My name is Michael Williams, or as I’m called in this wonderful world of the interwebs, Cerealsensei. I was born in Austin, Texas but I spent a large portion of my life in Baltimore, Maryland where I was raised.
What does Cerealsensei mean?
The name Cerealsensei represents two parts of my personality. I have a slight obsession with cereal, I would consider myself a cereal connoisseur of sorts. If it was possible to eat cereal for every meal and not have your sugar levels spike through the roof I would do it but unfortunately life isn’t fair.
Haha. Okay Cereal Connoisseur, what’s your favorite?
The greatest cereal of all time is Waffle Crisp, without question. Sadly I believe it was discontinued last year so if you didn’t have it after all these years then you missed out on greatness. So by technicality I guess Cinnamon Toast Crunch is now sitting on the throne.
Lol. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is the bomb if I must say so myself. Let’s get back to the meaning of your name…
The Sensei part comes from me being the oldest in my group of friends. I watched a lot of martial arts films growing up. Normally the Sensei was an older an teacher who was always the voice of reason and tried to keep everyone in line. In a way that’s kind of how I am in my group of friends, the resident old head who’s just trying to keep order. So i just kind of combined the two and Cerealsensei was born. Also, since my real name is so common I had to add in a nickname so you could find me easily in a google search.
Got it. What do you love about yourself?
A few years ago I might not have even been able to answer this question. But I’ve come to love the weird quirks and off beat humor of my personality. I know I’m different, and I don’t say that to be pretentious or “artsy” but it’s true. I’ve become fully aware that I march awkwardly to the beat of my own drum and I get lost among the crowd. But it’s what makes me who I am and I wouldn’t change it even if I could.
That’s beautiful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The Most Exciting thing?
The most exciting thing? The most difficult thing……I absolutely with all of my being despise editing. I dread it every time I have to do it, but it’s the most important part of the writing process in my opinion so it’s unavoidable. But it stresses my soul every single time. The most exciting thing would have to be that moment when you realize those crazy ideas you had in your head can actually become something tangible. That moment when you’ve got the words down on the paper in the exact way you wanted to and you can honestly be proud that you were able to flush that concept out into something readable. Ironically this happens a lot when you’re……editing, go figure.
What kind of music do you like?
Man, I could go on all day about this. Aside from writing music is a huge passion of mine. Now days I mostly listen to a lot of indie hip hop, Oddisee is probably my favorite rapper if I had to list one. But I appreciate all genre’s of music, they all bring something special to the table. Depending on my mood I’ll throw on some soul or R&B, then switch it up to some rock, something ambient or orchestral, I also love instrumental beat tapes which are great to listen to if you’re writing. One of the best things about the internet was it exposed me to so much music that I didn’t know existed, I spend a good amount of time doing what I call digital crate digging just trying to find new things to listen to.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book on November 12, 2018. When I finally put it out it was an awesome feeling, a lot of weight fell of my shoulders on that day. To be honest, when I put it out I wasn’t so much worried about people loving it or hating it. Obviously, I hope they like it. But putting out that first book was for me to prove that I could start this process and see it through until the very end. This was an idea that started about five years ago, so it was awesome to finally be able to release it and check that goal off of my bucket list. Now it’s about repeating that process over again, and not having it take five years to do.
What genre do you write in, why?
I’m terrible with categorizing but for now I guess you could say comedic fiction, aimed generally at a younger audience. I wanted my first book to be something that anyone could pick up and relate to in some way. I don’t want to talk over anyone’s head, I’m not trying to make some crazy and profound statement with my writing. I just want you to be able to pick it up and have a good time, writing fiction allows me to do that.
You definitely achieved that. From the cover and blurb, the Oddball Chronicles looks like a fun read!
My future projects which will also include scripts I’m working on will be much darker though. I don’t want to get pegged into any box. I’m a scatter brain and that influences how I write. I”ll never stick to just one genre. The Oddball Chronicles will stand as it’s own thing, but everything afterward most likely won’t resemble it at all.
What was your childhood dream?
My first childhood dream was to become a chef. Ha, boy did I fail that dream miserably. But to my credit, I’ve gotten better around the kitchen. Having health issues made me learn how to cook so I wouldn’t eat out so much. I’m not the best cook by any stretch of the imagination but I can make some pretty decent salmon.
