Day 83 of 90: Wasted Time #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors!

I woke up this morning, bright and early, before my alarm clock even had a chance to go off. I don’t really know why I woke that early, but I am happy for the extra time it afforded me.

Sometimes life just doesn’t go as you plan it to. For one reason or another, your carefully laid framework buckles under the pressure of the steady river of time, and you find yourself with never enough of it.

This happens to all of us at one time or another. That sense that the past or future is going to catch up to us, and make the now a bad time.

I’m going to tell you to shake that feeling off. Remember that every situation is different, and most of them are dictated by how you choose to perceive the time. I could have chosen to be angry, I could have chosen to waste the time I gained by waking up early, but instead, I chose to set to work.

I started my normal routine, and then took the extra time I had to edit some more of my next project. Time is only wasted if you waste it.

And though I plan on waking up tomorrow, bright and early before the sun rises, I also realize that it may not happen. I accept that, I plan for it, and I learn to do what I can to control my own actions.

Day 82 of 90: Images #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors

One of my favorite pastimes on the internet is finding a good picture gallery and just looking through it. I know, shock of shocks, and so different than everyone else. But it was while I was looking at some of those pictures this morning, that I started to consider the impacts they have on our lives.

Images are powerful tools. Whether you realize it or not, we are constantly assailed in our daily lives by those images. Whether it be pictures of the down trodden, the righteous, the victorious, or nature in her omnipotent fury, they all have their place in inspiring us.

As an author, I know I take aspects of my daily life, and attempt to fit them into the narrative of my stories. That’s not to say I live a drug fueled life full of hedonistic pleasures, I’m not rich enough for that, but I do take and include the simple things that make life a joy.

I attempt to convey to you how even in the darkest of times, a simple smile can change the world that surrounds you. I try to convey that even when things are going great, it only takes one moment for those things to end. It’s nothing special, an aspect of my writing I’m sure most authors try to include.

But it is uniquely me. The way I look at a situation is completely different than you, or anyone else, will look at that situation. What tools and abilities we’ve gained through our experiences shape how we approach a problem. Just like images shape how we see the world.

Day 81 of 90: Editing Up A Storm #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors

I’ve been editing up a storm, trying to perfect my current project before moving on to another. Though editing is my least favorite part of the process, I still have fun doing it. It’s awesome how little changes in your writing can help to convey a scene you wish to paint in greater detail.

I don’t know why, but I’m always eager to move on to my next story. It takes focus and willpower to keep myself on track, but no one else can control me, so I have to take the time to do it.

Reading and writing have become my favorite past times. I wake up, and the first thought through my head is about my current work. Before I fall asleep, I’m busy typing away, or reading another’s world. As I drift off to sleep, I find myself trying to fill the character’s shoes, and attempting to understand why they made the choices they did.

Most people use reading and writing to escape from reality. Not me, though I do enjoy that aspect of the practice.

I read and write in order to help organize my thoughts. I spend an hour or two writing every day, and another hour reading. As someone who suffers from a short attention span, I look at these times as practice. By making myself think linearly, I learn to control my attention in other situations.

Writing, for me, is nothing more than an exercise in self discipline. A discipline I never thought I would pick up as a hobby, let alone attempt to master. I’m happy I started telling my stories, because I don’t think anyone could tell them quite like I can.

Day 80 of 90: Our Nature #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors

I woke up this morning to the sounds of little baby birds chirping away hungrily.

I love this time of year, so full of life and renewal.

I’m a big fan of nature, and all the small things it brings into our lives. The smells, the sounds, and the sights are all wonderful and awe inspiring.

The light filtering through the trees, painting a dappled pattern across the grassy ground, the chittering and movement of little creatures, even the haunting sway of the wind kissed trees are an amazing sight to behold.

Too often in life, we lose sight on the simple things that make our existence bearable. We don’t pay as much attention to the person we love as we should. Or we’re more concerned with appearances, than with what our actions say about us. Instead of thinking of how to better the world, we only worry about bettering our own station.

We all want to change the world, to better shape it to fit the mold inside of our head. We let petty things like anger and fear get in the way of our becoming. When we go to help someone, we don’t just think about how we’re helping them, we’re thinking of how it is going to help us.

There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s human nature, but it’s one that we should be striving to leave behind as we transition in our evolution. We need to cast away the hate, greed, and fear that keeps us firmly in the realm of the animal.

It’s a lot of work, and it won’t be easy, but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.”

I’m hopeful for the times that lie ahead of us, but only we can change it. One day at a time, one word at a time, we can shape the world to be a better place for everyone.

Day 78 of 90: #Routine #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors #Inspiration

Routine is something I’ve talked about a lot, but only indirectly. As the son of a military man, my father was a Master Sergeant, I think routine came built into my life. It’s interesting when I look at the world around me, and I find so many people that lack the basic structures I have lived with all my life. It’s even better when I turn it on myself, and recognize my lack of organization, which could be holding me back from greatness.

A routine can really help you, and you may already have one whether you know it or not. You have a job, a place of work that you have to be at specified times. It becomes a force of habit to go to work, knowing that at the end of the time you’ll be compensated in a way that allows you to support yourself. This is routine.

However, if you look at your life outside of your job, how much routine do you have? I never really asked myself this question until I hurt my back. Before I was injured, I realized the routine I had fallen into was one that didn’t fit me. My health suffered because of this. I had things I had to do, people I had to see, places I wanted to go, but I didn’t have structure to do it. It was hiddly piddly, only as I thought of it. But I wasn’t compelled enough to change it yet.

Once I hurt my back, these things became much more regimented, and yet at the same time I found myself with even less structure. I still suffered for this, my moods were wild, I had swings in temperament. It wasn’t until I started adding structure to my life that things started to make sense in my head.

