Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 149: Colbert Super PAC

I've been fortunate enough to be able to follow a lot of this Colbert Super PAC business and I think it's brilliant satire. Recent reports have stated that Colbert has raised over $1 million from his fans and other supporters and there are a whole lot of people who don't get it at all. What are these people donating to this clown for, they might say. Here's what they're donating for.

The Colbert Super PAC has shown one of the many reasons why our current political system is broken. The whole interplay between Colbert and Stewart with the renamed "Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC" showed how easy it is for candidates to raise a ridiculous amount of money for a campaign. What if some of this money went to creating jobs instead of creating attack ads? That's in the subtext of this whole Colbert Super PAC business. Colbert and Stewart are bringing these laws into the light so that the laws, like vampires, can burst and be reformed in the next couple of years. Personally, I think that these campaigns should be capped at a certain (reasonable) dollar amount. If they get money beyond that point, they should immediately donate it to charity. Won't that make them look better than an attack ad would anyway? Food for thought.

Today I continued writing guest posts for my upcoming March and April blog tour for The Post-College Guide to Happiness. I think it's going to be pretty awesome and hopefully it will get my book a lot of attention (61 straight days of anything on the net is bound to get a few folks to turn their heads). In addition, I worked on Identity Interrupted and posted a blog post of character writing prompts about the work obsessed. Hope everyone is having a great warm Chicago (or elsewhere) kind of day!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 148: Facebook IPO

Well, it looks like the Facebook IPO is on its way to reality and that it will create many millionaires from all of the people who have owned shares during their work there. Some of those wonderful Facebook IPO millionaires will stock a great chunk of the money away to pay for their kids' college funds and a select few will even put all of it away for the future for their own retirements. I have a feeling that most of them will run into the mo' money mo' problems situation. I realize that I am not a millionaire, though I hope to be one some day. From reading books like The Millionaire Next Door, I've come to learn that most millionaires got that way by living below their means and making sure that they pay themselves first. If you inherited a large sum of money or you got a huge promotion, where would that money go? For me, some of it would go toward my large debt, a tiny bit would go on one trip or one piece of jewelry for the lady, but the rest of it would have to go into savings. It's the only way that makes sense for sustained wealth.

If I can get to the point where I'm selling 100 (or even 1,000 books per day), I will have gotten to the point where I could save up and become a millionaire in my lifetime. I used to think about get rich quick schemes or creating some company and finding myself in a wonderful situation like the Facebook IPO folks are in. If you have had a successful venture such as this, make sure that your savings and paying yourself first are the biggest priorities for you. Not a new car/house/etc. I would wait for at least a year to see where the other shoe drops before making such a big purchase. I mean, look at NFL players who make tens of millions and end up broke halfway through their career. Save. Invest (safely). Live below your means. That's how you too can become a millionaire.

In the writing world today, I worked on Identity Interrupted, worked on a blog tour post and I posted a character writing prompts page about sports fans.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 147: 10 Minute Trainer

For the last three weeks, I've been busting my buns on Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer and I've been loving it. I had already been running 10 to 15 miles per week in training for the 10 miler Soldier Field race in May, but I had not been working my arms or my core very thoroughly at all. The best thing about 10 Minute Trainer is that nearly all of the workouts work the core quite well. I feel stronger and more healthy in general as a result of the work I'm doing. Is it tough to fit in the three recommended workouts each day (other than Wednesdays, which are the "day off," much better than the Sunday day off in P90X in my opinion) along with a run about five or six days per week...yes. I'm lucky to be someone who works from home, so that I can get the workouts in at practically any time of day, whenever I can squeeze them in.

I like these workouts better than P90X for a few reasons. They aren't as hard and time-consuming (though the ab video is comparable with P90X's ab ripper x). They aren't as tough on the joints due to their strong concentration on the core. And even though the results from P90x probably came more quickly due to longer duration, I'm still seeing some results in both my body and the amount of energy I've had each day. I definitely recommend it to anybody having trouble fitting a workout in.

Today in the writing challenge, I worked on the ending of Identity Interrupted (now I just have to go back and write the middle :)) and I posted a BCWI post about characters who are overweight in this character writing prompts page. Very excited to do my three 10 minute trainer exercises today, kick back and watch some UNC basketball and to hang with my lady. Happy Sunday all!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 146: Chuck and Bryan vs. The Goodbye

Last night, there were two major goodbyes in my life. In the world of television, I said goodbye to Chuck, which had its series finale last night. I've seen a lot of haters out there referring to the ending as a cop-out. I disagree. By having Sarah start to regain her memories and to fall in love with Chuck all over again, the two of them can have an even brighter future the second time around. I don't know if the kiss they share on the beach will restore her memories. It's obviously one of those "Are you a hopeless romantic or aren't you?" kind of TV scenarios. I think that if it didn't restore her memories, it certainly restored the emotion behind them. That's all they need, in my opinion.

