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A few days ago my daughter lost her favorite stuffed animal, well, I guess it was more me not noticing it had left her hand than her losing it.

We found the dog later, but that dog has been the most important thing to her since she could walk. She takes it everywhere. People ask his name and wonder where she got him, but he’s the most important part of who she is. Without her dog she’s lost, sad and not my same little girl.

Watching her emotions move from extreme sadness at losing her dog for only a few hours, then getting him back and being exceedingly jubilant holding him in her arms made me think:

“Is there anything that important to who I am?”

My only thought was, “How many people go through life wondering this?”

It goes back to what the narrator in Fight Club says, ““If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”

The importance of your life isn’t one that you should take lightly. Every life is important, but not every life means what you believe it to.

Discovering your purpose through writing, art or anything creative can be trying, but doing it can be more rewarding than anything you’ll ever do.

Through being creative you can write a story that could bring people together, or paint a picture that will give a person hope in their worst times.

It’s only through being a creative that the importance of who you are, what you are and the direction of where you’re going doesn’t matter, it only matters that you create.

Creating is the lifeblood of society.

Creatives are the backbone of anything a society does. Where would the world be without the person who invented the steam engine or the person who wrote that one book that inspires a generation.

The creatives fuel economies, without them there would be no scientists, astronomers, or inventors and without each of those there wouldn’t be societies.

What you’re doing with your life is important, but what you create for those who follow you is more important.

Are you creating that which is most important to you? Answer in the comments.

In modern time we see our life as a series of pictures our birth: birthdays, school, college, marriage, kids and we see the way its gone.

What about the expectations we had for our life when we started?

Where have the things gone we wanted to do, the life we wanted to live, the books we wanted to write?

Having expectations for our life is something which makes us who we are. We have dreams, goals and desires.

Each expectation is a bigger deal than the last.

We’re expected to do what our parents want us to do with our lives, but what if we want to do other things, what if we want to be a creative, be a writer, artist or actor?

Where does being a creative fit into the grand scheme of what society wants for us, regardless of our wants?

I hated college, I went only because it was my way out of a bad situation and in hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have gone to college, I’d rather have spent my time, and my dad’s money writing, but I’m not sure he and my step-mother would have gone along with that idea.

I’ve always wanted more for myself than I felt my parents did.

I didn’t want to go to college, I wanted to be a Marine, when that fell through, I had nothing to fall back on.

I thought about traveling the world, working jobs to keep myself alive, there are times I wish I would have lived up to my own great expectations of who I wanted to be, but I lived life safely. I didn’t want to upset the relationships I’d built with my parents, I wish I’d been more like the person I am now, more willing to adventure than to do what I was told.

Now I’m more willing to take chances and risks. I’ve always felt I wasn’t allowed to be who I wanted; that there were restrictions, that I couldn’t be this that or the other. One of the things I felt my dad looked down on was creativity. Which, sorry to say, has always been my strong suit.

Twenty years ago I was afraid to be myself, afraid to take what I wanted to do and turn it into something else, something more like the life I wanted for myself.

I don’t regret my life or the choices I’ve made. Those choices are what led me to be a dad, husband and the experiences have made me a better writer.

We each have great expectations of what we want our lives to be.

Is your life what you wanted it to be when you were a kid, teenager or in your twenties?

Answer in the comments.

 

When I was 18, I knew what I wanted to be–a Marine–what I wanted to do and I had a plan for how to get there..

It’s been nearly 20 years since I left boot camp without graduating and I still think about it.

I know there’s a reason I’ve been on this path the last twenty years, but I’m not sure what it is yet, but I think I’m getting closer.

Like being a Marine, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a teenager.

I loved creating something from nothing and discovering new worlds.Writing for me was a power trip, especially growing up when I didn’t have any power.

I started writing again ten years ago when a friend said, “You read a lot Brian, you should write something. You’re a smart guy, you should write.”

I wrote a few short stories after that and in 2004, just before my son was born I started writing a novel, it was my first and I learned a lot from the process.

Last year I finished me second novel, and have written a lot of short stories since then.

This year hasn’t been as strong as last year, but I’ve learned a lot from writing short stories.

For twenty years I’ve been on this path, but since I started writing again I’ve begun to feel more like the kid from Wyoming who wanted to be a Marine.

I’m finding that writing is fun, life is a pain in the ass and that I have an amazing wife who’ll support me no matter what I want to be. Along with our kids I’m sure I’ll find my way.

My path doesn’t include dress blues or the Marine Corps hymn like I wanted it to twenty years ago, but I’m enjoying the writer’s path and spending time with the wife I have, our kids and I”m thankful for being where I am and finally discovering who I am.

Stress can kill you, take away what you believe in and recently for me, make you sick as hell.

The stress came about because of my worries for my NaNoWriMo project, a project which, like last year, fell on its face and hasn’t begun to start moving, even though I’ve prodded it.

The biggest reason for its flop is Platform.

That word is such a buzz word in blogging and writing right now. It’s very hard to get away from it.

The biggest problem I see with that word is another word, fiction.

Fiction writer’s create worlds. Sometimes we don’t know where the story is going, even with an outline, and because of that we can’t truly set up a Platform.

A Platform is supposed to be a guide for a project. 

If you’re a fiction writer, that’s more difficult because you may not know where the story is going from one chapter to the next.

Those who write self-help books can use Platforms really well, while the rest of us are left wondering why it doesn’t work when we try it.

