Friday, January 5, 2018

Boo. Didn't Make My Goal

Pack it up...

Didn't make $800 in Eight days. Well... I'm packing up my apartment... About to post everything I can on E-bay... 

My car is going to be repossessed... Life was good....

OK... it's not that dire... 

Yes... I didn't make the $800... but... I managed. 

It's amazing how much we can accomplish when our back's to the wall.

It's on... we are about to kick it into another gear...

Monday, December 25, 2017

Can I Make $800 in Eight Days?

So... tomorrow... the day after Christmas... I begin a quest.

It's a quest that was born out of necessity. I had a contract fall through. As a mostly self-employed dad who depends on contracts to pay the bills, when one fails to deliver.... that means trouble.

I had a contract that supplied me with about $500 a week. Over the last three weeks.... that contract went bust. Maybe $100 a week at most.

Now... I'm forced into a challenge: I need to make $100 a day for the next eight days to pay rent. I have secured a new contract to replace the old one... But... I won't collect that check until mid-January.

So... for the next eight days, I will keep you abreast of my progress...My goal in 2018 is to be able to write full time. 

But before that... I'm going to bust my ascot...My unanticipated business mishap also messed up my Christmas. I wasn't able to buy my kids anything... I'm planning my own personal Christmas on Jan. 25, 2018... 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Let's Get Vulnerable: A Moment Of Truth

I'm truly excited again.

I'm writing. I'm seeing stories everywhere. Yet... for those who have followed me... if you're still here from years past, you may be curious about my lapse. 

I neglected this blog for awhile. Life got in the way. A move across the country. A separation. A divorce. The resulting depression and ultimate acceptance.

And here we are. What helped me rebound?

I recall one of my earliest memories. It was of my mother reading herself to sleep. It was after she and my father divorced. She was a single mom. 

I was often fearful at night... I'm not psychologist, but I figure I was trying to cope with my parents divorce. I didn't want to sleep alone for irrational fear that I'd wake up without either parent. 

So... I slept near my mother... in visual proximity. I had to see her bed or I just didn't feel safe. What did I see? It influenced me more than I or she could imagine.

She read. She read into the wee hours of the night. I only caught a glimpse of it. But... oh, what a sight it was. She read novels. Her favorite... It was the 70's after all... Stephen King. 

We didn't have much. Just mom and I. She read alone at night...
but she wasn't really alone. I was watching... and flash forward decades... now, her example from so long ago inspires me and helps remind me who I am or should remember to be... a lover of words... and a writer. 

Thank you, mother. Te amo.

One Key To Writing: Write With Other Writers

I feel like a pretender. I can write.... I think I'm actually pretty good at it. I've successfully written thousands of articles. I've made my living as a full-time journalist. 

I have taught writing at colleges and universities. 

Yet... I suffer a disease many writers do. I lack confidence. I don't believe in myself. I doubt my abilities. Who am I to think I can do this thing called writing. 

I should just give it all up. Who am I kidding?

But... I can't. I won't. I shan't. 

Tonight... I took a step to put myself out there.... I met up with another writer. It was a bold step. I met someone online who seemed to share my passion for the written word. 

Then... throwing all caution to the wind... both of us decided to meet at a coffee shop and share something we had written. Ah... the glorious moment that it was. To share the written word over coffee (that was me... I believe she ordered tea)... it was magical... She was enchanting. 

If you dare to write... you mustn't write alone. That is how you sabotage your efforts. You must share your writing with others. But others who can help you. 

My beautiful companion tonight shared similar examples regarding our experiences when sharing our writings with others. 

So... for you reading this... Here's the down low:

Share your writing with whomever... but if you want critical input, share with those who will help you make your craft better. If all you want is your ego stroked, then share with your mother. She'll say how proud she is of your writing. If you want to grow as a writer, share with those who will dare to say... "That paragraph needs reworking... or...I'd cut that whole section out."

If they challenge you to discard your darlings... then maybe they may be helpful readers. 

A safer bet when it comes to potential readers/critics of your writing is to find other writers to partner with.

You should read their work, too. It should go both ways. Give to them...Don't only demand of them. 

You will both grow as writers if you mutually nurture each other. 

Tonight... I met a peer... a writer whose words I enjoyed reading... and whose company I enjoyed even more. It was a beginning, I hope. Writers need writers to help them along the way. Writing is a lonely business. But it doesn't have to be.

