The Object in the Way


Every couple of months I look for a new motivation book. I learn what those I’m following on social media are reading or listening to or I look for something from one of my favorite inspirational authors.

This past week, while looking through my social media, I found that Ryan Holiday had a book out that I hadn’t listened to.

I’ve listened to Ego is the Enemy two or three times but the title for this one grabbed me.

The Obstacle is the Way made me look at my writing differently, my relationship with my wife and kids differently and I had to reevaluate where my focus laid.

My obstacle has been writing a coherent story and publishing it, neither of those has happened.

I discovered the obstacle was the way I was writing the stories not the stories themselves.

It was a breakthrough and I’m still wrapping my head around it.

It isn’t the writing it’s the way I’ve been constructing or not constructing the story.

I’ve always seen myself as a pantser but after finding my obstacle I worked for 5 days on an outline.

I started the story Monday and yesterday I put out more words than I ever have while using an outline.

I know where the story goes and how to get there.

I’ve changed the obstacle and made it work for me.

Now, I’ve read a lot of books on writing but never paid much attention to them until now.

The book I used to get the outline is called The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.

This book was gifted to me from my cousin who is a published author, I should have listened to her.

I’m stubborn and want to do things myself but I now know the way.

I feel more positive about the direction of my writing because of Ryan’s book and I understand how to craft the story better.

The smallest obstacle can cause the biggest headaches, I’ve written five long-form stories, 4 novels, and 1 novella, but none of them have felt as solid as the one I’ve barely started, I thank a few things, growing up as a writer, discovering that I needed an outline and learning that the obstacle in the way was mostly my ego telling me I didn’t need an outline.

 

Your Screen Time is Killing Your Grindtime.


There is one evaluation we must do in this society, how much time are you spending staring at your phone?

I’m not talking about the times your posting, grinding or working on your social media contacts; I’m talking about the times you’re sitting home, pick up your phone and time vanishes.

You can call it the missing hours, the Facebook zombie or whatever, but that screen time is taking away from the time you could be spending on working, really working.

I know you want to see what’s trending on Twitter, I know you want to see how your friend is doing on FB or see what someone’s kid did with the Snapchat filter, just stop, it’s taking away from the time you could be spending on work, real work.

You need to focus your time. You need to put your mind into a place where the screen doesn’t distract, put it away when you’re trying to work.

I know we all want to zone out, stare at our phones, tablets or laptops but you can’t get back that time and use if towards your goals. Once those minutes or hours are gone, they’re not coming back, they’re fucking gone.

Once those minutes or hours are gone, they’re not coming back, they’re fucking gone.

If you can’t decide whether your screen time is more important than your grind time, you need to reevaluate your goals and whether you’re working hard enough.

Your potential is only limited by how hard you work.

The limitations you put on yourself, like the quantity wrong screen time, limits you.

You need quality screen time not poor screen time and you need to know the difference between the two.

If you don’t see the time staring at Facebook as poor screen time you’re not being truthful to yourself and you’re not working as hard as you believe you are.

You must work harder.

 

 

Your insecurities are killing you.


Each of us has those life moments where the doubt crushes you. It digs into your life, pulling the tendrils of happiness out and squashes them on the floor.

Then there are the moments where everyone is telling you that you can’t do what you’re trying to do. That you’re incapable of the greatness you see within yourself. 

These people are not trying to break some truth to you, they may be blood but they’re not family

These moments are the insecurities you see within yourself, these doubts of who you truly are, these moments are the basis for crawling out of the pit you find yourself in. Their words should motivate you more than anything else. They should push you to where you need to go.

When these people, these moments and those doubts creep up, go to another room because no one knows you like you know you. No one can understand your dreams like you.

You must keep up with the standards you set for yourself, you must push yourself to another level, you cannot stop, you must not stop if for nothing else than to prove the doubts, the insecurities, and these people wrong.

Don’t accept anything other than the life you want and deserve.

Taking Ownership of my writing.


With Monday’s post, I’ve been thinking about the way I’ve been writing.

  • Have I been working hard enough to achieve my goals?
  • Have I done everything I need to get published?
  • Have I been working on the parts of my writing that need improvement?

To all of those, the answer is no, I haven’t worked hard enough, I haven’t done what I need to do. I haven’t worked on the parts of the craft that I fail at.

There is a big reason for that, laziness and fear.

I’ve been lazy. I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would. I’ve let myself down

I’ve watched too much tv, I haven’t stayed up late when I told myself I would.

I’ve let myself down.

In the process of letting myself down, I’ve let my family down. I haven’t worked hard enough because I got too comfortable. I was too used to my life the way it was.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to spend time with my kids or my wife.

Along the way to this realization, I forgot to accept who I was. I forgot to take ownership of what I wanted to do and put forth the effort to do it.

I didn’t want to work harder because I was comfortable.

I’ve known for a while that I need to work harder. I’ve looked at my writing and realized I need to improve my craft but I haven’t, not until this past few weeks.

Each of us will hit that point.

We’ll hit the point where we’re looking at ourselves in the mirror and we have to ask that person, what are you doing? Why aren’t you working hard enough? What the hell are you afraid of?

We have to answer those questions honestly if not, we’re truly lying to ourselves.

 

Keep reaching, keep moving forward.


We reach a point where we have to look around and wonder what we’re doing wrong.

We have to write down what we’re doing, narrow it down, and stare at them, analyzing them until what’s missing slaps us in the face.

For the last two year, my wife and I have been living in our hometown, we moved our kids here to get me away from a work environment I hated, get our kids into a better academic environment, and allow our kids to live in a place they could go outside in the summertime.

