Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 118: All About Eve

I'm extremely proud of myself to have made it through the end of 2011 while still on my 2,500 word a day writing challenge. Here are some numbers I'm proud of:

Books completed: 1
Books started: 5
Longest book: 1,000 Character Writing Prompts at 150,000 words and counting
Total words written: 295,000+

Here are some things I'd like to take care of in early 2011:

- Finish Ted Saves the World and 1,000 Character Writing Prompts
- Publish those books and my six workbooks for grades one through 12
- Do a big marketing push for The Post-College Guide to Happiness

Here are some other goals for 2011:
- Write and publish 10 books in total over the course of the challenge
- Continue to improve blog traffic to the point of getting 1,000 visitors a day for an entire month
- Continue to improve ad conversions to the point of earning $100 to $500 per month
- Continue to write 2,500 words a day after the challenge has concluded, to go over one million words in total

I realize that these are some big goals to live up to, but I definitely think they're all possible. I'm especially excited to see how well received 1,000 Character Writing Prompts is received. The bar has been set incredibly high by my first book and I hope that the increased length and the sheer amount of work I've put into it will pay off. I'm working on a major promotion for The Post-College Guide to Happiness and one day I would like to reach the goal of selling one million copies (though that may be a far off goal, since I'm around 20 right now).

Today I wrote a blog post about how you should trust yourself when you're writing a book. I also worked on a sort of rant about how religion should be more focused on love than hate in my living in the future book.

For those of you who have followed my challenge so far this year, I really appreciate it. I hope to gain more followers in 2012, but I don't really care that much if people follow this one as long as I can keep up with it every single day. Have a healthy and wonderful 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 117: We Built This City

I was thinking today about the hard work you see everywhere around you in the city of Chicago. You may look at an apartment or an office building and all you might see is "a building." In actuality, these buildings required hundreds to thousands of hours of planning, followed by hard labor. If you look closer at an office building, you see the businesses inside that are keeping our economy alive through the hard work that was required to found them, up through the many hours that employees work today to keep it afloat. If you walk into a library, you might just smell and see books, but I think it's more productive to see little collections of hundreds of hours of writing and research before there were such things as spell check and Wikipedia.

We built this city on hard work and a lot of dedication. The reason these books and buildings have lasted is because of all the work that was put into them in the first place. If you want to create something that will stand the test of time like all of these things have, the best thing for you to do is to start working hard. You need to put in the time to plan out what you love and then you need to make it happen. Spending your time playing games or checking Facebook is not likely to contribute to your work. Push past things that will give you pleasure or leisure and start putting in the blood, sweat and tears necessary to create something worthwhile.

Today, I worked on my living in the future book and wrote about purpose. I also created a blog post entitled, happiness and pleasure, about how important it is to understand the difference between immediate gratification and true fulfillment. Let's keep building this city, y'all!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 116: Good Taste

I wrote a blog post today on the subject of good taste, but I thought that it was worth following up on here. I listened to part of an interview with Ira Glass from "This American Life" and I thought it to be so important to writers who are just starting out, I figure I'd blog about it twice.

In this interview, Glass refers to the fact that we get into writing initially because we have good taste and because of our love for great television or books, we get into these creative art forms ourselves. This good taste, however, can be our downfall confidence-wise though, because it makes us feel like we aren't as good as the people we aspire to be like. It's obvious that the first few things you write aren't going to be Pulitzer Prize winners, but I've never quite heard it like Glass puts it.

You need to create as much work as you possibly can to narrow the gap between your taste and your talent. If you keep working hard (for Glass, he says it took him more than 8 years), you will eventually be able to create creative work that you consider to be something special. This is an extremely important message and I hope that all beginning writers learn about this in some way, shape or form.

In addition to writing about this awesome interview, I worked a bit on a new screenplay and played around with the living in the future book. Off to new adventures in narrowing the gap :).

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 115: Where the Heart Is

Amy and I returned back home to Chicago yesterday and it's been nice settling back into our apartment, especially with the wonderful wall art, kitchen tools and other awesome gifts we have been able to bring home. I had such a successful time getting my writing done in Chapel Hill in a limited amount of time, that it was odd coming back to a full day with nothing to do but write. I dawdled a bit, but here I am coming close to the end of the 2,500 for the 115th straight day.

