Shifting Paradigms

Approaching Life, Five Subjects At A Time


March 2016

A Life of Adjustments

In my area, about 5 minutes from my house, we had a new library open in February.  Fast forward a month and a half later, I finally was able to go and get my library card and feast my eyes on this newest repository of librams.

But I didn’t just go to feast my eyes, but to begin a small change in my weekly schedule.  I am going to be spending 4-5 hours, one day a week (for now) to work on my writing.  I did realize that this will take some time for me to get to the point where I can have a full 5+ hour sitting.  Today I achieved about 2 hours, and got about 1200 words written.  What I may do, once the production line gets going, is to have Fridays be either a day for revisions or pre-planning, or whatever.  For now, though, it’s a nice concentrated block of time where I am out of the house and its distractions and can treat it a lot like NaNoWriMo, where I can just pump out word counts to help catch up on the week.

If I can ever find a photo of the interior that isn’t on Flickr (cause I don’t want to have a Yahoo account), I will try and post it.  It’s very light and airy and there are a TON of places to sit and write.

Alrighty, that is all for me, for now.  I am off to read some more of Dan Wells’s new book, “Blue Screen”.  So far so great.

See you later!!!!!


Endings: Both Small and Large Scale, in Writing

Yesterday brought about another “Brain Wrinkle” day, where I discovered the meaning of an axiom that is often used and not always very well explained.

Case in point:  You will get some authors that will tell you that when they write books, chapters, scenes, or paragraphs, that they normally write with an end in mind.  But what is hard to get one’s mind (more to the point my mind) wrapped around, is how an end is brought into the equation.

To me, when I start to think about putting the outline of a book together, I always start with ideas, in combination, that I want to pursue.  Then I think about POV(s), genre, age of reader, and then any new concepts I want to explore that will help stretch my abilities a bit farther.  Rarely, though, do I think about how the book will end.  In fact, I have a very hard time thinking about the end until I have written a few chapters, perhaps even the first half of the book.

Now, this creates some inevitable problems, all of which CAN be fixed with a bit of effort.  But I would like to think that as I progress in my skills as a writer, that I am able to catch a bit more of these problems and nip them in the bud, so that when I go to do my rewrite of my rough draft and turn it into my first working draft of the manuscript, that I won’t need to be so “in my head” as I’m writing it.  That I can just go through it with more instinct, rather than having to stop at every paragraph to make sure that I am getting the things included, that may have been missing or just needed to be changed as I came up with better and more ideas to push into the story.

This brings me to yesterday when I had an interesting moment that helped to bring all these things into perspective.  Sometimes, as the moment occurs, I either get strings of dialogue or narrative that jump into my head as I am writing a scene.  I write them down in a notebook that is dedicated for note taking and idea forming, for each book I write.  I am currently in the midst of slogging through about 10-15 thousand words that just have to be written, so I can get to the ending.  It’s not all slogging, but a good deal of it is. But I started to write down some dialogue, and that opened up another couple pages of note taking that made me have to go add some notes to my Master Sheet (I’ll explain this in a future post).  Of course this meant that I would have to go back and either change or add something to what I have already written, and that, in turn, creates a bit more for me to need to do in my first pass of rewriting.

The more of these “moments” that I have, I am convinced that my brain will eventually work out the processes needed to assemble a book in a more cohesive and easier way.  I know that the first pass at “Sand People” is going to take some time, and while I am looking forward to getting to that point, I also know that it is going to require a bit more work to get it done, because there are a decent number of additions and changes to the first 1/3 of the book that will require more of my brain to get it done.

I am also hoping that as I continue on, that I will have a better sense of the steps it takes to go from the beginning of a story to its conclusion, and how to structure it better.


Alrighty.  That is all for me, for now.


See you soon!!!!

2016 Reading Goal

Just a quick post, today, because I am still really tired from this whole Daylight Savings Time thing which did nothing but upset the apple cart, that is the sleep I crave on a nightly basis.

Also, I blame books.  But mostly Daylight Savings Time.

Books are almost always at the root of all late night shenanigans that may (or may not) occur, after my wife has safely passed out.  One thing I am realizing about my goal setting, is that I am fairly ambitious.  I have tried, and failed splendidly, to do the goal of 52 books in 52 weeks.  In fact, I don’t think I ever broke 40.  So what did I do this year, in light of the fact that I have less time to spend reading and knowing full well that I have never read more than 38 books in any year?  I set a goal of reading 40 books, of course.


January was innocuous enough.  In fact, I had 4 books read in the first month.  And then February came and went with 2 books read.  *sigh*  Luckily, though, I have already read 3 books, this month, and still have another half of a month to deliver.

But all the reading is eating in to my writing time a bit too much and my goal of getting a manuscript out to an editor before the new World of Warcraft pre-xpac patch arrives, is slowly fading before my eyes.

I think I need to resign myself to 1-2 books a month, and if I read more than that…great.  But this “forcing” myself to read book after book is cramping my style a bit.

So I think I will just read what I want, when I want, and without the need to set a hard goal/deadline to read things, for the rest of the year.

There.  Was that so bad, Joe?



Talk to you all soon!!!

Success, Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Confidence

As I always do, when I write a blog post, I try to choose a picture that shows either the level of depth that I intend for you, the reader, to get out of what I have written, or it just accidentally fits.  The latter is one of those moments.