When I started planning ahead, and finding the path I wanted to take things started to fall into place. When I started considering the consequences of my actions, and knowing how the outcomes would affect other people, other people started to consider how their actions affected me. I started to think of what I wanted and where I wanted to be. And then I started writing. One word at a time my friends, that’s how our stories are built!

Day 77 of 90: Getting close to the end!

I received a new 5-star review last night. The kind of review that makes me feel like all the struggles of writing are worth the fight. I love hearing back from people who have read my books, even if they hated it, but a great 5-star review makes it all worthwhile.

We authors often focus on our reviews, for better or worse, and I am as guilty as anyone else when it comes to getting feedback on my books. Sometimes it’s the only feedback we receive. Like someone else’s opinion matters more than my own, even though the only opinion I control is my own.

I have spent entirely too much time at my computer, searching for the elusive book bloggers. The ones willing to lay down the honesty with a thickness. It’s amazing how many different opinions there are on just this one book.

One reviewer will praise me on the depth of my characters in such a short book while the next says they’re one dimensional. Another reviewer will say the ending was distasteful while three or four others say it was beautifully executed.

I’m writing this morning to say remain true to you and your story. You can never please everyone, and you’ll only run yourself ragged trying to do so. Instead, please yourself. The rest will follow or ignore at their own discretion, the only person you can control is yourself. Trying to control anyone else will only lead you to bouts of heartburn. Instead, focus on putting your best foot forward, and making sure your story stays entertaining to you.

Day 76 of 90: Jump starting the process #ASMSG #IAN1 #IARTG #SupportIndieAuthors #OneWordAtATime

I had someone ask me for specific examples of things I use to help jumpstart my mind for writing. I gave them the typical answer that I give everyone, which is read more and have a routine. However, last night I was thinking that might not be enough. So, I decided to make my post about that this morning.

First, I am a video game player, and having my PS4 (want an Xbox and Gaming PC too, but I’m broke) helps me immensely. If I find myself struggling to write a scene, I quit trying and play a game. Watchdogs, Ratchet and Clank, Diablo 3, Uncharted, Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, and others help me to forget the stress of writer’s block. An hour or so of games, and I’m ready to go again.

Sometimes that isn’t enough, and more is needed. That’s when I head over to Youtube, and search for interesting videos on philosophy or science. Lots of great distractions to be had here, like Wisecrack and Crash Course. The thing I love about the internet, there’s something for everyone out there.

Sometimes a simple word game is needed, such as a crossword puzzle or a word search. Just using and searching for words can help jostle something lose. I tend to use phone apps for this, because I am poor and they are free.

Meditation is another beneficial activity that helps reset your brain. Fifteen minutes of your day can really help to leave you feeling refreshed and ready to go.

And last, if none of that works, then I focus on helping others. I don’t have as much power as I would like, in order to help, but I do what I can. I help other authors, or do simple tasks like freerice.com and let my writing sort itself out.

Point is, your writing isn’t going anywhere. Focus on living life and enjoying it to the best of your ability. The writing will come on its own.

Day 75 of 90: Don’t Stifle Creativity #AmEditing #ASMSG #IARTG #SupportIndieAuthors #Ian1 #Inspiration

I’m nearing the end of my first draft, and I’m proud of myself. I could still be blinded by my own bias, but I didn’t find half as many mistakes as I usually do.

I love talking to other authors about their editing process. I’ve learned a hundred different methods, and I use them all.

Editing, in all honesty, is probably my least favorite part of the writing process. I know this is where  the story is fleshed out, but I still have to force myself to do it. Must be the slacker in me.  I’m very much so a dreamer, so attempting to stifle my creativity can be a difficult task.

I’ve learned not to stifle my imagination anymore. Instead, I let my mind wander, knowing it will come back to the job at hand. I think the short breaks for my mind help in the long run.

When I turn my eyes back to the work, it’s with a renewed vigor. Life is full of distractions, ones we constantly surrender ourselves to, and ones we don’t. Some of my greatest ideas come when I’m busy doing something else.

My zombie apocalypse book was written this way. I would start editing my Breath Of The Titans trilogy, and scenes would flood me. Rather than ignore them, I took the time to write them down. By the time I was finished editing, I had most of the other book done.

Point is, you never know what is going to inspire you. Don’t stifle creativity, when you can nurture it, even if you are busy editing something else.

Day 74 of 90: Out of the box #ASMSG #IARTG #IAN1 #SupportIndieAuthors #Inspiration

At some point, I really should come up with a good name for this project. I want to offer this free to other writers, in the hopes something I’ve shared will help them along their journey.

I’m waiting, though, as I usually don’t come up with the names to my stories until they’re long done. When I start working on the cover, that’s when I worry about the name.

Whatever I decide, I’m happy I’ve been able to share this with all of you.

A lot of authors are introverted people. I can understand that I prefer my own thoughts to the thoughts of others as well. But, as authors, we need to break out of out of the box we contain ourselves in. The only way anyone is going to hear about your works is if you talk about it.

I hear from authors that are afraid, for whatever reason, to talk to people about their books. They worry that friends and family will look at them funny, or only see it as a hobby instead of what it is. They see their story as inferior, or unworthy of recognition.

I’m here to tell you to stop that. I understand being shy, I’m not trying to change that about you. But if, as an author, you’re not getting enough readers or feedback, or sales, or whatever, then you haven’t put yourself far enough out.

Until people hear about you, no one will read you. It takes time, effort, and a strong work ethic towards your author platform to build a readership. It’s not something that happens overnight, no matter how much you pray for it.

Like with all things, time will be the determining factor in whether or not you become rich and famous as J.K. Rowling or even Andy Weir. Success is something we all define for ourselves.