How I took over control of my life.

This year has been about regaining control over my life.

First, it started by fixing my writing.

I listened to myself when I was writing more often, thought through sentences more carefully, and paid attention when a story went off the rails.

Today my wife will be finishing her first read-through of a novel. I’ll start revising it next week.

I started a new novel yesterday.  I’m currently outlining it and creating a beat sheet.

It’s something different from my other stories, in structure and content.

Second, I’ve been exercising more.

The end of last year was a tough one. My brother passed away from an aneurysm.

Technically we weren’t blood, but he’ll always be my brother.

When he passed, I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I should.

I’ve worked to correct that.

I work out four to five days a week, restrict my caffeine intake and make sure I’m eating decently.

Third, I spend more time with my wife and kids.

Three years ago I lived in Las Vegas. I worked a job I hated and was stressed all the time.

The hours I worked made it nearly impossible to get any time with my wife and kids.

I’d spend a few days here and there with them but it wasn’t quality time. It was usually in a movie theater.

After we left Las Vegas our goal was for me to write more, spend more time with each other and give our kids a better environment.

We’ve managed to do all of those things.

I’ve written four novels since we moved, over a hundred short stories and with each I see improvement.

Our kids are doing better in school. My son almost made the honor roll, which was unheard of in Las Vegas.

We hike, spend time outside and sometimes we go to the movies. The movies used to be our family time. Now its secondary to doing other things.

I have no doubt I’ll be published soon. I know I’m in better physical and mental condition than I was three years ago.

My relationship with my kids and my wife is stronger than its ever been.

If we wouldn’t have left Las Vegas all of us would be miserable.

I fight my way through depression daily, my wife does too.

There are moments when life seems hard. At those moments I look around and compare the life I had three years ago to my current situation.

Things are better.

I took control of a lot of things this year. I’m also working harder at my prose than I thought possible. I never would have had the time to focus during our Las Vegas life.

Today, I have the time, the strength and the ability to push towards my goals.

It all started by taking control.

Looking at Failure Differently

The doubt bugs crawl in, infest themselves in your mind, control your thoughts and you suspend everything you’re doing because you failed at something.

Here’s the truth, failure happens.

Failure is required for improvement.

Without the punishment we feel from failure, we’re not able to step up and grind out our goals.

Failure hurts.

It makes us want to quit.

It will want to stop working towards your goals.

The pain from failure should remind you you’re human. Take it as learning and move forward.

Every time we fail its fate telling us we’re not there yet. It’s not telling us to stop.

If you stop, you’ll look in the mirror one morning, stare at the wrinkles, wonder where time went and wish you would have stayed on the path.

Go forward and keep working on your goals.

Keep pushing forward.

Finding purpose in a minefield​.

When the world feels like its crumbling around you, look for things that make your life better.

Each day we consider what others think about is, we’re stepping in a minefield.

The minefield is littered with crushed dreams, faded photographs and the loss of peace of mind.

The minefield is bigger than we believe it to be.

It looks like only a few yards, but it goes on for years. Those years are lost to the judgment of self, loss of productivity and an absence of who we are.

Who we are is the most important of these.

It is what we believe ourselves to be that defines us.

It carries us through a forest of thorns, a no man’s land of pain and sometimes that no man’s land is littered with our lost dreams.

We only fail in our dreams if we stop following and the lost dreams in no man’s land will never have their second coming. They will never have that resurrection we desire for them.

We have to move past those lost dreams at some point.

When we discover that the minefield is an illusion and the words that others say don’t matter, we move into a new realm of who we are.

This realm is ripe with purpose.

It answers the questions of we thought we were and gives us guidance.

Don’t let the Quitters stop you.


As an artist, writer, actor or entrepreneur, you will run into people who quit.

You will meet people who stopped following their dreams for one reason or another. They may have gotten married, had a kid and stopped believing.

As one of the people I listed, the quitters will see you working, see you grinding and hustling to reach the next mountain and they’ll become jealous.

They may do everything to stop you, they won’t support you because they don’t believe anymore.

They stopped believing in fairy tales when whatever circumstance stole their dream.

You’ll watch them going about their lives, dying on the inside because they see you working, their jealousy flares up and they’ll try to find a way to stop you.

Don’t let them.

Keep working, keep grinding and keep hustling.

No matter what happens, don’t stop working. You may have written a book, it’s sitting on your nightstand, your computer or you have an audition for a part, and they scoff at your dreams.

Stand up, go to that audition, finish that book, talk to the owner of the gallery that shows your type of artwork.

Never stop, never quit.

Failure should motivate you, the quitters should motivate you, the life you don’t have and life you want for you family, that should motivate you.

Never stop, never quit.

The voices in your head will always tell you that you can’t do it, the people, in reality, should be the least of your worries.

Ignore them, keep working, keep grinding and keep hustling.

 

Climbing my mountain…again!

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I’m listening to Staind right now. It helps me focus when I’m wondering what to do with things. Nine Inch Nails does the same thing for me when I’m angry.

But, let’s get to the gist of this post, shall we?

Last July,  my wife and I boxed up our house in Las Vegas in an attempt to get our kids away from the constant barrage of naked women on billboards and the way Vegas portrays women in general.

It was something we’d planned for eight months and we’d saved enough to move, get our stuff in a storage unit so we could later put it in a house.

Another reason we moved was so I could write.

This is something I’ve wanted to do since I the age of 14.

Today, I look at what I’m doing and as Neil Gaiman says, “I’m moving away from my mountain.”

I’m getting farther away from my goal of writing full-time.

I’m between two places, one that leads me to the mountain top, another that takes the mountain and places it under a pile of workout programs, supplements, and distractions that I shouldn’t have been involved with in the first place.

I should have known better, that’s the problem. I keep looking at where the road diverted and get sick.

I’ll be writing and ignoring things for a while. I love working out with these programs, but I want to be a writer.

I have an event in Dallas in May and that may change my mind, but writing is the reason we moved and what I’ve been doing has taken time, resources and money away from that goal.