Here are reasons why I believe Platforms don’t work for Fiction Writers:

  1. Most fiction writers don’t write for an audience, and those who do already have there established group of readers.
  2. Platforms don’t allow for movement. If things change in your life, you have this Tribe that knows you as one person, but if you go through a spiritual awakening that is different than the one your Tribe knows you as, you have to start over.
  3. Change. Life is filled with change, some of it under your control, most of it not. If your writing changes or you choose to write in another genre it may alienate your tribe.

You may want to create a Platform, but in creating a Platform you may not be taking into account your life changes, your writing changes and the biggest of all, You Change.

The change you go through personally may alienate your tribe or may create divisions in your life.

Creating a Platform shouldn’t be something difficult, for fiction writers maybe it shouldn’t be something at all.

Writers create stories, some of them have similarities that when put together as a collection ofr work show those similarities, but as we write we may not understand the similarities and may become annoyed by those telling us to write another book like our past book.

For me who’s never published, though I’ve written two novels, I just want to get a book on the shelf.

Looking for a Platform for my writing caused me so much stress in the last few weeks I became ill and with that I swore I’d never do what people expect me to write.

My Platform is I’m a writer of different genres, mostly Science Fiction or Fantasy based, but I’ll never limit myself to those two.

I choose that Platform because trying to pigeon hole myself made me sick.

Your Platform should be what makes you the person you’ve lived with for your life, never limit yourself to who you are, or your Platform.

Be your Platform!

I’d rather be my Platform than do something I wouldn’t be proud of.

My daughter loves carrot cake, the frosting, the mix of certain spices…alright, mostly the frosting.

Last week I decided to bake a carrot cake with my daughter. On the recipe it said to use spring form pans, this is possibly because it’s easier to take the cake out of the spring form than a regular cake pan.

We don’t keep those types of pans in the house; they don’t get used enough.

Instead of the spring form I used basic cake pans, and they worked beautifully.

Recently with my writing I’ve been trying to write something more literary than the sci-fi stuff I usually write, well I haven’t written a word I actually like, then I made the cake last week, and like the cake I was trying to fit my writing into a mold, a pre-form of what I thought I should write.

I started writing something that is more like my other writing and discovered I shouldn’t try to be a writer I’m not.

As long as the writing tastes good on the reader’s palette you shouldn’t try to fit into a mold of what you think you should write.

Don’t use a mold, and write what you prefer.

It’s good to experience new things, but sometimes you’re either not ready for that new experience or your mind hasn’t settled from another story.

Remember, You’re the writer, write what you want and break the mold.

“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Writing is something I’ve grown to love, and loath. It always feels like one or the other, never anything other than that.

Waking up, the sun shining through the blinds, my kids playing in the hallway as my wife tries to wrangle them for school, I often sit in bed, pen in hand and write what I hear in the house.It’s these little observations that make a writer.

We’re often trying to get the next story written, plotted or struggling to make sense of the story we’ve just finished.

The ride of writing is one which, though the rails seem to slide off at times, buying the ticket for the train ride is more than worth the price of sleepless nights of worrying about the next sentence, thinking about the next story or wondering if you’re going to make it.

Every writer thinks these things. We all have days when we wish we’d have burned the ticket for the ride, or when we would have jumped off the train when the rails felt unstable. These moments are the clarity moments, the ones where the best writing happens.

The ride of writing and discovering what we enjoy writing is nearly better than the act of writing.

Each journey of the story we’re pulled into a world we never knew existed and sometimes a world we’d like to live in.

With each story we purchase a ticket into Neverland, where we take the ride and whether we enjoy it are up to us.

Are you enjoying the ride? Answer in the comments.

Night_Sky_Stars_Trees_02
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~ Harriet Tubman

Oftentimes, we’re stuck in a reality of chaos, wrapped in an enigma of what we believe our lives should be. And through the chaos time stands still.

We see where we’ve wanted to be with our lives, where we are and how far we have to get there or maybe we think that our lives are under our control and not fate. If fate is in control why don’t we just walk through the middle of the freeway during rush hour and “take our chances on fate?”

Our reality is we must keep doing what we’re doing, ignore the mystery of who we are. Wake up tomorrow and plan better than we did the previous day, or days.

If we’re going to reach for the stars we need to create a better star chart. Without a star chart we’re wandering, staring at a sky full of blinking lights.

Your life is in your hands, as is your ability to create. Your ability is given to you to do as you please, but if you don’t use it wisely you’ll be like every other creative who gave up and threw away their star chart, or worse…burned it!

The gift every writer has is a story. It doesn’t matter how good the story is, at least not at first, as long as you enjoy it. You’ll learn to hone your ability the way a comic book character learns when to use that super strength and when is the worst time.

Your life goes by faster than you believe, and when you don’t stop to write it down, sooner or later it will be gone and you’ll discover you don’t have any notes or stories.

When you discover your gift for writing you’ll learn that you can write better than you thought and it will teach you that all those people who support you were really right, and those who said you’d never succeed didn’t know your drive or willingness to achieve great things.

Go out with the gift you have and amaze yourself and eventually you’ll learn your reality isn’t chaos.

You’ll discover that enigma of who you are, it was staring you in the face the entire time.

That time you believe was standing still was only a dream and you’re control the time circuits.

Deal a blow to time and do something amazing with your gift.

Have you created your star chart? Answer in the comments.