Lost in Stats!

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Since I have started this little blog, I have found a disturbing trend in my mindset. The main purpose of this blog is to keep myself accountable for my own dream and ambitions.

So I don’t let this vision fall away because of cubicle comfort.

It is about opening myself up to the world so everyone knows my desire to do what I love and for others to constantly ask “how is the writing going?” and to be able to respond “Great! I just finished a project yesterday!”

But even knowing the point of this blog does not stop me from constantly checking the one thing that should not matter to me right now.

The Stats.

Seeing how many likes, how many shares, how many visits and so on and so forth until either A) I am elated by the response or B) I sink into pit of self-doubt and pity.

And we all know that the rise is easier than the fall.

Sometimes I will pop on to my blog to see I only had a couple visitors and start to feel down about all of this.

Fully forgetting the entire point of this blog by the shadow of the stats bar that stares at me every time I open WordPress like the Eye of Sauron over the gates of Mordor.

It is not until my wife reminds me that stats are not the point that I finally break the spell and say “oh yeah! You’re right!” which is then followed by a flurry of new writing and purpose.

Until the day comes that I jump on and the stat link glares at me with a beckoning finger. Tempting me to see what may or may not be a punch to the testicles of my ego.

I think this is what people talk about when people give up. Where some people expect a mass audience within a week that never manifests and are instead faced with the reality that the road up the hill is much steeper than expected.

It is times like this that I appreciate having a person that can notice my queues of self-depreciation and can slap my senses back in order to continue on. Without my wife, I would have probably quit ten times already.

And I have barely even started!

When one embarks on a quest, whatever it may be, it is important to find a support network that will pick you back up when an obstacle removes the strength from your spine to hold you upright.

dont worry, be happy

It is hard to break that shell that you have had around you for so long and not miss the security of inaction.

So the next time your mind wanders into the realm of giving up and feelings of ineptitude start to take hold, remember that it is not all about the stats or the numbers. It is about putting one foot in front of the other.

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Writing About Not Writing

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It has been a while since I have last made a post. I have been so busy with so many things lately that I have just been unable to sit down and write.

Work, my daughter’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday party, writing articles for Beasts of War, more work crap and so on and so forth.

I have been so busy that my wife said to me the other day “You have not written a post in a while” and my response to her was “Yes I have, it was last week or something” when in fact, it was about two weeks ago when I made a mini post of what I have been up to as far as writing goes.

This revelation made me realize how easy it is to let things slip by the wayside.

To get so wrapped up in everything else that you are not focusing on the goal that you set for yourself.

Now yes, I have been writing for a hobby gaming website on the side and that is a small piece of the greater “I want to be and live as a writer and not a corporate cubicle jockey” puzzle but I was losing track of moving forward.

Of finding new and different ways to increase my writing skills and potential.

So really, this post I am writing is a post about not writing.

For me to excel and achieve this goal that I have set out for myself, I need to consistently push forward. To let the creative juices flow and to write.

Every day.

This is something that I have not done. I write here and there. Maybe twice a week but to succeed I need to be writing every day. So from here on out. I will focus on writing something every day.

Even if it is just something small like a letter or a short synopsis of a story that is lurking in my brain.

Any who, sorry for the long lapse and if you are a writer, let me know how you stay focused. How do you stay on track to achieve your writers’ life?

What I Am Doing

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 Since I started this blog I have discussed my aspirations of what I want out of my life and writing career. So I thought I would take some time once in a while to tell you all the projects I am working on.

I have done a ton of research into blogging, internet marketing and freelance work and I am glad to say that I am slowly getting my portfolio set up for some freelance writing gigs. I have set up some articles for a hobby gaming site that allows for affiliate links to my blog to create more exposure and to give me another source of work to reference and so far I have had good feedback.

I am working on launching my own site to create a better business hub for my writing and blog. I never realized how much work goes into this stuff so it is a nice learning experience.

I also have several other blogs in the works covering several different topics and niches other than writing and personal growth.

Aside from that, I also have recently become a cohost of a podcast that focuses on a card game that I enjoy with some friends and that is going well.

I would have links to these things but WordPress won’t allow me to link them.

I will have more updates as some things push forward.

Thanks for supporting my blog and following me as I break out of the cell and into the life following a passion.

Is This What You Envisioned?

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My wife and I were talking the other day before I had to go to work. We were just chit-chatting about our day when she said “I wish you could stay home today”.

This is something my wife regularly says to me before I go to work. We are not one of those couples that cannot wait to get away from each other because of kids or conflicting personalities.

My usual response to this is “I know, I wish I could too”. We usually just kiss and I leave for work. As I said before, this happens often but my mindset has changed of late. I am no longer happy with the idea of a corporate future and something occurred to me that I just had to laugh to myself with how crazy it sounded.

