Limits, SCHLIMITS

“If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – Bruce Lee After two decades in this business I realize that writing will either; 1. break you; or 2. polish away your imperfections and make you a better human being. Sometimes getting to number 2 requires number 1 to happen first.

Yesterday I listened to James Altucher’s recent podcast with Jesse Itzler to promote his book, “Living With A Seal: 31 Days Training With The Toughest Man On The Planet.”  Jesse’s book is about how this former Navy Seal pushed to crush limits he didn’t even realize he had. This made me realize how human nature so often causes us to perceive our limits to be far less than they really are. There was a time in our history when this was probably useful for survival but in today’s world it often only limits our success and happiness.

Writing, and pretty much every other worthwhile goal in life, requires you to develop a certain psychological toughness over time.  Much like training for a marathon we have to consistently push ourselves to our limits, embrace the pain, and then explode beyond those self-perceived limitations.  This is how people have always found success. After meditating for nearly half of my life I have learned very useful Jedi-like mind tricks that cause the shift in perception necessary to conquer fear or many things that seem impossible.  I’m also aware of just how weak my mind still is sometimes.  I’ve learned that a true growth-moment always occurs just after the pain and yearning is almost too much to bear.  It’s the closest thing I can imagine to giving birth.

Recently had one of those moments.  I was feeling frustrated and sorry for myself.  My day job, personal responsibilities, work on the second novel, promoting my writing, and building a website seemed like it was too much to handle.  I was feeling overwhelmed and, as a result of that, nothing was getting done.  The excuses were flying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.”,  “I don’t know how to create a website.” “I can’t meet that deadline.”

As it normally does, life presented me with a few examples that became solutions.  One example was James’ podcast with Jesse Itzler that I previously spoke of, the other came in the form of a friend of mine, Ulrika, from Sweden.  Ulrika is a pharmacist, owns her own candy company, is raising children and still manages to write two (or more) large novels per year.  At first this seemed impossible to me…until she revealed to me the simple secret of how she did it.  No matter how much she has going on in her life she writes one hour per day.  One hour. Every. Single. Day.  It was that ingeniously simple.

I decided to try out her method for myself and here I am, three weeks from the depths of my pain and frustration with a fully functional website (www.ericvancewalton.net) that I built myself.  I’m also waking up an hour (or more) early before going to my day job to work on my second novel, Truth Is Stranger.  This has reminded me is most of us can do and be so much more than we are.

No matter what life throws at us, there’s never not a solution. Life will show us the way (sometime's it'll even kick us in the pants). Our only job is to be awake enough to see it and be willing to do the work.  I can tell you first-hand, the glorious lack of regret is worth every single ounce of the pain.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Sometimes Heartache Is The Best Medicine 

So this week it was back to reality after seven days in the Caribbean. I could say I am sad and depressed to come back to my normal life but that would be untrue. My life excites me, especially what lies ahead. Originally my plan was to get tons of work done on my novel during this trip to St. Thomas but I didn't. Honestly, I didn't add one word to it. The only writing I got done were a few poems here and there and social media posts. You know what? Typically this would leave me filled with extreme guilt but not this time, relaxation and fun is exactly what I needed.

Burning the candle at both ends for the past few years as an author-prenuer with a day job has caused my writing career to grow significantly but it's also taken a toll. The price I’ve paid willingly and it was very much worth it, I have no regrets. Basking in the warm Caribbean sun and floating in its pristine turquoise waters was a realignment for my soul and I needed it badly. After the trip I feel recharged and ready for what's next. What comes next for me is setting and achieving some pretty awesome goals. One of those goals is beginning to consciously realign my life to make way for even more writing, more growth, and more travel.

What I’ve found is writers are always working, even if it’s subconsciously. When we’re not writing we’re usually taking mental notes about nearly everyone and everything that crosses our path. While I was in St. Thomas I met many interesting and a few wonderful souls. I also had some true growth experiences. The wonderful souls were strangers at first but we parted as friends. When this happens you’re enriched because, in a way, these people's stories and experiences become your own.

We met a young couple from San Diego, she was a competitive swimmer and he was a personal trainer. Then there was a man from Romania and his wife. He had immigrated to the US when he was nineteen and almost died during a failed attempt to escape Communist Romania in the mid-eighties before the Berlin wall fell. He suffered abuse at the hands of nuns who taught at the school he went to as a child, and corrupt Romanian police and military officers later in life. Against those odds he still went on to immigrate to America and build a successful construction business. During a brief chat over a delicious breakfast he told me two or three ways to immobilize an attacker with my bare hands.

