Compassion, Prejudice, Judgment

Sometimes, the most unexpected emotions com from equally unexpected places. I'd like to tell you a story about the last 7 days in my house, a snake, and an unexpected lesson from my son, Jefferson (he's 10 years old). As a kid, reptiles always fascinated me. Cold-blooded creatures are strange, no doubt, and there's such a stigma around lizards and snakes that it's hard to get past feelings of anxiety around them if there's an ingrained feeling that these critters are dangerous, or terrifying. Truth is, they're scared of humans because they see us as giant predators that could eat them. That can make them defensive until they get used to you (I don't blame them). They don't eat people, dogs, or cats, unless you're in…

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Writing a Book Foreword

I was fortunate enough recently to be asked to write a Foreword in my friend Eric's book, "A Green Winter in Mosul, Iraq." http://www.lulu.com/shop/eric-mcnail/a-green-winter-in-mosul-iraq/paperback/product-24137030.html The process of writing something like a Foreword was quite alien to me. It's a very personal piece of writing. And while I feel like I do fine coming up with, I don't know, zombie jokes and ridiculous scenarios in short stories. Giving something as serious as someone's memories from the Iraq Invasion the attention it deserves from a perspective of personally knowing that individual ... ... well that's difficult for a very internal INFJ like yours truly. Still, I'm very proud of the man for writing his memories down, and I feel that what he shares is a very important…

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Sometimes You Can’t Word Good

I don't believe in "Writer's Block" because I don't think there's some mythical force preventing you from throwing words up onto a screen. I DO believe that sometimes, your brain is not able to function in a creative way - maybe that's what you'd call writer's block, I just call it, "Having a shit-ass day." There's nothing blocky about it. So what I end up doing when I'm having shit-ass writing days is to find a way to occupy my typical writing time with other things. Editing (a soul-sucking chore, to be sure), or writing anything OTHER than my current work in progress, or polishing up some outlining, maybe a little research, etc. All of these things help the project move along in secondary ways…

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Back to Life, Back to Reality

You know, that title should be in a song. Anyway. I'm six-ish weeks removed from family tragedy, and as I'd anticipated (for myself at least), acceptance has settled in, and the day by day is going by well enough. I'm still having these moments where something small and largely inconsequential hits me and I just break down, but for the most part, I'm back to moving forward, though with some periodic somberness attached. I'm a firm believer that your objective reality (oh here he goes, preaching Ayn Rand again), is what should guide you day to day. Aligning your principles with that objective reality, and rocking your truth, so to speak. So I've been trying to do that. Health considerations have been at the fore…

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The Current Struggle

Two posts in one day? Not really, because while I'm writing this the same day as my previous post, I'm going to set it to post later, but man it would TOTALLY count if I published it right now! Anyway. I'm having an internal struggle, and I need to write some things down to hash it out. My struggle has to do with the awful INFJ thing of "get yourself out there." I consider myself a healthy INFJ - I'm creative, and yes I have my bouts of anxiety and such, but I do understand what it takes to get me on the right path again (basically, everyone go away I need solitude). Part of being an INFJ is having near constant conflict in your…

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Holidays are Over, Back At It

So one of the things I'm learning through my own writing journey here is that there is no perfect way for me to write. I always found myself incredibly jealous of people who have a dedicated writing space, a quiet house, a time set aside to pen their Great American Novel every day. Maybe 2000 words each day, flowing perfectly from their hands, with not a pressure in the world but to create. But, this is real life. There's holidays, kids, work drama, arguments, shit breaking everywhere (hello, house, I'm looking at you), snow falling, personal insanity (injuries!), and more. Yeah. Injuries. Right before Christmas I slipped, fell, and destroyed the knuckle in my middle finger on my right hand. I'm 3 weeks away from…

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Published Writer

Sometimes, awesome things happen.  Like this: Last year, I submitted an article idea to a martial arts industry magazine (I own a dojo, so it's a thing), to see if I could get an article in there about a subject I am quite passionate about - mental toughness and personal accountability. I wrote an email asking if they accept such submissions from plain non-writing folk like me, and then ... Nothing. A few weeks after sending that email I received a response from the Editor of this magazine, and he basically said, sure, send a full pitch idea of the story (a few paragraphs), he'll bring the idea up to his roundtable of staff writers, and if it's greenlighted, he'll have a staff writer contact…

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Some Days …

... ya just wanna burn it all down. Ugh. Calgon take me away, Jesus take the wheel, etc. etc. On a GOOD note, I am a total of 5,550 words into my novel. On a SLIGHTLY LESS GOOD note, that's actually all outlining and character descriptions.  Mostly notes for myself.  I'm an outliner.  My brain is going so fast most times (INFJ, big picture stuff, not great with details), that it's very hard to keep track of it all. So, I outline.  List the characters, describe each one.  List the locations where the story will be taking place.  Tie in how the characters will meet/interact.  Get a basic structure down, and then fill in from there. Like this guy:   Does Bob Ross paint the…

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Eliminate Stresses or Writing Through Them?

Our day to day lives are typically filled with numerous stresses. Bills, work, kids setting things on fire (only happened twice today - PARENT OF THE YEAR). Thing is, I'm the type that needs near perfect circumstances to sit down and write. If some little nose-picking homonculus is begging me for food every two seconds (I fed you last week, HAVEN'T I SUFFERED ENOUGH?) it is very hard to get into the groove and let the creative wild horses run free. So I patiently wait, try to scrawl some notes if something pops into my head, and do my primary duty of being a servant to the world in the meantime. What really rains on the proverbial parade is when drama rears it's ugly head.…

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Another INFJ Blog. Another INFJ Writer.

I actually hate this - staring at a big white page, totally blank, ready for painted words and images and thoughts and feelings. It's awkward. So many years ago I stumbled upon the MBTI test. I landed on INFJ and I was like, "Cool, I'm like Gandhi," and that was pretty awesome. Fast forward a couple of years and I take the test again. INFJ. And again. INFJ. Just about every year, for the last 20 years. INFJ, INFJ, INFJ. Always. Now I'm no psychologist, I'm not from the Church of Jung (though I hear they have a lovely annual bake sale), I'm not an expert on MBTI - but as a student of myself I delve into as much information as I can about it.…

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