Risky Business: Breaking Away from The Trends

Conventional wisdom tells us to “write for the market” or “chase the trends of films.” Sure. You can do that if you’d like. Everybody’s gotta eat, right? Market trends can be safer than making your own trail through the creative wilderness. But what about THE creative project? You know the one I mean. It churns and burns deep in your soul. The process of creation is the only way to silence its voice.

Beware! Resist the critical voices in your head. They want you to take that unique creative project and force it into a safe market trend.

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DON’T:

Publish a forgettable book you hated writing.

Ignore your passion and make that shallow film about nothing.

Give Up!

DO:

Chase your passion and risk creating the unique.

Study unique art and learn. Think: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowlings or The Producers by Mel Brooks. Both were huge risks that paid off.

Your unique art is special, but not everyone will see its potential. It’s at this point you must utilize an entrepreneurial mindset. Put on that creative hat and look for ways to introduce your art to a new audience. Find a good fit and make friends – Maybe you spent a year photographing ducks on the lake by your house. You created a coffee table photography book highlighting your best duck photos. Would you try to sell the book at a coin show? No. Find people with common interests who would love to buy your books. Introduce them to your work by displaying it at a show or join a social media site with people who love ducks.

Final Thought:

Someone is waiting to be inspired or entertained by your unique creative project. Have faith and don’t give up!

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Looking Back While Springing Forward

Transitions are exciting. Wrapping up a successful creative project and moving forward with something new. Is there any better feeling? It even beats the “I’m finished” rush.

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I’m at this stage in my “Heart of the Warrior” book series. The Obsidian Gates (Book Two) is out in the world. I’ve spent the last few months doing book signings, podcasts, guest blogs and radio shows to celebrate my latest book baby. Now I’m ready to focus on the next project – Book Three!  Look for it in 2019.

In this season of Shamrocks and Blarney Stones, I’m sending you Irish Blessings for your new creative projects. Keep Calm and Create On!

The Trials and Tribulations of a Change Agent

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Change happens. It’s the nature of all things. Sometimes change is quick and unexpected. Other times it is agonizingly long in coming. Drag your feet to resist the change, it will be stressful. You might even experience a bit of pain. Embrace the change with acceptance and perhaps a bit of excitement – things will go easier.

I’m a Change Agent. My job, or calling if you will, is helping others to adapt, plan and take steps toward positive change. It can be difficult for individuals to see a path out of their rut. They feel stuck. They know they need a change, but don’t know how to climb out of their situation. That’s where I come in. I, and other folks like me, can see a path to positive growth and happiness. Then we help you see it too.

What happens when a Change Agent gets stuck in a muddy rut? Yep. My clothes are covered in the stuff! Here are a few things I’m doing to climb out of the mud and advance to my next opportunity:

Read a Classic againWho Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Get Inspired – Read or watch pieces about innovators and other inspiring people who have achieved the goals you dream about

Dream – Listen to yourself. What do you want? What don’t you want?

Take Action – Make a plan and see it through

I’ve been a mentor for ten plus years. 98% of my mentees have gone on to be successful in their business goals. The other 2% refused to either work hard for their dream or couldn’t conquer their fear of change. Moving out of a negative, but comfortable situation can be scary. Find a good mentor or coach to help you on your path. I guarantee happiness is worth the hard work!

Takeaways from the 2018 Winter Olympics

I’m one of those exuberant Olympics fans who puts everything on hold when the wonderful days of electric competition arrive. Winter or Summer. Doesn’t matter. I have my favorite sports in both seasons. The Olympics are more than competition. They remind us that everyone has the chance to be something great if we Dream Big Enough and Work Hard.

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What I took away this year:

  • Failure is not only an option, it is an absolute necessity in order to galvanize the commitment to your goals
  • Age is just a number. Older athletes ignored the “you can’t compete anymore if you’re over this arbitrary age” rule
  • Keep trying no matter how many times you fall down. The reward is worth it!

Things that made me scratch my head:

  • Why is Curling a thing?
  • Why have we allowed our current snarky and negative world views into the Olympics. They are out of place in this positive and life affirming environment
  • Why can’t we have more commentators like Scott Hamilton? The man has gone through cancer and other scary health issues, yet he remains one of the most positive and encouraging people on the planet. Yes – more of Scott Hamilton please.

I’m going to try to hold onto the Olympic Spirit for as long as I can. Limiting my evening social media and phone usage has helped me remain focused on enjoying the games. I’ve gotten back into the habit of listening to positive music rather than negative programming during the day. These are small changes, but they work for me. What about you? How will you keep the Olympic Spirit alive in your heart?

And They Call It Book Love

Running my fingers across the rows of shiny spines, I slowly slide one out of its place among the other tantalizing covers. The aroma of recently cut paper and new print fills my senses. I absorb the words stretching across the back. Heart racing, I wonder what type of adventure this book will take on.

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Sorry Romance fans. Love is fleeting. Book Love is forever. Think about it. Whether you’re two or one hundred and two, a good story is always one of life’s greatest pleasures.

How to Find Your Next Love

Book Stores – Ask for staff recommendations

Goodreads.com – Check out their Listopia section with recommendations by readers just like you

Best Seller Lists – Amazon and B&N both have Best Seller Lists. I’ll be honest. I rarely pick from the best seller lists, because they distract from other (and possibly better) books

BookBub and Riffle – Books on these sites are vetted pretty well. And they feature the ones on sale. Big bonus!

Word of Mouth – Book clubs or Goodread Groups are a great way to discuss what others are reading

What I’m Reading Right Now:

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

 

Books, Banter and Booze

The Book Bar Denver is an indie bookstore offering wine, killer coffee and books. Three of my favorite things in one place! They also host amazing local author events. Visit during one of the happy hours and talk books with the authors who wrote them.  Fun, right? I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s fun for the author too. We love meeting readers like you.

I’ll be joining two other Colorado authors on February 10th from 5pm to 6pm at the Book Bar. Stop by for a glass of happy juice. Let’s talk books!

Support Your Local Indie Bookstore!

Early Morning Epiphany

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“The Mind is Everything. What You Think You Become.” – Buddha

Life loves to throw challenges our way. This is how we learn and grow. Sometimes, it takes us too long to discover we are in the middle of a life lesson. Our health deteriorates. Relationships suffer. We become the diseased and miserable adult we desperately wanted to avoid as happy children. Creatives are especially vulnerable. We have to walk a thin line between our creative dreams and what society deems as “real life.”

Our creative minds are happiest when we create art, music and literature. BUT – we still have to pay mortgages. It’s easy to get wrapped up in inconsequential drama of life in the business world.

I wanted to share an early morning epiphany I had while meditating. Having spent almost twenty years pursuing a successful business career, I’ve come to realize I have out grown my business role. And that’s okay. Change happens. People grow. Time to let go.

So – Are you the Business person who likes to write or (fill in the blank)? Or are you the Creative who makes money being a business person? Which one makes you happy? Still not sure? Here are some steps to follow:

Spend time with yourself – Go to a quiet place without distractions (turn off the cellphone) and get comfortable

Meditate – Let your mind tell you what you need to know

Listen to what your subconscious is trying to tell you – Figuring out what you are trying to tell yourself can be challenging. It may require the use of a tool: free writing, a list of pros and cons, tarot, runes…whatever works best for your brain

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Pay attention to your dreams – sometimes, the only way our subconscious can communicate with us is in our dreams. Write them down. Take a look after you’ve had your coffee. Are they trying to tell you something?

Final Thought – Be the person you want to be, not the drone others try to force into an ill-fitting role. It’s your life. You are the only one who can make it a happy one.