Throughout my life, I have been involved in various potential career possibilities.  For the first 20 or so years, I just ambled through various jobs to make money or keep myself entertained.  The first career that I thought I wanted to pursue was that of a professional golfer.  I was good, but inconsistent.  And it wasn’t until 20+ years later that I understood why I couldn’t get to the level that I wanted to.  Once I progressed past a certain point with my first coach, he couldn’t help me anymore because I had passed his ability to teach.  He was great at fundamentals, but he had a problem in his own swing that he couldn’t fix.  And I was too unsure of what to do that I allowed myself to get blown around like a leaf in the wind, going from what I thought was one good coach to another and avoiding great coaches, thinking myself not worthy enough of their time and talent.  And once my shoulders gave out, I was forced to leave the game that I had no intention of leaving.  I then turned to an obvious career.  The field of Internet Technology, and specifically being a Network Administrator.  I was raised on computers from the time I was four years of age.  So, I breezed through 4 months of classes, earned my certification, and was immediately placed in a job for a small company with about 20-30 users.  In retrospect, the best thing for me to do was be a part of a good team, get an all-around education in the field and earn my stripes in the field.  But I was cocky and I did my job quite well.  But I was also missing any further credentials, as well as a college degree.  Not having a degree ended up with me being given severance pay for the last half of my 1-year contract with the company.  The money gave me the opportunity to get one of my shoulders repaired and take some time to consider what I wanted to do with my life.

It was about this time that I rediscovered my faith in God and decided to dedicate myself to what I felt he wanted for me.  This involved some time with a traveling youth ministry organization, and, ultimately, studying to be a priest.  For 5 years I tried to do what I felt like God wanted for me.  All the while, though, I was playing golf whenever I had free time.  Over the summers I would spend time out in Arizona, taking lessons with a coach who I found out later was even worse than what I had dealt with prior.  Again, I settled for what was less than what I wanted.  During my time in seminary, though, I, on two occasions, came down with an undiagnosed ailment which turned out to be physically symptomatic chemical depression.  I was useless a couple months at a time.  When it happened the second time, thankfully I had already earned my degree in Philosophy.  I was only in my first semester of major seminary and the Diocese I was studying for were really good to me.  We decided to take a break from my studies and see if God wanted me elsewhere.

I ended up moving to Arizona 7 months later.  I stayed with the same coach who I couldn’t seem to get any kind of results with, dated a woman who turned out to be a liar and a cheat, but eventually ended up finding the woman that I would marry, moving to Canada to live for 7 years.  The rest is somewhere in my blog posts, but there is something that I never quite understood about everything that I have gone through.

Aside from doing everything I could to make sure that my relationship with my, now, wife would have the best possible success, and up until I found my current golf coach, I have settled for less than what most people would think they deserve.  On the outside, it might appear that I do the best I can to make my career choices successful, but on the inside I feel like a fake.  It’s like I feel I don’t deserve these things.  The cat, in the header, is a lot of how I feel from day to day, week to week.  That one of these days/weeks/months/years, something will finally click and I will be released from my cocoon and emerge as the person that I want to be.

It’s a constant struggle to know that you not only have the ability, but also the means to pursue the things in life that bring you the most enjoyment.  Just don’t ask me if I take advantage of either the means or the ability.  The answer will most likely vary on either the day, or the time of day that you are asking me.

Most people will suggest, from time to time, that this is merely residue from my depression. That it still “haunts” me from time to time.  They might be right.  But I know they are wrong.

You see, I fear success.

Yes I said that.  I fear succeeding.  I fear that I might eventually be really good at what I am doing.  Whether it is golf, writing, or whatever I turn my attention to.  I fear it, because it might cause a change in my life that I don’t want to have happen.  I like spending time with my wife.  She’s my best friend.  We’ve never had a fight in the 10 years we have known each, because we are always talking.  We are open and honest with each other about everything.  There are no secrets between us.  And I like it that way.

So why would I want to have that change?  Because being successful at golf or writing mean that I have to now include more people into my life that don’t have a place in it, currently.

So now, you may wonder, why I keep at my golf and my writing?  Well, for golf, the answer is easy.  I lowered my expectations of what I want out of it.  Even though I know that I could probably achieve a level better than where I was at any point in my life, I lower the expectation because I have to.  I can’t be successful at everything and maintain the balance in my life that I, and I am sure everyone who lives and breathes, want for my life. So I allow my successes to be on a much smaller scale.

But my writing doesn’t seem to present the same issues as golf would.  I can spend a couple weeks every year doing book tours, and spend the rest of my time writing (and playing golf).

But I need to change my level of expectation to match what I feel is commensurate with my desires.  To put it plainly, I need to set goals like I would with golf.  In golf, you can set very tangible goals to pursue with outcomes that are fairly predictable based on the amount of practice that I put in.  The outcome is predictable because there are median levels of expected outcome that a person with a fair level of ability and a good work ethic should maintain.  And if you set your bar low for achievement, you simply meet your goal and move on to the next one.  And that’s what I need to do with my writing.  In order to get the maximum value out of the time being spent, I need to set my expectation lower so that I, in turn, actually have another goal to reach.  This is opposed to the all or nothing goal that I most likely have for myself.  That’s a lot of pressure to try and withstand, rather than just taking things one step at a time, one goal at a time.

One day I will turn into a beautiful writer.  Sometimes that day is today, other times it’s still a worthy goal to pursue.

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