It’s Not that Complicated

Actually, it is.

What is wrong with me? I haven’t been this depressed since high school/college freshmen when I was sick and our church split and friends I thought I had forever stopped talking to me, and the tune in my head changed to “Jesus loves me, this I think…”

At surface now in my last year of being a 20-something, things are going pretty well. I’ve got two books published and five (yes, five) in the Ever Ink Press ovens (okay, some are still in the mixing stage, but some are almost baked.) I have a clearly defined idea of where I want my life to turn into. I’ve got a job at the library with a steady paycheck. It’s not a lot but if I live frugally as I’ve been forced to do the last four years, I can put aside somewhere around $200 every month, barring no unexpected expenses rise up. I even have enough to help other people pay their medical bills so in turn if I’m ever in a car wreck, they can help me pay my bills.

But my life is a river with one side flowing in one direction and the other side flowing in the opposite. When I was self-employed the “writing and publishing” part of the river was moving me steadily forward. But the “money” part was against me. I thought I could make up for the lack when I took the job, paying more people to help me with the editing and design stages. To a small extent, it’s true but not as much as I thought. Then I got swept too far into the money side and the writing started ebbing away. So I tried to swim to the middle between them – and just about drowned. Probably because I got tired of fighting the two currents and stopped swimming. I wasn’t doing a good job at my job and I wasn’t doing a good job at writing.

Some people combat depression by drinking. Some manage it by running until they find the endorphins. I have discovered that when depressed I do two things.

  1. I splurge. Most of the time it’s okay because I don’t normally splurge on a regular basis.  Some things I splurge on are things you’d expect from a woman wallowing in self-pity, like chocolate. Other things is purely Lindsey like motivation. Yes, when I can’t find my motivation, I’ll buy someone else’s. Here’s how depressed I was.

I had to listen to the book twice before I even understood what it was about. It was like a radio go between clear paragraphs that my brain went, “Makes sense” to garble gook and static. The static wasn’t because the book didn’t make sense. It was because that was how far my brain was fatigued, only able to focus on the next step, and the one after that. Multitasking was gone.

But that’s the funny thing about books. It only takes one sentence to snap the lightbulb on in someone’s head and that sentence can be obscure and far from the main points of the book. When I listened to the book for a second time, I heard the complete message, which, actually did go alone with my Eureka moment though none of it had been comprehended to this point. The book is called, “Wake Up and Live” and it’s actually a lot older than the title makes it sound. The author was inspired by the quote, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” This led her to conclude that she, along with the rest of humanity, had a built-in subconscience desire to fail. The concept of self-sabatoge isn’t new to me. I’ve read and recognized the same observation in other books. Failing is a safety mechanism. You tried. It didn’t work out. Now you can settle in good conscience either knowing that you’d have wasted your efforts or that if you had tried just a little harder you’d have made it like all the others but you chose to step to the sidelines and simple watch. That’s what I heard on the second listen.

On the first, it was something like and Peanuts movie: “Wha,wha,wha,wah, People take adult responsibilities like jobs and swear not to lose sight of their dream. Nights, weekends, they’ll be at it. But they get tired and quit and before they know it their life is over, wha wha wha wha wha found a quote in the book that changed everything wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha….”

And about the time I was pep-talking myself for another day of adult responsibilities and work, thinking, “So much for motivation…” and scolding myself for not getting up at 5:00 so I could get in my writing before work, my brain went: “You overcomplicate things. You protect yourself by overcomplicating things.”

I seem to remember being in the middle of tying my shoes and pausing going, “I do???”

And simultaneously realizing that admitting this to anyone who has lived with me or even known me well would probably result in them laughing and saying, “Well, I could have told you that!”

That day turned fascinating watching my normal self rushing around and realizing that yes, it was true. To some extent, I need the self-imposed routines, standards, and responsibilities that I hold myself too. My life goes best when waking up early is standard and I do things in a certain order. Otherwise I forget what I’m doing and end up fluttering from one thing to the next. But my “good mornings” looked someone like, wake at 5:00, try to cram in Bible reading, self-improvement book reading, and journaling into one hour. Then magically be at my desk, dressed with coffee already made and write from 6:00-8:00. Then dress for work, make up and hair, making, eating and cleaning up breakfast, picking up the bedroom, making the bed, and wiping down the bathroom, plus walking to work to arrive early enough to unlock the building. I tried to focus at work, work another walk into lunch break and a bit of sunshine and hopefully writing but sometimes errands, and oh yes, I need to actually eat in there. Then an afternoon of trying not to think about Ever Ink falling behind or things needing to be done at home. One last walk home for the day in which I try to fit phone calls. Should I water the plants or start on dinner because I’m starving? Feeding the cats, making and cleaning up dinner, trying to spend an hour on the computer returning emails and chatting with my friends. I thought it was a way of prioritizing and making sure I made time for them, but it royally backfired and I’m pretty sure it just pissed some of them off coming across as “the queen will see you now.” Then I get off with aching wrists and my brain is too tired to write and my body hurts, and if I’m lucky there’s one hour left in the day to relax or unwind or catch up with my family on the phone or read a book or clean the house.

