Focus on Creation Not Outcome

2020 smashed all perceived notions of success. Institutions we KNEW were solid suddenly faltered. Movie theatres closed. Even the Big Mouse started their own streaming service and releases its movies on that platform. I don’t see many near-term plans for traditional theatre releases.

Be Kind to Your Inner Creator! © MarekPhotoDesign.com stock.adobe.com

So, what does that mean for your creative project? Will the time and creative energy you put into that novel, screenplay or other art go to waste? Let’s break it down to what we mean by “Successful.”

Financial – Simple. Nobody’s getting rich right now unless you own tons of stock in Amazon.

Conclusion – Everyone is in the same boat. No need to judge your progress by anyone else’s level of success (or failure). The pressure is off!

Fame – Globally, we are inundated with COVID 19 news, the American Presidency, and advertisements for early Holiday spending. Nobody can hear you right now unless you fit into one of these categories.

Conclusion – If you are counting on a huge social media party for your new book (or other artistic project), then there is a big chance you’ll be disappointed.

Changing Your Focus from Outcome to Fulfillment

In March 2020, I and my colleagues were told to work from home until further notice. The USA was on lockdown. We were all stuck at home. No face-to-face interactions with my readers. It’s very difficult to work in a vacuum. We produce art, but what if we don’t know whether or not someone is experiencing what we create? It has been frustrating and depressing. I wasn’t able to write much if at all during those early days.

The pandemic forced me to take a hard look at why I write. It’s easy to tell yourself you create your art for the sake of art. Then a horrible global event happens. Depression sets in. You crack open a bag of potato chips and lose yourself binge watching TV. The blank page stays empty. You no longer experience the excitement of planning for the next book’s release. No one knows if or when things will return to normal.

I can’t stay away from the act of creation for long. This time was different. I began to work on something new. It isn’t part of my book series. Nor is it in my “comfort zone.” This is a new story I am creating with no expected outcomes. I’m writing it, because I am a creator. I must create my art. It is who I am and what fulfills me.

Be kind to your inner creator. Cast out your expected outcomes for your creative projects. Now is the time to get back to the simple pleasure creation brings.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

My Autumn Wishes

Hello Autumn! © sonyachny – stock.adobe.com

My Autumn Wishes for 2020:

May We:

  1. Learn the beauty of letting go from the Fall leaves
  2. Remember generosity in this season of abundance
  3. Seek out peace rather than turmoil 
  4. Learn the grace of acceptance as the old fades away
  5. Embrace our sense of child-like wonder during this festive season

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Heroes Show Up

Firefighters of Colorado © Tomasz Zajda – Stock.Adobe.Com

It’s a hot and miserable August. Colorado is on fire. We’ve broken heat records for the last three days. The air is filled with smoke. Many of us are struggling with respiratory issues. We hide in our air-conditioned houses to stay comfortable. There are those who don’t hide from nature’s fury. They stand against the heat and fire, putting themselves at risk to save lives and homes. If you’re looking for the perfect example of heroism, think of our Colorado firefighters and other first responders.

Heroes show up while the rest of us stay safe.

Thank You! © laurarts – Stock.Adobe.com

Why I Changed My Mind About Memoirs

History Where You Live – © Tony Craddock stock.adobe.com

I’m fussy about what I read. So many books, so little time. The Memoir and Biography genre doesn’t typically interest me. Self-aggrandizing celebrities and politicians with their pictures splashed on a book cover written by someone else – hard pass. Then I started doing research for my novel about the Santa Fe Trail. My notion of memoirs changed a bit. The most impactful book I’ve read to date is a memoir not written by a sports star, but rather written by a woman living her life in the Southwest during the 1800s.

Land of Enchantment: Memoirs of Marian Russell Along the Santa Fe Trail is an authentic account of a courageous woman who traveled the Santa Fe Trail (more than once) and lived in old Santa Fe. She lived in a few forts with her soldier husband as well. Then helped him build a town in a rugged part of Colorado.

Her recollections make this memoir real for the reader. We share her shock and fear when the wagon train comes across gruesome deaths and other violence against innocents. These accounts, for me anyway, were more troubling when I stopped to consider this isn’t a work of fiction. The murders – witnessed by Marian as both child and woman – really happened. I found myself grieving with her when she experiences tragedy as a young wife. Marian was an extraordinary woman who took on a sometimes-brutal land. She was a true pioneer.