In the real world, I said goodbye to my friend Swam, who will be going to India for three months and will follow it up by taking a high-paying job in either Washington, DC or Delaware. As my best friend from high school who will mostly likely be the best man at my wedding, it will be sad to have him in another country and then another city. Over the years in Chicago, I've had friends leave or fade away and as a shut-in writer, it can be difficult to get out there and meet new people. Most evenings, Amy and I stay in and thoroughly enjoy our time together. I still have some people I hang out with from time to time, but their numbers are dwindling. On the bright side, Swam being elsewhere does give me the opportunity to visit someone in a cool city :).

In writing news today, I continued working on the coda of Identity Interrupted and I began working on my happiness blog tour articles. I also posted a page from the character writing prompts book focused on criminals.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 145: Changing the Game

I've decided to make a slight alteration in the writing challenge to help me out with some promotion on my book The Post-College Guide to Happiness. I want to do a 60-day blog tour throughout the blogosphere to promote the book, which I think can be a real juggernaut sales wise if I can get a certain number of reviews. The blog tour will help me to get reviews, since I'll be giving out free digital copies of the book for the whole challenge, leading up to May (graduation season)!

Previously, I had said that the writing challenge consisted of 2,000 words toward my books, 400 words toward a blog post on my website and 100 words toward this blog. Since I have over 50 pages that I have yet to post on Build Creative Writing Ideas, I will continue to post one blog per day there and I will use my 400 required words per day for blog posts to tackle the blog tour. This will allow me to create the 60 unique posts for the tour without having to tax myself with an added blog post every day. When the blog posts are posted online, I'll definitely link to them everyday on this blog. It should be fun and hopefully it will increase traffic here, to BCWI and to my Amazon sales pages!

While the most exciting thing by far and away is the Chuck series finale tonight (!!!), I did have an enjoyable time working further on the climax of Identity Interrupted and on a blog post entitled working from home on the best ways to ensure a successful day of productive work. Tonight I'll also be wishing one of my best friends well for a three-month trip to India! Should be a fun evening all around :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 144: Chuck Bartowski

I know that I don't usually write a blog post twice on the same subject, but I'm literally counting down the hours until the show "Chuck" shows its final two episodes on Friday night. Characters Chuck Bartowski, Sarah Walker, Morgan Grimes and John Casey are some wonderful fully realized characters and I have absolutely no idea how the series will end (though I'm sure they'll find some way for it to be happy). I haven't been this excited over a series finale since Friday Night Lights. I know that it's silly to be so obsessed over a TV show, but I feel a great connection to Chuck and the funny wittiness the show has demonstrated. Some day, I'd like to work on a show like Chuck that so deftly blends comedy and action. Friday night on NBC. Check it out! :)

Today, I wrote the BIG REVEAL SCENE in Identity Interrupted, though there's still plenty of scenes to write before it. I just got too excited to put off writing that fun scene. I also wrote a blog post about where to find inspiration. Less than 48 hours to go, y'all! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 143: The Editing Room

The toughest part of this challenge has been to make sure I put as much time into editing my books as I do writing them. My book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More, is now in the proper order, has a kick-ass cover and is poised to be my next big hit. The only issue is that it's not edited and has plenty of errors and poorly phrased sentences that need tuning up. I need to set aside about 15 hours to edit this puppy from start to finish and add a few hours to the end of that for some formatting. These are the parts of writing I don't enjoy, but until I get to the point that I can afford a full-time editor, I will have to take on some of these responsibilities myself.

I have given myself a bit of breathing room by hiring an assistant for some formatting work, but because she can only work six hours a day, I'm mostly using her to set up future project work, including putting my prompts in order for my series, The Writing Prompts Workbook. After that, I'll have her help me to put the 365 writing prompts in order for The Writing Prompts Journal. If I can get all of those formatted and ready to go, I may be able to release 8 books all around the same time. In a few months, perhaps those books would lead to a doubling or tripling of sales for me! A man's gotta dream, right?

