Where Will You Be In One Year?

When we blog or write daily and we don’t have success, we can easily get discouraged. We put in a lot of work on the post and no one came to see it or our words are garbage and we throw away the chapter.

At this point we can either give or keep going. Giving up makes the most sense because the blogging/writing/artistic/creative life is tough. We must work harder than most to push ourselves to the next plateau and the cliff is straight up.

But what if you don’t want to give up? What if you want to fight through the tension, go out on a limb, and dance in a minefield?

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

Each year I ask myself these questions at least a dozen times. What’s the point? Do I really want to keep doing this? Is writing for me? Then, I write the next post. Why? Because I am focused on the goal ahead not on what happens in the day to day.

Don’t get me wrong, daily success is thrilling. A strong day in sales, a great day in the comments section on your blog, or a promotion. Shortly after that though, roughly eight hours later most likely, the day is fresh, the achievement has faded, and the blank page is there again complete with blinking cursor.

We need to develop the march of the everydayer. You and I must come prepared to put in our work, but not looking at the ground below and the daily miles we have to traverse but instead be fixed on the mountain we want to climb, far in the distance, and move forward with jaw clenched.

So, friend, I ask you this question. Are you looking down at your feet? Or are you looking ahead at the goal you set at the beginning of this year or the last. You want to reach ___, right? Then focus on the long haul.

Where do you want to be in one year?

How To Always Have Something To Write About

Do you have that writer friend that is an amazing blogger, short story writer, or novelist? Yeah, I’ve disowned that person too.

I am in awe of the constant do-er, the everdayer, the consummate professional who always seems to have something to write about.

I struggled with this for a while as I reviewed my plan for my blog re-launch. How will I be able to sustain a pace and not give up like the pros?

Photo Credit: kpkelly53 via Compfight cc

A few months ago, I started seeking out the top echelon of successful bloggers and platform builders. I found a lot of people I admire. You know what else I found out? They all knew each other.

Part of this should not have been a surprise. Once you reach a certain level of anything you want to be with people who have done the same thing. If you play a sport for two decades and want to grow, you can’t do so playing with a first timer. You have to compete with those at your level.

But this was not the main take away from this search. The real point was that they were all conversing about similar topics. And they talked amongst each other on one another’s blog or podcast or Vlog. They endorse each other’s books and attend each other’s book launch.

This gave me a huge nugget of insight. Conversation. This is what blogging, or any art, is about. Interaction, digging deeper into subjects, and then coming away with a response is all part of being an artist. Suddenly I found myself furiously writing down responses or ideas that sprung to mind when I interacted with them.

This is the key to blogging. You want to be a novelist? Read books about authors, by your favorite authors, and write about them. Your answer could be what you’ve learned, things you’d do differently, or ideas for books you may have. Stuff your head full of this material.

Art is not expression in a vacuum. It’s reciprocal.

So get in the conversation. Part of it is listening well. The other part is responding. If you do this, you’ll never run out of things to say.

Turn Your Day Dreams Into Action

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty you’ve been inside the mind of a dreamer. Someone who desires to say hello to the girl, stand up to a bully, and speak their mind. The film grows from the absurd internal thoughts of a shell of a man to an individual who goes after the life he wants.

This is fiction of course. Or is it?

Photo Credit: gryhrt via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: gryhrt via Compfight cc

Have you had thoughts like that before? Where you had a glimpse the life you wanted, the job you crave, or the hobby you just didn’t have time to invest in? Then you let it sink into the chaos of a life filled with the churning waters of busy. Good. I’m not the only one.

The problem here is not the dream. The issue is action. We are dreamers. Ideas come and go all day. But then we go to bed, to a meeting, back to the grind.

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself what your life would look like if you started to move toward your dream, even just one inch in that direction?

What if you began to write every day no matter what? Or took one night and did a pottery class? What if you volunteered for a campaign? Maybe asked someone to lunch who is closer to where you want to be and picked their brain?

Life is not easy, and we aren’t promised one more day. But is not a life lived with the desires of our hearts far better than one lived only in our mind?

There is, of course, no guarantee that we’ll get to the place we want to be. But I assure you of one thing. You’ll be closer to realizing it than you were yesterday. And if you stick with it, you’ll have the best chance of reaching it some day.

Learning to Write Again

I made an elementary writing mistake these past two months, one that many writers make from time to time. I was entirely drained after work (December and January are horribly demanding) and I didn’t feel inspired to write, so I didn’t. This lull led to suffocating self-doubt and a thousand questions.

I started to question my art and ability to write.

Then the questions left and a certainty filled me.

I am not good.

I cannot do this.

It’s over.

The absurd thing about all of this was that I doubted something I no longer practiced.

I’m an avid hockey fan and I know that when a player suffers a leg fracture or broken foot it can take months to get back to “game speed”. They’ve been off for a bit and need to undergo proper conditioning to attain “game speed” once again. In other words, they have to put in the work to get to a place where skating and playing the game feels natural.

Conditioning is the key word there. It means to break in. Ever run a 5K on a new pair of shoes? Ouch.

This is where I am at now. Learning to walk again. Learning the writing drive again.

Now comes the hard part. Now comes the march onward to becoming an everydayer.

There were times in the past when I could not stop myself from writing. The thrill of it filled me enough that I cast sleep aside and was lost in what I was doing. About the time I finished this post I felt that again. A small flicker of it anyway. A spark. Now I need to figure out how to give it more fuel.

That is what becoming great at anything is. Before you can be great, you must put in the work.

Let’s roll up our sleeves today.



Become An Everydayer

I love hockey. Not just watching it on TV, but reading about it on obscure blogs, watching Youtube clips in the offseason, listening to sports talk radio, and rehashing stories with friends at work. It’s a passion and I’m an evangelist.

I don’t love it for the fighting, but the grit. When a player battles through a second degree separated shoulder, a broken foot, and a broken finger simultaneously, all for the logo on their sweater and the city they represent, I wonder, how do they do that? Of course they are paid millions of dollars for this, but wouldn’t you throw in the towel at that point? They’ll make their money whether they play or not.

This grit can be explained in a million ways but for those unfamiliar with this glorious game, one of the best and grammatically incorrect is “An Everydayer”. This is a term I hear all the time from the coach of the Detroit Red Wings, Mike Babcock.

What does it mean? That you show up every day and work hard. Whether you’re a professional banker or a professional toilet cleaner, you work hard in everything you do. Period. It’s a cemented mindset that does not change, but this is not from hard headedness, it’s fueled by passion.

I am a firm believer that everything in your life builds upon everything else. If you display patience at home with a troubled teen, chances are that will strengthen your patience for a work situation. If you work hard at work, you’ll have a better chance at working hard as a parent and so forth.

If you are stuck today in anything – your novel, your job, your website – know that those who succeed show up everyday.

They are Everydayers.

What are you?