Then I fall into bed and compare this day with the dream I have where I work as a married full-time writer, publish beautiful books and fly out to spend months working on the film sets to turn them into movies or meet up with my friends to go watch their premieres. And I panic because that dream lies upstream of this river that’s currently turning me in circles and getting me nowhere.

Maybe I’m okay. Maybe the plodding of writing, saving, writing, saving, writing, saving will be the turtle to my imagination’s hare and it will eventually get me to my destination at a pace that lets me learn as I go how to handle the ropes that would have strangled me had I met with a quick arrival. Or maybe that evil little whisper in my head is true and I’m wasting my life and the best of what “can be” in pursuit of my dream of what “could be.”

But one thing is true: We’re all using our energy and time pursuing something. The key is to free up as much mental, emotional, and physical energy as you can on the things you spend it on that make you fail and redirect it toward the things that make you succeed.

I just gotta figure out how. Without over-complicating it.

 

 

Bot Shots

I wish the bots that spam websites actually made your view counts go up. I mean, my websites would be hopping! If you don’t keep a website, here’s what I mean. You get on and see there’s like 500 comments waiting for you to look at. You get excited. Every great once in a while there is a real person who actually read your stuff and took the time to reply. And you’re always afraid that somehow the spam filter is going to sweep them away along with the bots. And sometimes I wish I could reply to these guys. Someone please tell me what is the point? Are they just keeping a promise to expose a URL a certain amount of time or do people actually fall for this stuff? Anyhow. Here are some of the gems from this week and my thoughts as I’m scrolling through them. After all, if you can’t beat them… well… mock them.

I see your website needs some fresh articles. Writing manually is time consuming, but there is tool for this task.
Just search for: D—— tools

Guys, guys! There’s a way to write, not manually. Even God used a finger to write on the wall in the Bible but no more! We have evolved. Either that or it’s just a tool to write time consumingly – like a pencil.

Hi, everything is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing
facts, that’s genuinely fine, keep up writing.

You’re absolutely right. A website that everyone is actually sharing facts is a rarity and genuinely fine indeed. And thanks. I will.

I believe that there is no difference between wearing a shirt of a cross
and having it on your arm as a tattoo.

Well, one is slightly more painful and permanent but… whatever floats your boat. Also, I have no idea what this has to do with my Secret of Sentarra series.
Did you just create your new Facebook page? Do you want your page to look a little more “established”? I found a service that can help you with that. They can send organic and 100% real likes and followers to your social pages and you can try before you buy with their free trial. Their service is completely safe and they send all likes to your page naturally and over time so nobody will suspect that you bought them.
Oohh, sneaky, sneaky. Let’s do it! Because I love organic things, and I get to try my followers out before I buy them in a totally safe and natural way! By the way, have you seen my other blog called “Chainless?” Because it’s totally about human trafficking and how people shouldn’t be bought. Or their likes or page views.

But this girl just won’t give up.

I decided to leave a message here on your About Me – Backen Books page instead of calling you. Do you need more likes for your Facebook Fan Page? The more people that LIKE your website and fanpage on Facebook, the more credibility you will have with new visitors. It works the same for Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. When people visit your page and see that you have a lot of followers, they now want to follow you too. They too want to know what all the hype is and why all those people are following you. Get some free likes, followers, and views just for trying this service

You have my number??!! And all this time I thought those unknown calls were people trying to sell me health insurance. So if I get enough fake people to like me, maybe someone real will like me too?

I always used to study piece of writing inn news papers but now as I am
a user of wweb so from noow I am using net for articles or reviews, thanks to web.

The web is a great place to go if you want to be slammed with news articles. I hope those newspapers you studied weren’t written in English because if you really studied articles written in the English language and your grammar still looks like that… you might need to read a grammar book instead.

Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed
to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of.
I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries
that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.
Will probably be back to get more. Thanks
Say whaaa?? You’re welcome…. I guess.
Thank you, I have recently been searching for info about this subject for a long time
and yours is the greatest I have discovered till now.
But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive about the source?
Well, seeing you said this in response to my “ABOUT ME” page. Yeah. I’m pretty positive I’m can, with good authority, write about myself.

The Debt-Free Author

Maybe because I’m single.

Maybe because “It’s the problem of the idealist in the world” like Jami says. Maybe it’s because my largest ambitions in life, for the moment, are done in relative solitude. I’ve reached big goals before, had those moments of triumph. Some are fun, like going to Dairy Queen or I-Hop with the theater clan after opening night or the closing of our show we’ve toiled for months together. Some are smaller: the “I wrote more words in one night that I’ve ever reached in my life!” when you’re at an all-night writing session with friends and everyone is bleary-eyed, unsure of what they actually wrote or if it’s any good but having a merry time anyway. Or even the moments when I look around and go, “This is exactly what I was mean to do.” I’ve had a few of those moments, when I’m on my way to a coffee shop to write a script or novel, or when I’m filming my book for a movie trailer. But I think that’s the difference. All of those moments happen while I’m still in the doing.

Because when I hit the “done,” it’s always sort of a let-down. It’s like shouting “I did it!” into the mountains. The echo comes back and then all is quiet. You’re standing motionless basking in the sun, but only for a moment.

And then there’s the mixed feelings on who and how much you want to tell anyone. Even the people that are happy for you, who know what you’ve done to get there, can only offer a smile and congrats. Then there’s people who are happy for you but are still struggling to get over their own mountains. And there’s people who don’t want to hear it because it makes them feel bad about their own unreached goals. And the majority who are not affected in any way and simply don’t care.

I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out whether or not I want to blog about the two goals I reached:

img_20170203_090002I’m debt-free.

On January 31st, thanks to Stacy who let me know about a job opening, Vikijane who gave me a chance to try it, and the library board who let me stay on – along with other people who gave me opportunities to work for them whether it was serving dinners or troubleshooting computers – I collected the entire sum of $12,000 I needed to pay off my final balance on my car.

I never had a ton of debt but in the last (six??) months I’ve managed to pay off an advancement for a car repair from my dad, my credit card, (and then I cut it up!) the balance of an emergency room bill, and now my car.

“The Coming” draft is finished.

On February 2nd, I finished the draft of the prequel I started for Sentarra in November. I switched to hand writing for the final leg of the journey and Jami is going to type it up for me so I don’t have a final word count. But in just over three months, I wrote over 100,000 words of a very complex storyline. So complex it took me two days just to untangle the storylines enough to work out the ending and what conclusion there was. My goal for writing it was to understand the world I’m dropping Tehveor into in the final book of the series and the backstories of the people who make Sentarra what it is. But this excites me because, though it’s the worst draft I’ve ever managed, if I can do that in three months, I should be able to finish the final book within a shorter amount of time. Which means I might actually get this trilogy finished and ready for publishing this year, even with the waits to get the money I need for each stage of production on three (or five!) very large novels.

But in all cases, I’m finding it’s the journey I love the most. That feeling of pushing myself, of doing more than I’ve managed to do before, gives me more of a thrill than the moment I write the last sentence. I wake up smiling the next morning, realizing I don’t have to tackle that task again, but I immediately go to the next thing. Because you can only enjoy the view from the top for so long before it’s boring again.

But this time, I want to start building  my team. I want to start allowing other people to contribute with their touches and ideas to my projects. So when I reach the top again, I’m not by myself and it’s way more fun to shout “WE did it!” and high five someone who’s been working for the same thing as you.

 

 

2017- Week Two Review

img_20170109_120106I meant to blog this week. I even had my topics picked out and outlined. But then the fibromyalgia flair happened, confronting me with so much pain, that I went back to sleep at 5, 6,7 and sometimes even 8 just to get away from it. I’ve adapted but I’m still avoiding too much typing. Still, I like the idea of recording the week’s progress and when Nate sent me his update, I remembered I had a chance to do mine. Thanks Nate.

