Mark Twain

Learn to Live in the Present Moment

Ocean Lake and Alamere Falls Image by brothergrimm via Flickr

To a large degree,the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment.Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year,and what may or may not happen tomorrow,the present moment is where you are --always.

Without question,many of us have mastered the neurotic, the art of spending much of our lives worrying about a variety of things --all at once.We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments,so much so that we end up anxious,frustrated,depressed,and hopeless.On the flip side,we also postpone our gratification,our stated priorities,and our happiness,often convincing ourselves that ‘someday’ will be better than today.  Unfortunately,the same mental dynamics that tell us to look toward the future will only repeat themselves so that ‘someday ’never actually arrives.

John Lennon once said,‘Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.’When we’re busy making ‘other plans’,our children are busy growing up,the people we love are moving away and dying,our bodies are getting out of shape,and our dreams are slipping away.In short,we miss out on life.

Many live as if life were a dress rehearsal for some later date.It isn’t.No one has a guarantee that he or she will be here tomorrow.Now is the only time we have,and the only time that we have any control over.

When our attention is in the present moment,we push fear from our minds.Fear is the concern over events that might happen in the future--we won’ t have enough money,our children will get into trouble,we will get old and die,whatever.

To combat fear,the best strategy is to learn to bring your attention back to the present.Mark Twain said,‘I have been through some terrible things in my life,some of which actually happened.I don’t think I can say it any better.

Practice keeping your attention on the here and now.

Your efforts will pay great dividends.

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No one writes alone

I need some book recommendations.
Image by classicrockrox via Flickr

I have a lot in common with David Halpert over at Scifi Watch.

I have always been a writer too.  For me, It started when I was a kid watching He-man and the Transformers.  I started writing and drawing my own comics.

I fell in love with books when my sister bought me the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain.  I started telling stories for my AD&D club, and my preferences were always Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance.

I never thought about writing a book before I read Dragon Singer by Anne McCaffrey.  That book changed the way I saw novels.

The Internet changed my writing

Before I wrote Liquid Sky, I agreed with David:

Realistically I’m all alone when it comes to achieving my goals of getting published (and hopefully to one day write full-time) [SciFi Watch].

Now, I see the error in that way of thinking.  I am not alone in my writing goals.  I have my readers, friends, and fans to help me get where I want to go.

It depends on your goals

If your goal is to garner the approval of publisher so a corporation will pat you on the head and say, "Good job." at least once, then this system might not work for you.  But if your like me, with a compulsion to write and a desire to get your stories out for others to read in the hopes that it will become a full time career, then give it a try.

Writing and fandom...

are forever connected one with the other.

If you have a story to tell:

  • write it
  • edit it
  • polish it
  • share it for the world to read
  • connect with your readers
  • grow your readership
  • hone your writing
  • repeat

You are not alone in your writing.  Today, there is a cloud of readers who can and will help you build and audience and support your work.

Never believe that you are alone.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No one writes alone

I need some book recommendations.
Image by classicrockrox via Flickr

I have a lot in common with David Halpert over at Scifi Watch.

I have always been a writer too.  For me, It started when I was a kid watching He-man and the Transformers.  I started writing and drawing my own comics.

I fell in love with books when my sister bought me the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain.  I started telling stories for my AD&D club, and my preferences were always Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance.

I never thought about writing a book before I read Dragon Singer by Anne McCaffrey.  That book changed the way I saw novels.

The Internet changed my writing

Before I wrote Liquid Sky, I agreed with David:

Realistically I’m all alone when it comes to achieving my goals of getting published (and hopefully to one day write full-time) [SciFi Watch].

Now, I see the error in that way of thinking.  I am not alone in my writing goals.  I have my readers, friends, and fans to help me get where I want to go.

It depends on your goals

If your goal is to garner the approval of publisher so a corporation will pat you on the head and say, "Good job." at least once, then this system might not work for you.  But if your like me, with a compulsion to write and a desire to get your stories out for others to read in the hopes that it will become a full time career, then give it a try.

Writing and fandom...

are forever connected one with the other.

