Wednesday, October 27, 2010

                      Speak Up or Shut Up?

When I first started working on "The Stones Cry Out," I didn't say much about the project.

Mostly, I was concerned that talking about the book would rob the story of its power. Much like plucking that first green shoot of spring, only to later wonder why the grass didn't grow.

The people who knew about my novel-in-progress were my husband, my parents, and one very supportive uncle. As a young man in the Navy during WWII, this uncle wrote a novel but never sent it out to publishers. He told me about his regret, then funded several years' toil on "The Stones Cry Out." For that reason, and more, the novel is dedicated to him.

Only when my manuscript was complete did I tell friends about it.

Supportive friends. Not schadenfreude friends.

In retrospect, I see another sensibility to my silence. One school of thought believes that stating our goals out loud makes them more likely to be accomplished. But I've always disagreed --particularly when it comes to writing. Talking about a story-in-progress is probably one of the most detrimental things we can do.

Tell the story, lose the story. That's my theory.

But that adage might hold true for goals in general, according to an excellent post on Mike Hyatt's blog.

Read it.

Then do as Mary did: Ponder in your heart (Luke 2:19)

Friday, October 1, 2010

When she worked as a reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Stacy Hawkins Adams gave every story her best effort. I saw it first-hand. Whenever one story was done, Stacy raised the bar for the next.

That work ethic, combined with her God-given talents, have led Stacy into the world of publishing. Within six years, she's written seven books, won national awards, and made several best-seller lists.

Plus, she maintains a very active blog ( and a newsletter packed with inspirational interviews and great writer quotes. If that wasn't enough, she just launched a new "group coaching" enterprise for aspiring authors to help others along the way.

Recently, Stacy carved some time from her busy schedule to talk about her successful career as an author. And I begged her to tell me how she balances her amazing drive with amazing grace.

Because here's something else you should know: Stacy Hawkins Adams is also one of the nicest people on planet Earth.

     Your two latest books both deal with dreams. Does that topic intrigue you because your dream came true with writing books?

My novel Dreams That Won't Let Go is actually a book about dreams gone awry. Three siblings long to achieve their individual goals, but nothing seems to be going right. By book's end, the entire family understands that no one's dream stands alone; you have to support those you love and help them achieve their goals, even if their dreams are different from the dreams you have for them.
As for myself, yes - writing books has been a lifelong dream! I decided in third grade to become an author. As you know, I segued into a journalism career, which I loved. But I'm thankful to have fulfilled my childhood dream.

     You've inspired so many people, Stacy, by example and with your written words.  And in your latest non-fiction book, you make some profound points about the purpose of our lives. You write, for instance, "Sacrifice and calling often go hand in hand."  

   That reference comes from my nonfiction book, Who Speaks To Your Heart? Tuning in to Hear God's Whispers.  Your question reminds me of a cliche': You have to work for things worth having. 
     I couldn't just dream about becoming an author, for example, without sometimes sacrificing time with friends and family, or giving up some hobbies, to make writing a priority. Spending time socializing, or playing tennis or the like are all "good" things that I enjoy, but making the sacrifice to meet writing deadlines allows me to publish books that I hope are helping transform lives. That makes my calling worthy of the sacrifice.

Nonfiction Books by Stacy     You also make some brilliant connections between dying to self and achieving a dream. To some people, those two statements seem counter-intuitive -- especially when the world constantly tells us that dreams come true only when we focus on what we want. 
     You tend to disagree with that viewpoint. Why?

     I don't necessarily disagree with focusing on one's dreams, because I'm a believer in speaking blessings over your life, working toward your goal, then trusting God to manifest whatever is within in His will. 
     My point is that we often get caught up in thinking that our dream or our goal is just about "us," when it's really bigger than us. 
      There's a saying you've probably heard: A tree doesn't bear fruit for itself; the fruit is for others' enjoyment. 
       I feel the same way about our dreams and goals. If we're singers, we may love singing, but others who hear are touched and impacted by our music and lyrics. If we're carpenters, the furniture or structures we build benefits others.
      Whatever your dream or goal is, try to look beyond yourself and understand that while this may be your passion, you may be meant to use it in service to others.

    What sort of practical things can dream-wishers find in your book that will help them become dream-achievers?

stacy_8.jpg      In the novel, Dreams That Won't Let Go, they'll learn that as Ecclesiastes 3:11 asserts, God's timing is beautiful.  As long as we keep the faith and keep focused on being our best selves, and working in excellence, our dreams will unfold. Readers of this book will learn through the characters' journeys the value of patience, truth and unconditional love. The themes in this book are also helpful to people who are trying to support others as they pursue a dream. 
      In my nonfiction book, Who Speaks To Your Heart?, dream-wishers will be encouraged to give up racing toward their goals and trying to succeed on their own, through their own might.  If they'll slow down and find the courage to hear what God is speaking to their hearts, they'll find that the wisdom and assurance He gives will accelerate the process.

    I've known you for a long time. You're an amazing and talented young woman (yes, you're young!). Award-winning reporter. Novelist. Acclaimed speaker -- and of course wife and mother. And yet with all that going on, you remain a genuinely warm and loving person.   
      I'm certain you're asked this question all the time, but, Stacy . . . how do you do it all?! 

     How do I do it? When I'm asked this question, the answer that always, always comes to mind is Through Grace!, and I really mean that. I've always been an "energizer bunny," who thrives on juggling many balls at once; but even I sometimes am amazed at the ideas that pour forth and the fact that I've been blessed to write seven books in six years.

        And in addition to the books you maintain a very active blog and newsletter (subscribe at

      There are times when I move out of the "fast lane" and simply live and rest; but for the most part, I just try to prioritize and pace myself. I keep a running To Do list, pray over it, and ask God to help me make sure I take care of the most important things for that particular day.
     I also try to take care of myself, by taking a few days away to rest after a really busy period; doing a better job of saying no to "good" things or opportunities that might tempt me, and by living in the present as much as I can. Plus, I have patient friends and family, who know that dinner might be partially take-out, the clothes may get washed but not folded right away, and while it may take a week or so to respond to emails.. I'll be in touch! LOL
So my secrets are grace and patience, for which I'm thankful.

     That answer doesn't surprise me. It sounds just like you.  Okay, woman of many talents, what can readers expect next from you?

     I'm working on several proposals for new projects, fiction and nonfiction, and hope to be able to share more about that soon.I've also recently launched a group coaching service for aspiring authors called Author In You ( I regularly receive emails from writers around the country who want advice or guidance on how to start or complete their manuscripts. Since my time for personal coaching is limited, this is a great alternative that allows me to offer personalized service in a format that also connects budding authors with like-minded writers.