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.


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.

Creative, Where’s Your Hustle?

If you’ve ever read Jon Acuff you’ve heard of the word hustle. Hustle is the willingness to beat your body until it does the thing you want it to do. This could mean cutting out sleep, movies or TV, and even time you would normally be eating, in order to get something done. It’s the all nighter, the first months or years of the business, or the last push right before a product launch.

Photo Credit: AlaskaTeacher via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: AlaskaTeacher via Compfight cc

For most of us, hustle is the last thing we have in our arsenal when sleep tugs at the corner of our eyes and our rational side tells us to not work so hard, that this dream of yours can wait until tomorrow.

The truth is that our dreams can never wait until tomorrow. The promise of tomorrow is the first step down a slippery slope. You’ll find yourself watching reruns and HGTV. I know I do. Then your dreams will be just dreams – someplace you’ll get to in the murky future.

I assure you of this. No successful person wakes up one day to find that they arrived at someplace they never intended to go. Mr. Acuff himself says in his book Quitter that writing for him is not something he wants to do in his free time.

But why does he do it?

Because he wants to be intentional with his limited time. He wants to focus on the things he loves, that matter, that will last.

And I believe this is the true meaning and sweet spot of hustle. It should feel awkward. It is usually hard. But it is worthwhile.

So fellow creative, if you are working hard on your dream and it is more difficult than you than ever imagined, you’re in a good place.

So push hard. Don’t give into easy. Instead, hustle.

On Consistency and Imaginary Plane Crashes

I’m reading the book Start by Jon Acuff again. There are some leadership or ‘Live a Better Life Now!’ books that I want to throw into the heart of the sun. This is not one of them.

Part of the brilliance of the book is that it is not telling you ‘5 Easy Steps to the Life You Want!’ or some other stupid prepackaged garbage but instead it offers you some food for thought and then let’s you choose the path best for you.

I am reading a section titled the Land of Learning. This is the light bulb, crash and burn, and playful area of mastering something. You discover that one thing you keep coming back to (writing or collecting coins, whatever) and you start to dabble in it more.  You fail, fall on your face, but you have fun with it – sort of like learning how to ice skate.Start

Mr. Acuff also explains how he’d love to be in a plane crash. Not a horrible one, but one that gives him that near death experience which changes the way he approaches life. So he played one out in his mind.

What would he do if he valued life every minute he lived it?

Sleep more? What?!

Watch one more episode of The Walking Dead? NO!

He’d spend time doing the stuff he’d always wanted to do. Like write a book. In other words, the crash would bring into focus what matters most.

One question he asks and I redirect it to you is, how about give 30 minutes a week to your dream? This may seem light but it is a start we can all commit to. Once we show up that often every week, 52 times, who knows what might happen.

What do you plan to spend your 30 minutes on?



For Me, Failure Begins In The Morning

It starts as a whisper.

“Daddy, I need some orange juice.”

I look over to see my three year old daughter Clara trying to be politely quiet as she wakes me from my all too short slumber. It is then I realize that I hit either hit the snooze button or turned it off and I get up with her to watch Wild Kratts and snuggle.

I cherish my time with my kids but I kick myself for being too good intention-ed. I always mean to wake up earlier, which means, I meant to go to bed earlier. I can’t seem to choose either so I choose end up choosing neither.Sunrise

Jon Acuff writes in one of his books (Either Quitter or Start) that it is best to pursue your passion in the morning. I agree. But I also hate him for this.

When I write in the morning I carry the euphoric thrill of having chased my dream. This in turn fuels my day job. There have been many times that I am too mentally drained and plain tired from work to chase my dream at night. Then I make up some stupid mental agreement like – “Yeah but I’ll write 1000 words in the morning!” Which is usually followed by mental cursing because I read until 12:30am by accident.

All of this starts by not making my morning quiet time/writing time a priority. Thus a failure. But this constant failure and striving I hope to beat my body into submission where it is no longer a chore to rise early.

How do you create that writing time friend?

What tricks have you used to, er, trick yourself into your morning writing routine?

Until tomorrow morning…



On Hustling With Afterburners

I have thousands of hopes for my writing. I would love publish a full length novel, become somewhat of a professional blogger, and even launch several websites to share some of my passions.

The problem with this is the silly old thing we call time. Or is it?

There are many nights I stay up late reading, or sometimes (like tonight), writing. Like many writers I cringe when people refer to my work as a hobby but if I am honest with myself, I treat it that way from time to time. I casually poke at a book or think of ideas for websites but never dive in. I try a consistent, dull trudge of activity but there are times when I feel a project requires more than a steady plod to get it off the ground and get some momentum.

Enter Jon Acuff and the term “hustle.” What does that mean exactly?

It means afterburners.Blastoff!

It means focusing less on sleeping and more on getting that website off the ground. There are times for a simple plod, yes. But there are also times to give a magnanimous shove, burning everything you have, in order to take whatever that thing is you have always wanted to do to the next level.

What is it that thing you’ve been wanting to do but have not dedicated yourself to it? Not just making it a discipline and a habit, but making it a passion and giving it all you have to get it going?

I’ll share more about my latest project later this week, but until then – exhaust yourself.









Is Jon Acuff A Liar?

I respect Jon Acuff and thoroughly enjoyed his books. They were inspiration to me and if I had an inordinate amount of money I’d have them all in hardcover. They were water to my creative soul, and gave me drive to work hard and joy at being productive. Unfortunately, I tried to implement one of his suggestions and I failed, utterly.

DawnAround the country there are people who get up and meet at 5am. These people have taken a page from Acuff’s book Start. I don’t recall the official title of these stoic individuals but something like Starters or 5amers comes to mind. Anyway, Mr Acuff says starting early can help your productivity throughout the day. Start goes on to say that it’s easier to do whatever it is you strive to do or be (WRITER!) before the day’s cares and stresses have at you and sap your energy. I wholeheartedly agree with this. If I get up early and pray, read the bible, have a bit of writing time, then enter my day, it is 100% more productive than if I just get up, stumble to the coffee pot and then to work.

You may or may not agree that there are morning people and night owls. They may be subjective terms that mean productive members of society and unmotivated slackers. But how does Mr. Acuff expect me to get up at 5am when I’ve just been up at 2am and 4am with my children? And I won’t even mention my cat. Bandit, I love you, but clawing my face at 3am is not appreciated. Ever had sick kids and be up all night? Try getting up when you are already up. Ouch.

Though it was a huge inspiration, I find myself diverting from a lot of what is said in the book Start to “what works for me whenever it works for me and does not take away from my family time”. I’ve wasted a lot of time looking at what other people do and try to implement their formulas. The thing is I am not them. Their plan worked for them during that portion of their life and got them to where they are today. It might not work for you and me. We might have to find another way.

I was talking with my wife the other day and lamented the fact that I simply cannot count on the morning hours to write, not at this juncture in my life anyway. It has worked in the past, just not now with children this young. She asked me what worked for me and I thought about it. When is the perfect time for me to write?

I‘d like to think of myself as that responsible morning person: get up, make coffee, and put the house in order before anyone is up. I get some exercise in, some writing too, and have an effective morning launch into my day. But maybe I am that slacker night owl that writes until 1am four nights a week.

So for now, I am going to write when I can count on it: when everyone else is asleep and I am awake. Per my wife’s brilliant suggestion, I cleared a shelf next to my bed and bought a 15$ fan to curb the clickety-clack of the keys on my laptop so my wife can sleep.

I guess the idea of Start is to, well, start. Mr Acuff, you weren’t wrong there. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going.

Write 500 words today!