Dear Saint Rita . . . .

This week I fell to my knees and begged for success. My heart dream of writing has been exhausting at this stage as I pray for my fame and fortune. I even contemplated sharing the Saint Rita Novena someone posted online—Share this novena and in an hour Saint Rita will grant you your miracle. I always loathed the bribery involved in such an idea. I would yell out to myself that this is not the way the miracle thing works. To think, I almost pushed the send button. There would have been a lot of extra Hail Mary’s for that and sadly I already have too many to say for real dilemmas.

It’s just not that easy, nor is it smart to have success land directly on your kneeler. (Although Saint Rita, it sure would be nice just once, and maybe this little mention of your name would count.)

So I was moping and then an angel sent her inspirational blog post. This week Demi Stevens suggested tiny, consistent steps toward your goal that can be more valuable than a huge leap. I read her story of success—proof the path to overcome a mountain in life is best climbed on a steady path.

The nice thing about showing up for church each week is that it is a quiet time to think and talk to God and make a weekly plan for strength to move on. It is like that in front my computer. I struggle with numerous projects on my desk that pile higher than the steeple at St. Mary’s. By the end of the week, I hide from the office, instead typing on my faithful iPad Mini.

I attack bookwork, organize my diary entries, and work on placing notes in my novels. I read blogs from my mentors like Debbie Herbert, Demi Stevens, and Paula Munier. I might even receive divine inspiration from Saint Rita or whoever is the patron Saint that week.

I organize, manage, and write in little steps. I zero in on my writing success. Remember, zero in and be fearless at your writing.

Alas, Demi is right. Two years ago googling Alicia Stephens Martin might have produced Alicias like Keyes or Silverstone. Today there is a whole page of Alicia Stephens Martin successes—a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and even published articles and posts. I think I won’t ask for the miracle just for the strength and energy to keep going.

I hope this helps you in your quest…

What’s Your Heart Dream?

This week Demi Stevens of Year of the Book posed a question: What is standing in the way of reaching your dream? I didn’t have to over-tax my brain because as I stated before, Demi’s questions miraculously seem to be a message aimed at me each week. This morning (and this may change tomorrow) my answer to what is standing in my way, is Zero. Not the number, the word. Zero in. Zero in on what exactly is my own personal heart dream.

Heart dreams can change over a lifetime, especially if you are shushly. In my family we have our own language called Stephenese, and Shushly is an adverb my parents and grandparents called me repeatedly. And not just in my youth.

Like many artists, my train of thought is more like a spaceship orbiting at light speed. In my youth, I zipped from one project to another leaving a trail of crumbs, paint splatters, and cuttings from my latest creative venture. They tried to follow my space dust armed with a rag or broom hollering, “You are so dang shushly.”

Adulthood has not transformed my habits, just the size and expense of my projects. I have dabbled in everything from farming to football, knitting to scuba diving, college to hairdressing, horses and invention of all kinds. And yes, I have managed a very successful career as a stylist, salon owner, and teacher.  But writing, my heart dream, has been held at bay because of my shushly ways.

After my recent interview with Guy McLean, internationally renowned horseman, I published Follow your Horse’s Heart. I realized I need two guidelines in order to zero in. Determine what is my heart dream? Then let go. Let go of the shushly in my life. Zero in. Because I am running out of time.

I am in my fifties and I have managed to evade writing. For some reason I fight it. Sure, I have published a few articles, received a degree in Creative Writing, have bins and baskets of journals throughout my house, read books, have taken courses and joined organizations… but to follow my heart dream I must zero in.

Letting go is difficult, but I can come back and just maybe all those extra dreams will be even better. My heart searches to be fulfilled. So button down the hatches, Alicia, this spaceship is zeroing in!

What’s your heart dream?