Home may be where the heart is, but it's going to take all the heart I can muster to keep my exercise plan going, now that we're really into the full swing of winter. I think I'll take a break today after the speed up, slow down, rain run that my friend Vince and I took part in yesterday. As we drop below 20 degrees here, I'm glad that I have a little additional running gear (thanks Amy!) that will get me through it.

Another struggle has been finishing the 1,000 Character Writing Prompts book. This 150,000 word juggernaut is so close to being complete, but I needed a week off from it. I've enjoyed working on Living in the Future, though I'll have a hard time saying that I practice what I preach unless I push through the end of that character book and put it out to market. I already have a wonderful cover lined up, now I just need to finish and edit the dang thing :).

Other than working on "Living," I wrote a blog post about creating some writing resolutions as we approach the wonder that is New Year's Eve.

Now let's all eat some leftovers and write! :)

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 114: Before Sunset

As I sit here on my Southwest Airlines flight, I can look out to my left to see a beautiful setting sun washing across the North Carolina sky. I've had a wonderful holiday trip and I can't express my gratitude enough. Last night, I was even able to see several friends from college and this morning I was able to go on a rainy day run with one of them. Running is one of my favorite activities to do with a partner because over the course of four or more miles, you can run through a lot of different conversation topics. You learn a lot and you get to share a great deal of yourself as well. Having the added dialogue never hurts when it comes to thinking up writing ideas, and I always appreciate the extra support.

For Christmas/Hanukkah, I gave out about 15 copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness to my relatives and friends and I'm really excited to see what they think. My friend's sister flipped through a copy and told me she enjoyed my writing style. It's great to hear a specific compliment here and there so that I know I'm doing a halfway decent job.

I'm trying to formulate my goals for 2011. Obviously, I'm already in the midst of a few challenges with this writing challenge and the Tundra challenge (which I'm more than halfway to the goal of 100 miles at this point). I've been challenged by Amy's family to a weight loss challenge, which might be some good motivation for the new year. I sold between 6,000 and 7,000 books in 2011 and I'd love to try to double or triple that in 2012. In addition, I'd like to get in some more weight lifting to go with my running. Just a few thoughts that I'm brainstorming out here!

In writing news, I worked on the "exercise" section of living in the future and I wrote a blog post called how to finish a book. Happy last night of Hanukkah, y'all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 113: Another Day in Paradise

Well, maybe Chapel Hill isn't paradise, but it's been a particularly nice getaway from the city for a while. Whenever you have someone cooking your meals for you and you have a lot of wonderful presents to sort through, there certainly can't be too much to complain about. In addition, it's great to see people that I haven't seen in a year or in years!

I have a great little setup in Amy's mom's quilting area and I've been able to hang out here every morning while getting my writing done. If you are on vacation or if you're staying in an unfamiliar area, this is the best thing to get locked down early on. Find a spot where you won't be bothered so that you aren't hunting for it at an odd hour of the morning or night when you don't have a lot of light to go on. For me, this was obviously a priority, being in a 2,500 word per day challenge.

Today, I continued to work on the living in the future book, talking about one of my favorite subjects: happiness. I also wrote a blog post about indefinite productivity titled, the goal beyond the goal.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 112: X-Mas X-ing

So far so good on a wonderful Christmas Day with the West family. As I did on Thanksgiving Day with my family, I got up excessively early this morning to get most of my writing completed. After finishing 2,000 out of 2,500 words, I was able to open a plethora of wonderful gifts. What I'm most grateful for this year, however, is the fact that I've been able to stick with this challenge all the way through December 25th :). I even wrote a post about being a grateful writer on my website today. I also worked on the living in the future book.

I gave out a few copies of my happiness book as a gift to some people this year and thus far it has been very well received. I have no idea if people will read it, but those who have opened it up seem to be pretty happy with what they've gotten! Maybe by next Christmas, I can get a ton of strangers to open the book up as a present as well :). Sounds like a good goal!