There have been hardships along the way.

I couldn’t find work for the first few months.

Now that we’re approaching the two-year anniversary or our move, I’ve been looking for work that’s closer to home.

In our previous life, I was a bartender in Las Vegas. In our hometown, it appears no one wants my experience.

In our hometown, it appears no one wants my experience. I’ve been busy feeling sorry for myself over it. It was then I realized, I am living a life that many of my friends in Vegas would envy.

I spend most of the summer with our kids, follow my dream of being published every day, and I’m able to enjoy the little things with my family.

I’m not sure why I haven’t found a bartending gig in my hometown. I do know that my current situation is something most people would give up things for.

I also became aware that I’m not working as hard as I should be in regards to my writing and maybe that’s part of the reason I haven’t found closer employment.

When you make a big life change, you’ll look back at it a few years afterward and forget why you did it.

Remember why you took a chance, why you work on something you’ve wanted all your life and the reasons for each will keep you going.

Don’t let the little things get you down, keep moving forward.

Brian

 

Summer Goals


Fear debilitates you, belittles you, and takes away your mind.

I’ve always been fearful of something, spiders, my father, losing my kids or my wife, but last night I had one of those writing epiphanies.

I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror because they’re what I feel comfortable with.

I write them because writing something literary or something that wouldn’t be considered popular fiction scares the shit out of me.

I have moments in my writing where the words flow like wine in Napa, moments where the words don’t tell you what’s going on in the story but you see the cloud formations, catch the protagonists eye and feel their pain, unfortunately, those are only moments.

For me, these moments are the glimmer of better writing, the shining example of where my writing could go if I were to allow it.

I have a book to finish this month, though it may push into June. I also have a second draft of another book to complete by June, that one will be done by June.

For the summer, I’ll be working on my craft. I won’t write a book this summer, I will improve my ability to craft them though.

This summer I’ll work on improving my craftsmanship.

Who’s down for doing this with me?

 

 

Quit making excuses, you have time.


For the longest time, I made excuses about not having time to write. Now that I write full-time, I see all the moments I could’ve used to write when I was really just screwing off.

When you write full-time, you see all the time others aren’t using for their art. There are many instances when I’ll see a post on social media, ‘I didn’t have time to write today, but I got my hair done, I played ____ video game or I went out drinking with friends’.

I like to play video games, have drink with friends and go to the barber and get pampered, but I don’t let it interfere with my work, because honestly, that’s what I consider writing now, it took me longer than it should have, but it’s a job that I love that I haven’t been paid for, yet.

Quit saying you don’t have time, you do.

Quit making excuses, the only excuses you can use are these.

  • My spouse/partner/girlfriend/boyfriend got hurt or worse.
  • My kids got hurt or worse.
  • A very close family member got hurt or worse.

That’s it, those three are the only excuses. If you want it bad enough, you’ll give up sex, sleep, food and human interaction.

Otherwise, just quit.

Do you have anything published? And other things.

I bartend events on occasion and I get asked, ‘What do you do when you’re not doing this?”

“I write.” Is always my reply, then I wait for those words to compute, sometimes I get a follow-up like this, ‘Like freelance or books?’

‘I write novels and short stories.’

‘Do you have anything published?’

‘Not right now, but I’m trying to get a book published soon.’

‘Oh…” they reply and that’s the end of the conversation.

Here’s the truth. I have written four books, I’m working on number five right now and the reason I haven’t published is I guess I just haven’t.

That’s the truth. With the first two books, I got scared of publishing because they weren’t very good, first novels rarely are. With the last two, I want to get one of them published, but I’ll probably be doing Indie or self-publishing them.

Having written nearly five books, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t in the story, having never published I don’t bring in any income aside from the bartending gig.

My goal for this year is to publish two books, it doesn’t matter how, just that they’re out there for readers.

My daily routine consists of writing in the morning after dropping off my kids, working out after writing, reading in the afternoon, picking up the kids, eating and spending time with my family then editing whichever book is on the editing table at that time.

I would love to get published so I can say to these people who attend these events I bartend, “yes, I do. I have books on Amazon, iBooks, and a few others.”

I love writing more than anything else. I enjoy creating stories more than anything else and I want to share those stories, but honestly, I just haven’t gotten around to getting them published because I hadn’t found a system that works for me until recently.

Now that I have that system, I’ll be publishing in one form or another.

I write short stories and have submitted numerous stories this year to various magazines, but haven’t had a nibble, yet. I’m hoping to get one soon so I can contribute more to my family’s finances, because working one or two days a week bartending, doesn’t cut it.

Move Forward

There’s a point in life when you’re tired of the bullshit, tired of talking about what’s happened and you must step forward and move on.

You must forgive, you must remember what got you to where you, are and find a new way forward.

It’s when this happens that freedom comes. It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass

It’s this moment that you’re available to get your head out of your ass. You’ll stop and get past the bullshit, you’ll stop, look in the mirror and stare at the person you’ve become and then you can understand the truth of how you got to your current situation.

Hold on to this moment, write it down, work through it and do what is required to move on.

Your writing will push you forward, you must listen to it. You must listen to your heart and the breath coming from your lungs.

The voice inside is no longer a viable concept. If you listen to the voice in your head you’ll falter, you’ll fail and become on of those who gives up.

Don’t give up, it leads to misery. Misery leads to finality and you’ll never dig yourself out.

Get through it, put your head down, get the words out that you need.

If you push through to the other side you will thank yourself later.

Move forward, always…

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