Start Writing Now

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If I could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, it would be to start writing now.

You can read every style manual, how-to-article, and book on the craft, but it won’t replace the physical task of putting pen to paper.  Whether your aim is to create a popular blog or write a bestselling novel, you must sit down and start somewhere.

Before starting, you must first come to grips with the reality that you’ll never be a perfect writer. There will always be that extra sentence you wish you would’ve included after seeing your work in print. More than any other endeavor, writing is a never-ending quest for satisfaction. Writing becomes a lot more enjoyable after accepting this truth.

The most effective writing you can do is the kind without restraint. Just grab a journal and start writing about whatever topic excites you. Don’t worry about grammatical errors. Forget about whether your words flow smoothly. Just get something down on paper. You can revise later.

Many aspiring writers cripple themselves by holding their work to an unattainable standard of perfection. Writing is difficult enough without the added pressure.

Just have fun.

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Outside Your Comfort Zone is Where the Magic Happens

 

It’s amazing what can be achieved by taking risks. We live in a world where we’re conditioned to conform to a standard set of rules for just about everything.

We go to school, graduate, and maybe go to college or technical school to earn an advanced degree. We get a job in our desired field and work until retirement. We watch the same television shows, eat the same food, hang out with the same coworkers, sit in the same seat at church, and generally try not to do anything outside of our safe zone.

On a bigger scale, we often do what others think is best for us, or what comes easy, instead of what is best for our own personal growth.

I’ve spent most of my life playing it safe in so many areas. Sometimes I’m scared that pushing myself to try new things will result in me having to work harder or look plain stupid.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by one of the ministers at my church to participate in our Easter Sunday skit. I mainly stick to ushering duties at church. My thought process is to stick with what I know best.

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I answered yes since the minister is someone I greatly respect. I was a bit hesitant, but I wasn’t going to flat-out refuse. Though I was a little uncomfortable when I started attending practice, I found myself getting more into the role and started having fun. Well, the big performance was yesterday and I nailed it!

Multiple church members congratulated me on my performance following service. I never knew that acting was something I’d enjoy so much.

As I was leaving, I bumped into another church member who told me that I seem to thrive in situations that force me to go outside of my comfort zone. I never thought of myself in this manner. I think I’m quite the opposite, but perhaps their words were conformation that it’s time I stray more outside of my creative, professional, and spiritual boundaries.

In what ways have you been able to step outside your comfort zones?

Chase Your Dreams

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I spend a lot of time writing about dreams on this blog. Not the actual dreams you experience while sleeping at night, but the short and long-term dreams you wish to achieve someday.

I feel it’s my duty as a blogger to inject some level of hope and optimism into my writing.  If someone takes the time out of their busy schedule to read my blog then I owe it to them to write something that will make some kind of an impact on their life.

Dreaming is such an important part of life. No matter how big or small, you should always be striving toward something. My eventual dream is to write a book. I’m not exactly sure what kind of book it will be, but I do know that it will be inspirational in tone to some extent. Every encouraging blog post I write gets me closer in that direction.

If you don’t have any dreams then I encourage you to grab a sheet of paper and jot down three things you’d like to accomplish. Keep it practical, but don’t be afraid to launch out into the deep. Then begin working to mark each one off your list by a set time. Putting a timeframe on your dream is crucial as it will help you remain focused in reaching key benchmarks along the way.

Don’t let another day pass without working toward your dreams.

Freewriting: Bullying

Few things are more shameful than people who make fun of others and exert their authority over those who they deem as weak. Deep down, bullies are miserable human beings. How much must their life suck in order to constantly spend their time cutting down others.

While bullying is prevalent in school, it occurs in all walks of life, especially in the workplace. I’ve worked in environments where people were incessantly bullied for the dumbest of reasons. It’s easy to get caught up in office gossip. While you may not be a participant in the physical act of bullying, condoning the behavior makes you just as responsible.

If there is a bully reading this then I encourage you to stop before you go too far. If you’re being bullied then I encourage you to pray for those who bully you and not be a pushover. Facts prove that most bullies back down when they’re challenged.

I take bullying seriously because I experienced it growing up. It didn’t feel good then and it doesn’t feel good to see others go through it.