Happy Christmas everybody!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 111: Dancing in the Dark

Well, technically I wasn't dancing in the dark, but yesterday I did go for a run in the dark in Amy's wooded Chapel Hill neighborhood. It was quite different from my typical run through the very well lit streets of Chicago. It allowed me to think a little more than usual and I had a great idea that I've been wanting to follow up on for a while. Due to the fact that Kindles and Nooks are becoming much more image friendly, it's perfectly possible to digitally publish a children's book with tons of pictures. I have a few artist friends and I'd love to embark on a quest to put out a ton of children's books next year. I love writing for kids and it would be great to have one of the break out to be popular. It's just an idea for now, but let's see if it gets any traction.

I worked on the living in the future book today and I wrote a blog post about how being the healthiest writer is a recipe for success in being the best writer you can be. We'll be checking out The Muppets again today for a $7 matinee while all the crazies are out shopping. This is something I can live with :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 110: Friday Night Lights

Last night, I had the joy of sitting down with Amy and her family to watch an episode of Friday Night Lights, one of the best shows to ever grace the television with its presence. If you've never had the opportunity to watch this "high school football show" that is actually a "story of small-town America and a marriage that can weather all storms that come its way through honesty and love," you should get a move on! The writing, acting and directing on the show is inspiring to say the least. I feel like any artist in the film or acting world who is feeling fed up with the awful products that Hollywood is putting out should take a look at this show to see what can be done when all cylinders are clicking creatively.

I'm looking forward to today because it will be a day of shopping, sweet eating and festive Chapel Hill traveling. It's one of my favorite Christmas vacation days and it's the day that makes me very appreciative that I'm able to come back here year after year.

In writing news, I started working on a new book (to give myself a tiny break from character writing prompts) called Living in the Future. I also wrote a blog post about how to work smarter. Happy shopping, y'all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 109: Friends and Sugar

A quick post today, since there are wonderful friends here and a plentiful supply of sugar in the form of many cookies and sweets. I did get my bag back from Southwest in the middle of the night. I'm glad it got a little bit of sun in Orlando :). I'm avoiding the rain by staying inside and baking cookies with Amy's sister Charlotte and that sounds like a good enough vacation to me!

In writing news, I worked on some writing prompts about sailors, fishermen and captains and I wrote a blog post about believing in yourself.

I know that it's hard to believe that I have some difficulty thinking highly of myself from time to time. When that happens, the best course of action is to remember what I've accomplished thus far (in this case 108+ days worth of 2,500 words per day) and that will help me develop the attitude I need to get through another day. String enough of these days together and I won't have to work nearly as hard to get the money I need to keep everything above water :).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 108: Flying Foibles

Today was a bit crazy as I had to get up at 4 a.m. to finish half of my freelance work en route to the airport. On the way to the airport I jotted some quick writing ideas down in my phone and put them down on digital paper as we waited for the delayed plane. I was about to dance on the rooftops to sing the praises of Southwest Airlines due to the surprise presence of airborne Wi-Fi, allowing me to finish the second half of my freelance writing. Unfortunately, they later misplaced my bag, so I suppose my love for them will have to be a wash for the day as a whole :).

Regardless of not having a change of underwear in the meantime, I'm pretty happy to be here in North Carolina ready to watch my alma mater kick some Texas behind :).

In writing news, I worked on some writing prompts about mythological beings and followed it up with an equally romantic blog post on how to write love poetry.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 107: UPS Hostage

I was feeling a bit cooped up this week and I really wanted to get out of the apartment to get some of my writing completed today. I was held a bit of a hostage by UPS unfortunately, waiting for my parents Hanukkah presents to arrive. I suppose I could have paid $5 to get it delivered to the UPS store just down the street for me, but I figured my money could be better spent. Fortunately, after a burst of productivity that coupled writing with laundry folding, I was back in the game and I finished all of my writing around the normal time of 2 PM.

Tomorrow will be a bit of a challenge with an early morning flight to North Carolina to hang with Amy's family. The plan is to get half of my freelance articles out of the way between 4:30 AM and 6:30 AM, take my 2,500 words down a peg or two, finish them in the airport and on the plane and then speed back to Amy's 'rents house to get the 2nd half of the freelance work completed. I'll be pushing to get it all done early because we're all heading to the Dean Dome to see our alma mater play Texas in some good old fashioned college hoops. Very excited :).

