Today’s Writer Wednesday post is a little different. I am not sharing writing or blogging advice this week. Instead, this humorous, and entirely too accurate, post brought me both fond memories and more than one laugh-out-loud moment. You need more levity in your life. We all do. Read and enjoy! – Wolfe
The male friend is one of the rarest human subspecies in the world. More often than not, he goes unnoticed, only emerging from his man-cave to battle in the savage common ground known as the workplace. His travel is limited. He is often antisocial. Height, weight, and hairiness can vary from beast to beast. He hibernates often.
One cannot help but reminisce this time of year. The end of the year makes you think of everything that happened and that you did not achieve in the ending year. The new year entices you with endless possibilities. This year I am thinking a lot about books and writing. I made the serious, and somewhat terrifying, step this year of quitting my day job. My goal is for 2018 to be all about growing with my passion and creating new income streams as a result.
Quite unrelated in many respects, I find myself thinking a lot about the books that have shaped me up to this point. I have always been a book lover. The first chapter book I read was Charlotte’s Web. I believe I was in first grade. I cannot remember exactly how old I was. What I do remember vividly is how excited I was to be transformed into a new world and the intoxicating power of words. I sat on my bed missing dinner and whatever my family was watching on television, completely engrossed in the world opening around me.
I was utterly devastated when I finished the book. Everyone knows how it ends, but as a child I was not prepared to deal with such a catastrophe. At the same time, I was overjoyed at the accomplishment of reading such a big book by myself. I ran around the house telling my family what I had done and that I was going to be a writer. I began writing that day and have never stopped.
While Charlotte’s Web was my first, my favorite children’s chapter books were the Chester Cricket and His Friends Series by George Selden and Garth Williams. A profound mentor and teacher read The Cricket in Times Square to my class with the intention of instilling a love for writing and for reading. I do not know if any of the other students were touched, but I was deeply moved. I hated for the story to end. To my great delight, my teacher told us that there were additional books that carried on the story. A sequel book? I had never imagined such a wonderful prospect before.
I read as many of the books as I could find, which was not as easy then in a rural elementary school. My love of reading was cemented. I could not help but envision the wonderful series of books I would ultimately write.
Writing a series has always been my intention. As I grew older, and then older still, I have struggled with focus. Even when I start a story I love, such as when writing Getting Home, I find myself telling only a finite part of the character’s life. I can only tell one story before my mind is off chasing another character. Still, the desire is strong with me to this day. I am rereading the Anne of Green Gables books in an attempt to remind myself why I love series books so much. I also am hoping to teach myself that not every part of a protagonist’s story must have huge, earth altering events. It is good to write about some of the mundane events that provide additional color and substance to the tale.
As you can see from this simple blog post, my mind tends to run in multiple directions at the same time. My intention was to write about The Cricket in Times Square and how that series changed my view of reading and writing. My mind had other ideas and so this wandering post was formed.
All three of the books I have mentioned are excellent. If you have children, I highly recommend all of them. Although I love them all, I must be partial. The Chester Cricket Series is and always will be my favorite.
Did you have a series that you particularly loved or that your children love today? If so, please leave your comments below.
If we keep our minds open, everything that happens in our lives teaches us valuable life lessons. Great things, bad things, mediocre things – each has its own type of life lesson to teach.
I’ve Learned is a life lesson series born from little scraps of paper I have scribbled on and collected over the year. In each post, the main lesson is discussed with real life examples from my personal life.
The series kicks off here with Lesson 1. It’s an important life lesson to learn. If everyone tried to #BeTheGood, so many other painful lessons would not be needed.
Lesson 1: I’ve learned to be the good I want to see in the world. #BeTheGood
Seeing The Wrong
As much as I try to be a good and positive person, I cannot help but admit that I have some character flaws. I love to rant, to give advice and to point out mistakes. Well, really the last one is more of an obsession/compulsion rather than something I love.
Ask anyone that knows me well, I tend to be too vocal about the wrongs I see around me. I’m the crazy guy sitting near you at a conference or seminar. When the speaker mispronounces a word, I’m the one that has to say it correctly outline.
You know me. You will likely turn and give me a disapproving. On the inside, though, you are applauding me internally because you also caught the mistake.
Disclosure:This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you.
Set The Example
Life has taught me that the best way to affect real change in the world around me is to set the example. Telling someone to do something can be effective. Showing them how to do it makes it more likely they will later do it themselves.
Many Christians will regard this as the Golden Rule, and surely it does match Jesus’ life lesson words found in the Bible at Matthew 7:12 –
“All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must do to them.”
What would the world look like if everyone applied this one simple rule? I mean really applied. There would be no political parties tearing each other apart. Race would never be an issue. Mass shootings and terrorism would not exist.
