Ignoring the shiny.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

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We writers, we have a problem.

There is this thing, it’s called “The Shiny“.

It comes when we least expect it, but it screams its damn head off when it appears.

We’ll be working on a story, and it doesn’t matter the length of the story, and BAM, The Shiny appears.

It could be a new thought on the current story, something that we didn’t anticipate or worse, it could be a new story, yelling, ‘look at me, look at me. I won’t let you get stuck, but if I do at least you’ll be writing five-thousand words while you wait’

The more we’re blocked, the louder the damn thing screams, but we have to ignore it, we must. There’s a part of us that knows we have to keep going on the current story, because, no matter how blocked we get, we still have more words on the current story than The Shiny.

We want to stop because we’ll get The Shiny to be quiet, then we have the damn things popping up to yell at us. It will happen when we’re going to sleep, taking our kids to school, reading a book. That last one, that’s the most frustrating.

The only thing we can do, write down the idea, put it somewhere we can see it and work on it later after we’re done with the current story.

Don’t give in to The Shiny.

Why I Rethought The Way I Look at My Writing.

Each day we’re stuck living someone else’s dream.

We go to a job where oftentimes, we’re creating something for someone else, because it pays the bills.

What if we decided to live our dream, pay the bills and still keep people happy?

This was something I thought about the other day when I was writing.

I work a day job, which I had considered my main job, obviously neglecting my writing and anything creative in the process.

That was until this past week, when I was struck with something, I’m not a writer. I’m pretending to be a writer.

What I realized in that “moment of clarity” is that I’ve been looking at my writing as a second job, sure it doesn’t pay the bills right now, but as long as I treat my writing as the second job and not the first, it will always suffer.

In this realization I thought, “Damn, if I think this way, others do as well.”

What do we do about it?

We rethink our creative side, redo the way we look at our day and come up with ways to put our creative efforts first, and other things second.

I say this as a husband and father, “If your creative side isn’t in first place, it will never win.

I have obligations, it’s not like I’m going to quit my day job, not right now. I see the time coming when that will happen, but it’s not right now.

The thing is, we all have things we want to do, but we put them in second place out of fear, shame or other reasons.

Fear of rejection, fear of someone not understanding and the fear of failure. And shame, damn, shame is the worst. When we look at the things we’ve failed at there could be a big list, and because we failed at those the shame and fear of it happening again makes us not want to try, not want to do it again.

But, when we come to the realization, as I did, that what we wake up for in the morning should be first. That the thing we want to do most in our life should be first, then, and only then will we discover the will to do it.

I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard. There will be people who say you can’t do it, there will be that damn voice in your head and when the voice in your head talks, tell it to F off.

The only way you’re going to do what you want with your life is to put your creative pursuits first and anything else second.

We live someone else’s dream every day, isn’t it about time we live our dream?

Paperback Landmines, Barbwire and Flies

The part about writing that always confuses, the writing.

We write, because, well…it’s what we do. There’s nothing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, definitely not my day-job. I don’t want to be slinging drinks at 50.

I have books by King, Maass and one or two by K.M. Weiland, not to mention Strunk & White.

These books have gathered at my desk for an intervention.

They’re not in a pile, they merely litter my desk like paperback landmines.

One or two sit open, they’re pages alight in streams of fading sun filtering through the blinds.

I see a few of my notes about this, that or the other and find myself drunk from the new knowledge of outlines, plot and character dissection, which oddly sounds like some medieval torture.

I’ve never been fond of these books, but my writing, well it’s on the verge of discovering what landfill flies actually eat, don’t ask.

The headaches are back, the stress of not getting things on the page, when I desperately need the release.

The little synapses are firing, but there’s not much to fire into when the stories are stuck in a no man’s land surrounded by paperback landmines, gas canisters of regret and bullets made of that little gooey stuff that comes out of bugs when you squish them.

I see the books, they’re little bugs telling me to do things I don’t want to do. Outline, plot, character dissection and a myriad of other little things my heart doesn’t want, but my mind keeps telling me, “Listen up, it will help.”

My heart is torn between what my writing wants and what my mind knows needs to happen.

I’ve read all the books, done some of the exercises, but that doesn’t feel like enough tonight. The pillow calls, but I’d rather wrap it around my head with barbwire than leave the desk, because I’m a writer and I have to write.

The writing doesn’t come, it spurts and spills like fresh blood from an artery, cascading across the page in large arcs.

The arcs begin small, but then, something amazing happens…I begin to write.

Finding Your Dreams With TM.

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What we dream about can influence what we do in life, but without a dream, we’re an empty vessel.

Dreams come to us children, sometimes wanting to get out of the places we’re stuck in, or maybe wanting to get rid of the life we have.

With age, we learn our dreams are only as big as we want them to be.

We learn from our parents who may have given up their dreams to have us, or possibly they’ve given us up to follow their dreams, either way, a dream is something we should follow.

The day we decide to follow our dreams, that day, is one of the most important days of our lives.

Our decision to follow our dreams, like the decision to attend college, travel through Europe after high school and get married are not things we should do without thinking about them. If you find yourself thinking about something often, do it.

The thought of not writing daily is something that gave me bad dreams.