In my writing today, I filled out the character prompts for the dark/mysterious and citizens of the world while starting on the Armed Forces. I also wrote a blog post on pride in writing. Happy final shopping days!

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 106: Words with Friends

One of the best ways to become inspired as a writer is to hang out with a variety of people. It's easy to get stuck in your head when you don't hear any different words or patterns of speech that you're used to. By making sure to add various social occasions to your life, you will be able to more easily create characters and you will be able to think up more topics in general. This was a weekend full of social encounters, including the Groupon holiday party, which had me and my girlfriend surrounded by a cast of thousands. Connect with others and connecting with your inner creativity will be much easier.

My daily writing assignment had me creating some character writing prompts on citizens of the world in addition to a blog post of January writing prompts.

In two days, we'll be heading down to North Carolina for a good old-fashioned Christmas celebration. For the third year in a row, I will not be heading to my family's get-together, since Amy and I have split Thanksgiving and Christmas right down the middle. This morning I sent a big box worth of gifts their way and I'm proud to have included some of my writing in those gifts. I won't spoil it for any family members reading this blog, but I really hope that everybody enjoys what I've provided! Some of my family have had a tough year financially and I hope that sometime in the future, I will have a book that does so much for my income that I might be able to contribute to such issues. That is probably a long way off, but my desire to contribute to my family is one of the many reasons I am keeping up with this challenge.

Happy Monday everybody!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 105: A December to Remember

Last December, my career as an author took off as my book sales nearly doubled from the previous month, making me wonder if I should give this "writer thing" a deeper look. A year later, I'm experiencing some similar holiday cheer with a healthy boost in book sales. In light of the fact that I may be releasing as many as seven books in January and February with more to come throughout the challenge, I can't help but be grateful.

I'm not yet on par with some of these million copy sellers (I haven't reached 10,000, so I have a few powers of ten to go :)), but I am so happy to have been blessed with the great fortune that allows me to be much more comfortable this year than I was in 2010. I still have debt and a long way to go to take it down to $0, but with continued hard work and writing productivity, perhaps I'll be able to accomplish that goal by December 2012.

Today in writing news, I wrote some prompts about doctors and nurses and created a blog post on the definition of happiness. Happy final shopping days, y'all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 104: Service with a Smile

One of the reasons that writers write is to serve the public. I'm a big fan of the company, Groupon, for multiple reasons (yes, my girlfriend works for it, but just go with me here). One of the main reasons is the fact that they have amazing customer service. The people who work for the CS department at the company are actually encouraged to give customers a 100% refund if Groupon or the merchant messed up. 100% refunds all the time? Who does that?

Writers are providing a service because they are fulfilling a need that someone out in the reading universe has. If you write a book about repairing roofs, your main intention with the book can't be to make money or putting roof servicers out of business. It should be to help people who are trying to understand their own roofs. If you are creating a vampire novel, you should be trying to entertain the people who are craving that vampire goodness. I wrote a book on happiness, particularly (but not exclusively) for the post-college crowd, called The Post-College Guide to Happiness. I wrote this book because I saw a need out there and I desperately wanted to provide a service for people. I learned long ago that your value is equal to your service. I wanted to create a book that so many people could find use from that the value I'm worth in all areas of my life would go up astronomically. Here's to hoping :).

In writing news, I began playing around with a new self-help book called Living in the Future and I worked on a post about my happiness book called the book on happiness. Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 103: Capturing the Day

My favorite part of this challenge is how it allows me to capture the day. What I mean is that as a writer, sometimes the day would escape me and I didn't feel willing or able to write a single word toward my blog or books. Now that I'm forcing myself to write 2,500 words a day no matter what, I am capturing the day, every day. Sure, I don't always complete everything I set out to do each day beyond the challenge, but I always get at least 2,500 words done without fail. It gives me a sense of pride that used to be absent from my life. I now know I'm able to accomplish nearly any project as long as I push myself to new limits every single day.

