Why I Am Doing The 30 Days Of Hustle With Jon Acuff

Over the last ten years I’ve written books and many short stories. I have gotten through beta readers and edits and have been told by writing professionals that they are ready to send to an agent. I sent a book to one, was rejected, then did nothing.

Why? Because I was scared to take the next steps.

We all get scared at the final push because this means the game we’ve been playing is for real. Now someone can look at all of our labor and tell us what you worked on is trash, it’s not good, we’ve wasted YEARS of our lives.

Today I am working towards unpacking that fear and working through it. Truly, there is only one thing we can do to destroy fear and that is to move.

Runners

Recently I signed up for an online course called 30 Days of Hustle with Jon Acuff. I paid $30 to join a Facebook group, get daily videos of encouragement, and a worksheet. Some may think that is a waste of money and time when you can do those things yourself.

The truth is I tried to do things on my own. It doesn’t work. I truly believe the key to doing anything extraordinary is to know why you are doing it and to be with people who are either doing what you want to do or going where you want to go.

Money is a decent motivator for me. Not that it’s all there is, but if I spend money on something, like an entry in a race, and then don’t invest in it, it kills me.

I wrote on Monday about being lazy and today I’m focusing on the mountain of fear we all have in our lives. As soon as we see it, we lose all motivation.

Knowing what we struggle with inwardly is a huge step toward overcoming the areas in our lives that we need to grow in.

Fear and laziness are some of mine.

What do you need to defeat this year? Are some of the same cycles in your life preventing you from your dreams? Plan a new attack to overcome them in 2016.

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This Is The Year To Go On The Offensive

Do you make statements like – Someday I’ll pay off my house? Or, I’ll get to that book tomorrow, or let’s attack that unorganized closet during the spring.

Me too.

Lately, I discovered there’s a huge difference between saying you want to do X, Y, or Z and putting a date on the calendar when you’re actually going to accomplish it.

As in, I want to pay off my house in ten years. I want to write that book in the next one hundred and sixty days. I’ll say sayonara to that disorganized closet next Saturday at 10 AM.

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When a brand-new year rolls around I like to make plans. I have goals this year. My main focus is to change my goal setting routine.

I used to think I make excuses. But now I realize I’m just lazy with some of my internal promises. I leave them unbound to a certain time thinking I’ll accomplish these tasks in the nebulous future.

Though I have excuses aplenty, I want 2016 to be a huge success. So I’ve written goals down with a specific date they are going to be completed by.

I’ve left dreams on the shelf in years past. This year, I’m going on the offensive, chasing after the things I’ve always wanted to accomplish.

So look out e-books.

Look out website.

Look out debt and disorganized junk drawer.

I’m coming for you.

As the new year comes and the old one passes, don’t just ask yourself what your are going accomplish this New Year. Set a date. Then go get it.

Overcome The Uninspired Feeling Once And For All

One of my favorite writers is Steven Pressfield.

Though I don’t know him personally, he’s taught me many truths through his books. Not cute, fun truths, but tough in-your-face ones.

If I sit back and survey the times that I’ve stopped writing it’s not because I didn’t love the ride but it was because I was either uninspired or lazy.

What have I done!?
Photo Credit: miguelavg via Compfight cc

It was during a time when I did not consider what was at stake when I merely skipping a days’ word count, that I picked up his book The War of Art.

Mr. Pressfield taught me that I wasn’t simply taking a break, I was sacrificing my dream of writing every time I took a pass.

The truth is, I’d like it to be easy. I’d like a clean cut trail exactly where I want to go with my books.

I type.
Books are published.
Simple as that.

But any successful writer, no matter if you view their work as drivel or snobbish, has overcome the uninspired feeling and done the one sure fire action toward a publishing career.

They wrote when their schedules told them they should be writing.

They are professionals about their books.

How about you?

Do you dream of the easy lottery book contract worth millions?

Or are you writing, and saving the day dreams for when the days’ work is done?

My Review of A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

One thing I love about living in Grand Rapids, Michigan is the vibrant writing community. Agents, publishing professionals, bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and writers of all sorts reside in this great town.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of these fine Grand Rapidians Susie Finkbeiner and review her new book.

51MVQM1vdTL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_I cannot remember when and where I met Susie. I know it was a few years ago probably around the time my writers group launched the first Jot Conference. At that time she had published one book and was writing another. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading A Cup of Dust, her latest novel.

A Cup of Dust was birthed out of Susie’s love of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, and the Dust Bowl. It’s told from the perspective of Pearl Spence a ten-year old girl who lives in desolate Red River, Oklahoma.

