I started cleaning up the website a little bit over the weekend, with the most obvious change being I moved the blog back to the home page. If you bookmarked the blog at any point in the last year or so, you need to edit the bookmark so it sends you to plain old warrenbluhm.com.
I’ll be in the process of revising my various book pages, which have lacked links for purchasing for some time. You can find my stuff by doing a search at your favorite book retailer, but I suspect it would be easier for you just to click on “My Books” and “The Roger Mifflin Collection” up above – so you’ll be able to do that soon.
The weekend not far from the frozen shores of Green Bay was spent working on a handful of publishing projects that I’ll be announcing soon. My latest book, Full (getcher ebooks and paperbacks here) is divided into separate sections about creativity, freedom, and motivation. I’m working on developing each of those ongoing themes in their own upcoming books.
I have plans to grow The Roger Mifflin Collection this year, I’m working on my flow of several long-rumored fiction projects, and I have some stuff to be announced as well.
Thanks for checking in here regularly and letting me know when I’ve shared something you found useful, interesting, fun or all of the above!
So the guy who wrote “Keep on rocking in the free world” generated a kerfuffle the other day when he decided freedom is a dangerous thing.
Neil Young didn’t agree with what Joe Rogan was doing on the Spotify platform, so he demanded that his music be removed from the platform: “You can have Rogan or Young, not both.”
I don’t know much about Joe Rogan other than Young is apparently unhappy that Rogan gives a voice to “misinformation” about the experimental medications that are generally called COVID-19 vaccines. This is exactly what I was talking about the other day when I said we’ve reached the point where it’s risky to say 2 + 2 = 4.
If a doctor tries using a generic drug that has worked against other viruses, and announces success, then Big Pharma and its allies with a stake in costly new medicines declare the doctor unfit to be heard or perhaps even unfit to practice medicine.
If unusual numbers of people start dying of non-COVID maladies, and the surge in deaths coincides with mass distribution of the above-mentioned experimental medication, you point out the “coincidence” at the risk of your own reputation as a sane and credible source.
In a free world ideas get aired, the sound ideas survive, and the unsound ideas report to the dustbin of history. In an unfree world ideas get muzzled or throttled, and a central power decides what is a proper idea. The rest is proclaimed misinformation or disinformation, even if it’s 2 + 2 = 4.
I’m going to keep rocking in the free world, because it’s clear Mr. Young had a better idea 30 years ago.
UPDATE: And now Joni Mitchell, too. This also reminds me of another fact of life: It’s better to own your music, whether via CD or vinyl or download. A stream can be edited or removed, as these incidents show. I can still listen to Neil or Joni anytime on my turntable or digital players.
Let’s say there was this guy walking barefoot through his house when a meteor crashes in his backyard.
There’s a glowing rock in the middle of the crater, and it’s warm to the touch when he picks it up. Why would he do that? People do dumb stuff all the time — why not pick up a glowing meteorite in your own yard?
But where did the meteor come from? Why did it transfer superpowers to the finder? Are dark forces at play or forces of light and justice?
And who is the sultry next-door neighbor who saw the whole thing?
See, that’s what I’m talking about when I say “have fun” — the above was a seven-minute jam where I started a sentence “Let’s say there was …” and, just for fun, I made stuff up as I went along, as stuff came to me. Just. For. Fun. No connections to anything else I’m writing, just a fun little exercise to get the juices flowing. Maybe I’ll come back tomorrow and write that story. Maybe I’ll find it in this journal in five years and something in the back of my mind will say, “I know what the meteor is!” Maybe that’s the last I ever think about it.
But I wrote something this morning. And that’s the point.
Why do people climb a mountain? Because it’s there. Why do writers write? It’s just what they do. Where do they get their ideas? Out of thin air when they sit down to write, relax and have fun with it.
Eventually every book about writing gets to the point of saying, “Everybody doubts themselves.” Everyone who wants to put words together sometimes wonders why they even bother because there are millions of books and countless writers and how can I possibly write something to compete with everyone who’s already out there blah blah blah blah blah?
Huh. Why DO we put ourselves through this?
Between that last sentence and this one, I did a mini-deep dig into my memories and remembered that when I was a kid, I would draw comics and write stories and songs to entertain myself. I liked comics and TV and movies and top 40 radio, and I made up my own.
