Just Before The Dawn

I’ve been in this business longer than I care to think about. If I think too much about how many years of my life I’ve been pursuing the goal of becoming a full-time writer I sometimes get depressed. Up until just a couple of years ago I didn’t even have a real plan, I was only a dreamer and the dream didn’t have teeth. It’s good to dream but that’s only one element of what it takes to get you there. Recently just such a moment of depression descended on me. My sales had hit a plateau; there were no new opportunities to speak of. It only lasted a few hours but it was a gut wrenching feeling that this was as big as my dream would ever become. I feared my fifteen minutes were over.

Then I remembered that I’d felt this a few times before and usually when I did a breakthrough was on the other side of that dark night. What I’ve found is the closer I get to achieving that next burst of exponential growth in my writing career the more seems to be working against me. I’ve learned from talking to others who are trying to achieve a dream similar to mine that this experience isn’t unique.

The challenges can crop up from a variety of places…the news, envious people, and, yes, even my own mind. All these challenges need to do to be successful in derailing you is to plant that seed of doubt and it will grow into a dream killing monster. But, you know what? None of that matters once your mind is made up and my mind was made up a couple of years ago. I am a writer. I will do this for a living while traveling the world with my wife, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures.

The most effective way out and on to the next plateau begins with deciding to just focus solely on what you have control over. I know I have control over my mind. Most often I’ve learned getting out of this kind of slump requires a simple shift in mindset. Think about it, anything can seem difficult or even impossible if you’ve made your mind up that it is.

The secret is to make up your mind that your goal is attainable, not just attainable but easy to achieve. This isn’t fooling yourself, well maybe a little, but this Jedi-like mind trick fills you with such confidence and positive energy that I believe you attract opportunities and people that can help. The truth is most of us can’t do this alone and that’s okay. Build a team of helpers who are geniuses in their particular field (marketing, editing, etc.) You will be simply unstoppable with an army of experts behind you.

Whenever find yourself in a funk such as the one I just described ask yourself these three things:

1. What do I really want?

2. Why don’t I already have what I want?

3. What do I need to do to get what I want?

To answer these questions as honestly as you possibly can gives your dream teeth. In my case, my most limiting factor is always inside my own head. The mind is quite good at self-sabotage by peppering your inner dialogue with negative statements like, “This is going to be a real challenge” as well as countless other statements that begin with those two dreaded words, “I can’t…”. Negativity is pure poison and will keep you lost in delusion.

The truth is you CAN do this and if you want it badly enough YOU WILL. The other option is to find yourself right where you are in ten years from now doing the same things in the same way. Stay with me and we’ll build our dreams together. Create a strategy. When you make it through to your next day’s dawn I’ll be there to greet you. Maybe we can have a beer or a nice glass of cabernet at some quaint Parisian café and swap stories.

In just a few short days from ground zero I have renewed hope. I also have a few new and exciting irons in the fire. I can tell you from experience that what I speak of works and this sunrise, it’s such a beautiful thing.

I wish you the very best,

~Eric Vance Walton~

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7 Secrets For Overcoming Writers Block

Writer’s block is one of the most frustrating afflictions that a writer can suffer from. It can cause unparalleled stress from project delays, missed deadlines, it can even cause you to second guess your talent. It is safe to say that everyone has suffered from writer’s block at some point in their lives. Studies have shown that under extreme stress the human brain shifts control from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system, which is the part of the nervous system associated with…[Read More]

Spit Shine

Old towels torn 

into even strips

and a dented

tin of Kiwi, black

you turn the 

silver key

and wherever you sit

becomes an

esoteric space,

an escape from

irrelevance 

and servitude

keep that towel

a’ snappin,

spit shine

long ago a drill sergeant 

taught you the trick,

a sure way to heal 

the sickness you feel

so you may pass 

through the fright 

of any long, dark night 

keep that towel

a’ snappin,

spit shine

so polish away 

the grime

into a pride

you can see 

your face in

you’ve done it 

all your life 

transformed

trash into treasure,

boys into men

hold high your head

defeat has taught 

you to know victory

rejection has taught you love

when the world doesn’t 

always fit you like a glove

keep that towel

a’ snappin,

spit shine.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Alarm Clock Dawn

Focus is hazed 

as wing-tip 

dreams come calling

softly, persistently 

those starched seams of 

material obsession

trite expressions 

that seem to echo 

so endlessly

I’ve left it all behind, this time, 

left it all behind in my mind

the alarm clock dawn methodical 

in its wringing, starving, stealing time 

so stealthily that you hardly notice 

until one day you wake up faded, 

to a jaded, gaunt and hungry hue

I’ve left it all behind, this time,

left it all behind in my mind

So this is how it feels to be free? 

