWs for seven years.

Not a pretty or hopeful existence.

Writing a novel falls somewhere in between being a college student and POW. ;) And the same mentality applies.

We have to take our task one day at a time. 

Too much speculation, too much dreaming, too much wondering how it will be when we get our first contract will derail us from the day-to-day of putting words on the page.

“Take care of today,” Jesus said.  “It has enough trouble.”

It’s human nature to dream, to long to peer into the future. After all, God put eternity on our heart. (Ecc 3:11) 

But we can get so focused on “getting out of here” we miss the opportunity to partner with Jesus now for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

So goes our writing. Focus on today. 

Especially during the holiday season. The distractions are all over the place. 

Focus on just meeting your word count. Hunker down and live in the weeds of your story. 

Figure out just who Jack and Jill really are, and what story journey they are taking.

Writing is hard work. Fun but hard work!

In the beginning of my books, I'm frustrated. I can't see The End.

I don’t know my characters. I’m not sure where to take them exactly. 

From a top-down view, I know exactly what I want the story to be about, but not who’s telling it.

When I get down to the words and all the spaces in between, I’m not as confident as I’d like to be.

So I remind myself. "Take it one day at a time."

I keep my deadline and daily word count in view. No more. No less. Hit it and I'm done.

The beauty is I’ll have discovered more and more of my story and the heart of my characters.

That will make tomorrow easier. Or harder… Hmmm…

Yeah, writing is hard work.

So as you face deadlines, or the labor of getting story to the page, focus on what needs to be done today. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

Take time to enjoy the holiday. Remember why you write and for whom you write.



Rachel lives in sunny central Florida.
Her novel, Once Upon A Prince, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist.
Her novella A Brush With Love releases Dec 30th. And the final Royal Wedding book, How To Catch A Prince, releases in Feb 2015.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, she worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in uncomfortable chair to write full time eight years ago.

She’s the author of EPCA and CBA best sellers, RITA and Christy nominated books. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Songbird Novels with platinum selling country music artist Sara Evans. Their novel Softly and Tenderly, was one of Booklists 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

Rachel serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and worship leader.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Here latest novel, Princess Ever After and novella A March Bride, released in February 2014. 

Visit her web site:


  1. Rachel, I always get an energy recharge when you post. i love what you said: Hunker down and live in the weeds of your story. While reading this, I had an epiphany about mine, which put the absolute protect focus on it! I was spinning in a bit of "where is this going?" but not now. Thank you, my friend!!

  2. "The ones who were hopeful, looking forward to getting out, knowing release would come soon ended up being the ones who did NOT survive."

    This makes me very sad ... because I am one of those people. When I'm in an unfortunate experience or time of life, I find comfort in retaining hope, in looking for the end of the valley, in knowing that all valleys, like all mountaintops, end.

  3. Michael, it's not that they didn't have hope, it's that they kept looking to "get out" instead of surviving one day at a time. But I'm like you, I'd be hoping for


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