It was fun.
It’s that simple: I like reading blogs and novels and science fiction and mysteries, so I make up my own. The psychology of it all, I imagine, is a trifle more advanced than that, but when I dug down toward the why of it all, I found a little kid who had fun in his own little world of comics and top 40 songs that emerged out of his own pencil. How about that?
So the keys I learned/recalled by picking up the book I had forgotten I’d already read — and by grabbing the pen and starting to write again — are that it’s important to just get started, to form a habit of writing every day, and to get back in touch with the kid who did this for no other reason but to have fun.
The doubts that everyone has — “I’m not good enough” and “nobody wants to read my $#!+” — are byproducts of losing that basic focus. I didn’t share a lot of my homemade comics and songs because, once I’d written them, that “what if it’s not good enough” impulse kicked in — but I didn’t stop making those things as long as I was having fun in my little fantasy world.
When you forget to have fun, you lose touch with the point of writing in the first place. You can be writing something dead serious, but if you’re not enjoying the way words weave together and dance with one another, you’ll end up, if not with a dreary dead tome, than at least with a dreary tome on life support.
Recapture the fun, and watch your writing begin to glow again.
I browsed back in my Kindle and found a book called Stop Worrying, Start Writing by Sarah Painter. I was surprised, when I opened it, to find I had closed it last at the 92% mark — meaning I had already read most or all of it. (Update: I later checked my “Books Read” log and found I had read it in October 2020.)
I read to the end and started over, reading the first four chapters until I got to the part where she says that almost every book about productivity — writing or otherwise — eventually gets to the point of telling you to buckle down and just do it — get started.
So here I am practicing my writing. Am I going to go back and convert these handwritten scribblings into a blog post? (Update: Yes, I am. Two posts, in fact.) It’s not as important that I do; the point is to be writing — “writers write” and all that. That’s the point of my daily blogging habit — to ensure that I write something, anything, every day.
“Write anything until you write something.” I’ve had days when I write anything that comes to mind and after two pages I flow into a current that becomes a blog post or a scene for the story/novel. I’ve had days when I have something important to say as soon as I start writing. I’ve had days when I write or draw gibberish until I quit for the day. The thing those days have in common is that I sat down to write.
On the days when I don’t sit down to write, nothing happens. Duh! On the days when I do sit down to write, sometimes nothing happens, but most of the time a little something or a big something happens.
So what is it that keeps me from sitting down to write, some days? It’s when I forget something essential, which I’ll get into on Friday.
Every week Austin sends out a list sharing 10 things he found interesting this week. He is the author of three awesome short books in my collection, Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, andKeep Going, all of which are worth reading and re-reading.
His suggestion to keep a mailing list is not unique. Almost all of the gurus and guru wannabes say a successful independent author ought to keep a simple mailing list for subscribers to know when they have a new book, article, show, etc., and to stay in touch with the list.
I have a short email list, dating back to when I was attempting to generate a Myke Phoenix superhero novelette every month. My early newsletters were called The Astor City Beacon, a faux edition of the website Myke’s alter ego, Paul Phillips, kept up for the people of Astor City.
Since I started blogging daily in August 2020, I have only sent two newsletters to my email list, neither of which makes reference to my daily efforts. I am shocked and pleased to find that I did send out an email on July 31, 2020, and did announce my plan to blog every day through the end of October 2020, my “92-day challenge” that is now on Day 543. So, once, I did exclusively alert my email list to something I was planning, and once, I actually followed through with the plan.
Regular readers know that my lack of follow-through regarding plans is a constant source of frustration to me. One of those plans has been to build that email list and stay in touch with those folks. Instead, I’ve been sort of hiding from them.
“We only have this time, each of us, 70 or 80 years, if we’re lucky. What’s the point of hiding?”
We always talk about resolving stuff at the beginning of a new year, but the most successful resolution I’ve made in the past couple years was back on July 31, 2020, so maybe I’ll make a resolution here on Jan. 24, 2022 (I’m writing this yesterday, of course), to get back in regular (weekly? biweekly? monthly?) contact with my email list. And to bulk up that list. And to have something to say to them that the rest of the world doesn’t know yet, more often than every 543 days or so.