Changing the Phrase
“Today is the perfect day to start living your dreams.” I love this quote, because it’s true. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to make something out of your life. We live in a world filled with naysayers. We live in a world where obstacles appear too difficult to navigate through. Mountains that seem impossible to climb, and yet the greatest challenge doesn’t come from others, but from within. Too often do we fall victim to the mindset that we are victims. Too often do we fall victim to the mindset that we are limited. I’m not young enough, I’m not tall enough, I’m not the right ethnicity, I’m not trained enough, and so on. The “I’m not,” mindset as I refer to it has plagued our minds and stifle our progress in achieving the greatest versions of ourselves.
It was the summer of 2012 and I battled with demons within. Around that time, I shut myself off from the world and moved about aimlessly with no direction, no path. The passion I had for my job, others, myself, and life was gone. I sat at my computer and was clearing out files on my flash drive, when I came across some old stories I wrote for fun. I say for fun, because at that time I felt there was no way I could write anything worthy of being published. Well anyway, I pulled out an old superhero story I wrote and it brought a slight smile to my face. I started reading it and said to myself “This story sucks right now, but I can make it better.” So I did, I spent the whole summer working on that story, and found I enjoyed it tremendously.
The more I worked on the story, the more I realized how much I enjoyed writing. Suddenly I had found passion again. Something I was excited about. That feeling translated into every aspect of my life. I started waking up happier, feeling happier. I started working out again, and eating healthier. Dropped forty pounds safely in three months. It was the passion of doing something that was important to me that brought me new life.
So I finished the story and it was about 30k words. I was proud of myself and thought I’d written the greatest superhero story in the world, and a long one at that. I did some research on publishing and what traditional companies considered “novel length,” and discovered 30k wasn’t that long by publishing standards. I put the story on hold, because I wanted to learn more about how to structure a story and allow the reader to “get lost” in the world I created. I read everything from action, mystery, and even some romance. When the following summer came, I applied some of the lessons I learned from reading and added another 50k words to my story.
The idea of publishing my book was still just a dream. I didn’t even consider publishing a novel until Nicholas Woolworth came along. (Wooly, as I call him) went to college with me and decided to self-publish a book titled Gambling with Demons and Drinking with the Devil, all about his highs and lows as a poker player. Same age as me, and same graduating year. I read his story and thought this is pretty good. His writing success is inspiring, but more so, his determination to tell his story made me question myself. It made me ask “Why not?”
That’s when I decided to change my “I’m not,” phrase to “Why not?” I have no experience publishing a book, therefore it can’t be done. “Why not?” The salary I make is insulting, I have no money to promote the book. It can’t be done. “Why not?” This “Why not?” phrase became my new philosophy.
On August of 2014, I released my first novel The League of Protectors: Dawn of a New Age. I released it, because I reached a point where I felt I had to do it. I released it, because I felt I had to share it. Never did I expect any financial success from the book. Besides my mom and dad, I didn’t really expect anyone to purchase it, let alone read it. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The League of Protectors: Dawn of a New Age went on to make it to the top 100 of its category and continues to sell. Even if the book didn’t sell a single copy, I finished it with a great sense of pride.
Since that day, I have gone on to publish three more books. All of which have seen modest success. I can’t say that I’ll ever become a huge author. I can’t say that I’ll ever see my work turned into television shows, movies, or plays. What I can say is that it doesn’t matter. I woke up one day and decided this is my passion, this is my dream. I’m going to chase that dream until it becomes a reality or die with the satisfaction of never giving up. So whether it’s today, tomorrow, a month from now, or years later. It’s never too late to live your dreams. Be not afraid of the path unknown, embrace it, and discover your own.