As I read the novel I could not help but think of The Walking Dead. That may sound like a strange correlation, but Finkbeiner’s description of a dull, grey world was incredibly vivid. And this is not dystopian future, it’s dystopian past. The Dust Bowl actually happened.

As a father of four, I imagined how terrible it would have been to raise children in a bountiful environment that turned hostile.

Peal reminds me of Opal Buloni in Because of Winn-Dixie. If you’ve read Kate DiCamillo’s enchanting story you know that means she is curious, clever, and never at a loss for words. Curiosity gets the best of Pearl in several instances and one in particular results in a blood filled face to face meeting with a drifter named Eddie.

Unbeknownst to anyone in Red River, Eddie has a sinister plan to destroy Pearl’s cozy family. I felt like I swallowed an ice cube every time I saw his name on the page.

The Spences are tough enough folk even when tragedy after tragedy befalls the populace of once proud Red River. Pearl is acutely aware of these troubles and her parent’s struggle to keep food on the table.

A Cup of Dust is told through the eyes of a child but this is no kid’s book. It’s a story about hardy people doing their best to keep a good home together during a time when innocence is lost.

I’d recommend you go grab a copy. Not because I know Susie and would support her book anyway, but because she’s a great writer, period.

You can connect with Susie at her website http://www.susiefinkbeiner.com/

And you can buy her book for Christmas for your reader friends HERE.

Why Every Writer Should Think Like A Scientist

If you’re a writer you’ve been a failure. No matter if you’re a New York Times Best-Selling Author or just starting out you wrote an article, short story, book or blog post, and it was rejected or not excepted by your audience.

It’s easy to feel like a failure. I know I have.  No matter if it’s merely a blog post that got poor traffic, feeling rejected can be crushing. I know several writers that have given up because of it.

If you’re a writer who has given up or you are feeling a mountain of discouragement on your back because of constant rejection, I’d like to propose a change of mind to you.

You are not a writer, blogger, essayist, or novelist. You are in fact a scientist. Let me explain.

Microscopic

We are experimenting. We are doing our best to tell stories and introduce ideas to see how they will be received.

There is a famous quote by Thomas Eddison ( this is the best source I could find) where he says he did not fail to invent a lightbulb 10,000 times, he found 10,000 ways light bulbs didn’t work. Failure taught Eddison to innovate, to try different methods.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your take, there is no manual to writing. You can’t follow X Y Z and produce a great book. You can have mentors and guidelines but you must figure it out on your own.

So if you are discouraged, work backwards, reverse engineer your story. Ask friends what went wrong, remove parts, see what your can do to make it move faster, tighten up the grammar.

If you do this it can be a healthy way to separate yourself from your work to lessen the blow on each rejection. It can also help make writing fun again and ignite the thrill of the chase.

Who knows were you might end up if you simply persevere?

Why You Should Plan Your New Year’s Resolution Right Now

Imagine you hire a contractor to build you a house. They don’t return your calls and then suddenly show up on day  one with random bits of wood, insulation, a few screws, and a hard hat. Then they crack open a book titled, Building Your Own Home for Dummies. They’d be fired in like a second, right?

They obviously have no idea what they are doing, no plans, and no one to help them build it. The sad thing about this story is this is exactly how we treat our New Year’s resolutions.

We want to lose weight, write a book, start a business. But we show up on January one with an idea and a crazy commitment. Sadly, according to Forbes, only 8% of people who start New Years resolutions actually fulfill them.

So if you want to have the best year ever, fulfilling a life long dream or just rounding into shape starting January 1, how do you ensure you follow through on your commitment?

Fireworks

Recently I noticed I was lacking in my writing commitment. I want next year to be a cornerstone year for my books. So I wrote down some goals to create a plan and then contacted a friend to keep me accountable every week.

This is a two pronged attack. Preparation and accountability are two huge reasons people will follow through on their commitments. I have another friend who is a poet that sends signed checks to another writer. If they do not send each other finished work by a certain date, they get cashed, now that’s accountability!

So you plan, and have someone to keep you accountable, what else? You make the goal measurable and write it down.

Not like this – I want to lose weight!

Like this – I want to lose 20 pounds by September 30th.

If you need additional assistance with goal setting check out the SMART method posted here.

In the end, if you want to commit to something great there will be hard times. This is when you need accountability. There will also be moments of self doubt or when life gets in the way. Your plan will help see you through.

But start now. Start early.