Thursday, May 16, 2013

Journal 5-15-13

Decisions: AKA a huge pile of shit I don’t want to deal with.

Today has been a whirlwind. It might be because I haven’t slept since 9am yesterday morning. It might be because I’m generally unable to control my emotional level. Or it could be some other unforeseen force at work. I dunno. But, I do know that I’m really tired. Lol.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about doing a post like this for a while (two or three weeks, as an example of how fast I keep up with my mind), and since then I’ve kind of been digesting things, looking at the parts of my life that need to be looked at. The review wasn’t good.

Basically, the best thing in my life is and always will be my wife. Mel is the absolute best.

Other than her though, I’m not doing so hot.

I guess I could go with a long list of all the things that have gone wrong, but I’ll skip that. Well… I’ll give you the truncated version.

Degree: useless.
Job: sucks.
Career: nonexistent.
Publication: a far off dream.
Ambition: ?
(I’m probably going to get a tongue lashing about this post. Lol.)

But, yeah, there you go. What I see is wrong with me in one simple list.

And, now I should moan and complain about swirling around in a vast pit of despair. Rolling from one dead end job to another. Living between the mood swings and the obsessions. Just really letting myself soak in all the negative crap that I feel pours out of my ears and eyes and mouth. Yeah, I don’t think you want to listen to that. And, though it goes against how I’ve felt almost all day, I’m feeling kind of upbeat right now. (It might be the fact that I’m getting ready to go to bed.)

I feel the need to try and be positive. And, maybe give a thesis statement or something like that. I’m going to change my life by doing xyz. I’ll talk about all the different plans I have, and blah, blah, blah.

The problem with that is I don’t know how to change my life. I don’t know what path I need to walk down, and I can’t see the road signs. I don’t know what leads to what.

But, then, that’s life isn’t it. We all wander through the fog like that. There’s no instruction manual, no snowflake method to living a life. (And, I really don’t care what anybody says about that.) So, the best thing I can do, I guess, is look at the options and see what puts me where.

1.       Publication: I hate to say it, and to all the people who will disagree with me, but right now I feel like publishing a book is a shot in the dark. I’m halfway through the second draft of my longest and latest novel, and I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out. Calculating the word average from what I have now it’s going to be 20-30k longer than I planned on it being. And, that probably means another draft.

 Which means more time away from getting it on the market.

More time away from getting it published.

 And, so on and so forth.

So, depending on the gods of good fortune in getting a bestseller right off the bat is probably not a good idea. Not only that, but it puts undue stress on the author. I feel like I have to produce a bestseller, because this is the only thing I’m hanging my career on, the welfare of my family, and my ability to put food on the table.

Frankly, luck is a bad idea for that sort of situation.

2.       Going into business: Might sound silly, but I’ve thought about it over the years. Opening my own bookstore, or maybe running a lawn care business (a recent idea), but there’s several problems with that. I don’t have the funds. I don’t have the necessary skill set. I don’t know how to write a business plan. Nor do I know how to run a business. None of the details.

 I think I might, and when I think about my store or service it’s always a huge success. That’s like depending on luck though. Starting a business is hard. It’s uncertain. And, it takes a while to see anything come to fruition (two to six years from what I’ve read).

So, an option for the future, keeping my eye out to learn those necessary skills, and learn how to place value on an object I feel is invaluable or something like that. A future option is viable. A cure for the immediate situation? No. Probably a bad idea to dive into in the current state of things.

3.       School: I’m thinking about going back to school. And, I’m thinking of trying to teach school. Lol. These are actually things I’ve been thinking about for… well, since I got out of college.

The first problem is money.

The second problem is location.

The third problem is time.

The fourth problem… I can’t make up my mind.

Who knew?

There are options, a wealth of options, some might say.

Right now I’m thinking about trying to get into a certificate program or two to learn Medical Billing and Phlebotomy (both pay better than McDonalds, and well, any of the jobs I’ve had in the last five years). So, I’m looking at these programs, and it’s going to be about a year, year and a half before I finish. Not an immediate solution. It’s going to cost somewhere between 20 and 30 grand figuring in tuition and travel and a whole list of other things. Not sure where that money would come from. And, I’d have to drive to Pikeville and back, plus working, plus studying. The thought of the gas prices alone kills me. Yeah, dunno about that one.