I can’t help but think that if this one simple rule were followed, the world would be a very different place.
Look through the news headlines on any given day. Imagine how the stories would have changed if this was applied by all.
Hearing and Doing
We hear the Golden Rule repeated often. Sometimes we are sitting attentively on Sunday morning while the Bible is read. At other times, the message is conveyed in popular films likePay It Forward or the Love Comes Softlyseries or shows likeWhen Calls the Heart. (All three are excellent if you haven’t seen them already. I especially like When Calls the Heart.)
How, though, can you and I really apply this concept?
One way to apply this life lesson is to lookfor ways to help others.
Are you walking in or out of a store or business? If others are nearby, take a moment and hold the door for them.
Do you see the older woman loading her car with groceries? Offer to return her shopping cart for her.
Do you have a friend suffering a need but unwilling to ask for help? Give some help anyway.
Creating positive change in the world is about action and not intention. Yes, it is important to make sure we are not doing bad things or making the lives of other worse. Equally important, though, is to make sure we are actively seeking ways to make the world a better place.
Start Where You Are
Look around the area you are right now, whether at home or in public somewhere. Is there something on the floor or ground that needs to be picked up and thrown away? Is there someone nearby that is having a bad day and needs a smile or a hug? (It’s probably not a good idea to go around hugging strangers, but you get the general idea.)
At home, is there something that needs to be done, like taking out the garbage, washing the dishes or doing some laundry? Even if it is not something that it your responsibility, #BeTheGood and do something to help out.
One of the things that had made my dear wife the most happy was when she came home after a long day and found I had surprised her by making dinner or finishing the laundry. Those gifts meant more to her than any jewelry, flowers or chocolate ever did.
Of course, none of us can force others to change. Any attempt at change will only be temporary if it is not in the individual’s heart. So, I challenge each of you as I challenge myself, #BeTheGood you want to see in the world. Do something today to make someone’s life better or easier.
Wouldn’t it be great if #BeTheGood were the biggest trending hashtag of the year? And wouldn’t it be even better if that was because people were not only using the hashtag, but more importantly, were creating change in the world by the good they are doing? After you have done your good for today, come back and leave a comment of your experience to encourage the rest of us to also #BeTheGood.
It has been a really crazy week with learning a new job. I have not had a chance to format anything of my own for posting. Instead, I am sharing this poem by Maggie C. I stumbled upon it this week when I should have been preparing my own blog posts. I really appreciate the message. We only may be “one spoke” but we are all important. Enjoy! And thank you to Maggie for writing quality content so I did not have to this week.
I am but one spoke in the wheel. I carry only a small portion of the load. The wheel could function without me. It sustains itself as a whole. I am but one spoke in the wheel. I do my part. I carry my share of the load. I hold strong. We are but spokes […]
The one thing I love most about blogging is that I am constantly being presented with new and exciting ideas – ideas that would never have entered my head in a million years. Are you dealing with writer’s block? For my Writer Wednesday post this week I am sharing what may well be the solution you need. Click through and read the post, give it a try, and come back to this page and share your results. I look forward to hearing from you.
Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Happy Monday! Not to start on a down note, but the last week has been especially hard for me. I was still doing a little consulting work for the financial services company I left in December. That filled up all five days of last week. I have set up new Pinterest and Instagram accounts. I am trying to get a freelance writing and virtual assistant business off the ground. I am working on two novels. And I have been reading excessively on everything from blogging tips and SEO to work-at-home business set-up and the two books I am currently reviewing. Silly me, I thought I was going to be less busy when I quit my traditional job.
Over the past few weeks I have mentioned how I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Who needs sleep when there is reading to be done? I have visited hundreds of blogs, marketing sites and retailers geared toward bloggers and writers. Yes, at times I can be a little obsessive, but I really do expect my writing and blog to be my only source of income at some point in the near future. It is important to me to have as much wisdom as I can get.
With all these site visits, I found myself getting discouraged. There are a lot of great and well-written sites. Many are aesthetically pleasing with excellent graphic images and engaging narratives. They have given me several ideas for updating this site in the coming weeks. What was discouraging to me, though, was the overwhelming abundance of “Buy Me” links and “Get this FREE with your email subscription.” We all must pay the bills. I do have an email capture on some of my pages and hope to develop a large email following in time. I am not currently selling any products, except for my book, Getting Home, on Amazon. Hence, the need to add affiliate links to keep this blog up and running.
I dove into several of the sites that were most compelling. Some have free information that they send you over the course of days or weeks. I am probably getting 30-40 emails a day now and at this rate will never read them all in my lifetime. Most want you to buy something, and generally from the very first page. I admire that. If someone worked hard on putting together an eBook or report that can help me, I expect them to get paid for their time and effort. However, some of these eBooks, though only 30-100 pages, are $80-$100 or more. Ouch. Did I happen to mention that I am no longer working and have NO INCOME at this point?