The last and most profound of the connections we made was with our AirBNB host, Lecia (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3139209?s=p6pABAhB). She taught in in St. Thomas for decades and retired but is still very involved in the community. She cares deeply about the children of the island and their future, she also cares about the environment. Her home is almost completely self-sustaining, she eats a plant-based diet and drives an electric car (which is charged by her solar panels.) Even better, through very smart decisions and hard work she’s built a life that gives her freedom to do what makes her happy. This entrepreneurial path is the one I’m walking on now and I need to surround myself with these kinds of people and soak up their wisdom.

I've always loved travel but didn’t fully understand why. I’ve always been fascinated by new people, places, and experiences. Exploration runs deep in the DNA of humanity. I think our ancestors found out long ago that seeking new places and new experiences make us better and stronger, they deepen our knowledge of both ourselves and of the Universe. Growth doesn't come from doing more of the same things. Yes, ordinary life hands us its share of lessons but when we're traveling those lessons are condensed in significantly higher doses over a shorter period of time.

I came back from this trip feeling inspired and prepared to take more chances. Dreams have their place but I’m tired of dreaming. I want to make more of a conscious effort to build the framework that will bring about the birth of Eric version 2.0. (or is it version 3.0?)

I’ve learned many things through my two plus decades of struggle as a writer. Dreams only provide a temporary respite from a life that is less than ideal. For dreams to work they must be paired with smart decisions, follow through, and lots of hard work. Over the next few months I’m going to be shuffling many of the priorities in my life around to make more room for writing (of course) and travel.

I’ve learned during the St. Thomas trip that travel isn’t as much a luxury as it is a necessary element in my life equation. Now that I'm back into my weekly routine of being rushed and pressed for time my heart literally aches when I look at the pictures from our trip and recall the freedom we felt. I’m going to use that heartache as a motivator. From now on I’m going to be budgeting for travel just as though it was healthcare coverage or groceries, in my opinion it’s just as important.

I’m honored that so many of you wonderful souls are here with me to take part in my journey. I’m excited to see what the coming months will bring for us all. I promise you, the second novel, Truth Is Stranger, will be completed soon come Hades or rising tides.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The Drum

I still remember the sky was a deep sapphire that afternoon when the dead drone of the drum began,

their coffers were far from empty but they were still hungry for power and dollars, their only Gods

not a hint of regret laid across the lips of lady liberty but it did her people, they are good people, mostly, simple people

the propaganda machine had spewed its stinking filth for years leaving us so numb we were willing to believe anything, but this time was different

divisions were melting away, our world was shrinking and people were thinking, yearning badly for a lasting peace so the powers that be brought us only war

after all it's never been their sons or daughters who get the blood on their hands, only the simple people are sent to inflict the wounds and collect the scars that will cause hate and pain to rip through generations, like a tsunami

our deepest level of trouble were the false flags of fear, their hypnotic switches causing one to doubt what they know to be true

 

in their hearts, this is all they need, easy belief of these kinds of lies have always been the weeds in our garden

but the peace has always been there within us, we see the shine of it from the corners of our eyes deep down like a gold nugget flashing, nestled in the smooth rock of the river bed

to uncover it, we need

less logic and more ramble but we must learn this quickly

before our world lies

smoldering in shambles,

this time there will be no second chances, no Phoenix rising, not this time

through all of this they failed to realize that this is just the sort of thing that turns peaceful souls into revolutionaries,

our righteous and beautiful voices

may just shout them down in unison, most of us, we are just

simple people after all,

simple folks who want the chance to succeed or fail, fill our lungs with clean fresh air, and slay our demons one by one, have ourselves a bit of fun

but in the distance I hear the dreaded drum, the dead drone of the drum.

War Drum

~Eric Vance Walton~

 

Just Another Day

Darren was a bachelor, he would claim by choice, and he was also very particular. His life was lived like a sacred ritual, trying his best to make sure that each day was the same as the last. He woke each weekday morning at 5:20am sharp, showered, and shaved his salt and pepper shadow with a vintage chrome safety razor. He then brewed an extra strong cup of coffee and prepared breakfast which consisted of steel cut oatmeal with a quarter cup of blueberries and half a pat of grass fed butter, never more. Although Darren was what most people would consider content he had always felt like his life was missing something indescribable. It was as though his soul was a jigsaw puzzle that was almost complete, the few missing pieces were where his heart was but he had no idea of where to find them.