In the writing world today, I added a few more scenes to my sci-fi, detective, young adult mystery book, Identity Interrupted and I wrote a blog post called stumbling ahead about the value of leaping before you look when you get completely stuck or confused.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 142: Man or Muppet

A big shoutout to Bret McKenzie today, one of the two members of the "Flight of the Conchords" team, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the brilliant song, "Man or Muppet." I have made it no secret that I absolutely loved the recent movie, "The Muppets" and this was one of my favorite songs in the bunch. While I think it's silly that the Academy felt the need to only include two songs in the category (though it does lead to a 50/50 chance), I'm very happy for Bret and the whole Muppets team. I hope that the nomination brings a little more attention to a movie that lacked the acclaim it should have received as an amazing achievement.

In writing news, I continued to work on Identity Interrupted and played with some fun twists and turns. I also wrote a blog post inspired by our Commander in Chief called personal responsibility. Hope everyone is having a lovely day :).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 141: Success

What is success and when have you achieved it? Some people might feel success from training for something like a marathon and finishing it. Others might not feel successful unless they get a certain time or burn a certain amount of calories. Some people feel success when they complete a job at work. Others feel success when they accomplish a major several year long project. There isn't a right or a wrong way to have success in this world. The important part is to make sure success lines up with what you want in life.

Too many people don't accomplish what they set out to because they set their standards for success too low. "Phew, I finished 5 minutes of writing straight, time for a shot," versus "Phew, I finished my first book ever. Let's start on a second one." Obviously, it's not that cut and dry, but it's important to set your sights high and to keep yourself motivated in the future. Currently, I'm hitting a bit of a dry spell because making money off of my books was a major motivating factor and getting to the point where I could pay off some of my debt was a huge point somewhere off in the future that I needed to work toward.

After a good couple of months on sales, I need to refocus my desire for success elsewhere. It needs to be about what I can accomplish or who I can help rather than being about some dollar amount. I suggest that all of you reading who are experiencing the same blocks to try the same.

Today, I wrote a fun chapter in Identity Interrupted that felt like it was straight out of Pretty Little Liars and I also penned a blog post about my progress as of January 2012 in the world of writing. Happy writing, y'all!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 140: A Future Location

Will my girlfriend and I live out the rest of our days in Chicago? I know that we'll definitely stay here as long as she continues to work at Groupon, but what comes after that? My biggest complains about Chicago have always been the long winters and the cost of living. Now that I'm working from home and dropping credit card debts like bad habits, those two issues have been somewhat curtailed. I've even gone out running in a dual-effort to tame my weight and the chilliness the city has to offer and as a result, I've come more to terms with the weather. The spring and summer here, while short, are extremely fun and there is never a shortage of activities to take part in here in the Windy City.

Sacrifices would have to be made in other locations. If we moved back to North Carolina, the number of social activities would drop like Operation Dumbo Drop...at the box office! Moving to Los Angeles would up our need of driving and would put us even farther away from our East Coast families. Then again, both of those options would present much nicer weather. LA would give me more opportunities for realizing my dream of being an entertainer.

If my book sales continue to rise and I work harder and harder on my debt, we'll have much more freedom to move wherever we want. Until then, enduring the deep freeze and having plenty of indie movies to watch will have to do for the time being :).

Today, I worked on Identity Interrupted and wrote a blog post called improving your relationship in 5 simple steps.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 139: 20 Weeks

Tomorrow I will be coming up on 20 weeks worth of 2,500 word per day...days :). I've done a lot during this time and I'm very pleased with all of the effort I've put in so far. I need to start doubling my efforts on promotion as well and perhaps I can figure out a decent challenge as far as that's concerned as well. Maybe some monthly sales goals or something like that, but it's much easier to hit a word count than it is to meet a sales goal. I know that the happiness book will sell if I can get the word out (especially before May and then next Christmas) and some of the new journals and workbooks I have come up with will sell as well, I just need to put some time and energy into them. We shall see :).

In the meantime, I will continue to bust out some writing every single day and see where I end up. I'm also working my way through a diet at the same time and so far I've lost a little over four pounds in total in just three weeks. It's no giant blast of weight loss which I've been used to in the past from my crash diets, but I think that's probably not as healthy as what I'm doing now. The tough part about today is going out for a run in 3 to 5 inches of snow. My Saturday run is usually what helps me get a little bit lower in weight for my Sunday weigh in. I'll run regardless, I just might not be able to do it very fast as I move through the snow as efficiently as a puppy who's never seen the white, icy substance before. I may have to stop and do a snow angel halfway through :).