Today, I worked on some prompts about farmers and dark/mysterious folk. I also wrote a blog post entitled how to deal with burnout.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 102: Tea and Dumplings

Not every day on such an intensive challenge will be all tea and dumplings. Though there was a bit of miso soup and Hawaiian fried rice, since I got out of the house to get some food with my friend Swam. I'm getting off topic and it's only the third sentence. What I'm trying to say here is that some days will be tougher than others and will feel like pulling teeth compared to the days when you get done before the sun has come up. On these days where the daylight hours are short and the weather is cold, motivation may be in short shrift, but you've got to keep pushing. Find inspiration wherever you can, whenever you can. There are an unlimited number of ways to be inspired creatively, you just have to get off your butt and find them.

Today, I came ever so close to finishing this huge book I've been talking about seemingly forever, by writing some character writing prompts on salespeople. I also wrote a blog post on failing forward in reference to a great Louis C.K. interview I'm currently listening to.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day 101: Fighting

It's so strange to hear fighting on the train or the bus now that my girlfriend and I have more or less stopped arguing for the last year or so. Sure, there are moments here and there, but fighting no longer resonates with me as something I'm interested in taking a part in. When I hear other people battling back and forth, attempting to gain some kind of ground in the relationship, it sounds so odd, because I've realized that nobody ever wins in those kind of fights. There's really no point and you're only taking away from the relationship by "trying to win." A relationship needs to be like a really long "yes and" heavy improv scene. There can be conflict, but you can't disagree with who a person is and what that person represents. If you do, you end up with a crappy scene, much like the scenes I've witnessed recently on public transportation. It makes people uncomfortable and it only serves to make you feel good about yourself for about a second.

How do you learn to stop fighting? I suggest reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It's a book with many great points about relationships, parenting and business partnerships and from this one book alone I was able to reform multiple aspects of my existence. Diffusing fighting in your life has to do with employing empathic listening, active love, win-win situations and a desire to use your time to fulfill your life goals. Unless one of your life goals is to act like a jerk, most of the time fighting won't get you closer to the person you want to be remembered as. I thoroughly recommend you check it out.

Here in consistent writing town, I worked on some character writing prompts on mentally and physically disabled people and I wrote a blog post on rainy day writing for those who have to get writing done despite the crappy weather outside :).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 100: Like a Baby's Bottom

It feel really great to have completed 100 days of this writing challenge. That means I've more than exceeded 250,000 words since I started in early September. I've definitely felt some fatigue this week from my hard work and I postponed a few projects that I'd been planning to squeeze in before the end of the year. I'm no stranger to tiring myself out from working too hard, but the best way for me to get past it is to treat each day like a baby's bottom. Smooth. New. Fresh (after it's been changed of course). I need to come out ready to press on to day number 101, 201, eventually 301 and everything in between. If I think of it as another boring addition to my collection of hard fought days, I'll be spent in no time. I need to be grateful for what I've done so far and be proud of what I can achieve that very day.

Today in my 100th day of writing, I worked on some more character writing prompts on religious figures and also worked on some about the mentally disabled. On my website, I took a bit of a departure and wrote about the future of creativity.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 99: New Running Clothes

I know, I know, this isn't a running blog, but I'm very happy to have gotten some new running clothes! My philosophy on running the last few years during the winter has been to throw on whatever clothes I could to fight the elements and trudge through it like Rocky Balboa. This year, I've decided to do like the real runners do and wear clothes that fit and offer the proper amount of warmth throughout (read, the bare minimum when you start, only slightly too much when you warm up). I've made fun of stuff like dri-fit clothes before, but call me a believer, I felt much better than I usually do during a winter run (because I wasn't overheating). I am happy as a running clam :).

In writing news today, I worked on some character writing prompts about religious figures (yay lady Rabbis! :)) and I created a blog post on how to deal with stress. Off to eat a pizza with the lady and get ready for day number 100!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 98: Creating Something Amazing

I've very happy to have been a part of so many interesting and exciting artistic projects. I've created two Crash the Super Bowl videos and they were both great learning experiences that made me a stronger director. I've produced multiple plays, several of which recruiting hundreds of people to see them in all their glory. The ones that I had contributed to the writing of, made me feel even more pride, when people laughed at jokes I had come up with or made emotional connections to characters I had made up. I was even so lucky as to be a part of one show that grew like wildfire in the early Facebook era and I had the joy of putting over one hundred people into a room meant for 40.

