There Are No Breaks


It doesn’t start with a cup of coffee or any routine exercises. It doesn’t start with making phone calls or pre-planning ideas for the day. In fact, I don’t have to do much at all because I’m always logged into WordPress and posts are always open in the browser.

My blog is on my mind most of the day, just hanging out in a corner of my mind, reminding me that it still is important, even if there are other interests that want attention as well, like video making now (so much fun). I always find time for it, along with other priorities in my life. I’ve been doing this for over two years now and I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts of completely giving up on it a couple of times. There are days when I just don’t feel like blogging and have nothing on my mind. There is the trusty Daily Prompt of course, but after doing that for over a year and seeing prompts regurgitated, it does get old after a while. I just have to remind myself of something another blogger mentioned when the going gets tough: writer’s write. That might seem like a redundant and obvious statement but it basically means you can always find something to put down, even if it doesn’t seem like a very good idea at first.

The path to success with anything starts with consistency. You have to practice something over and over in order to become a master at it: instruments, drawing, writing, speaking, film making, even video games.

Blogging is a prison you can’t break free, or at least you shouldn’t. If you do break free, you risk never reentering the ecosystem ever again, and abandoning your blog and any loyal followers. You risk losing interest and the will to write anything anymore. Starting a new blog is always a great idea though, because you can then apply all the things you learned from your first go around and start off on the right foot to success quickly. Gaining a legion of followers again might be difficult but if you find the magic touch again, gaining momentum and a rhythm wouldn’t be hard.

To be an effective blogger, you need to blog nearly every day, or at least a couple times a week. Going on long hiatuses is not a recipe for success. Your followers will want to have faith that they can expect new posts on a regular basis.

To any new bloggers out there, maybe some that are reading this, I have one simple piece of advice for you:

Be Yourself.

Don’t be pressured to be like another blogger who has had success with a certain writing topic or interest such as photography and poetry. Go with what you are most comfortable with but be willing to try new things just to freshen up once in a while. That’s what keeps readers interested and not subjected to boredom.

I believe blogging has been a real personality builder for me. Before this, I didn’t have much of a way to share my thoughts and rewind. I’m more of an introvert, so I have a better time getting my thoughts out on paper (or digital post boxes in this case) than out loud. I tried video blogging (vlogging) for a while but found it difficult to come up with something new all the time and I couldn’t express myself in words very well. It’s also a chore to make the videos and edit everything together (sound quality is SO important). With blogging, there is no need for highly specialized equipment or worries about audio. I am able to easily put my inner thoughts down without any technical problems or worries about the output. Unlike videos, I can go back and edit a post as much as I like, deleting and adding things that I think are necessary. I feel like I can unlock so many other gears with writing than videos because I feel more like myself than a character I try to play to entertain the audience. Writing is pure; videos are flair. They both have their strengths, they both have their weaknesses. To be truly happy, choose the one that you feel most comfortable with.

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging.

If you’re a new blogger, what’s one question you’d like to ask other bloggers?


The Meaning of Success

Photo Credit:

What is success?

It still eludes me so. I take two steps forward, two steps back, lose my grip, fall down hard, but always get back up and try again. The grass is always greener. There’s always tomorrow. Failure is what makes me stronger, it is not a bad thing, it is an essential ingredient to any success story. And the more I fail the more I learn. The more I learn how not to fail.

It takes patience, skill to reach the plateau. I’m still fighting my troubles, my worries, and my demons. I want to get up there, up to the place where everything’s swell, where all the others bask in the glory, but a door always blocks my way. I try to get in, but am always rejected, being given a good kick to the shins. “Not yet,” a cold hard voice always shouts at me. And sometimes it’s a few stumbles back down the ladder, having to readjust and fix my mistakes.

I mistook success to be instant gratification, an overnight conversion, when in reality it’s a lifetime battle, a struggle against odds. I must perfect my craft if I am to move on. I must seize the dream I desire and start making it a reality. That must be my problem. I’ve never had any goals in mind. Life has always been a vague mystery to me. There’s always been a dark shadow looming over myself. I’m finally seeing the light though, a sense of direction. I’ll get there someday, just with the scars of many battles fought and setbacks experienced. My blogging experience for one has seen many posts trashed, hours wasted to only get nothing in return. Discouragement I get. I start to believe I’m a good writer and the infamous zeros stare back at me. I’m all of a sudden an amateur again, shades of 2013. This post is not just about that in general but about all the failures in my life that I have had to live with. I’ve gone to many job interviews in my life and so far only came back with one yes, which turned out to a total scam because everyone got “hired” right on the spot. My short stint as a sales rep selling knives I’m speaking of.