Embrace Your Flaws

This world is full of phonies. Far too many people are concerned with being a carbon copy of others instead of embracing their individuality.

You were created as a one-of-a-kind being, flaws and all.

Speaking of flaws, now is a good time to discuss retired WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks, better known to fans as AJ Lee. In her new autobiography, Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules, Mendez Brooks goes into ample detail about living with bipolar disorder.

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“But the interesting thing about flaws is that they truly are in the eye of the beholder. Weaknesses can turn into strength with just a simple shift of perspective. One day I made the choice to stop throwing myself a pity party. I would embrace what society taught me to shun. What was once my shameful secret was now going to become my secret weapon, she writes.”

She elaborates further.

“When I harnessed its seemingly uncontrollable might, I realized bipolar disorder’s powers could be used for good. My diagnosis didn’t have to be an affliction. That is the gift that being bipolar gave me. I used my gift to take myself from being homeless to being an athlete and entertainer on international television.”

You may think there is something wrong with you because you don’t look or act a certain way. What if you were created this way for a reason. The very flaw you think is holding you back could be what elevates you to a higher level of living.

How are you making your flaws work to your benefit?

As Mendez Brooks writes, “embrace your ‘crazy,’ your ‘weird,’ your ‘weakness,’—the things that others will mistake as flaws but will end up being your greatest strengths.”

Freewriting: Vision

A person without a vision will never reach their intended destination. Vision is what separates the successful from the unsuccessful. It helps you attain believable goals on a daily basis as you march toward the completion of your dream. It keeps you motivated during rough times. Those without vision wander through life aimlessly. Grab a vision for yourself and begin working to make it happen.

Freewriting: Laziness

It feels so good to come home after a long day of work and plop down on the couch to watch my favorite television shows and bury myself in social media. Why must laziness feel so good. It should at least hurt a little.

There are lots of productive things I should be doing with my free time, but laziness keeps me from doing so many of them. It saps my motivation. Laziness is comparable to a disease. It slowly eats away at my core and leaves me a shell of my former self. It’s the ultimate dream killer.

I must kill this laziness seed before it grows any further.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Create

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We truly live in a “do-it-yourself” culture.

A long time ago, aspiring musicians shopped their demos around to record executives in order to secure a deal. Writers submitted their manuscripts to numerous publishers in the hopes of being accepted.

The rules have changed.

Musicians can now get the attention of major labels through the content they upload onto their personal You Tube channels. Writers can cultivate an audience through blogging or self publish their works.

Technology has changed the entire dynamic on how anyone can get their message across. It’s easier than ever before to cultivate an audience for your niche. No topic is too obscure.

If you’re passionate about something then don’t be afraid to create the content you want the world to see. It may take a while for others to catch on, but don’t be discouraged. Just remain persistent and others will soon follow.

 

Freewriting: Work

Today was an exceptionally good day at work. It didn’t start out that way. Not that it was a bad one by an means. It was just a little blah. Kind of boring. Kind of difficult. Kind of just there. But then it got much better toward the end when I got the opportunity to run an errand with one of my favorite coworkers. It was nice to spend some time with them away from the desk. Actually, I prefer just about any activity that gets me away from my desk.

Overall, it’s been a good work week. I seem to have a better grasp at handling certain situations than I did even a week ago. I’ve noticed that I’m being asked to do more things outside of my comfort zone. Often times it doesn’t feel good, but I have to remind myself that it’s helping me to develop into a more well-rounded employee.

One of the coolest things to occur this week was an impromptu men’s meeting. In an office of over 20 employees, only six of us are men. It’s rare that we’re all together in one place. All but one of us gathered around my desk to have a nice chat about our experiences as married men. It was so fun that I’m thinking we need to schedule some guys time every week. Lol.

On last Friday I found out that I didn’t get a library position I interviewed for a month ago. I wasn’t terribly upset. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve come feel something of a renewed sense of purpose at my job. Apparently, not getting the job is a sign that God has something better in store for me and the work on my current job isn’t quite finished yet. I’m good.

I’m looking forward to the challenges that await me on tomorrow.