But all that being said, I've never been a part of a worldwide phenomenon. I know what you're saying, "Very few people have, Bryan. If more people had been, it probably wouldn't be that big a deal." I know, you're right. But still, it would be so cool to be a part of one of these successful Kickstarter deals that raise over $100,000 and are able to use that money to realize their creative power. It'd be wild and fulfilling to win some kind of film contest and to see your work up on the big screen and for it to spread around the country in a cult or mainstream way. I'm not necessarily doing what I need to do to get something like that to happen to me. I haven't put up a Kickstarter in a while and I haven't entered any contests like that in years.

If I am going to dream big, I have to take steps to meet that dream halfway. I can't win any contests I don't enter. I can't create any artistic collaborative experiences if I don't collaborate more with other artists. The first and most important step is to dream the dreams. The second most important step is to move toward the goals as much as you can on your own.

In keeping with this theme, I wrote a blog post today about personal goal setting. I like the post, because it made me think about some of the obstacles (most of them self-imposed) that I have to overcome to make my dreams a reality. I also worked on some character writing prompts about activists today. Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 97: Stave It Off

The best part about this week was that despite the fact I was feeling a bit down in the dumps and didn't get around to some of what I wanted to do, I was still able to push through and write my 2,500 words each day. Even a guy who writes a book about happiness has rough days from time to time. That was one of the things that stuck with me during my research. It's OK to be "not happy" every so often even if you fancy yourself a happy dude. Happiness isn't about smiling like a crazy person all day long, it's about making happiness and the things that go with it a priority. I'm going for positive goals in my life, I'm grateful for what I have and I'm doing my best to keep the negativity I can control to a minimum. These are a few of the areas I wrote about in my blog post today on how to find true happiness.

I'm also very fortunate to have supportive people in my life like my parents (happy birthday Dad!) and my special lady. If it wasn't for Amy, I might not have even left the house the last couple of days (though, to be fair, this was partly a result of the below 20 degree temperature). It's easy to get into a routine of being very cooped up when you're trying to write so much. Next week, I plan on mixing things up with at least one coffee shop day and perhaps a library day as well. Gotta keep it fresh!

In other news, I am very close to completing my HUGE tome of character writing prompts. I have finished 83 out of 100 sections and the other day I passed 125,000 words all together. Pretty crazy. I hope that people appreciate how much work I've put into it. I also hope it will be a big seller :).

Note: The reason I made the title Stave it Off is because of this amazing Strong Bad cartoon from back in the day :).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 96: The Source

I find prosperity thinking to be extremely interesting. I once spoke on the phone with acclaimed author of Happy for No Reason, Marci Shimoff, and she recommended I check out The 40 Day Prosperity Plan by John Randolph Price. The book is a meditation program for wealth in which you affirm to yourself that your boss, your job and your investments aren't the source of your income: God is. According to Price, when you expect all of your income to come from certain places, you are closing off an essentially unlimited divine source. If you can trust that God will show you opportunities to have everything you'll ever need, you'll be set.

This idea may be a bit too religious for some, but personally I like it. When I was in my depressed post-college haze, I vowed to myself that if I found better, more effective ways of thinking I would try to adopt them. Three years after testing out prosperity thinking, I'm in much better financial shape. You could make the argument that it doesn't necessarily have a lot to do with my shift in focus, but there's no way to know. That's the thing about faith, to get any benefit out of it, you need to stop asking questions and start believing. Give it a shot sometime, I'd rather be healthy and vaguely religious than starving and cynical any day.

In today's writing news, I worked on some character writing prompts about pilots, scientists and a few more dentists. I also wrote a post of creative writing hints. Happy Friday everybody!

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 95: Life Beyond Debt

If I had not deeply pulled myself into debt into my early 20s, I might be almost completely out of the water by now. I'm grateful that I'm not struggling as I have in previous years, due to my book sales and my freelance job. My job is relatively easy, though it's probably obvious that my hear lies in my book and website writing. For me to give up the freelance gig, which has been good money for me in the last year, I would need to make about three times off my books (and other sources) that I'm making currently.

