New Author Tip – Nothing is a Waste of Time

Me and Vivica Fox at her Book Signing yesterday. Be sure to stop by The Medu Bookstore at the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta and grab your copy of ‘Everyday I’m Hustling’ by Ms. Fox and ‘I am Soul‘ by me!

Dear Indie Author / Self-Publisher, that thing you are doing, that step you’re taking, that move you made….

…is not a waste of time and don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Time is never wasted. Everything is a learning experience IF you choose to see it that way. People like to tell you not to do something because it hadn’t worked out for them or because they can’t see any good in it. If you sow negativity about every mistake then you will reap negativity and nothing will ever work. But, if you sow positivity by turning those mistakes into lessons then you will reap positivity by acquiring a new skill. You will be blessed with an understanding you didn’t have before and the courage to take risks that are no longer bound by the limitations of others.  As an Indie Author you will be bombarded with advice so you have to be very conscious of what works for YOU and what doesn’t. Sometimes the only way to know this for certain is to do the work. Knowledge is only power when it is applied. At some point you must make the difficult decision to stop researching and have faith in the work. Just do the work.

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Alone | Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

– Maya Angelou

It is already Yours

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The trial is the mask triumph wears until we are ready to receive what has always been ours. We live in a world where faith has lost its meaning, its vigor, its gloss. Woe to those who walk the Earth when faith has lost its shine. Who are we when faith has lost its power? Dare us to believe that something we cannot see is still ours. I dare you to believe that what you cannot see is still yours. What you cannot taste is still flavor. What you cannot hear is still music. We are far too busy chasing opportunities that aren’t ours to chase, forcing connections and misunderstanding the link between pain and growth. So we miscarry our blessings because of the labor pains. Too caught up in disappointment and heartache to endure the struggle long enough to find the strength. Too physical to see the spiritual. Too impatient to wait for what has not yet come. Too anxious to see that everything we are trying to be we already are and that everything we need, is already ours.

The Butterfly is Supposed to Struggle

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Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” No one likes to struggle because the pain, of any kind, does not feel good. In fact, many of us probably spend our entire lives seeking to struggle less. To reduce the chances of pain and heartache in our lives, of embarrassment and of shame.

The only problem with this is that the butterfly is supposed to struggle. It is how it achieves its beauty in the first place. The butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without this struggle, the butterfly will never, ever fly.

To my beautiful butterflies out there, don’t try to circumvent the struggle, don’t bypass the pain or override the alarm. Let what needs to happen, happen and listen to what it has to teach you because the struggle is necessary for the growth. The struggle is good if you want to fly.

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Mistakes

Blog Post Mess Up

If you got it all together, there is no room for growth. If you know it all, there is nothing else to learn. If there is nothing else to learn, there is nothing to strive for. If there is nothing to strive for, there is no hope. If there is no hope, then it is all in vain. Vain. It means nothingness. producing no result. Useless. Are you useless? Let it not be that your existence here is pure poverty; a wasting away of flesh. A joining of bone and marrow, flesh and blood yet dull of emotion, of mistakes, or faults, of trial and error. When you started writing; when you started a blog; when you started school; a new relationship; a job; when you started whatever it is that you started, no one expected you to turn into a robot. Mistakes exist to be learned from and they make up our experience but, when you’re pinched, no one expects you not to feel. Having faith does not mean that you have to pretend as if it doesn’t hurt. If you want to be the best, then there is one thing you must be willing to do: Mess Up. That’s right, you must fall, trip, stumble. If you are to be the best, then you have to make all of the mistakes that are necessary in order to know the difference between what works and what doesn’t. So, fall. Break. Burst forth. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.

Audacity

Photo Credit: By Ali Arif Soydaş @aliarifsoydas

 

Concrete painted the color of our scars
red for the blood of every gangsta who died
believing that defending a street corner
was keeping it real
for every nigga who wears degradation
like it’s his first name
every rebellion
that hates nothing more than truth but a mirror
prissy pink for every woman
who thought her legs were the railroad tracks to femininity
purple for every woman who wore her hips like monkey bars
and her heart like a welcome mat to trample on
when the hatred is spread so generously across her breast
that she feeds this to every “no good man”
she can’t deny a place between her legs
for every tire streaking soot of alcoholic footprints
leading to 24 hour liquor stores
like “look how easy this money is”
green for all the trees whose winters are too brutal
to change from the boo-boo brown of its community
not when hope still hangs it’s strings in the crack filled streets of Harlem
where faith whispers it’s goodbyes to chains and locked doors
the ones with concrete style floors
and bronze heavens
and every prayer is polluted with “I told you so’s”
for every struggle
just remember
that the sun still has the courage to rise in the mornings
which means that the day still has the audacity
to be beautiful…

Psa 3:5 “…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Work For It

When I was in elementary school I got straight F’s on my report cards. I failed pretty much every class. Ultimately I  failed the sixth grade, almost failed the seventh and was put into special education courses for some subjects in eighth grade. Needless to say I’m not a smart person. If I possess any intellect at all it is because I worked for it. I worked my way out of Special Education, graduated with Honors and by High School was taking all honors courses. I had never been good at math but it didn’t stop me from taking Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry. I was possibly worse in science than math but it didn’t stop me from taking advanced Chemistry. My point here is that everything that I have always done had been with a particular work ethic. I’d never been the kid who could automatically understand, no. If I was to understand anything I had to study it. So I became a nerd because I had to be. Not being a nerd would have resulted in continual failure. By the time I was a junior in High School I was also taking College Courses for College credit. This meant that most of my day was spent at school. I would go to High School in the daytime and then College at night. I graduated High School eleventh in my class and went on to begin the next part of my academic journey. When I look back I notice that I graduated Elementary, High School, and College at the top of my class and with honors.

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The moral of the story is not about the Educational System. Nor is it about me. Like I said, I am not a smart person. Everything I have required work to get. The moral of the story is that when it comes to achievement, of whatever kind, it’s not as mind boggling as some make it. Despite your perfectly outlined plans there really isn’t a silver bullet for how to do something well nor is it about doing something the way others tell you it should be done; it’s just about doing the work. Whether we are talking about Blogging, Self-Publishing or being of service in any capacity it is always about doing the work. As long as you are willing to work then you are willing to be successful. By successful I do not mean making a lot of money. By successful I mean accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Someone who desires to lose weight and takes the steps to get it done and does it is a successful person. There is no special diet he or she can take part in that will help them. There is no special meal either. But there is that persons mind and its willingness to put forth the work necessary to get it done. Yes, Self-Publishing is a challenge in many ways but it is not as overwhelming as it can be. Every time you walk pass an Independent book store there is opportunity. Every time you open your blog and stare at the page there is promotional opportunity. Every time someone reaches out to you as an Author there is opportunity. Every time you walk pass a library there is opportunity. The question then is not whether or not people will buy your books, not whether a book store will house your series, not whether or not you have perfected marketing and promotional plans. All of these things has its part but they are not really the point. The point of it all is always whether or not you are willing to do the work. Are you willing to walk into that bookstore and ask them about housing your book? Are you willing to schedule a FREE book signing at the local library? Are you willing to take advantage of shameless FREE promotion on your own blog? I just use writing as an example but this can apply to every aspect of our lives. It all boils down to one question: are you willing to do the work? If you are not willing to work it doesn’t matter how many doors open, you will always be too lazy to walk through them.