They always tell you as a kid you can grow up to be whatever you want to be, that the sky’s the limit to potential. Well, I’m just now figuring out what exactly that is. Is it a chef? A photographer? A designer? An engineer? A writer? A profound blogger? I’m taken some of the steps to reach my goals, learning valuable skills and lessons along the way. I’ve gone to college and graduated. I’ve gained valuable skills at an internship. The signs are finally being pointed in the right direction, the words becoming visible in my minds eye. Blurriness is subsiding. That grey matter of the unknown is finally disappearing. I no longer see the world in just black and white. It’s not just a simple yes or no but there are multiple avenues I can choose.

I have a one track mind. When I get to doing something, I can only focus on it and only it and exclude out everything else around me. When I’m in blog mode, it’s full concentration, my thoughts being channeled into my ideal inspiration. Any distractions throw my off completely. When I accidentally erase my entire post 500 words in and it can’t be recovered, I throw my hands up, the love put into all those words moot points then. When I’m deep into reading a good novel, any disturbances upset me and ruin my flow. When I’m in the middle of a tough battle in a video game, my full attention must be on not letting the enemy get the upper hand, not pinning me in a corner. Of course, video games aren’t real life. You can always die and try again. You can also cheat your way to success. A Up Up Down Up B.  In real life you go to jail for that.

So I’m finally figuring out success. Or success is finally figuring me out. It’s not what you gain in life that makes you great, it’s what brings you happiness each day you set about doing what you love. Money = success, yes, but without the joy and happiness that comes along with that wealth, and the friends and family to share it with, it is a cold lonely life for the individual. I would love to make lots of money doing what I love, but I would never want to outcast my family and never speak to them again.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Dictionary, Shmictionary.”

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

Success Food

If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor” (Truman Capote), how spicy do you like your success stories?

0504 Dogs

Success is a hotdog? Never thought of it like that. I guess I’ve eaten it many times, hoping to find the best one but they are always disappointing to me – there is always another successful story out there that has or is waiting to be written (or eaten) and surely taste better than mine. The condiment called failure, a nasty but delicious mixture of ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, pepper spray, and other unknown substances, flavors this hotdog or hamburger, or whatever, making it taste better. The more failure applied to the success hotdog, the more appetizing it gets, the more likely it is to break free from the pack of bland hotdogs and win everyone over at the annual hotdog judging contest (if there is such a thing).

So like Charlie said, I like my success spicy but not too spicy. His saying has nothing to do with success but you get the point. Too much failure makes me feel depressed and desperate for something to work again but too little failure will leave me with blinders on both sides of my head, unable to have peripheral vision, to see the world in a broader spectrum. Failure helps me become better, to improve myself. Without failure, I am just a gloating, nothing-can-hurt-me, never taking risks kind of guy. Keeping a good ratio of success and failure in my life is what keeps me honest, keeps me afloat in this roughneck, drag me down world. Some of my failures in life include trying to start a business, get a successful YouTube channel going, learning to drive a car, trying to run for class president, failing on my first word in the Spelling Bee (flashback!), and some others that are undoubtedly hiding in the cobwebs of my magnificent library upstairs. These failures are good because they help me realize nothing is easy and I can learn from them, to become better next time. But I don’t want too much failure or I am left feeling hopeless and vulnerable, and surely would not want to try some things again. Until now, I’ll go back to finding the next hotdog or hamburger that has a nice mix of success and failure in it and will keep me satisfied until the good feeling is gone and I have to look for more success food to eat. Hopefully you understand what I’m talking about.

So pick yourself up
Take a deep breath
Dust yourself off
And start all over again

“Pick Yourself Up” – Nat King Cole

Daily Prompt 11/4/14

P.S. I voted today, not that is going to have much of an effect but as I always say, “At least I have a right to vote for whoever I want and don’t have a gun to my head.”

Winning the Contest

The World Series starts tonight! In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run? (For the baseball-averse, that’s a last-minute, back-against-the-wall play that guarantees a dramatic victory.)

First things first, as someone else said on here, a grand-slam in baseball is not technically a walk-off home run. The game can still be lost.

Now on to the meat and potatoes…

It was my dad who sparked the idea for the tagline on the front of the shirt but I went a little further and embellished the idea. Many of you probably have no idea what donating plasma is but I quite thoroughly explained it in a post a while back. I’m doing this contest for a chance to win an iPad (I don’t know what kind, for all I know it’s a first genner), but I also have a chance for the second place prize, a pair of Dr. Dre headphones, and the third place prize is a Huffy bicycle. Yeah, it all sounds kind of cheesy from writing it but any reward would be fine for me.

