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Don't Fight For Perfection

Coming from me, someone who took six years to finish my first book, this piece of advice may seem hypocritical. But it's actually something that I've learned over the years and has helped me to advance through some tough projects. Opaint-315803_640f course you want your work to be the absolute best it can be, as near to  perfect as possible, but you can't get trapped by fighting for perfect. You  can't  let perfectionism prevent you from moving forward, from submitting  a manuscript, from taking part in an event or starting a project. I'm not  even sure  if perfect even exists.

I remember watching an Interview with the Foo Fighters a couple years  ago while they were on the red carpet of the Grammy awards. They spoke  about  making what was then nominated for album of the year from Dave Grohl's garage (or maybe his house) and how music is not supposed to be perfect. I  always remembered that interview, and recently began applying it to my own life and career.

And I have to say it's been working, to perfection none the less! Releasing that burden of having to get everything right, having to do everything right, pretending as if I don't make mistakes has been liberating and has actually helped me produce better work and be a lot easier going in my personal life.

The key is to find a balance between being obsessed and being satisfied. Having someone you trust be a second set of eyes could be helpful, but I know that can be tough for many creatives out there. My suggestion is to step away from your work for at least a day, maybe longer if possible (this means no procrastinating) and then going back at it to see if it accomplished what it's supposed to accomplish.

Be hard on yourself, but not too hard. If you're confident in what you do then let that confidence be a gauge for your work. And most of all, enjoy it. Most things aren't as crucial as we make it out to be.

Till next time...

Lessons from a Life Lost to Cancer

We met as  teenagers, working together at the movie theatre for one short summer. We became friends, hanging at each other’s house, no concerns outside of what we wanted to do the next weekend.

I went away to school, we kept in touch; I came back, we caught right back up.

Time meant nothing….

Then two months ago we spoke. She told me she was going for a biopsy. I heard the concern in her voice even though nothing was known.

Two weeks later she told me she had breast cancer.

A month after that she was in the hospital. I went to visit her. She looked weak but otherwise in tact. Her family was there, along with some of her close friends. She told me she would be going home in a few days.

Three weeks later, she was gone.

Time moved so fast, acted so cruel, took a life far too soon.

She was only 30 years old.

This post is not for me. I wake up everyday intensely following my passion, pursuing my dreams like there is no tomorrow. My friend died so ALL OF YOU who read this post realize that sometimes….there is no tomorrow.

You only have today, now, these moments to live your life the way you choose. To live your life with passion and purpose, to live for happiness before anything else.

My friend is gone, no doubt to a better place. You are still here. How will you live?

Why I Won’t Succumb to Average

I already see it happening all around me. I’m at that age where people I know are settling down in their lives becoming comfortable with their careers. It’s that age where all those ambitions they had – those grandiose plans of starting their own company or creating a new product, or pushing for that new promotion, or boldly changing careers to something more meaningful or more fulfilling – gets pushed aside for the sake of comfort, or convenience, or having to exert too much effort, or for the need of money. I see it happening but I won’t succumb; I can’t. And you can call me a dreamer, illogical, delusional, all phrases the greats have had to endure before breaking through. Truth is, if I hadn’t seen enough progress in my own writing, haven’t continued to receive emails from readers with intimate accounts of how my writing has moved them, haven’t seen the faces of the audiences I read to nodding their heads in approval, haven’t seen those audiences grow with each reading. If I hadn’t seen this progress, I may have succumb too. I may have been right there with everyone else waving the white flag of consolation.

But it’s too late for me; I belong in the field. It’s too late for me to turn back now and say “I gave it my best shot.” I see how the power of my words have inspired some and impressed others, I see how much further I have to go and I’m more than up to the challenge. Giving in is not an option, breaking is not an option, being satisfied is not even a consideration. I’m just getting started, touching new people, gathering new readers, making more money which is opening more opportunities. My duty to this world has not been fulfilled just yet.

So I tip my hat to those of you who have gracefully bowed out of this journey toward greatness. I congratulate you for making it this far. My path is the road less traveled and my footprints will be seen.

Till next time….

Why You Need To Let Me Go

Relationships are difficult; that’s no secret. They take time — quality time —, communication and an almost unwavering commitment. Somewhere in between all that, you need to find love, too. My relationships have been no different, and when I woke up the other morning, alone, to an open computer screen, I knew my relationship was over. The message was as clear as if she were right beside me, whispering every word into my ear.

It read:

Let Me Go. I don’t know how else to say it, but you really need to let me go. Time and time again we’ve come to this point; to this point I think we can never return. Yet here we are again — you breaking trust, me crying, you apologizing and me forgiving you, believing that this time everything will be OK.

