And next, The Imaginary Revolution

Back in 1988 an image jumped into my mind, and I jumped up from whatever it was that I was doing, and I wrote it down:

It’s hard to believe that the brilliant bands of light that sweep across the night sky haven’t always been there. Great poets have written wonderful romantic songs through the years about the effect those gleaming streaks have on hearts young and old — so many songs in so many years that we must be reminded from time to time that, before the imaginary bomb, there were no rings around the Earth.

I had begun foundering around with an idea for a novel called The Imaginary Bomb, but until I wrote that paragraph I didn’t know where to go with it. But now I had an ending — a destination, if you will — and all I had to do was take aim and write the novel that preceded it. Sure enough the story was essentially completed a few weeks later. (Why it then took 20 years to publish is a whole nuther story.)

I tell this anecdote because over the weekend, I wrote the end to The Imaginary Revolution, a story that has been on my mind for about four years or so and which I’ve started and stopped several times but foundered. I even started podcasting the early chapters of the first version in hopes it would motivate me to plow ahead. But still I foundered; I generally knew the whole story but, I now realize, I had no ending, no destination.

I did have a file in my I-Rev folder called “the last chapter,” because based on that earlier experience, I suspected I needed the ending first. But I had a lot of files in my I-Rev folder, including several versions of the opening chapters. I looked through those files over the weekend.

And I realized Sunday morning how the last chapter needs to end. Wow.

It was like, err, a scream of consciousness. Now I can’t wait to go back and fill in everything that happens before the end.

There’s nothing that energizes any project more than having a goal, a destination. Otherwise it’s just a lot of foundering about. Life being a foundering kind of exercise, it’s easy to forget that simple fact.

Where do you think you’re going?

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Answer these 2 questions and own the world

… perhaps not quite the world, but you will definitely own your reader. And if you connect with your reader, you stand a better chance of getting your message across. That’s why we communicate, isn’t it? To convey a message.

You have only seconds to convince the reader to pay attention. In those few seconds you must answer these two questions, or the reader will go no further.

1. Why is this important?

2. Why should I care?

Answer these two questions and own the world. It makes no difference if you’re writing or telling a news story, a headline, ad copy, a press release, the Great American Novel or a grocery list. The person thinking about reading, hearing, watching or otherwise consuming your work needs to know the answers, or you’ve lost him/her.

And the first person you need to convince is you. If it’s not important to you and you don’t care, move on. You’ll never convince your audience.

Know why this is important, and why you should care, and you have begun to create something good, perhaps great.

Occupy your creativity

Each of us is given the power to create our lives. With your mind and your hands, you can create objects of beauty, useful tools, the great American novel, the next Big Thing, and, yes, wealth.

The only limits on this power are the limits you invent: I don’t have the time. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the talent. Some greedy SOB won’t let me. The government won’t let me. Corporate goons won’t let me. Illegal aliens are stealing my opportunity. Union thugs are preventing my progress.

You invented all of those limits, or you bought into the lie that “I can’t.” But you can.

What would you like to create with your mind and your hands? What have you already created? Let the rest of us see.

Create it. Share it. It’s easier than ever to do both.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

The book is ready. Although the “official” launch is about a week away, you can have it now.  If you were one of the folks who volunteered to ready the semifinal draft last month, you will get your hard copy shortly after the launch-launch. Call this a “soft opening.” After a year or so of tinkering and a month or so of hard labor, it’s good to be here and be able to say, “I made this!”

This collection of 15 essays began to form itself into a book when Wally Conger quoted Rhinoceros Success author Scott Robert Alexander’s blog: “No one knows what is going to get your pistons pumping except you. Write your own motivational book! You don’t have to worry about proper sentences, spelling or punctuation. No one is going to read it except you.”

And Wally followed it up with: “Got a motivational book inside of YOU? I bet you do. And maybe someday you’ll be willing to share it with the rest of us.” That was the push that I needed.

I wrote the book I needed to read. After hearing from my test readers, I think it has something to say. I hope you’ll agree!

Now that we’re on the subject, do you have a motivational book inside of YOU? I believe you do. You might want to get started, and there’s no time like now — in fact, there is ONLY now.

Writing like …

At various points in my life, I wanted to write like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Seth Godin, Bruce Springsteen, John Sebastian …

Somewhere along the way while I was trying to write like them, I started to write like Warren Bluhm.