When I began TM I discovered that writing came easier than ever, and I didn’t stress about the content; I knew good content would come.

My life comes alive in the 20 minutes of TM in a way I don’t understand, but my writing is something which I love.

I’ve discovered more worlds, new stories, and found myself traversing a deepness in my stories that I never found without TM. I’ve discovered since starting TM a connection and rhythm to the characters, and sometimes I wonder if I’m going crazy being able to see things through their eyes.

The connection with a story is what makes me a writer, it’s the reason I write this blog.

I like the connection, the way I find new blogs through new readers, and though I write only twice a week, I find peace in that time.

I write about TM and I hope the words on the page lead those who read them to look into TM, whether you’re struck with depression as I was, or having problems with a spouse or loved one, TM is the one thing I’ve discovered which made me feel like the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Finding your Belief

“You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.”  – Neil Gaiman, Stardust

The things we see, feel and hear are how we interpret our life.

These things change from the time we’re children until we grow into adulthood, but what we never understand are the thing before us define who we are.

The definitions we use to describe our lives…happy, sad, frustrated or depressed are who we define ourselves as.

Those definitions are the who we believe ourselves to be. These categories tell us, what to believe, feel and how we should act toward ourselves and others, but there’s more to it than that.

These definitions of our beliefs, they’re only for that moment in time. That moment we choose to be happy, sad or whatever.

The way we view our world is something which can be changed.

We follow what we’re told to follow, believe what we’re told to believe, especially as children.

We want to become what our parents tell us we should be, but we’re often let down by that, mostly because parents set such lofty goals for their children, and those goals are unattainable, whether by financial means or by intellect, but if we get past what our parents say, what then?

Our beliefs as adults are no longer reigned in by our parents, or at least they shouldn’t be.

We’re never taught to think for ourselves, to do what we want or to believe in what is closest to our heart. This is the travesty of society.

Finding the belief in yourself which has always been there is not as difficult as it sounds. We’re told finding ourselves will be a challenge, that it takes something significant to make that discovery.

That’s wrong!

Nothing significant happens to make us change who we are, or what we believe, it’s merely trial and error. The road we take is our own, and it’s the only road which leads us to where we should be in life, because of this we don’t want to work as hard for it, mostly because the work is hard.

If your belief in yourself is greater than the belief of those around you, then maybe you should change friends or jobs.

The belief you have in yourself should always be greater than that of those around you, if you have no belief in yourself, you’re only walking through life, taking the road everyone else takes, but you should take the road you want, and to hell with what everyone else thinks.

You have to believe in yourself, otherwise no one else will!

 

Finding Your Own Road.

The road follows its own course, we’re just along for the ride.

We stare at the road presented before us, its trees, thorns ad cracked and splintered surface, but what we rarely see are the wildflowers growing in the ditch on the side of the road.

The wildflowers, though beautiful, are hidden from view. They’re rarely seen and seldom talked about, but the cracked and splintered surface is discussed often.

Our roads lead only where we want them to. The only thing we can do is get off the highway, find a gas station, and ask for directions, but we don’t like directions, or at least not a lot of us.

Our direction, whether going through a big city, or a small town, always leads us through cracks and thorns, but once we reach the city, do we stop and look for beautiful areas, no, we’re resigned to believe there are none.

Cities are beautiful, but we often forget about the architecture around us unless we’re standing in it.

Towns don’t have the rush of the city, but they have the problems, and once we’re entangled in those problems they become bigger than the city.

A stop in the towns is wonderful for some people, as are cities, but getting beyond those and discovering what lies beyond the city gates or the township’s borders, that’s when you discover the correct road.

Stay on the road, follow the course and let it take you where you need to be.

Writing Critiques and How TM has changed my view.

As a child I remember my father critiquing me for anything he believed I did wrong. If I stood with my hands on my hips, “That looks Gay”, or when I’d get bad grades, “You’re stupid.”

This type of critiquing didn’t go well with my creative side, it impeded it.

Now that I have kids and don’t say those things to them, I learned more about what is a good critique and a bad one and how TM figures in to my writing.

The one thing about TM, is that I no longer care as much about the past, or the future. I’m finally able to live in present, and with the present I’m able to handle criticism a lot better.

I recently got my edits back from an editor, though they’ll change the way I write, they’ll also let me grow as a writer, which is more important.

The edits were on a draft of a novel I wrote and they’re what I’ve wanted to hear from someone who knew what they were talking about.

I’ve attended Meet-Ups, but a lot of them are just a bunch of people gathered to drink at a bar, which may be fun for those who aren’t serious about the craft, but for me they limited what I wanted to do and they were detrimental to my craft.

I knew going in to writing that I needed work, and with the notes I received, I know what I need to fix, and I’m also now more aware of my writing issues.

I no longer live in a world where I care if I’m berated for not cleaning my room, but that prepared me for writing more than anything.

As a kid I had to have thick skin, but I also became aware that I could write to escape things, which went hand-in-hand.

TM allows me to worry less about the critiques I received in the past and let me focus on my present writing issues.

Being critiqued is part of writing, and being critiqued well are the best kind of critiques.

Before TM I was fearful of being critiqued and based what I knew on my experience with my father.

I now know that a critique should be a lesson and not a reprimand.