Love Salmon. Let’s talk about writing a bit more. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
This is a tough question. I think what I love is also what I hate. And that would be that there’s really no set playbook on how any of this works. You and I could both read the same writing advice and for you it might cause a light-bulb moment but my fuse will just blow out all together. It’s very cliché, but you really do have to find what works best for you.
I agree. What do you think of the world we live in?
It’s crazy, it’s out of control, some days I’m waiting for it to end. Whether it be Jesus coming back to take the wheel or an asteroid just wiping us all out. Everyday I see at least one news story or viral video that just makes me shake my head. But on the flip-side, the world still has it’s beautiful parts. There are still good people out here who are trying to do the right thing and push us forward. If nothing else, I love the creative boom that’s happening with content in terms of film, music and all of the other creative outlets. Underneath all of the madness there are some extremely talented people out here putting out great art and that’s what inspires me and keeps me going. I want to add my name to that conversation.
Why is writing important to you?
It’s the best way I know how to communicate. If I didn’t have it all of these wild ideas in my head wouldn’t leave, writing helps me give them a home so they don’t bother me for too long. Writing is a release for me and gives me a sense of accomplishment every time I do it. If I wasn’t writing I’d hate to think of where I’d be or what I’d be doing. Life wouldn’t be much fun without it.
Thank you Michael for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
My name is Michael Williams and I’m an independent author and podcaster currently living in Edgewood, Maryland. When I’m not writing stories or scripts you can find me obsessing over Mixed Martial Arts, playing video games and/or attempting to finish an anime (I have commitment issues). On November 12th, 2018 I released volume one of my short story series entitled The Oddball Chronicles. I wanted to write something that captured the growing pains of every day life and put my little off beat brand of humor on it. Hopefully if someone else reads it they’ll find it halfway entertaining, or possibly even learn something.
Welcome back to another No Whining Wednesday! If this is your first time visiting this blog or if you are new to this segment, please visit the original No Whining Wednesday post HEREto learn more OR the No Whining Wednesday Pageto access all previous episodes.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself. Those who screw up and keep going have failed so many times that they are equipped to handle disappointment and therefore have the maturity and resilience to get back up and try again. You got this.”
This was an inspirational word I posted to my social media early this week. I love quotes, inspirational, motivational and overall uplifting. There is something about the power of a positive word that can make you feel like you can conquer the world. When someone compliments you or gives you that good advice, something in your heart flutters and for a moment, all is right. This feeling may only last a second but in that time, all is right in the world. Or at least, in your world. This is so vital and so needed because there are not a lot of people investing good into the world. There are not a lot of people building up.
But, despite how much I love inspiring quotes and how much I read them, something struck me this week. While inspirational quotes from others is nice, there’s nothing wrong with using our own words to inspire others as well. Your experiences are unique to you. Your pain is unique to you. Your happiness is unique to you. Your life is your own. That is not to say there’s no power higher than you (ya’ll know better) but you have to walk these shoes is what I am saying. You have to plant these seeds.
That said, don’t sleep on yourself. You have the wisdom that comes from living and with that something to offer the world but if you never allow your voice to be heard, it can be drowned out by the voices of others.
What if I don’t know enough?
That has nothing to do with it. You don’t have to be perfect to share something that may help others. Personally, I am moved by realness. I want to know about real life situations because your struggles and how you overcome them is what connects you with other human beings. People who talk about their issues and how they’re dealing relate more to others than those who are somewhere in heaven.
Instead of relying so much on the words of others, sometimes it’s OK to give of our own pearls.
Every now and again, use the power of your own experience to inspire others and to lift yourself up. After all, it is what the people we quote have done themselves. They didn’t speak thinking we would quote them. They spoke because it was necessary and now their words have lived on throughout the centuries.
