A call to live your passion

My friend Jarrod Terrell, whom I met through Kevin Scott‘s Effortless Alphas group, recently challenged his fellow Alphas to share their goals and dreams for life in a Facebook video.

In part, the idea was that verbalizing your dreams made them real for you, but it also opened the door to others in your community who might be able to help make those dreams come to fruition.

Here is my video.

How can I help you discover, explore and share your passion?

See also:

So, What’s Your Story? (web site)

So, What’s Your Story? (FB page)

Contagious Adrenaline (FB page)

 

NaNoWriMo words than I expected

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This year, I participated in my second NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) competition, although the word competition is a bit of a misnomer but love-fest sounds a bit Sixties.

The last time, about three years ago, I got about a week into it before the realities of life interfered and everything stalled. This year was different.

While the realities of life have generally been pretty easy on me, I did have two solid weeks of distractions in the middle of November (yay, paying distractions) and still managed to reach the goal of 50,000 words by my birthday near the middle of the month (and while on the road).

Unfortunately, because I have never met a 50,000-word story that couldn’t actually be 200,000 words, I am not yet at the end of my story or my novel and so continued to type actively for most of the rest of the month to finish the competition/love-fest/creative circle-jerk just shy of 81,000 words.

I want to pat myself on the back for getting this far (and eventually, I will) but the problem is that having gotten this far, I want to reach the end of the novel, and so on December 1st, 2014, I begin what can best be described as Mo’NaNoWriMo.

And if I’m still not finished by New Year’s Eve, then I shall welcome in the New Year singing:

MoNaNo, MoNaNo, MoNaNo!

Thanks to all of my friends who have been so supportive throughout this process…especially those of you who have no idea what I am doing or why.

Let all y’all know how it goes!

Thera cover

 

Synopsis

At the height of its power, the Minoan civilization ruled the Mediterranean Sea, establishing trading colonies throughout the region and venturing into the dangerous waters of the Atlantic. But unknown to its rulers and priests, the Earth itself was planning an end to the empire; an end that centered on the tiny colony of Thera, the present-day island of Santorini.

The story Thera bears witness to this cataclysmic end through the eyes of a young Mycenaean boy Patroclus, taken from his simple village on the coast of Greece as unwilling tribute and slave into the Minoan court. Patroclus quickly learns the machinations that hold the Minoan world together, but just as he recognizes his opportunity for escape, his world is threatened by Nessa, his Minoan Master’s daughter who sees something special in him.

The clash of cultures takes second stage, however, as the world itself begins to change shape. Only Patroclus seems to be aware of the scale of the omens, adding urgency to his survival plans and conflict over how to deal with Nessa.

See also: Thera–Describing the end of a world

Writer’s terror

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Writers don’t get blocked. They get scared.

They get scared of looking stupid. Of having nothing to say.

They get scared of being found a fraud. Of the blank page.

They get scared of choosing the wrong word. Of being unable to complete a piece.

They get scared of having to explain themselves.

But whereas the fear is real, the reasons are not, and the only way to proceed,

Is to ignore the fear, ignore the world, and write.

Write without a care.

Write without a plan.

Write with total abandon.

For much as the only true cure for suffocation is to breathe,

The only real cure for writer’s block is to write.

Every word written is another gasp of oxygen.

Every line completed is another lung full of air.

You may struggle…you will struggle…but even your struggling

Is a sign you are still alive, that you have not yet given up.

(Image is property of its owner and is used here without permission because I wasn’t blocked from doing so.)

Courage

Reaching up to the stars or down to a child

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Standing at the peak or sitting in protest

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Achieving your glory or starting from scratch

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Leading your team or following your dream

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Crossing the finish line or starting over

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There are all kinds of courage

 

(Images used without permission but with plenty of gratitude.)

Onward creative spirits

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Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.Henry V III, i, 1

In his thrilling speech to his troops (see excerpt below), who stood exhausted before the walls of Harfleur, Henry V challenges them to try yet again to take the city, that now is not the time to back off. Keep moving forward.

As it was expressed dramatically about war, so it is with Art and with life itself. It is vital that once you gain some momentum, you should do everything in your power to maintain that momentum.

Several years ago, I took up running. I hated it. I hated every living moment of it. But I was trying to improve my health and I knew that it was important. And so every couple days, when I would head out for my run, I had but one thought in my mind: keep moving forward. I knew that if I stopped, I might never run again.

As it was with running, so it is with writing. I write because I desire to, but also because I fear that if I stop, there is every chance that other aspects of life will creep in and keep me from it. My fear of losing writing is bigger than my fear of writing crap.

If I’m working on a screenplay and hit a creative sticking point, I try to move around it rather than dwell on it and lose the forward momentum. Sometimes, moving around it means writing another scene elsewhere in the same screenplay, but more often, it means jumping to another screenwriting project, developing another blog post or riffing wildly on Twitter or Facebook. My poor keyboard owes me nothing.

Even when I am simply writing some notes for a scene yet to be written, I do not allow the “correct” word choice to block me from writing…I simply add a placeholder where the right word should be and keep the thoughts flowing onto the page. The placeholder can be a blank underline (fill it in later) or a close enough word so I will know what I meant later, or it can be the word “shit”. It doesn’t matter.

It’s the artistic version of Newton’s First Law of Motion: An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a force. An object in motion remains in motion, and at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force.

In this case, the object in question is me and/or my creative spirit.

In fact, forward movement doesn’t even have to be the same art form. I often use photography to keep me going. But you can also read a book, see a movie, sit in a park. Do whatever it takes to keep the creative parts of your brain and soul moving forward.

But how will I ever get anything done if I keep flitting back and forth from distraction to distraction?

Unless you’re specifically working to a deadline for your creative project—and there will be times when this is true—creativity is about the process, not the product.

Most artists (and we are all artists) live and act to create, not to have created.

And even if you are working to deadline, forcing your way through a challenge will likely result in a work that requires significantly more reworking than if you had simply let the creative spirit take you where it would. Thus, I don’t know that you’ve really gained much by pushing on something that isn’t coming naturally.

The natural direction of the universe is forward. You have it in you to continually move forward. Why would you give that up?

 

In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height.
– Henry V III, i, 3-17

(Image used without permission.)