10 years

Hey there, friends and fans! I hope life is flowing smoothly as schools are let out and summer heats us up. Things are going fantastic in some aspects on my end. Recently I worked with a local craft retailer and now my book (https://amzn.to/2KLRvsY ) is available in a real brick-and-mortar store in my hometown! The store, Between Friends, is located on Main Street in Tazewell, Va., so, if you’re ever in town and want to pick up a signed copy of my book, make your way there!! Of course, if you’re interested in a signed copy and don’t have the means to go to the store, reach out to me!

This year is something of a monumental one for me. Not only do I have my first print work available for purchase, but this year marks the 10 year anniversary of my high school graduation. Specifically Sunday, June 9, I had officially been out of high school for ten years. And it has been quite a whirlwind decade. I went from being a high school kid with dreams of published works, to being able to say my book is for sale in a local retailer, for one. For another, I went from thinking I knew something of the world, to being more than willing to admit there are still tons of things I would love to learn. But, most importantly, I’ve found the love of my life, I’ve learned countless life lessons, and I have an idea of just who I want to be when all is said and done.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching in my day and I’ve tried a lot of different career paths in the last ten years, and I’ve landed right where I am. In high school I was very stubborn and had little on mind besides my writing. Ideas and inspirations for teaching and other jobs would come into my mind and I would close the door on them. I wanted nothing more than my novels. By all means, that is still something I want for myself. The idea of being able to support my lifestyle and my family solely with my writing still brings a tear to my eye, but it has taken some focusing to really figure out the specifics. I find myself desiring to teach, to live an awesome life, and to enjoy every waking moment I have available to me. But it took some navigating to figure out.

I went for multiple jobs, in multiple places, and I still find myself returning to the desire that is deep-rooted in my heart. With each venture that I try, I find myself drawn more to teaching and to writing, and I remind myself time and time again of the days all those years ago when those were my dreams. I am one step closer to achieving those dreams each and every day, and in times of doubt that is what I try to look at. Basically what I’m getting at is I’ve fought tooth and nail – with the outside world as well as myself – to become the man I’ve wanted to be. I’ve considered my dreams and my destiny and everything else, and it always brings me back here. I may not have achieved my total dream yet, but I’m on the way. Ten years after I left high school behind, I’m almost where I imagined I would be.

So my message to all new graduates, or to those old ones who may have lost sight of their goal; don’t give up. Don’t put your dreams aside. Chase them until you can’t anymore. Nothing is too fantastic, too far-fetched. Nothing is impossible. You may have just been turned out in the “real world,” but that doesn’t mean you should hesitate for even one second to make it your own. We’re given a purpose on this earth. It may take some of us a while to reach it, or even to figure it out, but at the end of the day it’s there. You’ve just got to go for it.

Apply for that job you don’t think,you’re qualified for. Reach for the goal you don’t think is quite withing reach. Take the leap, even if you’re not sure where you’ll land. Even if you don’t reach your goal right away, you’ll be closer than you were. No one should live a live that doesn’t make them happy. Some of us may have to struggle to get there, but it’s worth it. After all, if we never felt pain or strain, how would we recognize peace when we finally reach it? Put aside the worries, doubts, old days, and old things that hold us back and keep us from making our dreams a reality. Whatever you’re going through just make sure you have a goal in mind. No matter how great or small that goal may seem, go for it. Don’t give up. If you feel like it’s your destiny, your purpose, your heart and soul’s desire – chances are it is. And it could be exactly what you’re made for.

No obstacle or dream is too big. What do you want to do no that you’ve put the old days behind you? Feel free to reach out and share!

Setting Goals

It’s officially two weeks into the new year and I think we’re all getting into the swing of things pretty well. 2015 was a pretty good year that saw a lot of changes and developments for a lot of us. Personally I found myself graduating college again, teaching a workshop and signing books alongside an internationally bestselling author, writing a fair amount of short stories, blogging on multiple sites, getting a job that allows me to use my skill set, ¬†getting to meet a few of you guys and most excitingly- I got married! That alone was enough to make the hardships of the year well worth it.

One of my other biggest accomplishments of the year was that I finally managed to complete NaNoWriMo. That’s an experience I haven’t gotten to talk about yet, also. Before I do, though; For those of you that don’t know NaNoWriMo is a challenge for writers where you are pushed to complete a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. Believe me, it isn’t easy.

This was my third or fourth year attempting NaNo and in the past I’ve always found myself getting so far along (one year it was around 10,000 and another it was closer to 20, etc…) before college and life bogged me down and pushed me in other directions, but this year I not only succeeding in reaching the goal but I exceeded it by over 18,000 words in a period of 20 days. By November 20 I had a 68,900 word novel in my possession and it felt amazing. It still does. I’m currently running the novel through beta readers so I can put it through the second round of editing and am in talks with two separate publishers about pricing and options and what not.

It’s a good feeling, that’s for sure, but the point of this blog is to talk about the new year, right? No matter how good (or bad, if that’s the case) 2015 was, this year can and will be one for the books! My personal plans for the year are to try as hard as I can to get at least one of my novels to a publisher and try to get it to shelves and not just in an electronic format. Another goal is to try (and hopefully succeed) to get my work published in at least 12 periodicals this year. I have more, of course, like getting back into church and refreshing my relationship with God for myself and my family, but those two are relevant to writing.

Now, obviously these things on my list are New Year’s Resolutions (yes, I’ve made it two whole weeks and I’m still trying!) and that’s a bit of a controversial topic. A lot of people think that making resolutions is a waste of time, some even say that it is a direct challenge to true happiness with one’s life. Their argument for this, of course, is that by making resolutions and pushing yourself to change your life in a certain way, it prevents you from being who you truly are. Silly, right? The point of resolutions is to be a better you, a you that you are happier with. So why not try it? Of course, I’ve also failed at resolutions like everyone else, but this year it feels different. This year I’ve made a list of goals that, if I don’t give up on, will make me a stronger, better, happier me.

So what about you all? Have you decided to make this year better? Have you worked on a list of goals that will improve your life? One thing that I intend on doing this year, with this and my other blogs, is to improve the quality and quantity of the posts I am giving you all. I would like to inspire each and every one of you to go out there and take life by the horns this year, so I want to hear more about what you all want from the blog itself and from me as a writer. How can I be better at this and make more of a difference? No answer is a wrong answer, so give me all you’ve got! Have a great weekend and make those goals, stick to them and change 2016 for the better!