Tag: motivation


Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
by Dr. Suess

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head,
you have feet in your shoes,
you can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets.  Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.


You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose?  How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters?  Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads
at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles
across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear,
toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place.

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go!  There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored.  There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike.
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
A Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes!  You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Author’s note: This post was first published April 28th, 2010.  Please feel free to comment.  As I am busy climbing a mountain now, I’ll respond to all comments when I return.  Thanks!

Not a single one of you reading this wants to fail at the writing game.  I don’t either.

But statistics are against us.  After all, as the famous demotivational poster points out: it could be that the purpose of our lives is only to serve as warnings to others.

So I was blown away by this recent article about why some authors never succeed.  I tell ya, I wish I could report that there was much here I already knew, but my impression was exactly the opposite: there is a lot here I have barely given thought to or am only now beginning to wrap my head around.

A few quick thoughts after reading this article:

  • Learning about the industry is certainly key–but there is a lot to know.  Make sure you set time aside to do your homework.
  • Accepting feedback is critical, but equally important is finding good sources of feedback.  Not doing so can be a dealbreaker.  Classes and forums can only go so far–get out there and find other writers that are at your experience level and that share your interests who you can exchange work with.
  • I think right along with measuring success in book sales, measuring success in blog posts (for us greener writers who have not been published yet) can be equally misleading.  If the fiction isn’t getting done but your blog is rocking, you may need to take a closer look at your priorities.

And I think the most important lesson is understanding that you are going to fail–that sooner or later you’ll try and not succeed–but learning from your failures and pressing on.  “Fail up,” as the author notes. 

So I ask you: how do you measure short and long-term success?  What are the measuring sticks you use to judge daily, monthly, and yearly progress?  What’s your process when things don’t go as planned?

Blog-wise, I’ve kept a low profile recently, as you’ve no doubt noticed.  To tell you the truth, I never expected to take the entire month of December off.  Truly.  But you’ve heard the story before: a break for a few days turned into a week, the week turned into three weeks, and before I knew it, an entire month had passed without so much as a whisper from me.

This is not to say that I haven’t been busy.  In fact, as excuses go for not blogging, I have several pretty good ones.  At least I think they’re pretty good, but then again, I’m probably pretty biased about my own reasons for doing things.  πŸ˜€

Of course, like everyone else, I had Christmas to contend with, and New Years.  My birthday is the last day of the year, so there was some planning and activity related to that.  Oh, and did I mention that we’re moving back to the States in less than 25 days?  Yeah, the movers already came and took our stuff.  We’re living like denizens of a strange trailer park where they provide you a cabin, but very little in the way of furniture or other sundries like pots, plates or silverware.  We have not yet succumbed to eating off paper plates, but we’re only a lazy-don’t-want-to-wash-dishes night away.  Needless to say, life has been interesting.

But the big doozie, the one I’ve been spending many of my waking moments working on is pictured above.  I leave this afternoon to fly to Tanzania for three weeks.  Planned adventures include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, a short safari, and generally enjoying all that that part of the world offers in the way of tourismistic bliss.  (Long time readers may recall this item on my 2011 goal list).

And it’s funny, because this little jaunt ties in with writing.  Let me explain.  I first decided to climb Kili way back in 1993, after I read Michael Crichton’s Travels where he relates his experience climbing the mountain.  Something about the idea of it stuck with me, and it’s been on my bucket list ever since.  Even now, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that a book can affect someone so much, but, well, there it is–and it’s certainly one of the reasons why I’m so interested in writing fiction.

Some may laugh that it’s taken me nearly 20 years to realize my goal, but when I hear those chuckles, I just nod my head.  I see my writing career the same way.  I may not be a best-selling author next week or next year, but if I keep my eye on the target, don’t forget why I’m really doing it, and keep working, someday–with luck!–I’ll get there.