I believe part of the allure of this book for me is the setting. I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains most of my life. Many times, I’ve traveled across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada (in a car) passing through the places she mentions in her book. How about you? Do you know who lived in your hometown before it was a town? Seek out the stories that reveal more than one dull paragraph in a history book. You might be amazed by what you find.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Share Your Knowledge Share Your Joy

Share Your Interests © DM7 – stocke.adobe.com

The internet is a wealth of information. Some of the information you find is correct and helpful. Other tidbits are flat out wrong. Getting hardcore facts is critical when conducting research for my books. Readers want realism no matter the genre and I, as a writer, want to make them feel as if they are experiencing the story along with the characters. I enhance what I learn from books and historical evidence with human experience.

My current “Work in Progress” is a ghost story set on the Santa Fe Trail at the end of the US Civil War. Historical accounts and facts give the book accuracy, but the human experience comes from enthusiasts of the Santa Fe Trail. I’ve enjoyed watching lectures and travel videos of folks who love to visit destinations along this important route. Living in the Rocky Mountains most of my days, I have the life experience to draw on as well.

Are you an enthusiast in a special topic or historical event? Why not share your knowledge? If you write a blog, volunteer to speak on the topic, or make a video, I guarantee you will find an audience.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Fighting Back Against Negativity

Be an Encourager © Photocreo Bednarek – stock.adobe.com

Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I believe the struggle between Positive and Negative is a war. Imagine two kingdoms fighting for control in the battlefield of human consciousness. One side wants to lift humanity higher and encourages us to follow our own dreams. It values freedom of thought, kindness, and creativity. The other side wants to control through fear, depression, and hatred. I don’t know why. I suspect there is a larger agenda hidden from us.

Negativity has powerful weapons. Fear-mongering can be a blunt instrument that smashes common sense. It can also use gossip to subtly undermine. Both tactics are part of Negativity’s Deception arsenal. Lies cause mistrust. Mistrust causes resentment and hatred. If you don’t trust anyone, you will become isolated and depressed. The energy to fight negativity is lost to you.

Positivity may seem to be losing the war right now, but our side has powerful weapons too.

  • Acts of Kindness outweigh violence
  • Truth spoken with Love cancels out lies and ignorance
  • Knowledge smashes the barbs of fear and misdirection
  • And the most powerful weapon of all? We have each other! Be an encourager. Lift someone else up!

No matter how horrible things get or how upset I feel, I refuse to feed the enemy’s forces. What about you? How will you stand in the face of Negativity?

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. 

Walking on Water and Other Annoying Habits

Everybody has there own perspective! © Philip Steury – stock.adobe.com

The Green River tumbles from Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam in thunderous roars. It churns and bucks at its center, propelling water through the towering walls of rock. Then the canyon widens. The river slows its pace. Calm ripples make their way gently to shore. It is here the trout thrive.

I’ve spent many pleasurable hours walking along the banks of the Green River with fly rod in hand. Wear the right sunglasses and you can see the trout swimming along the shore. The water is that clear. I’ve stood in the Green River with my line floating downstream and had a trout swim mockingly between my legs.

Is the river really green? I suppose it depends on your sunglasses. Some fishermen prefer dark polarized lenses. Others like the yellowish amber tint. Both help your eyes see the fish better against the glare of sunshine on water.  Both give the water a different shade. Which one is correct? I bet if you ask the fish they’d say, “Get out of my river, two legs. You’re both wrong.”

How can you know what another fisherman sees unless you swap sunglasses? You’ll soon find you’re both right and you’re both wrong. It’s pointless to argue or feel superior about what you see in the river (unless you can walk on water.) Everyone views life through the filter of their personal experiences.

I think the trout might have the most accurate perspective. To be honest, they can be a little judgy.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

The Bunny Had It Right

Bunny Hugs © aka_artiom – stock.adobe.com

I’m an encourager. I believe I was put on the planet to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams. What happens when an encourager isn’t feeling particularly encouraging? I fall back to the lessons I learned in childhood.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.” – Thumper from Bambi. Directed by David Hand, Walt Disney Pictures, 9 August 1942

Last week was hard. The day job has become more stressful as critical resources shut down due to COVID19. People are wearing masks (I don’t know why this is so depressing for me). I’m not progressing in my art right now and my favorite stress reliever – walking outside with my dog – was impossible when Colorado dropped to a record 13 degrees during April.

What’s my point? We’re all human and subject to becoming overwhelmed. Especially now. It’s okay to take a step back, slow down and feel your feelings. We are all angry, frightened, depressed and anxious right now. Holding the storm of emotions inside isn’t healthy. They must be expressed…BUT in a healthy way. Talk it through with someone you trust. Take a run or work it off in an online fitness class. Put down the donut and close the refrigerator.

Be kind to yourself. Be patient with others. They are going through the same turmoil you are. Remember: The sun will rise again (eventually if you live in the North).

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.