A few of the posts were so well written and the site so attractive that I did purchase a couple of said eBooks. I am getting a lot of good information out of most of the ones I did purchase.
Still, as great as these purchases are, the onslaught of daily emails from each site and the constant, “Now you must buy more if you want the rest of the story,” has really been a sucker punch to me. I started with zero income, spent quite a bit at this point, and now I need to buy more? And with no guarantee that what is in your next eBook is going to benefit me at all?
At the same time that I exploring all these sites, I was corresponding with another writer about writing a review for his fiction book. I noticed it was available through Kindle Unlimited. I decided to go ahead and sign up for the free 30-day trial, so I could get his book instantly and get to work reading it.
A few days later, and by mistake or providence, I am not sure, but I stumbled upon one of the books I had almost purchased from another site. And it was also available on Kindle Unlimited. I clicked on it and started reading it immediately. I then grabbed another and another. To date I have read a number of books, in addition to the one book I signed up for in the first place, and I am still in my 30-day free trial. I am going to list some of my favorites at the end of this post.
Yes, I said free
Now before I start getting negative comments about encouraging my readers to get books through Kindle Unlimited rather than directly from the author blog, let me explain. First, please try to relax. Yes, initially the author of said eBook might get a lower royalty through Amazon. The author only gets paid for the pages of the book that is read. On the plus side, if the reader enjoys the book and gives a positive review, that may move hundreds or thousands of other Amazon customers to try your book. I did not see much for reviews on most of the blogs I visited, and the ones that did have reviews, there was no way to determine if they were legit or written by the blog owner.
It is also my thought process that if I read your book through Kindle and enjoy it, I may be more likely to try another of your books. If I spend too much money on a book with little to no value on your website, well then not only will I not buy any more books, I am also the type of person that will never visit your blog or social media posts again. I did purchase a couple of items that are available through Amazon and directly through a blog. The result? They are the exact same books. Page for page.
I do not intend to list all of the books I have purchased or reviewed here. Some, sad to say, were absolutely awful. They were clearly first-draft books that were thrown up quickly to hopefully produce sales. The layouts were sloppy, the grammar atrocious and the spelling mistakes make it appear that not even a common word processor spellcheck was used. I am furious that I paid blog price for some of these items.
Another large advantage I am enjoying with Kindle Unlimited is that most of the eBooks I purchased directly from blogs are in PDF format, and several are hard to read productions. The Kindle books are available on all my Kindle connected devices. That means I can add the book and start reading in on my laptop and then later continue reading the same book on my phone or tablet. The Kindle app has a feature that it can automatically sync your progress, so you are always brought back to the right starting point regardless of device. I absolutely love this option.
Again, for the naysayers, I want to reiterate that reading a book through Kindle Unlimited does not hurt the author. The author is paid for each page read by each KU reader. I am much more likely to give your book a chance if I know I don’t have to lay out a bunch of money for something that I might hate.
This whole world of Kindle Unlimited has excited me so much that I have already decided that the eBooks I am currently working on will be available exclusively through Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I do stand to make a higher per purchase profit by selling directly, but that also means I need to set up my site to sell items and accept payment. Likely I will need some sort of merchant account to process payments and that is just one more thing for me to have to manage in a week that is already way too short on hours.
My intention in starting this post was not to write an ad for Amazon. As the words started to flow, though, it became more apparent to me just how much I am enjoying my Kindle Unlimited membership. Oh, and the best part? As I already mentioned, I am still in my first 30-day free trial. That means that so far, I have paid NOTHING for this investment that has brought so much knowledge and wisdom into my life.
Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope I have not upset anyone. One of my biggest life goals is to help nurture and advance fellow writers and artists. If you feel I have done you a disservice, please feel free to contact me. Or, better yet, if you are happy I have mentioned your book, please post a comment below to let us know you were here.
Click over to Amazon to get your Free Month of Kindle Unlimited. There is so much to learn!
Until next time…
Here are a couple of the books I have enjoyed so far:
Hello readers. I have decided to use Wednesdays to highlight other writers and bloggers that have written posts that really resonated with me. I really enjoyed this post by Ryann the Reader. I really needed these words this week when I am feeling a little, okay more than a little, overwhelmed by all the new changes in my life. These are some great tips. Enjoy!
Happy Friday everybody! I’m back with a bit more advice for anyone just starting their blog. This week’s advice focuses on something that still makes me feel like a brand new blogger sometimes, and that is my blog posts! Sometimes it’s really hard to know when or what to post, or if a draft is […]