Just before leaving for the office Darren always watered his bonsai tree, a ficus of the variety sold at Walmart, with one half cup of spring water, perfectly measured. For the last ten years Darren had cared for the bonsai like it was his first born. He even gave it a name, he called it Moe because the shape of the tree’s foliage reminded him of the mop top hairstyle of the lead stooge of the same name. His boss had given him Moe as a gift for his fifth anniversary with the accounting agency.

The first night Darren brought the bonsai home to his apartment he had the distinct impression that, in some inexplicable way, Moe’s well-being would forever connected to the security of this job. He believed with all of his being that as long as he kept the bonsai healthy he would never need to worry about the security of his job at the agency. In Darren’s mind his theory was substantiated the following year. He had overslept by only few minutes and was running late, as a result he had forgotten to water Moe. This couldn’t have happened on a worse day, it was the day of his annual performance review at the agency and his absentmindedness cost him dearly, that year he received a measly ten cent raise.

Each Saturday morning Darren allowed himself the luxury of one extra hour of sleep, he felt that any more would be wasting the day away. Upon waking his Saturday ritual was almost identical to the previous five mornings except for one: instead of taking the northbound train to the office he crossed to the other side of the station and boarded the southbound train to the Snelling Avenue stop. Just across the street from the Snelling station stood Wimbley’s Books and the hand painted sign out front, in bold red letters read, “Rare and Out of Print Books.”

Darren spent nearly every Saturday weeding through the stacks of books, intoxicated by the mustiness of antiquity. Wimbley’s was the one of the few places on Earth where he felt like he fit in. Sometimes he would pack a sandwich and a piece of fruit in his messenger bag for sustenance enough to spend the entire day there.

From the moment he got off the train he felt as though a magnet was pulling him towards the front door of Wimbley’s shop. His strides were a little more hurried than usual as he crossed the busy street. Sam, one of Mr. Wimbley’s clerks, had left Darren a cheery voice mail on Tuesday morning with the news that his book had arrived. It took all of his restraint not to continue riding right on past his normal stop that night after work to pick up the treasure. Darren worried over the matter for the rest of his workday that Tuesday but was worried that any deviation in his routine might throw off his luck for the rest of the week.

Darren turned the doorknob and stepped inside Wimbley’s shop and as he did the tarnished brass bell that hung above the door chimed alerting the staff he had arrived.

“It’s Darren, nine o’clock exactly...punctual as always. I have no idea how you waited four days to pick this up, you have more patience than me,” Mr. Wimbley said peering over top of his wire rimmed glasses, eyes squinting as he smiled.

“It wasn’t easy, Sir! I was just so busy,” Darren answered as he blew into his hands and quickly rubbed them together.

The treasure that Mr. Wimbley spoke of was a copy of a fifteenth century Irish illuminated manuscript obtained from an extensive book collection in Dubai. There were only three known copies of this ancient manuscript created by a lone Irish monk.

Legend has it that the monk, whose name had since been lost to history, lived in a two room stone house that stood alone amongst the craggy cliffs of the Irish seashore. The monk had befriended the two Gaelic tribes in the region he was put in charge of converting to Christianity by the Vatican. After living among the native people for only a few months the monk went rogue and adopted the pagan people’s dress and their way of life.

The monk was so taken by the power of these people’s spiritual beliefs he felt it his duty to meticulously transcribe the Gallic druids’ oral tradition word for word. Each page of the book was handwritten in flowing calligraphy; although it was officially untitled, the book was referred to in collector’s circles as The Gaelic Book of Wisdom. The book contained three hundred and sixty-five passages, one for each day of the year. The monk then made two additional copies of the book, he kept one for himself and the remaining two were given to the chieftain of each of the two tribes. When the word got out that the monk had been turned by pagans and failed in his missionary work, assassins were dispatched by the Pope himself to put a swift end to the monk’s shenanigans before a legend was born.

The Gaelic Book of Wisdom is now considered one of the grails of bibliophiles. A person had be in the inner circle to even know about, let alone, get a chance at owning something as special as this. Darren’s ticket into this rarified world was Mr. Wimbley and his admission was earned slowly over decades of patronizing his bookstore and thousands of dollars changing hands.