It’s a cycle that I’m just as responsible for perpetuating as you are. You treat me like I allow you to treat me and I accept what I choose to accept. I let you back in conditionally, til we’re good again, and then those conditions vanish and you know it. You know it because you take advantage of that unconditional love, that undeserved trust that I have in you despite being disappointed again and again and again.

I don’t know how much longer I can take this. I feel fractured. This is not the girl you fell in love with; I am not the girl you fell in love with. I don’t recognize who this person is. You would tell me time after time during those first three months, when we didn’t go a day without seeing each other, that you loved me because I was strong, because I didn’t dwell on my insecurities, because I was motivated and ambitious and knew exactly what I wanted, and went for it.

Now I am none of those things.

This relationship has made me weak, dependent. You breaking trust has brought out all of my insecurities and now I never feel as if I’m good enough, or if I ever was. And that hurts so much. It hurts because you use to tell me that I was everything you ever wanted; God’s gift to you. I still have that text in my phone and look at it every time I feel like giving up on this relationship, like giving up on us.

broken-glass-269716_640-300x199

But you know I’ll never do that so I’m asking you to let me go. Let me go, please. I’m not strong enough to push you out of my life; to make the first move and end what’s left of this relationship. I’m not strong enough to let you go so I’m telling you to let me go, free.

You say you love me more than anything; you say you want me to be happy and that I deserve every blessing I receive. Yet, you’ve wavered in your own commitment to me and to what we’ve built together. You are not the same man I fell in love with and it hurts to keep holding on to what we were or what we could be when all we are means nothing.

So I beg you, please, if you have any emotions at all, let me go.

I promise I’ll try to hold back my tears. I promise I’ll try not to call you the next day or two, asking if you still love me and giving suggestions on how I can change to make us work.

Nothing will make this work and so, you must let me go.

I hope reading this is the end. The last words you’ll ever hear from me. But this isn’t my choice. It’s up to you to let me go, to let me breathe that final sigh. Let this be my goodbye.

Progress

I remember my first book reading earlier this year. Only four kids showed up, all sitting in the front row attentively listening and asking questions for over an hour. I enjoyed every moment of it, and gave them all a copy of my novel before I left. Fast forward to my book reading this past week at Father Bressani. Three full classes with chairs set up inside of the school library. It wasn’t the largest overall group I’ve read to, but definitely the largest group of students. For me it was amazing, just seeing all those eyes and ears focused on my message; young people curious about the themes of my book, how I got to the point of actually writing a book, and just asking questions about life.

For me it represents progress, it confirms that I’m taking the right steps and more and more people are seeing value in my novel and its themes. I also took part in the Branded Conference in Toronto as a Consultant. The best part of that day for me was meeting all the other consultants and being inspired by what they’ve done and the path they’re heading down. It was also fun guiding all the eager entrepreneurs and sharing my knowledge and experiences to help them find their own path.

All in all, this was a good week. Met a lot of incredible people and continued to do what I set out to do since the first day I started writing this book and that’s touch people with my words.

Till next time…

 

Words of Encouragement

Moment by moment…day by day…everything is coming together.   I’ve really been focusing on all the amazing events that have happened or are happening rather than looking ahead to all the things I still want to happen. Doing this has allowed me to be much more thankful and to actually recognize how amazing this journey has been.

If you haven’t had a chance, check out the “Words of Encouragement” tab on my site. I put three emails I received from readers of “Thoughts of a Fractured Soul” (minus their names). Although I had plenty to choose from, these three meant the most to me for different reasons, whether it was who it came from or what they actually said. One of the emails is from a young student who actually had a life changing moment after I did a reading at their school! I can’t tell you how amazing that feels to know my words have touched someone to that extent.

All of their words have been incredibly inspiring and one of the many reasons I continue to push forward on the journey with this novel. The “Words of Encouragement” tab also has a link to other public reviews and The “Media” tab has a positive review from Writers Digest.

Great things happen everyday, we just have to appreciate it.

Till next time….

Treats Only

I wish I could just pause time and capture these moments in some kind of memory jar that can be open at my request. Halloween is an odd time for my daughter. Living with me she’s an only child and would get anxiety at the thought of going door to door on her own asking for tricks or treats. We’d usually only make it to four or five houses before she would call it quits and we’d head back to our own home to give away candy to other young halloweeners. But this year was different. She’s twelve and now I wasn’t her only companion on these door to door excursions. Her best friend from school came by and together they laughed, ran, danced, and sang their way across the streets knocking on each door for what seemed like only a moment but was actually about an hour.

I was only a spectator this time, watching my previously withdrawn daughter nearing flamboyancy. What an incredible feeling to see just how much she’s grown in one short year. She’s become her own person and being a young father myself who knows what it’s like trying to find myself, she has made me more proud than she can ever imagine.

We ended the evening in classic fashion with hot chocolate and scary movies. It’s one of those moments I wish never ended. My personal Halloween treat.

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