As Christians who write, we meet together to promote unity and fellowship, to encourage one another and to develop our skills as writers. We are a chapter of American Christian Writers, a national organization.

We meet at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, 1 block south of Patterson Avenue at 8701 Ridge Road, Richmond, VA 23229 in Room 211.

We typically meet on the third Sunday of each month from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Join us!

Click HERE for directions.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Rule of Five Marbles

April 24, 2006

Dear Christians Who Write:

Yesterday's meeting was one of the most exciting meetings we have had in our six year history. God's Holy Spirit taught things we have never learned in any of our meetings -- all due respect to previous meetings. And I want to share that with those of you who were not able to attend, and I want to challenge you as I was able to challenge those who were bole to attend. We had 14 visitors (a record) and 11 members -- 25 in attendance which was also a record for a monthly meeting.

I had my program planned more than a month ago, but this past Friday I read an e-mail from a writer friend that immediately challenged me. And the challenge fitted my planned program, How to Publish Articles. Now I want to extend the challenge to you.

(I shared the first part of my message in my friend's voice, and i ended my message in my voice with my challenge to you.)

Nikk wrote:

The Rule of Five Marbles

As you build your daily writing habits, the Rule of Five Marbles is a good thing to keep in mind. I first heard about this rule more than fifteen years ago when a published writer visited a local writing group and discussed how she was marketing and publicizing her new book. She said she tried to do five things every day that moved her closer to achieving her marketing goals

Each morning she mentally dropped five marbles into her left pocket. (Of course, you can use real marbles placed in your pocket.) As she went through the day, whenever she did something that helped publicize her book, she transferred a mental marble into her right pocket.

Her goal was to have all five marbles transferred by the time she went to bed. Recently I ran across the rule--minus the marbles--in Jack Canfield̢۪s new book, Success Principles.

Canfield in case you don't recognize the name, is one-half of the wildly successful Chicken Soup series. The other half being Mark Victor Hansen.

Canfield writes of the impact the Rule of Five had on the two authors after their first book, Chicken Soup for the Soul, came out. These two new-to-publishing authors set a goal of achieving bestseller status on the New York Times list. Not only that, they wanted to be number one. Were they successful? I guess it depends on whether you're one of those glass-half-full or glass-half-empty souls.

It didn't happen over night. It didn't happen over 365 nights. It took the combined efforts of the two men practicing the rule of five for two years, but yes, they made it and sold more than eight million copies in the process.

Their secret? Their sustained daily effort over time slowly grew into a momentous force that still propels their book into continuing sales even to this day and has led to the generation of a line of Chicken Soup for the Soul books and products for an ever-widening readership.

Maybe it's because the idea of transferring marbles is so visual, but for some reason it's had major Velcro power. I've never forgotten the anecdote. To this day I strive to keep the rule present on a daily basis.

Sometimes I use three marbles but usually I stick with the five. Doing three is easy but the last two marbles require a concentrated effort on my part if I'm going to get them transferred into the other pocket--another reason to strive for five.

Most of the time the goal attached to the marbles has to do with my current writing project and/or writing career. Even what appears to be the most insignificant action such as writing and sending a thank you note to an editor who rejected me has the power to move a marble.

Ordering research books for a writing project is another. Writing a scene, scribbling three draft pages, combing through Salley Stuart's Christian Writers' Marketing Guide and Writer's Digest for a new market, all have been marble-movers over the course of the last twenty years. The constant daily attention to my overall writing goal has helped me keep the marbles moving even in troubling times.

Now, I'm not perfect so I don't always make five. Sometimes only three marbles hop pockets, but even so, I've managed to move forward. I'm always further ahead than I'd been at the start of the day.

Then there are days that zero out by early evening. That's when I refocus and somehow manage to draw them out of the fire by reading at least five pages out of a writing book or scouring a writer's magazine for useful tips, or focus on a short story to see what techniques the author used.

Think about implementing the Rule of Five in your own writing life.

Tom's Challenge to RCW Members:

Tweak it to suit you, but remember that the aim is to take five action steps, however small, each and every day that will move you toward the accomplishment of your main goal.

Commit to practicing the rule for five consecutive days then ask yourself:

What could I accomplish if I moved five marbles from one pocket to the other daily?
Come back and tell me about it.

(Now, listen carefully to my guidelines. If you don't follow them, you will disqualify yourself from being a part of my goal.)

This is one of my goals:

To move 10 unpublished (dues-paying) RCWW members to publish one or more articles for pay by December 31, 2006.

I am looking for 10 unpublished-for-pay RCWW members who are committed to applying this principle by moving three or more of their marbles, on a daily basis, from one pocket to the other toward getting paid for publishing one or more articles by December 31, 2006. You must qualify by doing this successfully for five days and then telling me what you have accomplished by e-mail. The first 10 will be determined by the date and time registered on my e-mail, and you cannot apply prior to April 29, 2006, 12:01 a.m. I can only accomplish my goal through committed writers.

Disqualification: If you consistently transfer less than three marbles per day you will, in effect, remove yourself from my goal of helping you. I will replace disqualified writers as occasion allows.

I need serious, committed writers to help me accomplish my goal.

(Snail Mail Members: I must have your letter by May 5, 2006 to consider you for this adventure in writing.)

I look forward to hearing from all RCWW (dues-paying) Members.

Tom Lacy

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