I continued my work on Identity Interrupted today and I wrote a blog post on how to increase self-esteem in 5 simple steps. After a long week of barely seeing my girlfriend due to her working the late shift, it'll be nice to hangout and see each other for two straight days. Hooray for 20 weeks of writing! Hooray for 4 weeks of dieting! Hooray for 7 years of a relationship :).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 138: Chuck

Today I will be watching the third to last episode of the television show "Chuck." I have watched little of the first two seasons and I really only got hooked in the beginning of the third when people had already said it was on the decline. There's something about the program that really makes me smile. It doesn't take itself too seriously (how can it with a major Subway promotion in every few episodes) and when it does it tends to get it quite right. The writers of the show know that we in the audience love the characters. A formerly nerdy but now professionally trained spy. A formerly butch but now settled down female spy who can kick ass whenever she wants. The grunting former animal of a spy who has learned to love through his daughter but still is willing to bash heads when needed. The current nerd and sorta spy who has finally found the love that evaded him for so many years.

These are some great characters to tune into every so often and I'm probably more likely to watch them over and over again than I would any cop procedural. Chuck has been able to stay on the air because of NBC's current 4th place standing of all the networks. While they have hope to move on up due to their shows "The Voice" and "Smash" (which I'll also watch this year), I'm proud of a network that has had loyalty of a show like Chuck. I think that eventually their fortune will turn around but it's going to be about shows with wonderful characters like Chuck and "Parks and Recreation" and not gritty legal dramas. Very excited to tune in tonight and for the last two episodes next Friday.

Today in the writing world, I continued work on Identity Interrupted and wrote a post on how to increase productivity with 5 simple steps.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 137: Focusing In

I've had a bit of trouble focusing in on one project this month. I've bounced between book ideas and screenplays and I've never really locked onto one I've wanted to stick with. Then again, today I started a novel idea that is truly promising, called Identity Interrupted that could be a cool sci-fi detective novel. I'm going to try to write this one through to the end and then I'll pick back up the pieces of some of the recent failures to focus. That being said, I think Sheepish will be pretty awesome when I finish it.

Today, I will be fighting back against a tiny bald spot on the top of my head by getting some nutritional supplements. I asked some questions to myself about my condition in a blog post I wrote today called the balding writer. I'll let you know if these natural methods do anything to fight off the potentially inevitable!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 136: Tom Hopkins

One of my favorite quotes that I make an effort to live by every single day is Tom Hopkins' Golden Dozen from his book The Official Guide to Success. The quote goes as follows:

"I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment."

Now, does this mean to work yourself like a dog 24/7? No. Because sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is spend quality time with your partner or to simply relax. But when you absolutely need to put your nose to the grindstone, are you able to live your life by this quote? How often do you waste time reading something unnecessary online or responding to some silly Twitter or Facebook matter? I'm nowhere near living my life by a quote as steadfast as this, but I think by keeping it in mind, I've definitely pushed myself to a higher level than I was at before hearing it.

Make your relaxation productive, your loving moments with your partner productive, your enjoyable activities with your friends productive by doing them all well and focusing on getting as much out of them as you can. Don't go out with your friends with work on your mind, go out and enjoy yourself fully! Likewise, don't go to work hating every moment of it, wishing you could be somewhere else. When you're there, kick some butt so that you can later get to a higher and better position. Push yourself to the front. Great words by Hopkins here. Do what you can to follow his example.

Today, I worked on Sheepish and wrote a post about the importance of profound silence. Happy Wednesday 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 later this year. Feel free to contact me at my Build Creative Writing Ideas website. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 135: Self-Publishing Workshop

Today I just learned that I'll be teaching another self-publishing workout at iO (formerly Improv Olympic) coming up in February. I was pretty pleased with what I came up with in the first workshop, but it also taught me a lot about what I should do differently. Here are a few initial thoughts I have before I come up with the new description of the class.

1. More Practical, Less Theoretical

I talked a lot about the idea of self-publishing and why it was important during the last workshop. I think that I should still touch on this idea for the self-publishing newbies, but I need to get more into what works and how people can apply it directly. I think that comedians and other artists should be using their talents to create and that they should be making money from it instead of just spending money. I want the workshop to be worth its weight in gold.

