Because Life can only be lived a moment at a time.

Wake Up Call

Dreaming is good. But waking up is better.

I've dreamed of being a writer since childhood. I've thought about it and hoped for it and worked toward it. But as the years passed I thought and hoped more than I worked---dreaming about my life as a writer became a substitute for writing itself.

I didn't stumble upon this epiphany recently. I've cast about for ways to make the discipline of stringing words together a part of my daily routine for years. I vowed to have a book published by the time I was 40, then 45, and, well, you get the idea. Back in April 2013 I started this blog in the hope that having such a forum would force me to write regularly. Maybe that would have worked if "A Moment's Notice" had an editor clamoring for content but, alas, I'm the sole staffer.

On May 13, 2014, I published a column titled "Going the Distance, Fifteen Minutes at a Time" about my latest attempt to commit to the writing life. I referred to a blog post written by children's book author Martin Tiller about how words come to you as you write, not necessarily before. (Be sure to check out Martin's blog at and his books on With that in mind he had made a commitment to write 15 minutes each day, no matter what.

In that 2014 post I claimed that commitment as my own and it worked, for a while. I started a book I'd had swirling in my mind because I thought it would be easier to join a story in progress day after day. But before long I fell into the trap of editing as I wrote, trying to polish each word into a gem. So 15 minutes would pass and I’d have precious little to show for my time. Low productivity led to diminishing motivation.

I continued to write here and for my short-form blog, “Just a Moment.” Some days I felt like a writer and a few times I even told other people I was one, but I didn’t really believe it. That was an old dream, a grand delusion, and I was a pretender.

I believe in prayer and I approach God daily about the big and small concerns facing me, my family and friends and the world at large. But on January 5 of this shiny new year it struck me that I rarely prayed about my writing. Perhaps I assumed He had more important things on His agenda. I don’t know.

But that morning I placed all my insecurities and doubts about writing in His hands. I told God that if He wanted me to write He’d have to show me how to make it happen.

Later that day I was skimming through my jam-packed email inbox when I came across a note from Jeff Goins, a writer who writes about writing. (How circular is that?) I had subscribed to his newsletter a while back and I’m not proud to admit that more than a few issues had gone directly to my trash folder without being opened.

Perhaps my prayer request was still lingering in my mind because this time I hesitated before swiping Mr. Goins’s tips into oblivion. The subject line---“Why starting slow is the quickest way to succeed”---piqued my curiosity and the opening line grabbed me by the throat:
Are you off to a slow start with your New Year's Resolutions?

Well, amen, brother! Testify! Mr. Goins went on to talk about ways to establish a writing routine, including the “My 500 Words a Day Challenge.” I went to the Challenge web site to learn the details and felt a buzz of recognition when I read this title at the top of the page: “The Secret to Developing a Regular Writing Habit.”

The goal was simple:
For the next 31 days, we’ll be writing 500 words a day. These won’t be great words, but they will be written. We’re not trying to reach perfection; we’re just trying to get more ideas out of our heads and onto paper. 

Five hundred words. Every day. For 31 days. On the one hand I felt Jeff Goins might as well have been telling me to run a marathon by February. On the other hand, I had asked for help and this might be my answer. So I dove in.

I dragged out my tiny seedling of a book and started writing. Unless I run off the rails completely today will mark my  twelfth day in a row of writing 500 words a day. Believe me, this is something of a miracle. Not a water-into-wine or raising the dead kind of miracle, but a miracle nonetheless.

The sentences aren’t perfectly crafted but they exist. The story needs some work but the characters are moving forward. At this point I’m writing to see what they’ll do, because sometimes I’m not sure until my fingers touch the keyboard. 

I don’t know if anyone will ever read what I write and I’m surprised that I’m okay with that. It’s enough to know that I’m finally using a gift handed to me by my Maker. I’ll trust Him with the outcome.

My name is Rita Finch Pettit. And I am a writer.

(For more information about Jeff Goins and the resources he offers visit

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