Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Nobility of Silence

Check out this interesting post about meditation and mindful eating.

The Nobility of Silence

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nick's Writing Blog: myWritersCircle Prize Flash Fiction Contest

Nick's Writing Blog: myWritersCircle Prize Flash Fiction Contest

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nick's Writing Blog: KindleFever - Congratulations to The Magnificent Seven!

Nick's Writing Blog: KindleFever - Congratulations to The Magnificent Seven!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Giant Step in the Right Direction

I’ll write tomorrow, never today
One day I’ll walk the Milky Way,
One day, some day—
But never today.

I quit writing four months ago. Quit completely. Cold turkey. I just couldn’t take it anymore: the pernicious self-doubt, the constant criticism, the self-sabotage, the panic at the thought of starting my next writing project and the despair of mediocrity.

So I decided to do something else. Surely, I could find something that was less frustrating and depressing. I decided to learn Pali, an ancient Indian language and to become a yoga teacher. Good decision. Wise, sensible, practical decision. I patted myself on my back and so did my friends.

Of course I was wrong and they were wrong. Writing is tough, more difficult than anything else but giving up writing is tougher.

I did move onto other things. The study of Pali. Yoga. Meditation. And the truth is I felt even more unhappy than before and life felt even more meaningless and empty.

I understood the truth of Gibran’s words:
“But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

However, I wrote almost daily. Three morning pages. Freewriting. Journaling. Hundreds of words. But for my eyes only. An audience of one. Safe from judgment, embarrassment and criticism.

And I still read blogs and books. Copyblogger. Men with Pens. Sean Platt. C. Hope Clark. Rex Stout. Tony Buzan.

Last week, I received a review copy of Jeff Goins’s ebook, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)I gained two key insights from the book:

  1. I have to believe in my abilities as a writer before I can expect my audience to believe in me.
  2. I have to take this writing thing seriously. I have to turn pro. I have to face the fear of failure and defeat it. No one else is going to do it for me.

The Damn Fine Words Writing Course Contest
Yesterday, through a meandering, serendipitous route, I reached the Men With Pens site (via Andy Fogarty’s Thrive site) and read again about the Damn Fine Words writing course. I had read all about it when James launched it the first time and thought not only that I couldn't afford it but also that I didn’t deserve to do the course.

I read all the details of the course yet again, especially the lines where James said that this course was her baby, her legacy, the ONE thing she really wanted to do, the ONE thing she really cared about.

It struck me then that the one thing I wanted was to be a good writer, the best that I could be. Whatever I wanted to achieve, I wanted to achieve through my writing. I wasn’t really interested in anything else: not in being a millionaire or having a rockstar lifestyle.

I realized the reason for my despair and frustration as a writer was because it was not enough to invest time and effort and to have passion and purpose. Equally or more important is to invest money to develop my skills if I am truly serious about becoming the best writer that I could be. And it’s not enough to buy a few $47 or $97 ebooks or courses. To become the best, I need to join the best online writing course.

I read about the first Damn Fine Words contest a few months ago. I thought it was an incredibly generous offer. All I had to do was to show up and I stood a good chance of getting entry to the best online writing course. But I felt so utterly defeated and depressed that I didn’t post an entry the last time even though I had nothing to lose. That’s why success isn't just being in the right place at the right time but also in the right frame of mind.

I thought that I had lost my one chance of joining her course but James is conducting the  same contest again. This time I am posting my entry and hoping to gain a full scholarship to the Damn Fine Words contest. That would be super.

However, I’m going to do her course anyway. In spite of my frustration with my writing, I have made about $600 by writing for sites such as Constant Content and Suite. (The one bright spot in my dismal writing career is that perfect strangers were willing to pay for my articles.) So I’m almost halfway there already. And if Andy Fogarty continues his win-win-win offer for the Damn Fine Words course, that will make it easier for me. So I plan to join the Damn Fine Words Writing Course, anyway, sooner or later. Whenever that day dawns, it will be not a day too soon.

The one thing that inspires me the most is the incredible generosity of people like James, Brian Clark, Johny B. Truant and Sean Platt. I am inspired that James is offering this scholarship for the second time. So if she chooses me and I win this contest, I plan to sponsor someone else in future for this course.

I haven’t figured out my mission or long term goals but I expect this course to help me with that. I know I’m on the right path and I’m taking it one step at a time. My first goal is to join this course because i know it will be a giant step in the right direction.

It's that simple!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

You are a Writer – So Start Acting Like One!

“Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want.” ~Robert G. Allen

What do you say when people ask you what you do?
Do you reply, “Uh, I’m an aspiring writer.”?
If you do, you are in trouble.
It means you don’t believe you are a real writer.
And if you don’t believe in yourself, will anyone else believe in you?

However, there’s someone who can help you to make the transition from “I’m a wannabe writer” to “I am a writer”. His name is Jeff Goins.

In his 100-page ebook, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Jeff has laid out a systematic plan of action you can use to launch your writing career.

Drawing on his hard-won experience, Jeff gives detailed advice on how to:
  • get started
  • find your voice
  • build a platform
  • establish your own brand and
  • market your work using multiple channels of connection

Jeff’s advice is refreshingly unconventional and effective. If you always wanted to be a writer or are struggling to get started, check out his book here (not an affiliate link).

Here is my favorite excerpt from You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One):

“When I started writing, I had all sorts of anxiety. Who was I, pretending to be a writer? How could I possibly call myself one when I hadn’t even written a real book, hadn’t been published or paid for my work?

As I began to pursue my craft, I learned something important. In fact, I’m still learning it.

Writing is mostly a mind game. It’s about tricking yourself into becoming who you are. If you do this long enough, you begin to believe it. And pretty soon, you start acting like it."

And here is an exercise you can apply right away:

“Take a moment and write this down. Do it as an act of faith, of believing before you see. Say it before you feel it.

This isn’t positive thinking mumbo jumbo; it’s affirming something deep inside of you that you’ve been resisting. It’s time to submit, to surrender. Are you ready? Write it now before this sense of urgency leaves you. Grab a pen and paper — make this a tactile experience — and write the following words:

I am a writer.

Good. Now do it tomorrow and the next day. Continue this practice for the rest of your life until you believe it. And then keep doing it as a means of practice and ritual.

Because there will always be doubt. Always anxiety and second-guessing.

Welcome to the life of an artist.”

That’s what Jeff did. He told everyone he was a writer. He put it on his Facebook page and included it in his email signatures. He wrote that he was a writer wherever he could. 

Guess what? He found that it worked. He started to believe he was a writer and more importantly, he started acting like one. As a result, his writing improved and reinforced his belief in himself.

It worked for Jeff. It will work for you too. 

Remember what Einstein said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

So try this today:
If anyone asks you what you do, look her in the eye and say, "I am a writer."

Check out  You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) here.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of the You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) ebook from Jeff Goins. This has not influenced my review in any way.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I've Won My First Contest in 2011

I woke up today morning and the first thing I did was to fire up my computer and go to the C.P. Anthologies blog. 

Thankfully, I was in time to submit my entry for the contest. I noticed that no one else had submitted an entry yet, which was surprising, since it was such a fun contest and it was free to enter:

Anyway, the rules were:
In 75 words or less, pitch me the SyFy channel’s next hit movie.  What does it take to be SyFy, you wonder?  Well have a look (at your own risk, of course):

The first rule of SyFy is to always base your movie around an altered animal as shown in Mega Piranha.

Or an altered “thing” as shown in Behemoth.

The second rule of SyFy is to hire the best talent available within a three meter radius of yourself as done in Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.
The third rule of SyFy is that skin is optional as shown in Triassic Attack.

So, I decided not to procrastinate any more and after rejecting pythons, giant cobras, dragons, dinosaurs,  flying sharks and locusts, I decided that the creepiest threat would be from 20-feet big man-eating cockroaches.
So I submitted my pitch just a couple of hours before the deadline and guess what!
I won the contest.
To read all the gory details, go to:

(It's worth your while, because C.P.'s post announcing me as the winner is absolutely hilarious.)
Anyway, the moral of the story is be proactive and submit entries to every contest - especially the ones that don't ask for an entry fee.

So, cheers to C.P. for giving me the chance to defeat my inertia, my resistance, my anti-muse and many thanks.

Every victory on this path is sweet, and today's was very sweet, indeed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haiku Examples

Haiku of Loneliness:

So alone without you
in a world full of people--
lonely like us both. 

Haiku of Indecision:

I cannot make up
my mind; do I want to be
a writer or monk?

Haiku on Contemplation on Death:

The story of my
life could be funny, touching,
inspiring and short!

Haiku of Bigotry

Dangerous colors--
fools want to paint the rainbow
in their own color. 

Haiku of Half-Regrets:

The story of my 
life is not as fun as I
think it could have been.