2. Visual Aids

I think I'd like to bring something visual into the workshop. People were very impressed by the paper copies of my books the last time and I'd like to give the students something to keep. Perhaps I'll make a little workbook up for the class itself and get it printed just for the heck of it. Might be kind of fun, though it wouldn't be very cost effective. At the least, I should get a poster board or something. Maybe a model holding up a poster board. Hmm. :)

3. How to Deal with the Technical

The technical aspects of publishing are the most boring and the most important. I need to figure out the best way to convey the information without boring everyone half to death. I don't know how many people actually used the information I gave out at the last class, but I'd like to give clearer info with pictures that the students might be able to apply more effectively.

I'm giving myself a day to sleep on the description and hopefully I'll have it more or less figured out by then. Today in the writing world, I continued to work on Sheepish and I wrote a blog post about career and relationship success. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 134: The Golden Globes

Why were the Golden Globes so boring last night? I watched the entire telecast from beginning to end (minus the red carpet, not something I'm interested in) and while I think that Ricky Gervais did a bang up job as the host, I feel like a giant televised gala should be at least somewhat interesting. I liked the personal speeches and clip reels of the 10 best picture nominees. The thing that really took the show down a notch was the speeches. Usually there are a few speeches that turn into a "thank you" list, but it seemed like every single speech followed the exact same pattern. My girlfriend was practically lulled to sleep and stopped watching the entire second half while I toughed it out. How should these award accepting folks improve their speeches? Funny you should ask, I wrote a blog post about that very subject :). It's called how to write an awards speech. I plan on following the tips I lay out to the letter when I win an award some time in the future :).

I also worked on my new screenplay Sheepish, which I'm extremely excited about. Today was also my first day with my friend assisting me. Hopefully some day I can be like Amanda Hocking and hire a full-time assistant. Oh how much easier life would be :).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 133: Passion Project

The other day I found myself struggling to push forward on one of the books I was writing. I realized that, in part, it was because I wasn't all that excited about it. I searched through my Rolodex of ideas and came upon one I hadn't completed but was really excited about, my animation screenplay, Sheepish. I had played around with ideas for it, but I never pushed forward on it. I think I believed it would never come to be and that since I couldn't really publish it, it wouldn't end up helping to increase my income. Unsurprisingly though, I cranked out 2,000 words on that sucker within an hour and a half today. If you can pick a passion project to write on, you will be much more likely to get your writing goals completed. Love what you're doing or start writing something you love. That's the best way around writer's block I can think of :).

I also wrote a blog post today about diversifying your goals.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 132: Tim Tebow

Like most of America, I'm entranced by the polarizing figure that is Tim Tebow. His entire life it seems like he's been causing controversy from his homeschool high school athlete days, to his bible passage under-eye black paint college days to his 316 yards passing in the playoffs days. I know a lot of people hate Tebow, but I'm totally intrigued by this completely moral future all-star. Unlike most people, not just athletes but people, Tebow stands for something and isn't "in it for the money." The man doesn't give to charity to promote his public image, he does it out of a sense of duty and honor. I know that he says "Jesus" a lot, but if that's the price we have to pay for an athlete who doesn't get sexual assault charges every other week, so be it.

In between bouts of watching Tebow coverage today, I'm happy to do some more work on my books and to show you a blog post about writing by hand.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 131: Conquering Adversity

I'm no stranger to conquering adversity. In middle and high school I used to be incredibly shy and I would rarely stand up for myself. Toward the end of my time there, however, I pushed myself into the starting lineup on the varsity wrestling team and I had to fight against some of the toughest kids in the state. Through that experience, I learned how important it was to never give up. I realize that my adversity doesn't compare to that of many people in this world. I've never had to deal with a crippling disease or death in my immediate family. I've been in car accidents and I've had illnesses, but I've never witnessed a horrible event or seen my life savings go up in smoke.

Conquering adversity though, should not be completely dependent on the size of the difficulty, however. I believe that those with the toughest, darkest lives can shine the brightest if they push themselves hard enough to their goals. On the other side of the coin, people with tiny adversities that they bitch and moan about can create an amazing life for themselves if they realize the great and wonderful things they do have going for them. It's silly that on a day like today, when I've had some trouble getting my writing done, to even classify it as adversity. That being said, if I choose to give up on the challenge and to let my fears overwhelm me at any step, I will be doing a disservice to everyone who has pushed past adversity large or small. It is for all of you who have the world bearing down on you, that I keep moving forward for. I hope you are able to keep moving forward as well.

