My writing timeline

I spent years thinking about it.

I spent months in pre-writing. Outlining, character sketches, plot summary, etc…

I spent a few more months writing. I had four chapters complete.

And yesterday…

I spent seconds throwing it all in the trash…

(…sigh…)

Back to square one.

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The time is NOW!

We all have dreams, ambitions, goals, and hopes for our futures. Then why aren’t we ALL living the lives we want to live? 

There are no easy answers to this question. However, so many of us aren’t even trying. We have given up before we really got started. It’s easy to give reasons for not moving in the directions of our dreams; it’s much harder to give reasons for chasing what we know deep down is our true path. 

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” –Les Brown

 
It’s true, so many of us do not try because we are afraid. It is up to us, as individuals, to break free from that fear. To challenge ourselves to stand up to whatever is holding us back. To look fear in its face and say, “I will not let you stop me!” 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” –Steve Jobs

Let us break free from others’ way of thinking and carve our own path. I go to work. I work hard and put in my time. I earn a paycheck that helps pay the bills. In essence, I am working hard at fulfilling someone’s else’s dream. Some people are ok with this, and that is perfectly fine. But for others, it leaves them with a hole, an empty feeling. If you are one of these people, like myself, it’s time to take a good hard look at where you want to be in life. Then, make a decision to go after it! 

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. –Chinese Proverb

So what are we waiting for? It’s time to stand up and say, I’m tired of living someone else’s dream, I’m tired of putting my dreams on hold, I’m tired of listening to other people say I can’t do it, I’m tired of letting life pass by and not really participating, I’m tired of having this burning desire inside my soul and watching it slowly slip away and die, I’m tired…

The time is now folks. Let’s make a decision to be who we are meant to be!

The Reason I Write

I almost always wear a hat because I am bald. 

This is a reality and a metaphor. 

Why do we sometimes try to hide who we truly are? I have always known I am a writer. However, until recently, very few people knew this. I’ve always hidden this important fact about myself. 

I write to express myself. To let my true personality shine through. To show who I truly am. I sometimes feel this is the only way people will know the real me. 

Why do you write?

 

Two More Shots

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Linda Merriweather began walking her dog, Brutus, at precisely the same time David Wrinkle began drinking in a bar four blocks away. She was still not used to walking alone. She fumed as she thought about her husband, or, soon-to-be ex-husband, Steve. They used to walk Brutus together, he had insisted on it. She thought it was because he worried about her, because he wanted to make sure she was safe. But, if that were true, why would he leave her for some cheap skank he met on a business trip to St. Louis?

David took another shot and asked the bartender for still another. He pulled a small notebook from his back pocket and a pen from his shirt and laid them on the bar top. He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath before downing more whiskey. “Keep ’em coming, please.” He told the man behind the bar. Then, he began writing.

Linda passed the buildings without noticing them. She was still thinking of Steve. How could he have done this to her? After twenty-two years of marriage? How could he just throw it all away like it was nothing? But the fact was, he did just throw it away; which is exactly why Linda’s sadness turned to anger.

David wrote for several minutes without stopping. He was getting drunk and he knew it; and so did the bartender. “I think you’ve had enough, pal.” The bartender said.
“Just two more shots.”
“No sir. I’m cuttin’ you off. Pay up, and go home.”
David shrugged as he tore the page he had been writing on from the notebook and put it in his shirt pocket. He paid his bill as he stood up, noticing for the first time exactly how drunk he had become. Then, he staggered across the room and out the door.

Linda was just thinking about turning around and heading home when Brutus began barking toward a dark, back alleyway. “What is it, boy?” She wasn’t used to him behaving like this. He was normally a calm, friendly dog; and normally she wouldn’t have gone down a dark alley for any reason; but on this day, she did.

Linda found David lying face up about halfway down the paved corridor. She tried to rouse him, but it didn’t work. She could see he was breathing, which gave her some relief. Then, she noticed the paper sticking out of his shirt pocket. “Maybe this will tell me who you are.” She mumbled to herself. She opened the paper and began reading.

Dear Susan,
I don’t know how to tell you this. I feel terrible so I’m just going to come out and say it. I had an affair. I don’t know how it happened and it didn’t mean anything. The truth is I love you and I can’t live with myself for this. My intention tonight was to end it all and take my own life because I can’t face the grief that this will cause. But I’ve decided to ask forgiveness first. To see if we can work through this. If you don’t want to, I understand and you will never hear from me again.

The note stopped there. Linda looked down at David once again. That’s when she noticed the handle of a .22 caliber pistol sticking out of his front pants pocket. She looked around. It appeared the alley was deserted. She reached in her purse and pulled out a handkerchief. She slowly removed the gun from his pocket.

Brutus jumped and whimpered as the sound of the shot echoed off the buildings. “That one was for Susan.” She said, “…and this one is for Steve!”