Almost all people that work for a corporate entity or really any job for that matter, has to ask someone else for freedom.

Now I know what you may be thinking “that is rather dramatic of you to say” and I know, it kind of is but that makes it no less true.

If I want to have a day off during the business week. I have to ask permission from someone else to do so. Whether to check for others who have the day off or that ever present imaginary number that floats over all workers heads called “vacation time” someone else has to give the OK in order for me to take a day off with my family.

I understand that people cannot expect to work and just take days off willy-nilly. I get that. But we, as humans, allow someone else to control our weekly freedom and that idea boggles my mind.

Just the idea of that concept pushes me to continue with my writing and freelance work.

The goal to someday be working. Look up from my computer and say to myself “I think I am going to take a break” then walk out of the room to tackle my daughter and roll around in a ticklish heap. This is the life that I strive for.

A life that requires no one but myself to dictate its freedom. Where you can do something you love and live off of it.

Not just live in the sense of financial stability but to really live.

I have always said that I do not want to be one of the people that lives to work but who works to live and I have lost sight of that over the past couple years and it is refreshing to be in a mental state where I can think of these constrictions and laugh at their absurdity, instead of blindly accepting that it is just a matter of course. That it is just the way things are.

Because the truth is. That is not just the way things are. It is the way you accept things to be. You make your own reality. No one else does.

So if you work in corporate America. Look around yourself.

Take a moment to soak in your surroundings and what you are doing and ask yourself.

Is this the reality that I envisioned for myself?

Purpose

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I have talked a bit about my fears. I have talked a bit about what causes them.

But I have not touched on what changed my mind.

It turns out, that all I needed to do to take the plunge and start writing again was purpose.

I found my purpose for writing was in my face the whole time. Now, I am not going to go into a story of how my purpose is me and blah, blah, blah.

Ultimately, when one wants to be a writer, one wants to get paid for it eventually and that is not a bad thing.

But that is not purpose. That is not something that really drives me to put thought down on paper.

What drove me to finally start writing again is audience and that audience is my wife.

Now I am not writing this article to get brownie points from my wife who invariably reads this blog (although, it couldn’t hurt) but when you are writing for the pleasure of one person, the mountain of indecision you are facing is remarkably small.

Stephen King goes in depth on this topic in his book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” where he also writes specifically for his wife and when you come down to it, he would not be where he is today if it was not for his wife pulling the unfinished manuscript for Carrie out of the trash.

My wife and I share similar interests. We read the same books. We enjoy the same comics. We play the same games, board and otherwise.

So when I write, I write for her enjoyment. She is my greatest uplifting fan and my most devastating critic. So I know that if I write something she enjoys, than I did well and I feel more comfortable with others reading what I have done.

I am comfortable with showcasing my work because I have already impressed the person I was looking to impress. Everyone else enjoying it is just a perk.

I am describing this to you because I think everyone has this person somewhere in their life. Whether it is a spouse, parent, friend or mentor, you can find someone to be your audience of one.

So next time you get the itch to write a chapter or a short story or even and article you wish to post to a site. Think about the person whose criticism means most to you. Whose entertainment from your writing makes you feel the best and write for that person and that person alone and see how it changes your perception.

Let me know how this works for you and share this post with others you may feel that this method would help. I know it has helped me tremendously.

P.S. I cannot stress enough how amazing “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King” is. I highly recommend it to all aspiring writers in any genre. It is a fantastic, no B.S. book on writing and methodology that really helped me re-evaluate the way I looked at the craft of writing.

Shaking Off the Dust

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Since I have started this blog, I have noticed a pattern.

Friends, family and coworkers will ask me “what’s new?” and of course, part of my response is “Well, I started a blog!”

Then comes the obligatory questions like what is it about? Or how many viewers do you have. This is generally expected since most people uphold the niceties of courtesy.

What is unexpected is the 90% that follow those questions with “I always wanted to be a writer”. I have heard this statement so many times now that I am having trouble keeping count.

This does not come quite as a shock to me. The concept of a story, in written or verbal form, has been a defining factor in human history since the dawn of man and the idea of living the American dream on the back of a story of your own creation is a vision of many.

The question to be asked here is why?

Why have so many said to themselves “I always wanted to be a writer” then moved on to the drudgery of “proper” careers. Why have so many left this dream that they fantasized about behind to collect dust until it is unrecognizable.

It is not until the mention of someone else taking action to obtain that dream and make it a reality that they look back into the past and remember that discarded idea of a future they once wanted for themselves.

So again, my question is why.