Today, I have worked on my book, Why I'm Not Famous Yet and I've written a blog post about how to truly be yourself.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 130: Challenge Update

As much to motivate myself as to inform you all where I am in the challenge, here is a little challenge update. I've written over 325,000 words as part of the challenge, including two completed books, the first of which has sold about 25 copies, the second of which should be available by February 1st in digital and paperback version! My 130+ blog posts on my website have been a big boon to my Web traffic. I've averaged well over 600 unique visitors per day and my best day is over 1,500! I'm currently averaging over $50 per month in advertising on my site, up from around $20 a month before the challenge. I think that my goal of over $100 per month is in reach, I just need to keep writing and I'm bound to hit it. My book sales are also way up, following the trend from last January and hopefully they'll continue to rise just as they did last year (especially with me putting new books out).

I've had good days and more challenging ones during the challenge. I'm much more suited to get everything done before 9 a.m., as I lose a bit of steam after my freelance articles which I do between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. I've taken on more freelance articles to increase my immediate income and this has been a positive double whammy for my income along with the increased book sales, which will come to culmination after March when I get paid for this month's sales. The toughest part of the challenge is getting started in the morning, but if I don't waste any time and barrel into it right away, I tend to finish things up much earlier.

And that's where I am. Can't wait to keep this going for another 235 days (at least)!

In other news, I continued to work on the comedy memoir today and I wrote a blog post about dealing with conflict.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 129: Super-heroic

One of my goals in life is to try to appear somewhat super-heroic to my friends and loved ones. I want to excel in many different areas in life such as in achieving my dreams of being a writer and an actor and as a fit guy who runs races and lifts weights. The tough reality of appearing like a superhero is that it's tough work! Getting up early and writing to make my books seem like they're coming out of thin air and pushing myself to fit a lot of exercise into a short amount of time can be difficult. The reason I keep pushing myself to do these sorts of things is that one of my goals in life is to inspire the people around me. I figure, I'm going to be much more inspiring if I can do a whole lot of awesome stuff as much as I can.

I've had self-esteem problems in the past and they occasionally crop back up. It really helps when I hear a kind word about my work or when someone is impressed by the amount of effort I've put into a project. Even though I've gotten a great deal accomplished in the last two years, it's little bits of motivation like that which keep me going. Thank you to everyone who has sent me an e-mail or a comment, because they truly help me to reach new heights in my writing.

Today, I continued to work on Why I'm Not Famous Yet and I wrote a blog post about asking for help in honor of my new assistant! Woo!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 128: Panic Attack Prevention

I used to get mild panic or anxiety attacks when I was worried that I wouldn't be able to complete an assignment on time. The best way I've found for dealing with such stress is to overstress yourself by doing more than you think you can. This is akin to jumping into the deep end of the pool. I've really done this by pushing myself into the 2,500 word per day challenge and then slowly but surely adding more activities for me to do. Training for a race, going on Weight Watchers and editing my books has been a challenge, but I hardly feel those bursts of panic anymore. I feel calm as I power my way through one difficult day after another. Some day, when my hundreds of books are earning me thousands of dollars a week (or day), I may kick back and laugh at the panic attacks I used to have at such trifling work. I will be proud of myself at that time for training myself for that deep end of the productivity pool. Jump in, y'all, the water's just fine :).

In writing news, I worked on Why I'm Not Famous Yet and wrote a blog post on getting your to-do list clear called last things first.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 127: A Word Diet

When you're in the midst of a challenge like this one, you'd rather not have to endure any major life changes for fear of it upsetting the balance you've already achieved. Then again, whatever the subject of your challenge, whether it's a word count or a number of miles to run in a single month, it doesn't exist in a bubble. My weight tends to fluctuate wildly unless I stay on a consistent diet and exercise routine. Wait, scratch that. The exercise routine doesn't tend to matter that much for me. Unless I'm on a diet, my weight tends to balloon, because my metabolism is like a rock trying to climb out of a well.

As a result, I've re-introduced Weight Watchers into my life, which has helped me in the past to drop about 10 to 15 pounds. The inevitable result of a diet, whether or not you lose weight, is an increase in crankiness. I'm actually the most emotionally centered of any time in my life that I've dieted, and as a result, the crankiness is less apparent, but it's still there. If I notice myself getting too whiny about having to write on a certain day, it's time for me to have some water or an apple. That typically helps for about half an hour, but it's tough to keep my mind, which is used to having some sort of snack to calm it down, from self-destroying my desire to write.