At that point, I would have nearly all of my debt taken care of, I would write closer to 5,000 words per day toward my books and blogs (a post Sept. 2012 challenge perhaps :)) and I could put more energy into my marketing.

That is a life I truly look forward to and I believe that it will be possible. After that point, I hope to buy a house outright with no mortgage and save up to live on a beautiful island. Hey, a man can dream, can't he? :)

Today in Bryan Cohen writing new, I wrote some character writing prompts about babies (my girlfriend was delighted to hear about that) and scientists (no baby scientists though) and I wrote a post about real creative writing. I'm actually closing in on 400 posts on my website, which is really exciting! If all goes as planned, I'll have over 700 posts there by the end of the challenge and ideally, a subsequent BOOM in traffic :).

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 94: The Frozen Tundra

In an effort to keep myself motivated to stay in shape this winter, I have joined something called The Frozen Tundra 100 Challenge. This community running challenge awards prizes at random to those who finish 100 miles over the course of December and January. So far, I've run 22 miles, making me close to making the first quarter of my challenge. I'm not sure what it is that I like so much about these challenge things (i.e. this blog), but I think it's good to test yourself and your limits from time to time. How else will you know what you're capable of?

These chilly runs have been aided by the fact that it's been unseasonably warm so far. Yes, 30 degrees is still warmer than it can be up in Chicago. I think it also helps that pretty much the only time I need to go outside is for running. If I was walking to "work" or had to travel about the city for errands, I might be completely sick of the cold. Since I'm fortunate enough to stay in the apartment more or less all day, it makes me less annoyed with the cold (especially since I've been equating cold with necessary fat preventing exercise this month :)). I think it won't be hard for me to reach the challenge's goal and I may even be able to surpass 200 if I really push it. I'd love to take the opportunity to run almost every day I'm down in North Carolina after the 21st (since it'll be warmer down there) as well.

Today in the writing world, I worked on some prompts about dentists and I worked on a blog post about visualization and manifesting.

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 93: In 5 Years

A good question to ask yourself every so often is, "Where do I want to be in 5 years?" Part of the adventure of life is the journey to each of those five year points, but it's a good idea to put some goals in between you and the inevitable passage of time. Do I want to still be writing? Yes, I think that is a good path for me for the rest of my life. I may still be creating writing prompts but then again, I would like to create fiction that most of the population can enjoy. Wouldn't it be cool to make it onto some kind of best seller list or something? I think that would be a fantastic goal.

I'd like to be married, ideally to my girlfriend, and I'd like us to be financially well off. I'm hoping that I'm able to achieve that goal from my writing and my websites, but I'm certainly open to other possibilities. One of the big points of prosperity thinking is that you can't lock yourself into believing that your money is going to come from one specific place. The money doesn't come from a boss or work that you did in this theory: it comes from God. In keeping with that point, I'd like to be more available spiritually and I'd like to continue to work on my attempts to feel peace.

Where would you like to be in 5 years?

In the writing world, I worked on some character writing prompts about dancers and homeless people. I also wrote a page of student writing prompts.

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 92: Other Ideas

One of the great things about writing books that are full of ideas is that you can't help but get ideas for your own life. I've been thinking about trying to pull in some additional income along with my freelance work, my book sales and my website's advertising. I've also wanted to get some money together to do some advertising on website's like Kindle Nation Daily and Pixel of Ink, which have subscriber lists including tens of thousands of avid readers.

Well, if you can't pay them, join them.

Today, I came up with the idea of creating my own Kindle advertising site. These sites have been building for years and have huge subscriber lists to prove it. This is why they can charge hundreds of dollars for an author to advertise for a single day. I believe that if I put in a little work every day, that in a couple of years, perhaps I would be able to command the same amount. Even if I shoot for the stars and fail, there are going to be Kindle authors for years to come and I'm bound to make back the money and time I put in.

Just a fun idea to go along with my love for writing and authorship :). Today in the writing world, I worked on some character writing prompts about "the twisted" and models/dancers. I also wrote a post of creative writing essay ideas. Happy Monday all!