I have already established the fear that is crippling to myself as a reason for putting this dream on the backburner. A fear that I am quenching every time I type my thoughts or work on my manuscript. But what else is there?

What else is holding people back?

So here are my questions for whoever is following this blog or happens to stumble upon it.

What is it that is stopping you from being the writer you have always wanted to be?

If you are writing now, what is it that allowed you to overcome adversity to follow the path that you are currently taking?

These are the question I want to know and understand. So that maybe, together, we can break through whatever is holding so many people back. So we can build off these obstacles and crush them under our collective heel.

I started this blog as a way for me to keep myself accountable and record the journey down the difficult path of obtaining ones dreams but maybe it can be more than that. Maybe it can be a place where people can come for comfort. To read and share with others the things that hold us all back from our goals and aspirations.

If you read this blog and you have ever thought to yourself “I would love to be a writer”, let me know in the comments what is holding you back and lets climb this mountain together.

Inspiration

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Pursuing ones dreams is a daunting task. Sometimes I think to myself that this may go nowhere.

That I am going to this effort of writing this blog, writing my manuscript and pushing myself to make it in a field that many fail every day to break into.

Sometimes I think that what I have to say means nothing to no one. That my writing is awful. That my dream of becoming a writer is hopeless and will ultimately bear no fruit.

These types of things cross my mind all the time. They squeezed into my brain while I typed my first post. They force their way to the front when I am working on my novel and cause me to pause in my writing. Lose focus and want to quit.

But then, like the first star on a cloudless night. Something breaks the darkness that creeps its way into my thoughts and shakes its hold on me.

This came in the form of a comment on my last post. A commenter wrote this:

“…I have actually had this same dream since I was 13… You’ve inspired me through this blog to begin again. Thank you.”

Suddenly, the grip of self-doubt and fear vanish.

Gone are the thoughts that I am not good enough or that anything I write will fall dead. All from a comment and a very significant sentence:

You’ve inspired me through this blog to begin again

Do I want to become a writer? Of course I do. It is what I have always wanted.

What do I want to achieve with this blog? Exactly that sentence.

To inspire.

Who knows what will happen in the future. With my writing. With my blog. With my career.

But if I can inspire some of you on the way, that is achievement to me. That inspires me to continue. To push hard to achieve this goal.

I want others to feel like I do. That a contemporary job is not the only way to succeed. That living ones dreams is not just for the fortunate or the lucky ones. That if you work hard, these things can happen for you. Whatever they may be, they are attainable.

These self-defeating thoughts will continue to plague me. Of that, I am sure. But it’s the support of those around me that lift me back up.

It is the smile that my wife gives me when she sees that I am writing. The thought that someday, I will look up from working and not see a blue cubicle wall, but the sight of my son and daughter playing. The comment of gratitude from a reader for inspiring them.

That is my inspiration.

The Beginnings of Something Great

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My name is Charles Smith. I am 26 years old and this is my blog.

I have never kept or maintained a blog so this will be a learning experience for me but a very necessary one.

I created this blog to keep tabs on myself. To keep myself accountable for the life that I want for myself and my children and maybe inspire some of you to do the same.

A little about me.

I currently have a fairly good job in a fortune 500 company. I work full time and I am able to provide a living for my children and allow my wife to be a stay at home mom to our kids. I love my life but something is missing.

Since I was a child I have had two dreams. One was to start a family. I am very happy to say that I have achieved that.

The second dream is to be a writer. I have been a voracious reader since the second grade when I stole a book from my 3rd grade class (I was a terrible kid). I nicked a book called “The Contender by Robert Lipsyte and it changed my life.

It was the first book I had ever completely finished. It immersed me like nothing had ever before and from then on I was in love. I dreamed of replicating that feeling for someone else. Of creating a world or story that someone can sit down and get lost in like I have so many times.

Sadly, I have a very bad habit of pushing this dream off.

I know what you are thinking “Charlie! Why are you pushing this dream off! Go and take that dream, live the shit out of it!”

Well, that is what this blog is all about. You see, I have a profound lack of confidence. In myself, my abilities as a writer and a myriad of other things.

It is hard to take hold of your life and strive to achieve the life you have always dreamed of. It is easy to say to yourself “I have time to be a writer.” Or “right now, I am going to focus on my cubicle job and think about writing in my future”. To push off what you truly want because of fear and that is exactly what it is.

Fear that you won’t be good enough. Fear that no one cares what you have to say. Fear of Failure.

So this is me fighting against those fears. Of looking at myself and saying “stop being a bitch and do it! Live the shit out of the dream, me!”

In the coming weeks, you will see what I am up too. What I am working on and my feelings towards this new shift in mentality with the ultimate goal to quit my job and make a living on what I really love to do.

Write.