One of Wimbley’s long time clerks, Samantha Fletcher or Fletch as she was called by the regulars, came from behind the counter and handed Darren a pair of white gloves, “I know you’re a virgin,” her face turned a bright pink, “umm…I mean, uh when it comes to owning rare books.”

Fletch took a deep breath and regained her composure, “You’ll want to wear these gloves whenever you handle it. Otherwise the oil from your skin will discolor the pages. Always remember, this book is an irreplaceable artifact. It’s so easy to forget in today’s world of disposable things how fragile and valuable something like this is.”

Fletch was attractive in a waspy conservative sort of way. Her hazel eyes were studious and she wore her brown hair short in a fashionable bob cut. She was almost always stealing glances across the shop at Darren on Saturdays and he would occasionally sneak a look at her too.

Darren had the distinct impression that there was something meant for him in this manuscript and that it would somehow help him to feel whole again. He was hardly a man of means but he was so sure of the importance of this purchase he took out a loan against his 401k to buy it. The incredible details that Fletch had shared with him over successive Saturdays put to rest any reservations he might have had.

Fletch lightly placed her hand on Darren’s shoulder and glanced from side to side to make sure no one else was within earshot, “The auctioneer we bought this from said the previous owner of the book bought it nearly a decade ago a flea market in Paris and found an old letter written on parchment between its pages. The letter told of how the book had a way of finding the person who needed it most and shared stories of how past owner’s lives were magically transformed for the better after acquiring the book...” Fletch trailed off as the brass bell rang and a few new customers noisily filed through the door. There was a look in her eyes that told him there was much more she wanted to say.

“Well, I could really use some magic in my life,” Darren laughed nervously.

Mr. Wimbley wrapped the book carefully in brown paper and tied it off tightly with twine. Darren eagerly handed him a cashier’s check for ten thousand dollars. Mr. Wimbley removed his white gloves and held the check up and studied it in the light. He then paused, slowly twisting the end of this handlebar mustache.

The pause lasted a bit too long for Darren’s liking. He feared Wimbley was having second thoughts about the transaction. Wimbley then shot Darren a look of concern, flicked the check noisily with his finger and said, “Darren, you’re now among the ranks of a precious few. Do you promise to take good care of this book?”

Darren exhaled more deeply than he ever did in his life, he knew now he had crossed all of the hurdles.

“I do, “ Darren said.

As he exited the shop Darren cradled the book against chest as if it was a newborn baby. He decided he wouldn’t take off the wrapper until he was home but could swear that he felt the power in it as he held the book close.

He could remember nothing of the train ride home, all he could think about was unwrapping his treasure. He quickly unlocked the door of his apartment, slid on the white gloves Fletch had given him, then carefully cut the twine with his Swiss army knife. Darren held his breath as he slowly peeled back the brown paper revealing the book’s cover, it was an emerald green leather and was in remarkably good condition for its age, only slightly faded.

As Darren cracked open the book he was in awe of the richness of color on the pages and elegant flourishes of the calligraphy. The scent was a combination of old paper, leather, and the sea. He started to read and from the first few words Darren felt wisdom and vitality pour over him. Immediately he got the distinct impression that little by little the puzzle of his life was being completed and this book contained all there was for him to learn.

A few days passed and he read from the book religiously. Each day he arose an extra fifteen minutes early to allow himself time to mindfully absorb each new passage. Almost immediately he began to notice a great change in his life: men treated him with more respect; women began to notice him; and the day's events seemed to suddenly flow effortlessly in his favor.

On Wednesday of the following week Darren’s phone buzzed as he was grocery shopping, he glanced at it and decided to pick up the call when he noticed, “Wimbley’s Books” flash across the screen.

“Hello,” Darren said sheepishly.

“It’s me, Fletch,” she paused, “I don’t know how to tell you this but I just couldn’t go through with it any longer.”

“I’m not sure what you mean,” Darren said dumbfounded as he continued bagging his pink lady apples.

“There’s something I need to tell you.” Darren could hear Fletch breathing heavily on the other side of the line.

“Sure, what is it?”

“I made it all up about the book,” she said as she started to sniffle. The sniffles then turned into sobs.

Darren tied off the plastic bag and dropped the apples into his cart, “Made it all up? I guess I’m still not sure what you mean.”