I’m quite savvy with designing things and this is a further example of what I can do with what little graphic design equipment I have (no Photoshop, using an expired trial of CorelDraw, working around the limitations).

I would be quite happy to win this contest as I have never won anything like it in my life and it would give me confidence to do other things. Maybe if I won the center would hire me to design more things in the future. Seeing my t-shirt being worn by other people would make me very happy and would be a walk-off home run in my world.

Cslplasmacontest3 Cslplasmacontest3r

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My well thought out design

Becoming immortal on the streets

Curvy techno corners here I come 

Daily Prompt 10/21/14

P.S. I’m rooting for the Royals in the World Series! The Tigers were knocked out early so it’s seems like right to go for Cinderella over the team that swept the T’s in 2012, the San Francisco Giants.

Dumb Advice for the Alternate

A stranger knocks on your door, asking for directions from your home to the closest gas station (or café, or library. Your pick!). Instead of the fastest and shortest route, give him/her the one involving the most fun detours.

Type, type, type…

Ironing out the latest WordPress task…

Slurp, slurp, slurp…

Drinking down the last of the milk in my cereal bowl…

Knock, knock, knock…

Someone’s at the door…

I put down my laptop, move the black cat away, and go through the kitchen to see who’s there.PTDC0073 (2)

A tall, handsome man, who looks about 20 with short brown hair and a fair complexion, is standing outside on the steps. He is wearing a Darth Vader shirt and looks exhausted. I look over his shoulder and there is a bike lying on the driveway; he must have come a long way to my house in a hurry.

I hesitate for a bit and then open the front door. “Yes? What can I help you with?”

This man, who looks oddly like someone I know, asks, “Do you have directions to success?” His voice is deep and monotonous.

The question shocks me at bit. I’ve never been asked one like it before. I look at him a moment, scanning his face, looking for his motives, but, after thinking, respond to his question.

“Get a job at McDonald’s and you’ll be all set.”

He looks at me with a funny expression. “Really, that’s it?”

“Yup. See, you can work your way up through the ranks and eventually become head of the corporation.”

The 20-something man looks at me thoughtfully. “How long should I stay at McDonald’s before I become successful?”

I try to hold back a laugh, a smug smile coming across my face. “I’d say about five years and then you’ll start seeing progress.”

(The man starts working at McDonald’s and gets fired the next day for causing a big grease fire).

The 20-something then nods appreciatively. “Well, thank you. I appreciate your advice. Is there anything else you have for me?”

I look at him curiously, still wondering why this man reminds me of myself, and respond again.

“Um, yeah, I think you should also try to start a musical career. Just pick up your guitar, or whatever instrument you have, take it down to the corner, and start playing. People will love you.”

The man puts his hand to his chin, stroking it and thinking deeply. “Yeah, that sounds awesome. I have a guitar and know some music and could earn some cash doing so.”

(The man plays his guitar on the corner of Windham Hills. Most people laugh or completely ignore him. He sounds horrible with his guitar way out of tune, no accompanying back-up, and not to mention him having a terrible singing voice).

The man is not done yet. “What about going to college or starting a business? Aren’t those big ways to find success?”

At this point I just want to get back to my life and start winging more bologna at the man. “No, college is overrated and no one has ever achieved much by going. As for the business, if you want to start one, I’d advise you to go into selling bootlegged copies of music.”

The man, brainwashed by my silly advice, also takes this last piece to heart. “Okay, so no college and selling bootlegged copies of music seems good, I already know how to get the music without paying for it.”

(In an alternate universe, the man would have been a multi-millionaire with two yachts, if he’d not taken my advice and had graduated from college. As for the bootlegged business, he was arrested, fined for at least $250,000, and sentenced to five years in prison).

“Well, I will take your advice strongly. Thanks for the help! But I have just one more question – what about finding the love of my life? What should I do if I meet someone and have a strong connection to them?”

This causes me to stroke my chin thoughtfully. “Hmm…well, I would not answer her phone calls and every time a date comes up, say you are out with some of your friends at a strip club getting rowdy drunk. She’ll appreciate it and love you more.”

The man makes no sign of seeing false advice here, not even giving me a scrutinizing look, but says, “Got it! Thank you!”

He retreats down the steps, waves back at me, and hops on his bike, riding away. I slam the door and a chorus of laughter erupts from my belly. What a fool.

That fool turned out to be me from an alternate universe, who was still taking people’s advice too strongly without any thinking for himself.

Daily Prompt 10/18/14