Why I Read

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Because I can create peace in my mind

Even if the world is not all that peaceful

Because people write their truths

And when the heart is contextualized

hidden gems are found

waiting to be resurrected

and valued

I read because reading is valuable

And because books are the only place

where you can learn for free

I read because books are the only schools

I can carry with me

I read to learn from people

who came before me

I read to hear voices

through words

written down

to understand others

to listen to hearts

I read to find the person between the lines.

I read because not everyone can.

Blogging Tips: Writing and Blogging Are Very Different Things

I’ll be honest, when I saw this blog headline, I thought I was going to disagree with everything Danny said Lol. BUT, I don’t. This is good info for writers who also blog. Between Danny and Jason I’ve learned a lot. “If you want people to see your writing, you have to learn how to be a blogger….Interact with people. That’s the art of blogging.”

Dream Big, Dream Often

Do me a solid and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel!!

Check out Jason’s post What is “Viral” on Harsh Reality

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Talk Yourself into Achieving Your Goals

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Like many of you, I experience doubt, fear, and all the other emotions that can bring about stress and negativity. I am no different than you in these feelings. I am human and like you, I have emotions. Sometimes I am broken, undetermined, and lack confidence. However, I soon remember that this is not how I want to live my life. It is not that I am “happy go lucky” all the time, fake, or that I do not have feelings of despair, but that I have made the conscious decision not to give my energy over to such feelings. Of course, there are days when I am not consciously strong enough to make that kind of a decision, and that’s when prayer comes in.

So often I hear writers, bloggers, and friends complain about not being good enough without realizing how they’re speaking this into existence. If you truly don’t believe you have worth or value, then that is how it’s going to be. It’s not about being flawless (for we have all fallen short in some way or another) but what it is about is talking ourselves into achieving our goals instead of talking ourselves out of them.

Like learning, self-examination is not a one-time thing, but it is forever constant in our lives. One of the reasons self-reflection is so important is because we often deceive ourselves. Self-Deception means that you are not consciously aware of your true self. The person in the mirror is not reflective of what really exists. There are often two kinds of ways in which we deceive ourselves:

a. The part of self-deception that makes us look at ourselves and downplay everything about us because we know that we are flawed.

b. The part of self-deception where we know everything.

Both of these views are wrong.

Self-examination is not comparing ourselves to others or being mean to ourselves. It does not make it so dark that nothing new can grow. In this instance of Self-Deception we’re just too busy counting our mistakes and being “down and out” to make any real changes. It’s almost as if we want to be in that low place. Walking around carrying the burden of this dark cloud over our shoulders like its a responsibility, and brushing off any inkling of light that wishes to squeeze itself through.

The other one simply leaves no room for improvement. Self-examination is not self-exaltation.

It is possible that the way we perceive ourselves is flawed. If we think we know everything it is possible, then, that we are self-deceived. Likewise, if we believe that we know nothing, then it is possible that we are self-deceived, for everyone has a little bit of something in them. We all know in part and working together we become whole as we all bring something different to the table. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something.

When we have these low moments, we must talk ourselves into those changes we want to happen in our lives and implement a plan that will help us to reach these goals in a practical way. Again, it’s not about having it “all together”, it’s about changing your perspective on life itself and going from concept to execution. Words have power and they do not come back void. Instead of speaking negativity over your life and having a “woe is me” attitude, try being inspired. Try optimism. Try faith. Try something different, for insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You already stressed yourself out about that today. Try something else.

So, your blog isn’t growing the way you want it to, what are you doing to change that? What practical steps are you taking to change what you don’t like? Or are you just complaining about it? So, you’re not where you want to be with your writing, or business, change it. Sit down and outline a plan. So, you don’t like the way your stomach looks right now, change it. Maybe you can’t run a mile starting out. You don’t have to. Run a block. Walk a block.

Anything you don’t like in your life can be changed but first you must change your perspective. In addition, there must be a willingness to be uncomfortable. Only when we are in that place can we really grow. For as the saying goes, “Comfort zones are beautiful places, but nothing ever grows there.” Yes, it’s going to be hard. Yes, it’s going to take persistence, and yes it’s going to take dedication but it begins first with the self-confirmation that yes, IT IS possible. We have to start using words like, “I can”, “I will” and “I will learn” instead of “I can’t”, and “I will never”. Don’t talk yourself out of achieving your goals. Talk yourself into them.