The door to the patio is open, and the screen door shields me from the insects that I may enjoy the brisk caress of the wind on my skin. And as I inhale the fresh taste of the evening air, enjoying the end of a peaceful day, I think about the genuine that often come from writing. You’d have to excuse the poetic tone of this post. It’s my thinking voice I suppose. The one I use when I’m writing this down in my journal before typing it, twirling the pen between my fingers and tapping it against my lips while staring out in space. Anyway, back to something genuine. To think back on my own writing or to read someone else’s, I feel often that there’s a realness here. Somewhere between the heart and spilled ink is an authenticity few will express verbally. Something about speaking without moving our lips causes us to speak the truth of our hearts. Something about writing it down instead brings about a depth. Something about the movement of mental messaging brings out the emotional intensity many will not express otherwise. I wonder if this is why writing is often associated with therapy. For what is not spoken is often written. Not that everyone writes for such a purpose, but it is historical that writing is an exercise that has caused many to heal or to reveal or stumble upon truths otherwise unknown or not dealt with. Something about how the subconscious mind is uprooted when we write. It is an interesting thought I sought to share before the memory or moment escaped me. Speaking of escape, it’s time I publish this post and retire this laptop for the night. I’ve got laundry to finish and this breeze sure feels good.
What happens when you do something that worked for others but does not work for you? Sometimes a group of people can do the same things, but only one or a few will get the results they are looking for. There are many reasons why but there are really just four core reasons why:
It’s Not for You
What’s for you is for you and only you. Perhaps you weren’t built to fit those shoes and they weren’t built to fit yours. You’ve got your own purpose to fulfill. Of all the advice out there, no one can give you purpose. That thing gotta come from within. Surely others can show us the door, but we gotta walk through it. OK, so they did it that way, now tell me, what can you offer that is different? That’s what matters.
Who Wants It More?
The people who actually see results is usually the people whose actions show that they want it more. This person or persons will endure failure, persists during trial, and stay motivated even when things are slow. Bottom line, these are the 3% of the people who didn’t quit.
Who is Capable of Handling it, Once They Get It?
Next, the person or people who see results is also the person or people who understand the level of responsibility that comes with great authority. The more trustworthy you are, the more authority you have and the greater the responsibility it will require to carry it out. So, you wanna grow? Well, you gotta be willing to adjust to a bigger pot. With great authority comes greater responsibility.
Not About You
Finally, the person who starts to see results is usually the person who understands that the key to succeeding at anything is that its more about the people and less about themselves. It’s about being of service and providing value. The secret is that it’s not about you, it’s about the people. Support the people and the people will support you. Think less about what others can do for you and more about what you can do for others.
Social Media has become a glossed over, cloudy place. It is filled with fake persona’s and instant celebrities. People post pictures of their cash and checks on Instagram for instance (something you’ll never see Bill Gates do. Let’s be real, people who make real money are quite about it. Big boys hit hard but move silent) and weigh their worth against the backdrop of numbers and likes. Instead of focusing on the message we have focused instead on the computer screen and have invested instead, not in the voice, but in the marketing and promotional schemes of so called professionals who get rich off the backs of those of us too lazy to be ourselves. Research is all fine and good but what it boils down to is a nice balance between research, advice, and your overall message and the people who care about what you have to say. If you rely too much on research and professional input then you just may miss the message.
A message doesn’t have to mean a religious message. If you have a voice, which we all do, then you have a message. We can define a message as:
When someone writes a book they are sending a message out into the world. It doesn’t really matter what the book is about, every book has a message because every book has a voice. And just like every person with a voice, we all have different sounds and calls to action. Sometimes, we get so into the online aspect of writing that we forget about how important the message is. It is not the marketing plans that will bring readers to you. Though they surely help, ultimately its your message. It’s your voice. Do you have one? That is what will determine your readership.
“Focus on what makes you different, what makes you unique. Being true to yourself is a cliche for a reason — it works. People don’t want to connect with something fake. They want to feel understood and heard, and the only way you do that is honestly and authentically. The last thing you want is to showcase to the world a shadow of your true self.” – Curiouser Editor
What do you want to say to the world? Why does it mater? Why is it different than what the previous person has already said? The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue? Why is it important for us to know that the sky is blue? Is the sky blue?
People who agree with you will flock to you because you sing in a key similar to their own. They are the people who actually want to read your books and who will in turn support your work. The only way to do this, as Curiouser Editing has stated, is to showcase your real self in your writing but not just in your writing, in your overall social media presence.