I also want to get a Creative Writing MFA. This is accomplishable. I could do a low residency program so that most of my studies would be online and at home. But, a Creative Writing MFA isn’t a guaranteed ticket to publication and international bestsellerdom. That’s going back to shooting on that luck thing.

Then I could go for other masters through an online institution like University of Phoenix. This I could see being doable as well, except for the fact that the two options I’ve looked at are about as sure of a job thing as the MFA. I would like to study psychology, and I could. But their online program encompasses none of the practical and clinical experience. So… that would be almost impossible to find a job in. And, I thought about their education program, and nixed it the first time I talked to one of their reps. They don’t offer that program in West Virginia. Awesome huh?

And, one other problem with the masters. Money. A masters degree is expensive.

So, I’ve thought about skipping the going back to school thing altogether, and using the Transition to Teaching program offered by the West Virginia Board of Education. That one hits a rut too. I graduated from Concord with a 2.1 GPA, and the BOE requires, by law, a 2.5. Doesn’t sound so bad does it?


I managed to mess myself up so bad in school (through a serious set of circumstances I don’t want to relive in this post) that I’ve got more negative points than positive points. I talked to the registrar at Concord yesterday, and it would take 45 credit hours with a 4.0 GPA to raise mine to the 2.5 I’d need. Basically, if I take the certificate courses (about 48 credit hours) and aced them, I’d have the GPA I’d need to go through with Transition to Teaching.

Lots of fun there.

I was going to try to keep this positive but that went straight to hell. Didn’t it?

4.       Ambition: I don’t know where it went.

I wanted a lot out of life. In college I had a quadruple major, and it fell to pieces. I’ve tried to sell a novel before, and short stories, and I’ve seen nothing out of that. And, we’ve already talked about the business and school things.

It’s like I’m wading in this pool that I can’t get out of.

I’m stuck. And, I don’t know what to do to get out. (The whole point of this post.)

I want to do a lot of things. I want to sit at home and tip-tap the little keys on my keyboard, making up stories that would scare the pants off the strongest man in the world. I want to play video games all day long, and not have to worry about where the money is coming from. I want to feel better, both physically and emotionally. I want to be able to understand and coexist with what is wrong with me. And, I want to get rid of the stress all these decisions are bringing down on my head.

Realistic right?

But, I think I might have a plan. I just need to light a fire under my ass to get it going.

The internet is the ninth wonder of the world (right behind Andre the Giant), and it is filled with opportunity. One just has to be able to see that opportunity, and understand how to make it work to turn a little bit of a profit.

I can see that opportunity.

I can understand how to make it work.

I can whore myself and my work out. I can write blogs, a personal one like this, and then a couple on those sights that specialize in ad sharing or whatever it’s called. I can do the same on youtube, though since I’m not funny I’d probably have to stick to making homemade audio books. I can even self-publish some of my work for free through amazon, ibooks, and smashwords. I’d be able to set the prices to what I want, and use my blogs and other social media tools to sell them.

I can build an audience! And, that’s what I need. I need to get my work out there, to build an audience. To make myself look good to the companies I want to publish my books.

I understand all of this.

But, I’m lacking something.

Follow through.

As you can no doubt tell my blog has become something that is infrequently updated. Insert another example here. I just don’t know why. But, I’m trying to work through it. I’m trying to build good habits. Walking. Writing everyday no matter what it’s about. Meditation and the study of Zen Buddhism to clear all the clutter out of my brain. These are the habits I want to establish.


It’s just like with school.

And, with the businesses.

None of it’s an immediate solution. Everything I talked about takes time, and I feel like I don’t have the time. I need it now, because I feel like I’m detracting from the quality of life my wife should have. That’s why it’s hard for me to make these decisions. I can’t see which one is going to be the fastest route to success. So, what I really need to decide to do is understand that there are no immediate solutions. I need to understand that these things take time, and I have to be willing to give it that time.

Mel tells me to live one day at a time. And, I like to make a joke about writing; you write a novel one word at a time. But, I’m not willing to allow that line of thought into my head.

My decision needs to be to let that idea in. I need to learn patients. I need to learn discipline. Thus the study of Zen Buddhism, and the habit building. The door has to be opened somehow.

Anywho, I’m going to bed. G’nite taters.


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