Learn to Be Kind

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We are officially done with summer (boo) and are entering the fall months. We are headed to what I like to call the darkest times of the year. I call it this because lots of negative energy is released around this time. Lots of stress, suicide rates climb, and people lose their minds. So, this is just a random Thursday word but, I’d like to remind you as we come into the later portion of the year that no one has an obligation to respond to negativity. There is no written rule that the loudest voice is the most courageous and I’d like everyone to remember that its OK to be cool, calm, and collected. Poised if you will. Balanced.

Being angry is easier than being kind. Anger requires little to no effort at all. Anger robs you not only of peace, but of physical and emotional energy. It is a sign of weakness and low self-esteem. It takes more self-control and self-discipline to be kind when others are being mean. It takes more strength to be still in the face of adversity, and to sit back and be silent when others are in confrontation. Kindness is a sign that someone has done a lot of work to improve their personal self and have come to great self-understanding, humility, and wisdom. Learn and practice being the kind, centered version of yourself. This is the most inspiring and productive person.

Everything Must Move – What Watching Movies Taught Me About Writing

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This post was conceived while watching one of my favorite movies. Thus, as usual, it is based on my personal experience. So anyway, to the point…

I found myself paying attention to what was going on in the background of this particular scene in this movie instead of what the leading characters were doing. To better understand this, I challenge you to do the same. Choose one of your favorite movies, what’s going on in the backdrop? An old man is laughing with his wife. The waiter is walking away from a table, she looks down at the notepad before walking away. Behind her, the bartender throws a bottle into the air before catching it with his other hand and pouring the liquor into the long line of glasses in front of him. The waiter walks up to the bar, picks up two of the many glasses and walks them over to her table. The old man and his wife smile while nodding thank you.

What just happened? What happened is that there’s an entire event taking place in the backdrop of what’s happening in the forefront. Though not the center of attention, everyone in the scene moves. Though not the primary characters, everyone in the scene is doing something.

While working on my next project, I’ve found it helpful to make sure  that everyone in the scene from the smallest to the greatest has something to do, or has a goal they want to achieve (despite how small). There shouldn’t be any stick men and women. If we are at dinner, the people behind Nora’s table should be laughing or talking. Not so that it’s overwhelming, she is the leading lady after all, but they shouldn’t just be sitting there. There should be movement. For instance, in A Beautiful Mind, John Nash sits on a bench in front of the University. With him is his old roommate and together they sit there and talk. As they are speaking, there are people walking by, students, professors, and faculty members. And as the camera zooms in and pans around, we notice the people  are looking at John oddly.

For those of you who’ve seen the movie or who are familiar with the man John (this movie is based on a true story, Nash just passed recently matter of fact) you know that John Nash suffered from a severe case of schizophrenia. His college friend does not really exist. From the first time viewer’s perspective, John is just sitting there talking to an old friend. But if you notice the people in the backdrop, they are not just walking by, they are walking by and staring.  Why? You assume its because John has always been a little, well, off kilter. Weird. Odd. By the end of the movie however, you realize that the people are staring because John is sitting on a bench  talking to himself. They are staring because there is really no one there. Though not the center of attention, even these people have a purpose for being. In this case, they are hints that help lead up to the end of the movie so that it all makes sense.

I’m not saying writing fiction and writing a movie script is the same thing because its not. What I am saying is that everything around us can be useful to help us in our writing. Who says we can’t use non-conventional means to build on creativity? After all, that’s what creativity is anyway, inventing new ways to do things.

Since working on The Renaissance (my 2017 novel project) I’ve been using this technique (making sure everyone in the scene has a purpose) and its really been helping in my development of the story. It helps me to ensure that everything is accounted for and that there are no loose ends. From the protagonist, to the lady swatting at a fly standing behind her, everyone has a goal or a reason for being. Everyone and everything moves.