Week TWO  – Saturday, January 14, 2017– week in Review From DARREN HARDY

Wins

  1. Wrote that difficult chapter even though it was sad, and I was scared to venture into the darker sides of Katal Iiell.
  2. I rearranged my bedroom to get through my routines effortlessly but also to make the bed and resting a priority instead of an afterthought.
  3. I’ve been carrying a journal to record bits of wisdom and inspiration as I come upon it.
  4. I was able to budget efficiently enough to squeeze out $400 to put toward my final debt payment. I’m only $272 dollars from being completely debt free. 🙂
  5. I went easy on myself when the pain came and began to cut out dairy to help it go away.
  6. Am regular going to the chiropractor to help keep my health in check and avoid long-term problems.

Losses

  1. I slept late (until 7, 8 or even 9) every day.
  2. Little exercise. Some days I walked to work. Other than that, I’ve hardly even gotten outside.
  3. Emotional struggles.

Fixes

  1. Cutting out dairy/deciding it would behoove me to go back to Green Chef, at least temporarily, while I go dairy free and hone my routines.
  2. Still need to drink more water.
  3. Focus on getting morning and evening routines into consistent practice.

Ah-Ha’s

  1. Switching to handwriting takes longer to write but I write consistently. Flow vs Speed.
  2. “Success is dependent on whether we can change paths to get the same results,” – Thomase Boyce
  3. Be king. Tell the Truth. Wisdom is knowing and doing what is right. – Proverbs

What else I’m grateful for this past week.

  • Minimal losses during the flooding.
  • Thanks and compliments from the computer students.
  • I was able to switch to handwriting and continue Sentarra despite the setback.
  • For a friend willing to type for me when I can’t.

What else I have learned from personal development and skill improvement.

From “Phychology of Success” by Dr. Thomase Boyce at https://www.AMA.org

  • I can retrain my responses to negative thoughts by observing, recording, and then purposefully changing my reactions from negative words to positive ones.
  • Be specific when giving thanks. Overall all praise, then what went well in detail and the result that came from the other person’s choices and actions.
  • The best way to improve is to distribute your practice across a wide array of the desired activity.  Breaking it down to different skills, starting in different places and focusing each session on one technique or different skill.

Banner Goals for year

  • Getting out of debt and establishing savings.
  • Completing “Sentarra Series” manuscripts for publishing and release.
  • Creating book trailers for my stories.

Top 3 goals for January

  1. Finishing drafting (or summarizing) “The Coming.”
  2. Establishing morning and evening routines.
  3. Cutting out dairy and putting healthy eating into place.

Top 3 goals for week of 1.14.17

  1. Write every day. Draft planned chapter and summarize the rest on any days I can’t complete the fleshing out draft. Do not stop, skip or stall.
  2. Complete morning routine by 9:00 AM unless it’s delayed by a writing roll. Complete evening routine by 9:00 PM including that day’s cleaning mission.

Three Most important events for the week:

  1. Getting up at 5:00 AM to write before work, no matter what.
  2. Computer class on Thursday.
  3. Writing and Work. That’s all I got. But I’m finishing a draft in two weeks so that’s all I need.

Personal Development (and books!) materials I’m studying (and reading!) this week:

  1. Proverbs
  2. Authorprenuer Master Class
  3. “Hope So Strong”
  4. Ten Kids, No Pets

Skills I’m developing and practicing this week

  1. Allowing drafts to be drafts and summarizing the unimportant
  2. Working while at work.
  3. Noticing and recording negative thoughts, then finding ways to replace with positive reactions.

Relationship to nurture: My email friends.

Relationship to stop investing: Obligatory friends.

Advertising/marketing to Continue: I’m focusing on content creation right now. I don’t have the time or mental energy to push marketing.

Advertising/marketing to stop: If it’s out there, don’t stop it.

Who am I referring to on a regular basis? Any friends I think could help other friends.

Top goals in 2017

Finishing the “Sentarra Series”

  • Complete draft for “The Coming”
  • Complete draft for “The King”
  • Insert reader’s feedback into “The Calling.”
  • Polish “The Captive”
  • Revise “King”
  • Send manuscripts to editor and revise “The Coming.

Film Book Trailers

  • Save up for MacBook.
  • Write trailer scripts
  • Secure locations and dates
  • Gather props and set
  • Cast actors
  • Film!
  • Edit trailers
  • Secure music scores

Financial Stability:

  • Pay off car
  • Revamp budget for Ever Ink catagory
  • Save $6,000 for Emergency Fundimg_20170109_120106

2017 Review – Week One

My accountability partner, Nate, sent me his week in review. I thought it was a great idea, so I copied it, then filled it out myself.