Fletch continued nervously, “I mean the book is old and super rare and it was written by an Irish monk but I concocted the whole part about the magical aspect of the book, there was no letter. There’s no magic in it either, Darren. Believe me, I had good intentions, all I wanted was to see you happy and get to get to know you a little better. I thought I might even have a chance to go out with you or something. Please forgive me.”

Darren’s face took on a look of bewilderment as he walked away from his grocery cart. For a moment Darren let his emotions get the better of him and completely forgot where he was.

“You’re lying. I feel the magic in it, I feel the change in me and nothing you tell me can convince me otherwise!” he yelled, now pacing back and forth in the produce aisle.

“Oh I get it, you probably just want the book for yourself, don’t you Fletch? This conversation is done!” Darren said as he forcibly tapped the end call button and shoved the phone into the pocket of his trench coat.

Oh my, after all these years now I have to find myself a new bookstore Darren thought to himself as he took a deep, controlled breath and continued shopping as though it was just another day.

 

~Eric Vance Walton~

I Fell Off The Wagon...again

  My name is Eric Vance Walton and it’s been two months since I fell off the wagon.  There, I said it, I began to stray from the path that was working and back into an old and self-limiting, pattern of behavior that for the previous fifteen years had gotten me nowhere.  This feels strangely liberating to admit publicly.

It all started innocently enough.  About two months ago I became obsessed with listening to the New Yorker fiction podcasts while on my lunch break from my corporate job. In these podcasts authors who’ve been published in the New Yorker read their favorite short stories of other authors aloud.  This became like a master class for me in writing short fiction and it prompted me to craft a few short stories of my own. I took a break from working on my second novel and spent a good chunk of time getting the short story drafts just right. Then I offered my work to beta-readers for their feedback and when I had received all of their responses I spent even more time polishing these stories.

I then thought it might not hurt my writing career to submit these short stories to the New Yorker, so I did.  After fifteen plus years of being rejected by the traditional publishing world and another five years of heading down the self-publishing path, the New Yorker submission process was a stark reminder of how cold and unwelcoming the world of traditional publishing is to an, “undiscovered” (in their eyes) author. The submission guidelines stated as follows…expect a three month response time and due to the high volume of work submitted we will only respond if your story is accepted.

 

Right out of the gate this felt like a step backwards and like a blow to my self confidence after being in the writing game for two decades but I told myself, “It’s the New Yorker, just imagine how that would look on your writing resume!”

 

Around the same timeframe I also signed up for a writer’s conference in Chicago where I would get the chance to pitch my trilogy of novels to a seasoned literary agent. I was excited, this happened to be the exact conference that Veronica Roth, of the Divergent series fame, was “discovered”.

 

A few weeks after I signed up for the conference events in my life transpired to make attending it very difficult. I began to question my decision, it just didn’t feel right, it wasn't flowing. I felt like I was once again rattling the gate and begging the gatekeepers to allow me a glimpse of their rarified world. This didn’t jive with the entrepreneurial path I had been walking with my writing for the previous five years, the merits of which were strongly reinforced by James Altucher’s book, Choose Yourself.  I was giving away my power once again and I felt it diminished my strength as both a writer and as a person.

 

The proof was right there in the results, my writing career had grown infinitely larger and more quickly in the five years I was choosing myself than it did in the previous fifteen years of trying to convince the gatekeepers of the literary world that I was worthy.

Well, to make a long story as short as possible, I’m now back on the right path again.  I realize the only people’s opinion that I truly care about are my readers. The traditional publishing path clearly wasn’t meant for me, if it was I would be locked into a multi-book deal with film rights already. I plan on publishing the short stories I wrote for the New Yorker on my own platform and will eventually use them as material for a “funnel book”, a free eBook designed to drive readers towards paid content.  

 

I’ll also use the money that would’ve have been spent on the conference to redesign my website so I can start to build and manage my own mailing list. I attribute the missteps of the past few months to some kind of temporary insanity, or possibly a mid-life crisis…whatever the cause, it feels great to be steering my own ship again, it feels great to choose myself. Brené Brown said, "When you own your story, you get to write the ending.”  Just watch how I wrap this one up.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The Greatest Gift

  When there are no more jobs for these hands, no more ideas  streaming from my mind

I wish to be remembered as a cultural chameleon, a humble drifter, sensitive to the beauty of this world

these days, they are borrowed, but the memories are ours to keep

the greatest gift of the mortal is living a life so brave that you find your tribe, and grow old with those know your soul so well, they can see the world through your eyes.