Letter to My Younger Self #MayChallengeDay 26-27

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Do not think that I am upset right now, though my speech is slow and my brow furrowed in my forehead. This is just my thinking face. We are actually pretty calmed right now, optimistic if you will. You see we’ve learned to be this way, content. I want you to know that it is OK to take your time. What you need is already prepared for you in the day that you need it. You’ve got some hard times ahead but some groundbreaking ones too. Your level of resolve will continue to be placed against your desire to endure, so pay attention then to the choices you make; they will bear fruit of whether or not you’ve chosen to be strong or held captive to your weaknesses. I want you to know that it is OK to acknowledge the good in your life; to seek good and to pursue love. The attacks to which you are set to receive are not small but they do have the potential to tear you down if you let it. But if you can instead take the time to ponder all of the good things in your life, to notice the small progressions, these occurrences will not move you nor will they alter your desire to win. I know, I know things are never easy for us, never have been. They are always hardcore, up front, and personal. I regret to inform you that this will not change and it will cause you to often, doubt. I would tell you not to doubt but you won’t listen. Experience will continue to boss you around and pain is still your teacher. However, love, joy, happiness, and contentment will not leave you. Like a mother, sister, aunt or a good friend they will not leave you. There will be temptations galore and they are not limited to the flesh. But remember that the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. Hold on to your innocence but do not be naïve. Learn to understand the world that you live in, and how to properly navigate it. If I remember correctly, we have much more important teenage stuff to do than to sit here and talk about goals but one more thing before you leave. I want you to write this down and to remember it whenever you feel hopeless. Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian journalist, once said

There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to change them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them, will we understand why they were there.”

Signed, Your Future Self

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I’m reposting this from a throwback Bewow post I did last year. My birthday was yesterday (yayy) and I thought it was perfect to repost as the #MayChallenge is coming to a close, which I’m sad to admit makes me excited. (Seriously, I think I was the only person who participated lol). I’ll have something much more organized next time. I don’t think I was ready. LOL.  Anyways, enjoy your weekend.

Self-Publishing: MAYbe I’ll Start My Own Publishing Company #MayChallenge Day 2

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So for those of you who are familiar with me, you know I am on the journey to start my own publishing Company one day. Technically, this company already exists. However, right now I am just using it to publish my own books. Why is this important? I love the way Justin T. McCain put it. He’s someone I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently and a couple of weeks ago his Twitter status read:

I think we become so enthralled with the novelty and idea of some things that we often miss the actual cultivation of them or how to do so.” Justin McCain

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve been working at this goal, officially, for a couple years now and I’ve gotten lots of inquiries and questions into when I will officially launch. The truth is that I don’t want to rush it. Right now I am just polishing my skills and perfecting my goals. Thing is, if you’re thinking about MAYbe starting your own publishing company, you MAY want to start by perfecting the publishing process of your own books first. At least this is the advice I’ve taken to heart. After all, how can I assist anyone in an area in which I am not deeply familiar? If I am going to be trained to play Basketball then I MAY as well learn from a former basketball player. Likewise, I want to offer you the best of the best. A Self-Publishing Company that is unique in more ways than one with a team that will stop at nothing until your book is just the way you want it. I’m talking superb Book Cover Design, Editing, Formatting, and MAYbe throw in some tips on making sure the title of the book is just as eye catching as the cover. After all, these are the first two things that attract readers: The Book Title and the Book Cover. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to do and unless I break my goals down into tiny steps it can get overwhelming. After all, I’ll need to hire a Graphic Designer, Editor, the list goes on and on. So any-who, this post is just an update to let you know that I have not given up on the vision! This is still one of my primary goals. I know it may seem like a huge step but that’s just the kind of person I am. I love writing and publishing but I would like to take it a bit further. What good am I if I cannot pass my skills on to someone else? Like the saying says, “Let each one teach one”. Or in my case, since this is the MAY challenge, “MAY Each One, Teach One! So right now I’m just cultivating this knowledgeable soil about the industry, and really examining and structuring my goals. Speaking of goals, I hope to have the business plan finished by years end! I cannot do anything until that target is knocked down because that is how I can finish the financial process of looking for grants and things of that nature. MAYbe then I’ll start by offering Self-Pub services. As Self-Publishers there’s a lot of help that I know we need in general. Many of us do not have a team of professionals to assist us in the process. MAYbe I’ll build one. Until then, I’ll continue to perfect the craft of publishing and use my own books as a catalyst for how it MAY be to represent someone else.

What about you? Have you started your own publishing company where you represent others? What was your motivation to start? Do you like it? How did you get out there? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you!