Week ONE  – Sunday, January 8, 2017 – Week in Review From DARREN HARDY
Wins
1.    Completed vision board for 2017 (With Mom and Jami!)
2.    Committed to completing a book challenge this year.
3.     Filled out the yearly goals and broke down quarterly goals in the “Rituals for Living” Dreambook and Planner.
4. Kitchen remodeling is in progress.
Losses
1.     Lost time on drafting because I took the week creating and rearranging the timeline for “The Coming.”
2.     Struggled emotionally with discouragement about fitting everything in.
3.     Haven’t found a church yet that embraces “restoration” vs “penal salvation.”
Fixes
1.     I can focus more on how to help others and less on what I’m “missing out” on.
2.     Rearranging my bedroom to make it relaxing and pulled together.
3.     I need to make sure I write down my expenses as soon as I spend anything.
Ah-Ha’s
1.     I made a “pocket promise” to myself. I suppose in my case, a “purse promise.”
2.     I cannot hold myself responsible for other people’s emotional well-being when it is their choices that are causing their consequences.
3.     I need to find ways to continue learning and challenging my mind while fulfilling my responsibilities. It was the stagnation of absorbing new information causing the depression.
What else I’m grateful for this past week.
– Progress on the kitchen and a new writing room so my work and rest space are separated.
– Time with Jami, Mom and Dad, and a short bit with Ryan.
– My body has adjusted to 5:00 rising and is making it difficult to sleep past that.
What else I have learned from personal development and skill improvement.
       I have been listening to “2 Feet From Gold”
       I have begun reading my Bible again.
       I need to focus on learning from people who are successful authorprenuers instead of trying to do everything on my own.
Banner Goals for year
       Becoming Debt Free by next month
       Saving $6,000 in my Peace of Mind Account.
       Creating book trailers for all of my published books
–     Finishing everything I can on the “Sentarra” series and advancing the book as far toward publishing as finances will allow while creating a quality book series.
Top 3 goals for January?
1.     Finishing drafting “The Coming.”
2.     Making drinking 50oz of water every day a habit.
3.     Mailing in Sales Tax and Finishing Calculating 1215 for Income Taxes.

Courage, Dear Heart

We were at the bay, walking in the cold water, exchanging what we could remember of the ballet and Irish dance steps of our youths. I found a blue feather reflecting the sunlight from where it had fallen on the sand and stuck it straight up.

D155FB2F-7E98-482A-ABAE-0E0083CD4100.jpg

“You should write a quote, put the feather at the end, and take a picture,” I said. Because Jami has good pictures, a good eye for angles and cleverness. “Maybe ‘Courage, Dear Heart'” I say. “And that can be our first blog topic.” (Click here for Jami’s blog.)

But this morning when I sat down to write it, it was harder than I was expecting. The ways I’m being the most courageous in my life right now sound self-serving and vain when placed on paper. Telling the truth, that my days have jumped from “I can’t wait for it to be morning!” to “If you don’t get up now, you’re not going to get any writing in or time for fun today…” sounds more like, “Courage is getting up at 5:00 AM because I haven’t given up on my dream but working full time at the library while trying to keep up with Ever Ink which was already a full-time job is making things hard” sounds so much like, “I don’t want to be normal like everyone else! I want bigger things than the rest of the world dares to hope for.”

And that sounds so vain. Like I’m somehow so special the rules of “normal” life don’t apply to me. Like someone who works as an employee, a parent, or in some circumstances that only leave a crust of time that they’re not committed to something they don’t love means that person has settled, has given up on life. And the more I tried to sort my thoughts on what courage looked like in the every day circumstances I live in, the more I realized, Courage doesn’t look like anything. Courage is in your mind, not your activities, not even in your circumstances. A person working at Wal-Mart can be doing something more courageous than a CEO. A person struggling with depression or fibromyalgia might be utilizing more courage just to brush their hair and face a day they know will be difficult, than someone who reacts in a moment to push someone else out of danger. And then again, maybe not.

So I started writing in my journal.

I used to think courage meant you did big, scary things. You took a stand, you acted when everyone else froze, you stood up in public to confront a bully or correct an untruth, or you signed up to become a solder and put your life on the line to defend people who were being oppressed. But lately I find that my the greatest moments of courage happen in my the mind.

