Walking Into 2020

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photo by Alexas Fotos on Pixabay

This year, 2020, I am challenging myself to walk for at least 20 minutes five times a week.

I came across this idea through a podcast I listen to called Happier with Gretchen Rubin. This podcast contains life hacks, practical ways to manage time, and ideas for living a happier life.

Now, I am not new to walking. In fact, years ago, too many to claim, my doctor told me that I had high cholesterol and I needed to start exercising. He suggested walking. At the time, I had small children, so taking the kids for a walk a few times a week was easy to add to my routine, and they loved the adventure.

Then while the kids were growing up and going through those wild but wonderful teenage years, my reasons for walking changed. My motto became “not for vanity, but for sanity.” My few minutes walking through the neighborhood or meeting up with a friend at the walking track gave me perspective and made me recognize that my need for exercise went beyond the physical to the mental.

Now as a writer, my need to move has increased tenfold. My sedentary job pushes me to keep up my walking in order to maintain good health, but I have also discovered when I exercise my creative juices flow more readily, giving me inspiration and new ideas. Once again, my reasons have gone beyond that of the physical and mental to include the creative.

So, when I heard this podcast, I decided to pick up the gauntlet and accept the Walk 20 in 2020 challenge. I would increase the number of days I walk from three to five and see how the Lord uses this investment of time in my life.

If you have been feeling the nudge to get more active, I would challenge you to join me in my quest for twenty minutes of walking five days a week, and to entice you, I want to leave you with five great reasons to be a walker:

  1. Walking clears your mind and ups your creativity by 60 percent according to a Stanford University study.
  2. It gives you time to pray and think.
  3. It reduces your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke.
  4. It strengthens your bones and muscles.
  5. It improves your mood and leaves you feeling happier.

With all these benefits, you might want to give walking a try and walk into the New Year knowing you’re doing something worthwhile for your mind, body, and spirit.

“But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings of eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (ASV).

Prompt: The bells chimed midnight. Carol couldn’t wait to begin her new project. She loved the clean slate of a whole new year in front of her.

Click-to-Tweet: Five great reasons to be a walker – Bonita McCoy in Walking into 2020 via @InspiredPrompt

If Tomorrow Were Christmas

 

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Corrie Ten Boom – Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the presents weren’t wrapped,

The pies needed filling, the gingers weren’t snapped.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the stockings lay limp,

the fire didn’t roar, the tree mostly bent.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the cards had no stamps,

The turkeys sat frozen, the lights had no amps

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas and the hymns were not sung,

The flights were delayed, the wreaths never hung.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the snow didn’t fall,

The stores wouldn’t open, the kids couldn’t call.

If tomorrow were Christmas and the bells didn’t ring,

The pudding went flat, there were no carols to sing.

Would Christmas still come if nothing got done?

 

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it bring?

Rushing and stressing, or worshiping the King?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it hold?

Feasts for our bodies, or feasts for our souls?

If tomorrow were Christmas, what would it be?

All about Jesus, or all about me?

Yes, Christmas would come if nothing got done.

 

For presents and singing and eating and such

The myriad of things, on which we spend so much

Are tidbits and pieces of the true celebration

Of God’s only Son; man’s hope and salvation.

So, open the presents and hang the wreaths

Call the kids and enjoy the feast.

For Christmas Day has come to us; it’s nothing we have done.

Five Strategies to a Successful Launch Team

A launch team can be a great asset for an author. They provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media. They are his peeps.

Launch teams are a must.

Great launch teams.

Great launch teams shout from the mountain tops.

But what happens when an author is unclear about his goals for the launch? Well, things can get messy quick. Instead of the launch team being a group of positive supporters, they can become another obstacle for the author to overcome.

In order to avoid a break down in launch team etiquette, here are five strategies to put into place before the launch team ever gets started.

  • Make a list of supporters

Make a list of potential Launch Team members who you think will follow through on their commitment to you and who are enthusiastic and positive about your work. This list doesn’t have to be long. It is better to go for quality over quantity. You want those on your list to include friends and family who are cheering for your success and super fans who have been following your writing career.

You may also want to think of any influencers you may know, or people located in other parts of the country or the world. This will automatically add new social circles to your launch and broaden your reach to potential readers.

  • Set your Goals

Before you contact anyone on your list, sit down and set some clear goals for your team. What is it that you need your team to do?

Is your focus on getting them to leave reviews, or do you want them to concentrate more on their social media contacts? Or is your focus more on handing out swag and word of mouth marketing? Whatever your focus is, be sure to communicate it concisely to your team.

  •  Set up social media copy

Since you are enlisting the help of others, you want to make it as easy as possible for them. So, you need to provide the social media copy for your launch team. This will entail both memes with your book cover on it and interesting pictures that play on some aspect of the story. This gives your launch team a variety of choices and keeps the interest of their social media friends from waning.

You will also want to provide the copy to go along with the pictures. Use a quote from one of your characters or vibrant description of a place in your book. Think outside the box on this one.