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, check out my author page on Amazon, on which you can check out all of my books. If you have a book blog, I'm currently looking to do a blog tour starting early next year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 91: Sources of Inspiration

When coming up with a ton of different ideas everyday, it helps to have a multitude of sources of inspiration to draw upon. I've gotten a lot of aid from my improv comedy days which have taught me to pull ideas essentially from thin air. When the air seems dry idea-wise though, I love reading articles about movies. Aside from film being one of my favorite subjects, hearing news of different characters, stories and actors can quickly spur me with a new idea. Another thing that helps is when I've done a bit of exercise as it keeps the oxygen flowing to my brain better than sitting on my ass. I thoroughly recommend an exercise laptop bike like I have for this purpose :). Another source of inspiration is looking back at my life and the people and situations I've encountered. The longer you've lived, the more you have to draw from, so I suggest that you use it!

Today, I worked on some prompts about rebels and "the twisted" and followed it up with a blog post of creative writing activities.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 90: But How Do I Feel?

After 90 days of writing 2,500 words per day, I've accomplished a lot of fantastic feats. I'm closing in on writing a book that is three times longer than the longest thing I've ever produced and I think it could be really helpful to writers everywhere. I've created so much new content for my blog that I have drastically increased my readership. I have made writing less difficult by making it into such a daily activity that I'm even willing to get up early on a Saturday or Sunday to do it. But how do I feel?

I feel less stressed out. I was always so stressed that I was a writer who wasn't writing (and this is coming from a writer who had written multiple books, I suppose I am my toughest critic). I felt like I was wasting too much time on things that weren't important like posting on Facebook and watching television. Now when I do leisurely things, I don't feel as guilty. I know that the efforts I've put in earlier in the day to contribute to my writing give me a bit more freedom to be more loosey-goosey as the day goes on. And on days when I'm able to accomplish my writing, my freelance work AND some networking and other Quadrant II activities, I feel extremely fulfilled as if I'm finally starting to live up to my potential.

If you are feeling like you are stuck in a rut, I thoroughly recommend that you take part in a challenge in the area you felt you were meant for in life. If you can do just a little bit a day toward your purpose, you will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. How do I feel? I feel so good that I want you all to feel exactly the same way too.

Today in the writing world, I worked on some writing prompts about intellectuals and I created a blog post about career change motivation. Off to watch some Tar Heel basketball! Go UNC!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 89: Too Much Time on My Hands

When you live a freelance life like myself, you save a lot of potentially wasted time that normal 9 to 5-ers have. For instance, since I don't have to take a train into work (or get dressed up for work), I save at least an hour and a half compared to some folks I know (and over 3 hours compared to others). By working out for an hour while I do my work using my exercise bike laptop, I save another hours there. On days when I don't go out to a coffee shop for lunch, I may save 20-30 more minutes of productivity. If you add that all up, that's close to 3 additional hours per weekday, 15 hours per week, 60 extra hours each month.

Is that too much time on my hands? Not if I use it well. On some days, I have been able to wield this time like a sword, conquering annoying tasks that I'd never have the time for during my coffee shop or temping days. On others, well, I waste it, but since I'm doing this challenge, even on days that I waste it, I can say that I've been productive. Hooray for crazy challenges! :)

In writing news, I worked on some writing prompts related to holiday figures and rivals. I also wrote a blog post on famous quotes about happiness. Day number 90 tomorrow, woo woo!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 88: 3 Months Approaching

It's pretty wild to think of the fact that I've almost completed 3 months of this challenge. Sure, that means there is still a baby worth of months to go, but 220,000 words is nothing to scoff at. I've had more than a few surprises so far in these 88 days. I assumed I'd have completed several books at this point but I'm still trudging along in #2. That being said, #2 is now well over 100,000 words and is going to be an impressive work when I finally get it edited :). By writing so many blog posts, I've also gotten several interesting requests that have come as a result of my increased traffic. If it wasn't for all the work I've put in on that (over 120 posts), those might not have come.

I also just thought of a brilliant idea for re-purposing some of my work in a way that might increase my sales. In the form of workbooks. They would just be in PDF and paperback form, but they would be really helpful for teachers who simply want to photocopy them and use them in class. I'm going to have to see how much they would cost to make and then assess from there :).

Today's writing included some prompts about brides and grooms and a blog post about Hanukkah writing prompts.