Then, even though this was in my journal and I’m working on telling the truth lately, I actually went back and marked out “my” so I wouldn’t reproduce them in my blog. Because that sounded so vain. Even though this is my blog and I’m trying to tell the story of what I’m doing and learning, it sounds so vain to talk about ones self so much. And yet, when I’m single a lot of my time and stories don’t involve others so there is a lot of talking about  me. And my greatest victories lately have been in my mind. Maybe it’s selfish to want to work all day on publishing and creating and filming. But that is what I want. That is what wakes me up in the morning, what gets me excited enough to push past any sleepiness, even what makes me push away from the computer, get ready for work, and resolve to be a good employee while I’m being paid to work somewhere that isn’t publishing. That’s what makes me  decide to save as much of my paycheck as I can when I’d really like to get some nicer clothes or buy that book or spend my emergency fund on buying a MacBook so I don’t have to start my computer two or three times every morning just to get it to work or let me get online. But it sounded vain, and I felt vain writing the next paragraph, which was all about me and my imperfect life.

But lately I find that the greatest moments of courage happen in my mind. It’s in my choices, especially day after day when I quell the voices in my head. The voices that call, ‘How am I supposed to achieve my dreams when work and chores are taking up most of my day? How can I continue publishing when it’s going to take a year of redirecting every spare penny to establish enough money to cover my basic expenses for 3-6 months – much less establish an income that will allow me to work full-time in publishing? I’ve taken huge strides forward financially in the last six months, taking the new job and paying off the balance of my hospital bill. But it takes daily reminding of what I’m working toward and why I’m doing it because with all the “extra” money going toward that, it feels like my new life choices have left me without money or time. There is a constant inner panic that I’ll give up, believe my dreams can’t be anything more than hobbies squeezed into random moments and adding the soft wistful light into my aged eyes as I softly recall, “When I was younger, I wanted to be….”

And then I have to sort out my thoughts again because while my spirit is telling me the truth, my mind is trying to cover and quell its voice, shouting everything from, “Gosh, it looks like you hate your job and you don’t. You have a good job. It’s just the lost time that’s making things hard…” to echoing the words of someone I love very much who said something like, “Well, that’s part of growing up. It just means you’re an adult now.” As though everything I’ve worked for in the last few years, all the hours spent teaching myself the skills I needed, setting up my business legally, and developing the schedules and routines to be consistent with writing and releasing books-while working other smaller jobs to cover my carefully budgeted life so I could have more time for Ever Ink-was just some elaborate game of make-believe. Now I have a traditional job with set hours and a set income and that makes me a grown-up. At that same time, sometimes it does feel harder to do my job than all the varied tasks of entrepreneurship.

So I shut off the voice in my head and switched gears to write what I’d meant to be the point of the entry anyway.

Yet it’s these quiet acts of courage that makes me realize that it’s not your circumstances at all that define who you are inside. Ever Ink was courage. Committing to produce a play without a budget or team in sight was courage. Getting up at 5:00 to work on myself and my writing is courage.

But you know what? The woman who checked me out at Wal-Mart to support her children, the man working two jobs to care for his wife who fights her own battle with pain and illness that just wont leave her along. The woman who owns her own business who shows up day after day even though business is slow… these are people with courage. It’s not glamourios. People don’t give you medals and call you a hero (though they should). When I think about it, the most courageous people I’ve seen are the ones that aren’t seen. They’re working steadily and quietly, doing what needs to be done, directing their time and energy toward the mundane things. They’re not in their idea life, skipping light-heartedly toward the prize.

But that doesn’t meant they’ve given up. It doesn’t mean they’ll never get what they most want. It means by the very fact that they are showing up, that somewhere inside they’re whispering their own variation of “Courage, Dear Heart.”

Doesn’t it? I wondered. Am I saying this because it’s true or because it sounds good? Because I want it to be true? Maybe, I wonder, everyone who works at something besides what they most want to do, has given up. Is just in survival mode. Maybe their dreams do fade and become regulated to the same place in their brain where Santa and the Tooth Fairy lives. And so I have to stop and think about it. About if that will be me – that I’m spending so much time trying to make something happen, that it won’t actually happen. But no.

They’re not giving up. They’re not losing ground. Every time thy make the choice to show up, they are taking one stride forward, for themselves, for their families and for the rest of us who need what they have to offer – both in their day job and from their dreams.