To be set adrift like some Coltrane riff 

when need’s an endless song

can’t tell you where I’ll be tomorrow 

I may be drawn back into the yawn 

of the alarm clock dawn,

balance is my only hope 

to end up somewhere 

in the middle.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Beyond Words

Blessed beyond words
truth is like a bird
with a broken wing,
it cannot fly
but can surely sing

this song calls to me,
the inner voice
of muse speaks
volumes, stitching together
fractured moments of my life
and giving each of them worth

these words bubble up gently
from a place, cool and
deep inside of us all
that is immortal and wise,
their warmth and their light
wash over me to cleanse my
soul and remind me that
in a world the reeks of harshness
we are never fools to be kind

all who seek solace will one day find
in each day a reason to keep smiling
in spite of the world and all its beguiling ways
for it is true, we are blessed beyond words.

~Eric Vance Walton~

How To Achieve The Impossible in Five Simple Steps

How can I possibly make a living at my passion? This question has nagged away at me for most of my adult life. Along the way I’ve learned that discovering how to make a living at your passion is the Holy Grail for every writer, every artist, really mostly everyone on the planet.

To me the idea of making a living with my writing was a goal that’s both a little too complex and vaguely defined. Maybe this is why so few of us ever reach itl. After being in this business of writing for two decades I’ve learned it’s much more effective to first take the time to contemplate and define what success actually means to you.

Step 1 – DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY

Let’s begin to break this impossibility down into more manageable pieces. The first thing I would like to ask you to do is to imagine that you’ve won the lottery, this is a daydream so dream big…you’ve won $100,000,000. Now envision that it’s exactly one year later, you’ve bought and experienced everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’ve gifted everything that you want to give away. Now, describe your perfect day. That’s it. Take a moment and write this perfect day down on paper.

A perfect day is easy for anyone to imagine and is not even that difficult to live out. Invest in yourself and use a paid time off from your day job to actually live out your perfect day. After you’ve done it commit to memory how amazing it feels. This one day is a small swatch of your future that you can now scale up to multiple days, weeks, months, etc. Also, if you discover your art is a major component of your perfect day continue to Step 2. If not, your art is a probably a hobby and, by all means, continue to enjoy it but it’s probably not something you would want to do as a career.

Step 2 – BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTHY

You must convince yourself that not only is your dream is achievable but that you are worthy of it. This takes guts. The universe will test your devotion to your art, I promise you this.  Hurdles will be placed before you, people will disappoint you but remember these are only lessons to learn from. Don’t even think about starting down this path unless you’re prepared for some extremely hard work.

Step 3 – THE REALIZATION

Some people never learn the lesson that money doesn’t bring happiness (neither does poverty) until they’ve spent the best years of their life chasing it. Don’t waste that precious time. Decide how much money would you really need to earn annually at your craft to survive and add a little cushion to that figure. Mostly people are surprised by how different this number is than what they assumed. Write this figure down and then read on to Step 3.

Step 4 – ATTRACT TRUE FANS

Kevin Kelly has come up with a philosophy called, “1,000 True Fans”.  This philosophy, in his own words is, “A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”

Although it sounds simple enough on the surface it’s not but it is achievable with hard and honest work. 1,000 true fans don’t equate to 1,000 likes on your Facebook page, far from it. In my personal experience true fans make up a very small percentage of social media followers. For me it’s around 5% but I’m not sure if this is typical. True fans are more than customers, they are people who, through the magic of chemistry, you’ve made a lasting and meaningful connection with. It’s wonderful when it happens. These are patrons, people who enjoy your work enough to pay money for it, not once or twice but regularly.

This 1,000 True Fans philosophy is priceless because it provides a scalable target for us to aim for. I think it’s also the missing piece in a lot of creative people’s plan. Once you earn these 1,000 true fans the number will begin grow organically through the best advertising medium there is…word of mouth.

Step 5 – BE ONE WITH YOUR ART

You must live and breathe your art (whatever your art happens to be).  It’s who you are, your passion and calling.  It is embedded in your DNA so be one with it.  Get used to the idea that you must throw your entire being into your art every single day.  If you’re doing it right you feel as though you shut out the entire world and even lose yourself during those intense sessions of creating.

From the very minute you start on this path you will be on your way towards achieving what you had convinced yourself was an impossible feat. Coincidentally, and quite hysterically, as I was walking to my car typing this step out on my iPhone I suddenly noticed my hands were going numb from the cold. It was 18 degrees and I was so into writing this that I forgot to put on my gloves.

———————————————————–

If you put these 5 steps into practice with true conviction I promise you will end up closer to the life you wish to achieve. We, as creative people, are so lucky have been born in this time. It’s easier now than ever for us to live our dreams. The world is shifting and a growing number of people are consciously seeking something more than a job that pays the bills, they want a truly meaningful and fulfilling life experience. I wish you luck and blessings in reaching your goal and I thank you for having the courage to pursue it. This is how we’ll heal ourselves and the world.

INDIE AUTHORS, for many more tips such as these please read my book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way As An Indie Author, available in paperback and eBook formats.

Eric invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects.