The Happy Path

Lately I’ve been steeped in the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. I’m reading it, slowly and deliberately, one verse per night, and letting the wisdom sink in.  I’ve read the Tao Te Ching many times before but it’s never resonated with me like this. There’s such a infinite wisdom in this book I can see how it’s survived thousands of years. The message is so good, so poignant, so useful to humanity that it’s stood the test of time.

I’ve been doing my usual year-end reflection and have been thinking a lot about my writing, mainly the snail’s pace in which my career has grown. Many times I’ve asked myself why I haven’t achieved the level of success I’ve wished for. I’ve been working at my craft for more than two decades and each time I hit a wall and feel like giving up my psyche has always offered up a myriad of excuses:

You haven’t met the right contact;

There’s too much competition;

It’s impossible to make a living at writing;

Facebook is severely limiting my outreach;

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

These excuses are falsehoods that, once I climb from the mire of self-pity, eventually allow me to justify continuing down a path that isn’t working out.  Yes, I receive great joy from my work, there’s no denying that, but one thing the Tao Te Ching has taught me to do is step outside myself and look at things objectively.  When I do this I see the truth, my work is just not good enough. Admitting this is an amazingly freeing and cleansing experience. If my writing was good enough my words would resonate with people to the point they would catch fire. I would be doing what I love for a living.

This very moment I’m taking full ownership of my life, both the successes and the failures. Like James Altucher has said many times before, there are no longer any gatekeepers. This is very important to realize because when you do you can’t blame anyone but yourself.  I’m totally responsible for my own happiness and success.

My second novel, Truth Is Stranger, will be done by June, a series of short stories called, Embrace The Wobble will be published shortly after that, and I’m actively seeking people interested in making my trilogy of novels into films.

Indentured Solitude, my latest short story, is the best fiction I’ve ever written. I know I can do this. I see that all of the struggles and life experiences I’ve been through have made my writing better. I’m going to continue to learn, continue to walk down my happy path, and continue to write.

A few other things the Tao has taught me is: 1. everything happens in its own time, when it’s meant to; and 2. we must act but detach ourselves from results of those actions.

2016, like any year, will be filled with the usual ups and downs but this year I refuse to see myself through the lens of any falsehoods, any excuses will be hunted to the point of extinction. In the New Year, and every year thereafter, I’m going to work harder than ever before at my craft until my words absolutely catch f*cking fire. There’s no other way.

Until then, my head and heart will be completely in my work, I will try to see things as they are and not how I wish them to be, and my nose will be trained for that first sweet whiff of smoke.

Happy New Year all!  Thank you all for the wonderful support and ideas.  May 2016 bring you truth and may that truth lead you to the success you seek.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, they seem half-hearted. Resolutions can be charming and fun but really amount to only inspirational buckshot launched into the air, willy nilly, when the clock strikes midnight. Goals, on the other hand I totally believe in and are all-powerful. Goals are our antidote to the days of our lives slipping through our fingers. Goals are like a highly trained sniper…calm, focused, and purposeful. Goals allow us to accomplish incredible things, really most anything we wish.

I can honestly say that I’ve had few goals that haven’t been achieved if I’ve chased them with real intent. Believe me when I say this…I’m not special, anyone can do this. The true secret to success when pursuing your goals is the quality of your intent. It also helps if you share your goals with as many people as possible. This creates a large body of cheerleaders and mentors that help to hold you accountable and keep you on track.

With that being said, here it goes, following are my goals for 2015:

1. Grow my readership on social media to 10,000 readers (or more) before the end of 2015. I will do this by producing high quality content that entertains as well as adds value to people’s lives. I want to continue to share everything I am learning every step of the way with my readers as I grow my publishing base. Reason being? I receive as much (if not more) in terms of inspiration and knowledge from my readers than I could ever give to them. I want to create a blueprint for others to follow. You can play an integral role in this goal by helping to spread the word about any of my writing you’ve connected with. The tiny (but mighty) SHARE button on Facebook is like gold to the indie author. Sharing of author pages and posts is one of the only effective ways left to scale your audience on social media;

2. Finish the first draft of my second novel, Truth Is Stranger by the end of May with a targeted release by Fall of 2015. I will use the NaNoWriMo template as a model (scaled to my personal schedule), I go into detail about how to do this in my recent book on writing, One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author;

3. Monetize my website with Google Adsense to create another revenue stream. I’ve been thinking about this for years but have never gotten around to it. Monetizing is an easy way for creatives to make more money by doing what they love. I don’t care about money. To me money is just a means to an end but this will free up more of my time to create and to achieve goal #4;

4. Travel overseas. I’ve been an aspiring world-traveler since my earliest memory. Other places and cultures have always fascinated me. Wanderlust courses, like a drug, through my veins. Nothing to me enhances your life or provides a greater education than experiencing other cultures. I plan to get some of that education in 2015. I don’t care where but my wife and I will get started. Time waits for no one; and

5. Learn a second language. In the past I’ve dabbled in learning both Mandarin Chinese and French but haven’t pursued mastering these languages with any vigor. In 2015 I will learn to speak French and then we’ll see where it goes from there.

This list might seem lofty but my last few years have taught me that absolutely nothing is unattainable. I’ve seen the following quote in no fewer than a million memes over the past few days but it rings true with me, it reads, “Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book.” I am totally committed to making 2015 a breathtaking adventure. I’d be grateful if you stayed along with me for the ride! Much love, as always.

~Eric Vance Walton~

About The Author

Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, poet, aspiring world traveler, and tea junkie. He invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” his Facebook Author Page for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects. Eric’s new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author recently charted at #7 in the Amazon Kindle Store and is available on Amazon in print or as an ebook.