But it can’t be true. Because people still dream. Maybe their path to reaching their dream has to wind around roadblocks and unrelated responsibilities. But it’s not a V in the road where they have to pick one or the other. It’s a path that winds, separating for a time, then merging again. Not everyone will chose to pursue that dream, to stop over the line in the road where they merge, or to lay down rocks to create a new road that will join up with their dream path. But the courageous ones can. The courageous ones do.

So don’t give up. You are doing something. You are making a difference. Your life does matter.You matter. Courage, dear heart.

And I’ve worked through this post, thought through it and don’t believe I tacked on the end just to wrap things up with a note of hope on what otherwise could be a depressing post. Because that’s the true point.

No matter who you are. No matter what you’re doing. You are a person. You are making a difference – whether good or bad – with your choices and actions. But you don’t have to be a perfect person to matter.

You’re a human. You matter.

599aa246-2646-4cdf-9a25-0b4dfe2e782f

 

 

 

 

 

The Writer’s Life

It is NOT “Bring Your Imaginary Friend to Work” day.
Unfortunately, none of my characters got the memo. Yesterday, they popped up at random, telling me backstories and generally cheering me up. I let them stay with the mental warning to myself, “Don’t laugh at anything they say. You’ll look like a crazy person.”
They came, cheered me up, and then I fell back to my duties. I’m checking books off a list, making sure the Junior Fiction is in the right order after pulling so many from the shelves to put color coded stickers on. All the kids are talking about their reading level. “I’m in fourth grade but I read a 5.3.” Or “Oh, no. I can’t read that. That’s a 4th level book and I’m 3.7.”
I like the idea of rewarding kids for reading, and I’m aware that the levels may not reflect the ages, but sometimes it confuses me. Like, “This is a fourth level reading but it’s defiantly a YA novel. Yeah, we’re moving that.” Or that sinking feeling as I put a 7th-grade sticker onto “The Wizard of Oz” and realize how drastically far the reading expectation for children has fallen. Or cocking my head as “Captain Underpants” takes its place next to something like, “Treasure Island.”

But I digress.

I’ve been digressing all day, and it’s mostly my characters’ faults. It started with Terrant because he’s the one I woke up at 6:00 AM to write for, so naturally, it would be a bit unexpected to shut off my brain at 9:00 AM and not think anything else about him until 6:00 PM. But it didn’t stay with him. If it had, I’d be working on “The Coming” right now over my lunch break instead of rambling a post that may or may not turn into a blog entry.
There’s a new story pressing into my brain, in much the same way that “Between” and “Better than Nothing” did where a concept takes off and characters start forming despite my protests that I haven’t gotten the last few books published  or even drafted yet.

Wait your turn. Sheesh.
I got that one stopped. But then the interview started. It’s a story within a story, fictional actors that play my fictional characters in my fictionalized version of when my real stories become films. And these four fictional brothers (who later make a comeback playing Tehveor, Kael, Darshon, and Joshah) start making a reunion where they’re going to watch their old movies with their children and do commentaries on them. Which is fine, but it makes me want to whisper the dialogue going on and that makes me look crazy.

(Because, you know, the above paragraph somehow doesn’t clench it.)

I shouldn’t be worried. I live in a small town where lots of people talk to themselves, but most of them aren’t supposed to be working and most of them have a diagnosis of some sort. My only diagnosis is I’m a writer and sometimes when I don’t get enough time to write, it starts welling up in my heart and head and comes spilling out of my mouth.
Distracted. That’s what I’m fighting today. I’m not at my job to jot down conversations or wander away from my task because my imagination is galloping off into the horizon. I’m here to work. I’m here to earn the money to pay, not only for light and heat, but for editing services and layout software so that someday I can spend the morning spilling my imagination onto the keyboard instead of practicing my skills of focus and discipline for all I’m worth. Some days it works better than others. Somedays I feel like Remarr or even Andrew, putting my head down, doing what needs to be done, staying focus and on track.  Other days I feel like young Darshon has hijacked Clara’s brain and run off with Delilah to go dance in the woods somewhere. Good Lord. Darshon and Delilah. I can’t decide if they’d kill each other or make the best of accomplices.
Okay. Breath. Lindsey. Focus.
You have half an hour left. Dare I go to Erilerre to write the next piece? Or will that just summon Terrant and Setta to stroll together through the door and settle into my workplace?

P.S. If you’ve stumbled on this post and have no idea who any of those people above are, you can orientate yourself here. Just putting it out there so you know I’m not as crazy as I might sounds. 😉