  • Make a calendar

To keep everyone on the same page, use your goals to create a calendar of events. When does the book need to be read by? Have that on the calendar. When should the launch team post reviews? Again, have that on a calendar. By putting everything in one place, you not only keep everyone in step, but it acts as a reminder of what should be happening and when.

The less your team members have to plan and do for themselves, the more likely they are to follow through and help you spread the word. You want to make it as fun and easy as possible for your people.

Say thank you to your launch team.

Always say Thank You. It means so much.

  • Plan to say “Thank You”

Be sure to include in your planning a way to say thank you to your team. If everyone does what is asked, they will have given you many hours of their time and lots of their energy.

So, work into your calendar of events, some giveaways for your team. Make them unique and special. Maybe a tee-shirt with a cool launch team name on it like “The Dream Team” or maybe a mug that says, “llama tell you about my Launch Team”. Be creative but make it something meaningful to your people.

Launch teams are a valuable set of people who can help an author achieve success. These strategies should help to pave the road to a happy partnership in this adventure of writing. If used wisely, launch team members can become an author’s number one source of encouragement and information.

Click-to-Tweet: #HowTo #BookLaunch – A launch team can provide the author with early reviews, a way of spreading the word about his book to a variety of social circles, and they give the author more leverage on social media.

Prompt: Jan sat her dinning room table with the pen and paper in her hand. Who was she going to ask to be on her launch team? She hated to impose, but …

Bio head shot for Inspiration Blog - 2017Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two cows, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over thirty years. She is a mother to three grown sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law, one who joined the family from Japan. She loves God, and she loves to write. Her blog, articles, and novels are an expression of both these passions.

Drop by and visit her Facebook Author’s Page or Instagram page or visit her website bonitaymccoy.com where you can find her books, blog, and all the other things she might be doing.

No Room In His Heart  NoRoomInHisHeart_Final_ebook

On Amazon

Truth Be Told     TruthBeTold_Cover_rev7-19_ebook

On Amazon 

Thirty Years Later, Just as Good

Aunt Jeanne's recipe

Hungarian Goulash: A family favorite.

by Bonita Y. McCoy

When I was planning to get married, several people in my family gave me wedding showers. One of the showers was what used be called a pounding. That is where everyone brings the happy couple a pound of this or a pound of that. It could be rice, flour, sugar, butter. Whatever would help the two start out on the right foot and help fill their pantry.

Along with the food items at this shower, the guests also brought me one of their favorite recipes. Several of these I still have and use, over thirty years later.

One of my family’s favorite from that shower was given to me by my Aunt Jeanne, and I wanted to share it with you today.

Hungarian Goulash

(For the Crock-pot)

Serves 6

2 lbs beef cubed                                   2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce

1 large onion sliced                             1 cup water

1 clove of garlic minced                     2 tsp salt

½ cup ketchup                                       2 tsp paprika

1 TBS brown sugar                              ½ tsp mustard

 

Place meat in crock-pot. Place sliced onion over meat. Combine garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, paprika, and mustard. Stir in 1 cup water. Pour over meat and onions. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours.

When done, dissolve ¼ cup cornstarch in a small amount of cold water. Stir into meat. Cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.

Happy Eating!

Ten Ways to Bless Others Through Your Writing Skills

by Bonita Y. McCoy

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Like everyone else writers revolve around family, friends, and those commitments we make to our community. So, it’s no surprise that we want to give back to those we care about most. Sometimes, it can be hard to know what we can do.

So, I compiled a short list.

Here are ten ways a writer can give back to their family and community by using their God given talent to enhance other people’s lives.

Five Ways to Give Back to Family:

  • Interview a veteran in your family about his history or war experience and share it with the whole family through Wattpad or Amazon Kindle.
  • Map out the family tree and write snippets from each era or generation, making sure to include the family favorites that everyone knows and several that are unique.
  • Compile a family cookbook of favorite recipes and traditions. Ask each member for a favorite memory that revolves around food.
  • Create a book of family weddings and baby showers. Include lots of pictures and maybe some poems.
  • Write a family newsletter to send out at Christmas or New Year’s or Easter to keep friends and extended family in the loop with what’s going on in life.

Bonus:

  • Create a book of memories of someone who has passed to keep their wonderful stories alive.

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Five Ways to Give Back to Your Community:

  • Volunteer to teach a workshop on writing at the local Senior Citizen Center or after school program.
  • Help promote a local cause like a charity, non-profit, or animal shelter through your blog or start a blog for them.
  • Write an article or pamphlet to draw attention to medical issues that may not have a lot of media coverage in your area.
  • Write a newsletter for your subdivision, neighborhood, or church to help the group feel connected and informed.
  • Contribute to the local newspaper to highlight the humor in your own backyard.

As you can see, there are so many ways God can use our writing skills to benefit not only ourselves but our friends, families, and neighbors. [Click-to-Tweet]

Writing Prompt:

Jill heard about the problems her neighbors were having with drivers speeding through the subdivision, but as a writer, she wasn’t sure how she could help.