Friday, June 5, 2020

I Get To Write / Happenings In The Outhouse 05-June-2020

I'm lucky.  I feel blessed.  I get to write.  I don't sit down daily and say, "Well, I have to write."  The "have" sounds like something I'm dreading to do.  Nope, I sit and say, "Yes, I get to write."  See the difference?

Writing is something I love to do.

Some people love to tinker on old cars.  Some love to put their woodworking skills to good use.  Some love to read.  Some love to talk.  Some love to sew.  Some love to care for children.

Be grateful for what you have.  Others may not be so blessed.

Whenever you're starting something, change your mindset from "I have to . . ." to "I get to . . ."

Friday, May 29, 2020

Ricky Gervais and After Life (Netflix) / Happenings In The Outhouse 29-May-2020

About a month ago, I noticed that a Ricky Gervais show on Netflix called After Life came out with its second season.

In early January 2020, I told my wife Melissa about Ricky's monologue as he hosted the Golden Globes.  Here's a link to the entire monologue, which is quite hilarious.  Unless you're a Hollywood snob.  Which, in that case, you may be offended and will probably storm off into the corner to pout.  Anyway, after telling her about what he said near the end, she chuckled, smiled, and said, "I've always thought he was funny."

Hard to believe now on the timing, but she passed roughly ten days later.

Back to After Life.  I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but I wanted something short and light.  Each season had six episodes, and they were less than 30 minutes each.  Perfect.  I wasn't in the right mind for anything less.

It didn't take long for the show to hit me right in the gut.  You see, the main character, played by Gervais, had just lost his wife from cancer.  He was dealing with grief.  Now, as a recent widower, I know that grief takes many forms.  And what Gervais did in After Life was brilliant.  The acting and writing was remarkable, and the storylines took me to places I didn't quite expect--and that's a good thing.  Stories should do that, to be more effective.  I won't spoil anything here.  You have to watch it for yourself.

It didn't take long for me to finish both seasons.  I shed quite a few tears, while at the same time laughed my butt off.  I'm giving myself a little breather before I watch the show again.

And again.

Thank you Ricky.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Need a little patience / Happenings In The Outhouse 22-May-2020

Everyone's path to success is different.  But the key to success is not to compare yourself to other people's paths.  Because you're wasting your time comparing yourself when you should be working on improving yourself.

Keep working on your skills.

Set goals.

As far as goals are concerned, start small.  And when I mean small, don't write down too many things.  I have four on my weekly goals list.

Take time for yourself, to give yourself grace.  Who cares if your high school buddy is a budding millionaire with three houses, a gorgeous spouse, a dozen nice cars, and such forth?  There may be more to his story than what you know.  And even if it is, who cares?  Take stock in what you have and do your best.

Have patience.  Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Friday, May 15, 2020

One short story almost done / Happenings In The Outhouse 15-May-2020

Writing has been slow but steady.

I'm working on a new short story, one inspired by a conversation with my youngest daughter, and I'd like to get it done soon.

Keeping this post short today.  I have a feeling that once the story is done, that feeling of accomplishment may push me to do more.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Don't give in to the self-fulfilling prophecies that surround us / Happenings In The Outhouse 08-May-2020

What is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

One of my majors in college was Psychology.  I first heard this phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy back at Bemidji State University in the early 1990's.  By definition, a self-fulfilling prophecy is a psychological phenomenon where someone predicts a behavior within either themselves or someone else and that prediction somehow comes true.

Let me give you some examples:

Let's say you tell a coworker that they must feel depressed after losing a loved one (or some other traumatic event).  That coworker may not feel depressed and even says so, but you keep on, day after day, telling that coworkers that they must feel depressed.  Well, one day that coworker actually admits that they feel depressed.  They weren't feeling that way until you introduced it to her, but now here it is.

Or if a parent was to say to their kid, who had been caught drinking at the age of twelve, that they were going to be an alcoholic by the time they turned eighteen and would never achieve anything better than a minimum wage job.  Would it surprise anyone that the kid did everything the parent predicted, that they could never hold down a job and did indeed develop a drinking problem?  Simply because it was suggested to them?  Nope, no surprise here either.

That is a self-fulfilling prophecy at work.

What irks me are how many articles and podcasts and news segments are out there, with headlines about how stressful people are now and how we're living in uncertain times.  Doom and gloom.  Stress.  I don't know how many times I've seen the word "stress" or "stressful" on these headlines.  I subscribe to a number of leadership, business, and entrepreneur type of email newsletters and/or podcasts, and that seems to be all they can talk about lately.

I have two words for those creators: STOP IT!

I have been through stressful financial times in my life, many of which were during my marriage with my late wife, and we got through it all.  We had each other, we thought positively, we worked hard, and instead of asking "why us?" we asked, "Okay, what can we do to fix this?"

Don't give in to what so many want to do: by putting you down and putting the thought of stress, uncertainty, and complete hopelessness in your life.  Take control of your life.  Turn the questions around by asking, "What can I do to turn my business around?" or "What can I do to create more financial freedom in my life?"

Stop listening to the negativity.

And start thinking, praying, for what you should be doing.  Come up with ten ideas on what you should do.

Do it today.  The universe is counting on you.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Two new stories / Happenings In The Outhouse 01-May-2020

An amazing thing happened last week.  I started two new short stories.  Yes, you heard right.  Not just one.  Two!

I'm still working on the fifth novel in the Central Division Series, but when the idea for these two stories popped into my head . . . well, I just had to start writing them.

I was at a lull anyway on the thriller novel, and the new stories was just enough of the kick I needed to boost my writing into a higher gear.

In the middle of July 2019, I posted a blog regarding my not submitting any longer to the Writers Of The Future (WOTF) contest.  Well, all of that has changed now.  Nothing is holding me back from submitting--honestly, I should've kept on submitting, because I would've still be writing.  Anyway, I'm back in the saddle, and more will be submitted and/or published soon.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The new normal is simply change / Happenings In The Outhouse 24-April-2020

There's been a lot of talk lately about the current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic being the new normal.  Many people are working from home, more people are cooking at home instead of going to restaurants, families are watching more movies at home because the theaters are closed, and people who live under the same roof are doing more things together.

Why is this the new normal?  Why should a pandemic have caused families and loved ones to do things together?

I view this new way of doing things as change.  When my wife and I got married, that was change.  We had to adapt to a new normal of married life.  Then the same thing occurred when we had kids.  Every life change is simply that.  Change.

April 2011 was a major change when my late wife was diagnosed with leukemia.

Then, last year, on May 19th, our family had to adapt to a new normal as my late wife started going downhill health-wise.  And of course my world turned completely upside-down when she passed on January 16th of 2020.

A new normal for me?  Sure.

I call it change.  Get used to change.  Change happens.