Jumping In

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I am standing on the Cliffs of Mediocrity, staring down into the Sea of Greatness.

But I am scared to jump in. I am scared to even put my toes in. Why?

Because I have been told that I cannot do it. And somewhere, deep inside, I sort of believe it.

Because, if I do jump in, I am afraid I will not be able to swim, and I will quickly drown.

Because I see very few people swimming in there, and they appear to be much better swimmers than me. How can I possibly swim with them?

Because I am afraid there is something in there that might hurt me…or worse…hurt someone else.

“Just forget all of that and jump!” I scream to myself.

So I gather all of my courage and strength. I announce to everyone around me, “I am going to do it!” I say, “I am going to jump!” Everyone cheers and encourages me. “You can do it!” They say.

But I just stand there, looking down at the beautiful water…and I do nothing…

And I slowly, carefully back away from the edge.

My Journey: Thinking Out Loud

Ok…I’ve got my feet on the pavement and I’m off and running. Well…more like a casual walk, but you get my meaning. Now what? Well, here is my plan. As I have said, I love to write. That’s what I want to do. I am starting a journey to publish a book and I want everyone to come along. I will be posting as much as possible about my journey, even my thought process (which is what I am doing now).

I have a lot of plans; which include going back to college, creating a successful blog, and, of course, writing a book. I want to take the time to put my thoughts and actions into a written journey that everyone can follow, comment, encourage, advise, and simply enjoy. From time to time, I will make posts like this one that simply informs readers of what is going on in my journey. I’m going to call it “Thinking Out Loud” (I know, real original, huh?). I will literally be writing as I think with very little editing. Feel free to comment. In fact, I want all of the feedback I can possibly get…positive and negative. I will also still be posting short stories and essays along the way. Hopefully, one of these days, I will be a successful writer, and I hope you can say you were along for the ride.

I’m going to start by thinking about the positives and negatives in my life in relation to my writing. I’ll start with the negatives so I can end on a positive note. 😉

Negatives:
1. Time
Do I have time to be a writer? I work at least 45 hours per week. That’s 10 hours per day, 4 days per week, plus at least 5 hours on Friday. I also have two 15 minute breaks and 30 minutes for lunch. Not much time to write there. As far as home life, I have a wife and two teenage daughters that I refuse to take anymore time away from than I already do (no apologies here!). So that doesn’t leave much time for writing either.

2. My own self doubt
Do I have what it takes to be a writer? I know I have the desire to be a writer. But do I have the ability? I mean, I look back at what I have written here and it’s …well…painfully average. I also have a hard time coming up with great ideas. Most stories I come up with in my head are just “so-so”. Nothing outstanding. So am I wasting my time? These thoughts are discouraging. I try to block them out and move on.

That is really the only two major roadblocks I see right now, time and self doubt. Pretty depressing. So lets look at the positives. 😊

Positives:
1. Desire
I WANT to be a writer. I feel it deep inside. I want to share and be heard.

2. Ability
Even though I feel I am not the greatest writer, I can write. There is room for improvement for sure, but I can put a sentence together. 😊

3. Support
I have a wife and two daughters who believe in me. They encourage me and help me brainstorm for ideas. I feel a tremendous amount of love and positive energy from them. They fuel my fire.

I’m going to stop right there. After all, what else is there? I have the incredible support of a great woman (who also happens to be an English teacher 😊) and two amazing daughters. That will see me through anything! Right?

See, by thinking out loud, I have completely talked myself into continuing this journey.

Well, that’s going to be all for my first “Think Out Loud” session. Please feel free to comment. I want to hear it. Like I said, I want constructive criticism along with any encouragement you may feel I need.

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the journey with me. 😉

Billy

That Was Hard

I had been thinking about it for a long time. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will any one respond? Will anyone care? Will I be wasting valuable time? Will I be rejected? Plus many more questions rambled and darted in my mind as I wondered if I should share my writing with the world.

What’s the big deal? Why is it a difficult decision? More good questions. But it was difficult for me. And now I’ve shared my first story with the world through a blog. I’ve put myself out there. And a funny thing happened. After all the anticipation and anxiety, one thing made it worth it.

I got a response.

Now, admittedly, it wasn’t by any stretch an overwhelming response…but it was a response, and that did something to me.

I also understand that some people respond to other blogs to generate traffic to theirs; and that’s fine. But when that response came through on my screen, my brain said, “Wow! Someone took the time to pay attention to my writing!” To me that meant opportunity.

Then, another funny thing happened. Ideas! Interesting, creative ideas began to flow in my mind. “What else can I write about!” Screamed in my mind. Before, one or two good ideas would encroach a couple of times a week. Now they are pouring in. I can’t wait to get started on them. So keep checking in folks, I have an idea…