Cheers my fellow writers...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

OMG! Is 2017 Actually Coming To An End? You Didn't Meet Your Writing Goals Did You?

It seems like yesterday was January 1st, 2017. 

Now January 1st, 2018 is upon us. OMG!

I can say this much about 2017... I failed miserably with my writing goals. Maybe... God forbid... you're like me... I spent day after day saying, "Tomorrow... I'll have time tomorrow..."

Ha! tomorrow is here. I wrote some notes... filled a few pages in a spiral notebook. But, didn't finish that novel.

Also... If you are an aspiring writer... you MUST READ! If you write poetry... Read poetry. If you write short stories... Read short stories, etc.

I read some. I wrote some... But, I did neither in the volume I should have as an aspiring writer. Let's not sugar coat it or go all snowflake and blame someone else for my poor decisions. 

I blew it. I didn't work on my craft enough to actually call it a craft. A truism: you can't call yourself a writer if you don't actually WRITE!

I know... tough love. But, I'm a father of five. I'm a tough love kind of guy because I know it pays dividends. 

Moving forward, what does that mean??? First of all, after correcting one of my children, doling out whatever punishments were necessary, then it'd be time for restoring harmony. 

What does that mean? You can rebuke yourself for falling short. Fine. Then... a restorative measure is necessary. Restore the creative process. Otherwise how can you move forward?

Forgive yourself for blowing it. Then... GET OVER IT. Get back to writing.

Set new resolutions. Maybe this time scale them back a bit and make them more realistic... or shoot for the moon, but, bring in a friend to keep you accountable.

Bottom line: Get back on the horse. Write. Start with one word. Then two; then 20; then 100... Keep going.

2017 may be at an end. You may not have accomplished what you wanted. .. But, 2018 is around the corner. Now's your time. Make it happen this year.

You can do it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Best Way To Use Your Time As A Writer: Don't Listen To The Haters

So... You work full-time. You are a janitor. You are a teacher. You are a cashier at a grocery store. 


You know that you are a writer. You hear the voices in your head. You dream magically amazing stories in your sleep. You wake up and are like, "Damn! I need to write that down!"

But... you have Debbie Downers in your camp. You share your ideas with those around you. They say, "That's stupid."

What should you do?

Write it down. Write everything they say. Write everything you think in the moment. Write. Write. Write!!!!!

Don't listen to the haters.

Here is the reality. Most people live life unsuccessfully. They believe that they are not one of the lucky ones who get to be a writer, a movie star.... in short... a success.

They settle. I need a job. So... this company will give me a job at XX amount of dollars an hour. I need to pay the bills. 

Fall into that trap and you will never be a writer. You will be a wage earner.

Don't get me wrong... You must pay the bills... But you don't have to give up your dreams to do it.... 

I quit my day job. I decided I would make my own future. It's been rough... but I'm still at it...

As a writer, that means ignoring everyone who says I can't do it. Even family has questioned my decisions. Maybe yours has too. But... be brave. Follow your dream.

Just do it strategically...


The Worst Thing You Can Think As A Writer: I'm A Pretender...

Can you relate to this?:

You have always thought you have the talent, ideas, ability to write fiction. You have read something and said, "I could do that... And better!"

Maybe you have actually started writing something: a short story, novel, etc.

But then something happened. And that something was life. You got married. You got a new job. You lost a job. You learned you were about to be a father/mother.... 

Your writing took a back seat to what was facing you two inches from your nose.

A year later.... five years later.... a decade later.... two decades later, during you're next move forced by a divorce, you come across a single piece of paper with your words on it. Those words expressed so enthusiastically how you were going to write, and every word  was filled with naive optimism about your obvious literary future success.

I was a college junior in 1992. This was where I was. Now... I'm looking back at my collegiate writings and wondering what went wrong.

But what if I'm looking at it the wrong way?

In the time between 1992 and the present day, 2017, a lot has happened.

I served in the Army.

I earned a Bachelor's Degree... a Master's Degree.

I would marry... and divorce... and marry again... be a father to five children... but divorce, unfortunately, again.

I wrote thousands of articles as a newspaper journalist.

In short, I experienced life. 

Now at 47, I'm encountered with the musings of my 22-year-old self. As tempted as I am to be angry or disappointed with myself for not following through with my aspirations from nearly two decades ago, I realized something.



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