Like I said though, our challenges don't exist in a vacuum. I have to lose weight if I'm going to be healthier and especially if I'm going to keep this running up (for the sake of my weary knees). I know I'll feel better about myself if I drop some weight and fit into my clothes better. I'll look better when I take a gander at myself in the mirror. I suspect that eventually, my energy and desire to write will be even greater as well after I've hit my goal weight. I hope thoroughly that these efforts outside of my challenge can truly benefit the challenge itself.

I just realized that I'm more than 1/3 of the way through as of last week. Woo hoo! Today I worked on Why I'm Not Famous Yet and I wrote a blog post about being your own boss. Off to do some 10 minute workout videos! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 126: White People Problems

I watched a hilarious sketch this morning that was on last night's Saturday Night Live episode starring Charles Barkley called White People Problems. I'd seen the spit-take worthy meme before on Twitter and Facebook, but I thought this sketch elevated it to another level. Why is it that we refer to these tiny little incidents in our lives as "the worst" and why do we say "I hate it when that happens," when there are so many real problems in the world? I believe it's because we think that it's better to get sympathy for something than it is to actually power through minor issues. We like having our hands held through life, even though it's much more rewarding to become self-sufficient.

This is one of the reasons I wrote the blog post today, cancelling your pity party to give some steps for people to get away from these silly white people problems they yammer on about. I also worked on my book Why I'm Not Famous yet, which is totally a parody on the white people problem of fame. I'm really excited to keep powering through it and it's really funny so far!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 125: Marilyn Monroe

Yesterday, Amy and I went out for a friend's birthday to see the independent flick, "My Week with Marilyn," and I have to say it exceeded my expectations. It was great getting to understand the soul of the character by essentially seeing a month long sliver of her life. I thought that the actors were impeccable and that the writing could have been much more heavy handed than it was. While I think that anybody writing a memoir about Marilyn Monroe might have exaggerated a bit about how...ahem, intimate, the two of them might have gotten, it was regardless a great story to tell. I can't wait until I get to write a fantastic memoir with wonderful tales of the people I've met and loved. Until then, I'll just keep on working on the silly one, Why I'm Not Famous Yet. Today, I also wrote another creativity conundrum about what to do when you miss the boat.

This week will include much editing of my 1,000 Character Writing Prompts book and some work on the workbooks. Hopefully I can get all of them out and ready by the end of January! Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 124: A Friendly Dream

I won't name names here because I want to maintain the innocence of the innocent, but last night I had a dream about an old friend who I effectively had a "friend breakup" with about three years ago. She had been one of my best friends in college and though we moved to different places after school, we kept in touch frequently via phone. I'd visited her in her city and she'd visited me in mine.

There was never a truly clean break in the friendship for me. After my girlfriend and I visited her and her boyfriend one summer, she completely cut off contact with me and never spoke to me again. There had been signs that it was impending, as she didn't attempt to contact me that much in the months leading up to the visit. She also seemed extremely put out to have me there and I felt the entire time as if I was inviting myself (even though we'd put her up in our home a year or two earlier).

I wasn't the best friend to her and I regret not being more loyal and trustworthy. She would send me birthday cards and all I would do was post on her Facebook wall and call her (if I remembered). During my crazy period of trying to raise funds for my Web series, I pestered her for money, because she had a real job, I figured "of course she'll give me money, she's one of my best friends." Friendship and money doesn't always mix well and I regret having pushed her so much, especially for a project that failed so spectacularly.

Every so often, I send her an e-mail or a Facebook message, but since that fateful trip to her neck of the woods, I've never gotten back a single reply. This truly was a break-up and I should probably get the hint that she never wants to hear from me again. But I'm a sentimental guy and I have a tough time letting go of things sometimes. During college she was incredibly supportive of my artistic endeavors and she loved seeing the plays I was in. She wanted to read the things I wrote. Since college, I haven't had too many people that were so invested with what I did. Maybe I miss the friendship with her because of that, for a selfish reason.

But I also miss listening to her. Her life was so different from mine and it was really cool to hear how much it was diverging after school.

After the dream I had last night, in which the two of us talked about why she cut off contact between us, I looked her up in real life and found out she was recently engaged to her boyfriend. I'm extremely happy for her and I hope that the two of them have an amazing life together. I'm grateful that she's doing well and I'm grateful for the time the two of us were able to have as friends.