If you have a story to tell:

  • write it
  • edit it
  • polish it
  • share it for the world to read
  • connect with your readers
  • grow your readership
  • hone your writing
  • repeat

You are not alone in your writing.  Today, there is a cloud of readers who can and will help you build and audience and support your work.

Never believe that you are alone.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Life as a Story

I went out to write at the San Francisco Bread Company today. The longer I write, the more I realize how important it is to get out of the house, even if it is only to sequester myself at a small table in a cafe with my headphones on listening to music, surfing the web, struggling with new concepts and editing a book I wrote that I actual enjoy reading. It is odd how something as simple as a change of venue from my office to a cafe can change my mood and energy level, but I have read enough from other writers to know that I am not alone.

I have a theory about why something as simple as a change of venue can so profoundly effect a writer's mood.

I started writing as a defense mechanism. As a child, I grew up on a farm miles from the closet kid my age. I spent most of my time either on the phone, outside with my dog Red, or in my room inventing new stories with my Voltron and He-man action figures. When this wasn't enough, I started drawing crude comics and playing out a sort of paper theater with playing cards and my imagination. Through all this, my imagination was fueled by He-man, She-ra, Transformers, the books of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain, and the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons. I didn't have anyone to play with, so I spent my time making up stories about these fantastical creatures, demigods, and demons. The music of Kiss and Dolly Pardon filled my nights in my room watching "Too Close for Comfort" dreaming of the day I would write my own "Cosmic Cow" strip.

When we moved to Maryland, things got worse. I had a strong accent, which got me beaten up in school a lot, and I had not people skills so the few friends I did make really had to work hard to get past my clumsy social interactions. I didn't know how to relate with these "people." They were so different from me, and they expected me to know how to act with them. I just didn't.

My salvation came through The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and my knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons. I played these games with them as a means of interacting. They gave a structure to our together time and gave me a common language to speak. In time, we added Marvel Superheroes, Robotech, Earthdawn, and the many classic White Wolf storyteller games- Vampire: The Masquerade, Were-wolf, Mage: The Ascension, Changeling: The Dreaming. In fact, I became friends with Brian through a Vampire Chronicle.

Through this role as the storyteller, Star Trek Fandom, and my near obsessive interest in music, I found my medium to talk to others.

Storytelling is who I am. It is how I comprehend the world and explains why I am so deeply involved with the works of Joseph Campbell. This is who I am for better or worse. From the many biographies about other writers I have read, I think we have all taken up the life of a storyteller as some sort of defense mechanism or way to make sense of the world. It is easier to lock yourself away from the world than to jump in and struggle within it.

When I force myself out of my cave, even if only to isolate myself from the settings I find myself in through headphones and work, it reminds me that the outside world is still there. It lets me see how people actually interact with each other, for better or worse, and on those rarest of occasions, allows me to have incredible conversations with people face to face.

It is hard to explain how isolating is can be at times to be a storyteller. The hours, days and weeks spent locked away from the world crafting a reality that I hope others will experience and enjoy with the same fervor that I do. The simple act of seeing other people and hearing other voices enlivens me.

Like other writers, I am an observer of life much more than I am a participant in it. These little glimpses of the world outside my friends and family and the characters I write about (feels more like with sometimes), grounds me and helps connect me with the bigger world that is so easy to let slip away.

I wish more people shared this experience. Looking out at this world of strangers that I may or may not ever see again, and watching the plots they have entwined themselves in. We all tell our own stories. That is the art of conversation, to weave an entertaining tale about ourselves and others. As these plot lines co-mingle and intertwine, the story of our family, friends, city, state and nation are told. These stories often matter more than the facts. (whether or not that should be true or not is a whole other discussion).

I recommend that you give this a try. Next time you are out with friends, watch the stories that you are telling each other closely and follow them out as if they are plot lines in a novel, movie, or television show. It is startling how often you can predict other peoples actions by listening to their backstory, current plot, and projecting that out as it would play out in the genre appropriate to the person. I am not saying that this is always the case, but more often than not you will be able to see what will happen before it does. This is also the best way to choose your course of action. How will your action effect the other all story. Try it out, I think you might be pleasantly surprised.