Write like your hair’s on fire and a FREE writer’s planner!

“I’ve always wanted to write a book.” When someone learns I’m a writer, that is nearly always the response. I think everyone wants to be a writer. It’s an American thing, isn’t it? But what makes the difference between someone who wants to be and someone who is? Hard work. Maybe they’ve never gotten organized enough to write. Maybe they don’t think they have enough time. I’m one of the busiest people I know. The reason I find time to write is because I make time to write. Even if I have only snatches of 15 minutes here and there, I’m writing. Here are a few things I do to write like my hair’s on fire: I use my Writer’s Planner sheet to organize my day. The night before I write down my six most important things to get done the next day. I also figure out what errands I need to run, what I need to get done in my day job (ministry and college classes) and then in the column for writing I have a list of things I need to get written. I include my word count goal for the day (it differs, but I shoot for 1000 at least a day but prefer 3000) and record what I actually got done. (Don’t think word count is end all and be all. One of my favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo, only writes 250 words a day and she’s a best-seller and has won huge awards! I tend to throw up on the page and edit later.) One of the most important things on my list is time with the Lord, reading the Bible and prayer. I can’t imagine being inspired without His anointing. I  keep a Word Document open on my computer with my list of tasks for the day so I won’t get distracted. Yes, this duplicates my hard copy, but it helps me stay on track. I’m trying to learn to use the Google task tracker but I’m not yet in the groove. If I’m able (and not usually) I clear my calendar for two weeks to wrap up a project. I let everyone know I’m on deadline and I shut myself away. If my family isn’t cooperative I leave the house and go somewhere quiet where I won’t be interrupted such as the library or some other venue with wi-fi (because I depend on Google for research). I don’t make any appointments outside of writing. During my writing sessions ignore all emails that are not blood or fire. (If they aren’t bleeding or there isn’t some emergency, I let them sit unanswered.) Stock up on crunchy foods like carrots (ahem) for keeping me awake...

Read More

When parents of disabled children kill

I hear it all the time. A parent gets overwhelmed and they kill their child with a disability because one more day is just too much. Kelli Stapleton, age 45 of Michigan, wrote on her blog, The Status Woe, in September:  “I have to admit that I’m suffering from a severe case of battle fatigue.” It was on this blog that she vented about the challenges of raising her 14-year-old daughter, Isabelle, who has a diagnosis of autism and a history of violent outbursts. Something went wrong with her school program and it made things worse. Why did something go wrong with the school program? One of the reasons I want my degree in special education is because I have insight as a parent of special needs children. When will the schools realize that SAMENESS is one of the most important factors in educating students with autism? Especially severe autism? And especially severe autism in the teen years? Later that day, this Mom and her daughter were found unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning  in a van in which charcoal was burned with the windows all closed. The child survived and Mom is now in jail awaiting trial. I’m not condoning her actions. But I understand what it’s like to lose hope. It’s the worst feeling in the world. You can’t think straight after being pummeled by your child day in and day out with no end in sight. There just isn’t enough support for parents in this country. We love our children. We love having them with us in our home. But where is the support? School is not enough. Kelli’s friends are blogging for her now on her blog, and raising money for her legal fees. Kelli’s Blog: The Status Woe Fund Raiser: Friends of Kelli Stapleton And a beautiful blog post about this situation is here: A Line in the Sand. It says so well all that I wanted to say here but couldn’t find the words as my heart breaks for this child and her mother. Please read it. Even if you have no interest in special needs families. Read it and learn. There are hurting people out there and you just might be an answer to their prayer.     Tweet This: There isn’t enough support for parents of special needs kids in this...

Read More

Strong Girl Saturday: Strong and pretty are not opposites

On Saturdays I’ll be blogging about being a Strong Girl. While I’ll be speaking to a female audience of all ages, my main focus, initially, will be on young women finding their way in this world with Jesus. We’ll answer hard questions and discuss things that might be a little uncomfortable to talk about with parents, or parents to talk about with their daughters. In my 32 years of experience as a Sunday School teacher and youth leader, I’ve seen too many girls value themselves only for what their bodies can offer a boy, or in today’s sexually charged climate, another girl. I’ve seen too many girls who see themselves as weak instead of strong. I see girls who are insecure as they search for who they are, and girls who just have a hard time believing that Jesus is really there for them. While recovering from a major surgery (that has required a lot of strength!), I stumbled upon a TV show about women taking men to court to prove they are the father of their children. Woman after woman stepped up to the witness stand and laid out her indiscretions on a calendar for the whole world to see on satellite television. Now, we’ve all made mistakes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful these women chose to have their children instead of aborting them. But the numbers of partners these women have within the span of a few weeks is startling. It makes me mad. At the destroyer. The one who beats girls down and convinces them they are no more than a sexual object and that sex equals love. The one that convinces them that they have no value unless they are in the arms of a boy or man. Girls, if you don’t get anything I ever write, get this: you are not what anyone says you are. You are what God says you are. And we will explore just exactly what it is He says you are.   Tweet This: You are precious. You are valuable. You are not your own. You are bought with a price.     I’ve created a facebook page where we strong girls can hang out and chat about what makes us strong, how to stand strong, stay strong, and ask questions here: https://www.facebook.com/StrongGirls4Jesus Until next Saturday, Karla PS Leave me your questions in the comments below and I will answer them!...

Read More

W is for workaholic

Hello, my name is Karla Akins and I’m a workaholic. In the United States, this is seen as an asset. But really, it’s an addiction just as bad as any other. It means things are out of whack. Out of balance. The fact is, I’m just not comfortable relaxing. And that’s a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I can be as lazy as the next person. But when I have to tell myself on Christmas Day that “it’s okay to just sit and watch a movie and not multi-task because it’s Christmas.” I know there’s a problem. I just plain love my work. Not all of it. I don’t like doing dishes, cleaning toilets or doing laundry all that much. I don’t like picking up after people for the millionth time. But when it comes to my writing and my college classes and my ministry at the church, I have a difficult time saying no to it. Even on Christmas Day. So here’s to a more balanced New Year. Between now and January 1st, I’m going to lock myself away alone and do some very hard evaluating and serious prioritizing. I think one of the first things I’m going to do is schedule time to see a counselor each month so I can stay on track for accountability.     Tweet this: Being a workaholic isn’t anything to be proud of.       What say you? Is there a habit you struggle with? How can you stay accountable as you try to improve on that pesky...

Read More