So, I just wanted to pop in and fill ya’all in on the details.  If I get a few more spare moments this afternoon, I may see about preparing some oldy but goody posts to autopost in the weeks while I’m gone.  And of course, I’m taking my journal and will have the whole story to share when I get back.

Wish me luck–and don’t forget to stay groovy!  πŸ˜€

Day 7!!

A rare treat today: Ray LaMontagne singing “Shelter.”  Plus a bonus second song!  Have a great Monday!  πŸ˜€

NaNo, Day 4!!!

Note: I am posting this video as part of my NaNoWriMo Video Songfest, continuing through the end of November.  You don’t have to be participating in NaNo to take part, and if you don’t want to post a video on your blog, I do take requests–just like a real life DJ!

Wouldn’t you like to see your song up there on the Master Songlist?  πŸ˜€


So I’m trucking on the NaNo wordcount, and happy with the product, though I’ll have quite a bit of revising to do.  I tend to write really messy first drafts–but since I enjoy the editing process, it all works out in the end.

Today, I’m sharing a really cool video with you:Van Halen’s “Dreams”, featuring some awesome footage from the Blue Angels.  I hope you find it as inspirational as I do.  Even after having been a Navy pilot for 20 years, I am in awe of these guys.

But there’s another reason why this video is appropriate.  Way back in the dark ages, when I first joined the Navy as an enlisted man, I had dreams of one day becoming a Naval Aviator. 

Because of my father’s background in the U.S. Air Force, I grew up attending scads of airshows, and I have always loved aviation.  But there’s a time in particular where The Blues–as the Blue Angels are affectionately referred to in Navy circles–came to the base where I was stationed in Maine.  I watched their incredible performance, never taking my eyes from the pointy nose aircraft performing impossible maneuvers, rocketing by in close formation–less than two feet between aircraft during some maneuvers!–and impressing the crowd.

As a guy who finished middle of my class in high school, and a college drop-out to boot, watching those blue fighter jets tear up the sky made me feel like my chances of ever becoming a pilot were slim to none, and slim had already left town, as they say.  I might as well have been dreaming about walking on the Moon.

Yet, fast forward two years and I found myself in Flight School.  I had worked my tail off, submitted my package, got picked up (much to my surprise).  But even though I was successful in getting myself into the pipeline to become an Aviator, I still found the whole idea daunting.  I didn’t “get” it.  I felt like much of what I was expected to know was beyond my understanding, and I struggled.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday: we launched on a training hop late in the afternoon.  The event was called a BI (Basic Instruments) flight, where the student (me) spends about 90% of his time under a big hood, flying a series of maneuvers completely on instruments, with no outside visual reference. 

One of the manuevers, called an unusual attitude recovery, was considered extremely difficult to pull off well–but that day, I knocked it out of the park.  The instructor even went so far as to ask if I was ‘cheating’ by looking outside.  Of course I hadn’t, and I told him so. 

When we finished the event and turned the aircraft toward home, I pulled back the hood to discovery the whole world bathed in the orange glow of the Corpus Christi setting sun.

There was only one thought in my head: I can do this.

I have recently reached a similar place in my writing.  Even before NaNo I was beginning to feel it, but now that I’ve been plugging words like they’re going out of style, that sentiment is strengthening in my mind with every keystroke.

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you were witness to my stumble earlier this year, where things went quiet here at ~WSMG~.  I stopped blogging, but I also stopped writing fiction at home.  I was dogged by self doubt, uncertain of my abilities.  I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, and that apprehension kept me from staying engaged.  But that skepticism has been replaced by a confidence that I am working hard to cultivate.  And thus far, it’s working. 

So, to what do I attribute this personal growth, this change of heart?  Work, and lots of it.  As Joel Arthur Barker said: 

β€œVision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes time. Vision with action can change the world.”

The novel of a hundred-thousand words begins with the first keystroke.  And the next.  And the next.  Keep at it, and before you know it, you’ll be flying too!  πŸ˜€

Hope you have a great writing day!  Stay groovy!