I think that's the best way to avoid getting stuck in the past as I tend to do. Be grateful for that part of you that's been shaped by your time with that person. Even if I never speak with my friend again, she will always be a part of me in that way. How can I not be happy about that? :)

Today, I began work on a new book after finishing 1,000 Character Writing Prompts yesterday. This book is my first attempt at straight up humor and it's currently called Why I'm Not Famous Yet. I also wrote a blog post about the creativity conundrum of talent.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 123: Upping the Ante

I have taken on a new freelance assignment including an additional 20 articles per week. This is meant to continue to boost my finances (by approximately $560 per month) so that I can get out of debt quicker. This will make the challenge a little more difficult, but then again...

Don't people always say that when you have more work to do, you end up getting more done? Considering that I'm also planning a blog tour at some point in early 2012 and I have a lot of editing to do of my other project, I will certainly be putting this belief to the test :).

If my sales also continue to increase, I'm hoping that I can kick this debt to the curb even sooner than expected. As I've said before, life without debt is something I'm extremely looking forward to. If I can continue to live below my means and make sure that mo' money doesn't equal mo' problems, I should be OK.

I came up to the brink today in 1,000 Character Writing Prompts and I should be completed with the book entirely by tomorrow. Woo! I also wrote a blog post to continue my creativity conundrum series, this one about how age has no effect on creativity.

Onward and upward people! Keep kicking some butt this year on your resolutions :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 122: Mercury Rising

This has been a wild month so far, and it's only been 3.5 days! My book sales are following a trend set last January by nearly doubling from December to January. The only thing is, I sold about 200 last December, but this December, I sold over 900! I've enjoyed the trend, to say the least :). It makes me proud of all the hard work I put into these books and I'm very excited to release my 1,000 character writing prompts book when I finally get it out to market. Who knows if the trend of selling 40 books a day will continue through the whole month. If it does, it'll take a nice chunk out of my debt. If it doesn't, it will still have been an exciting few days to have been a part of :).

If it continues throughout 2012, well, let's just say my debt will be toast by the winter :).

In addition to coming oh so close to finishing the character prompts book, I wrote another creativity conundrum article about being cool. Hopefully everyone who has been bullied for their artistic gifts can get something out of it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 121: Creature Comforts

I'm not always as grateful as I could or should be about all the wonderful things I have going for me. I live in a beautiful apartment almost completely furnished by my amazing girlfriend. Our location is near several convenient lines of transportation and multiple grocery stores. We have a cushy leather couch to collapse onto at the end of a tough day and most importantly we have each other. I may still have debt and a lot of work to do every day to keep up with my various challenges, but I know that I have many wonderful things and people to make my life worth living. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am about two days away from finishing my final writing prompts in my character writing prompts book and I can't wait to feel that sense of accomplishment upon getting the final word on digital paper. I also wrote a blog post today about the creativity conundrum that is emotional maturity.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 120: An Iron Will

Today, with an iron will, I pushed myself back into finishing 1,000 Character Writing Prompts. I really do love writing these prompts and prompts in general, and today I once again thought about my goal to do 1,000 prompts for each of Shakespeare's plays (and one for the sonnets of course) and how crazy it would be. It's possible that none of them would sell a single copy and yet, that doesn't matter as much to me as the achievement of it all. It all starts with getting this book completed first and seeing if the sales from that and the happiness book can give me even more freedom to do whatever I want, such as this silly challenge :).

It is extremely cold here in Chicago today and as a result, I'm planning a seven mile run (because that's what you do). This will jump-start me through the rest of the month of the Tundra challenge and it will take off some much needed weight that I've been carrying around. This wouldn't be possible without the awesome cold weather gear that I've received from my girlfriend, so a major shout out :).

Also with an iron will, I wrote a blog post today about last second motivation, a collection of tips to use when standard motivational methods aren't working and a deadline is impending.

I hope everyone is having as great a start to the year as I am! Happy writing and creating!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 119: The Challenge

With Bryan having made it through 118 days of his writing challenge in 2011, can he continue the quest successfully in 2012? Will he be able to make it through the endless, frigid Chicago winter? Will he be able to keep it up when he trains for races in March and May? Will he be able to do this all while trying to lose some weight to improve his health? Can he continue to keep on good terms with his girlfriend, despite her occasional annoyance at him locking himself in the office for hours at a time? Will he do more than simply start books and actually publish them, putting them out into the marketplace? Can he successfully do this while ridding himself of debt, actually putting himself into a positive percentage of return for the first time in his life? Will he stop asking so many annoying questions?

Only time will tell.

Today in writing, I worked on living in the future and wrote a blog post about my resolutions for Build Creative Writing Ideas in 2012. Happy New Year everyone!