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Welcome to The Inkwell, the blog site of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) of Colorado.

Each week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you can find a wide variety of topics and insight
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Milestone? Or Millstone? Your choice.

milestone It’s funny how the words “milestone” and “millstone” sound so similar, yet serve such different purposes. A milestone marks the mileage on a road, yet goes nowhere. A millstone grinds grain, yet never stops. On the other hand, the second definition for each are:

  1. Milestone – a significant point in development
  2. Millstone – a heavy burden

I find it ironic that the first word signifies movement, when the object itself clearly cannot move. Yet the second word weighs a millstone 2body down to the point of making one immobile, even though the round object itself suggests movement.

How can we apply this observation to our writing?

A milestone represents a goal, an immovable spot up the road that we long to reach. It remains solid and steadfast, symbolically cheering you on to reach its side. There may be other milestones on the road, but we must keep our eyes on the first one in order to reach the others.

So often, we put too many milestones in our path, scattering our thoughts as we race about trying to reach them all before we’ve taken the proper steps. This confuses us which ultimately results in the opposite effect – a millstone around our necks, pulling us down into deep, dark confusion. We want to meet our one-thousand-word-a-day goal, but we can’t stop daydreaming about becoming multi-published and traveling the world. Or we work on our romance, then set it aside for a sci-fi. Then decide maybe a political thriller would suit us more. The result is a lot of unfinished, unpolished manuscripts taking up kilobytes in a folder on our computer.

Pick a goal and stick with it. When that goal is reached, look to that next milestone up the road. With each post you past, you will get closer to your final destination. And about that millstone? Let’s leave it out of our writing and only roll it out when we want bread.


Kathy Kovach is the ACFW Rocky Mountain Zone Director, and author with HeartsonKathleen Kovach low res jpgg Presents and Barbour Publishing. She writes Spiritual Truth…With A Giggle, thus proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. With a passion for story, she dissects movies on her Craft Cinema blog. Read the first chapters of her books at Fiction Finder and visit her at


Paula said...

Thanks for the great post, Kathy. Very sage advice indeed.

Donna Schlachter said...

Thanks, Kathy. I am reminded of when the children of God won a battle or conquered a land, or were grateful to God for helping them, they set up a memorial, which is much like a milestone, to remind them of where they came from and what God did for them. We need to have those milestones or memorials, because sometimes the writer's journey can seem slow and we can even feel like we aren't advancing in any way. We take the time to mark our kids' growth on a chart, quarter inch by quarter inch -- we need to take the time to mark our growth as writers, too.

Kathy said...

Encouraging thoughts. Yeah, millstone or milestone... which way do we go? Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. Focus on the goal.

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