~Eric Vance Walton~

A Writer's Life

Shaky with apprehensions, poorer this year than the last,

existing in the place between

what will be and what has passed

 

it’s an author’s life for me

I have given the benefit of every doubt,

and during fevers of eloquence,

found myself electrified absolutely

by the lightning bolt of muse

 

this current flowing through me,

greater than any currency

it has given me friends that span oceans wide

there are no borders here, no blind pride

we are bound by our love of words,

and have found an all embracing tenderness

that shows us

there should be no other way.

 

~Eric Vance Walton~

Balancing The Books

  The life of an Indie writer can be filled with uncertainties, for most people the largest of these uncertainties pertains to income. As a writer, instead of receiving a regular paycheck your payday only comes when you sell what you’ve written.  Don’t let this dissuade you from following your dream.  The fact is there is no job that is completely safe in today’s economy. No matter what your profession, job security is now a fallacy. Even after you’ve worked for a company for years you can find one day without warning that your job has been outsourced.  Once we truly understand that risk is everywhere why not devote your time and energy to something you absolutely love?  If the financial challenges of becoming a full time writer are what’s holding you back from pursuing your dream, stop worrying and start planning.

 

For some people there’s an innate romance associated with a writer’s life but when you begin to think about it more practically it’s easy for trepidation to sink in. I know how scary it can be, I’ve been in the workforce since I was fifteen years old and receiving a regular paycheck for almost twenty five years. As I’m preparing to make the transition into becoming a full time writer I’ve done thorough research and have begun to retool my entire life to make the transition to becoming a fulltime writer less of a shock. You only have to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

 

Your odds of success as a full time writer will be much greater if you have a practical plan in place which includes concrete and realistic goals.  First off, it’s very easy to underestimate how much money you’ll need to support yourself with your writing but it can be done. I have a huge amount of respect for authors who have figured this out.

 

As I was looking at my budget  I decided the best way to start would be to determine how much money it would really take to make the transition into writing full time. I have always told myself that my magic number would be two year’s worth of my current salary.  If I could earn the equivalent of two year’s salary from my writing then I would feel comfortable putting in my notice at work and finally take the leap of faith that I’ve been fantasizing about for years. Of course, this amount needed to put your plan into action will differ for everyone based on your lifestyle and current finances. The first step is to determine your personal number.

 

To aid in your transition it helps to deeply examine your life and decide what can be eliminated from your monthly budget as well as how you can maximize the revenue from your writing. Unless you have a lot of cash saved or an alternate source of regular income it’s best to have a lean budget as you’re making the transition into writing full time, at least in the beginning. Frugality is your best friend during the transition into the writer’s life. This part came easily for me because I’m one of the few creative people I know of that are also very fiscally conservative. My parents love to tell the story of how when I was a young child I would save my allowance for months to buy a toy that I wanted only to decide the next day that I wanted the money back and I would return the toy to the store unopened.  

 

I guess it’s always really bothered me to hand over my hard earned cash on things that aren’t a good value or something that doesn’t add any real value to my life. I would much rather have money left at the end of the month to have wonderful life experiences like seeing new places and trying new restaurants than having my life cluttered with a bunch useless of things. When it comes to buying stuff I’ve rediscovered something our ancestors already practiced out of necessity, research everything you buy and purchase the best quality you can afford, it’s always less expensive in the long term. For example, it absolutely drove me crazy to spend twenty dollars on a pack of five disposable razor blades that lasted only a few months. Three years ago purchased a Merkur brand safety razor for $30 and a pack of 200 blades for $20. I’ve only gone through half of the box of blades in three years. This one purchase has saved me several hundreds of dollars so far.

 

As I was started striving to live my ideal writer’s life, the first thing to be eliminated from the household budget was satellite television. I was spending over one hundred dollars a month for this service and only watched a handful of channels. As an alternative, my wife and I discovered the digital TV antenna and AppleTV.  Now we get over twenty free local channels over the air from the antenna and more content than we can watch on NetFlix and Hulu for around sixteen dollars a month.  The content on these streaming services isn’t as current as cable or satellite television but it’s worked out just fine because we’re watching far less television and have more time for more important things. If we want to watch a more current film there’s always the option of renting DVDs from RedBox for under two dollars per movie.

 

If you really start to examine your life you’ll be amazed at the number of creative ways you can find to lower your expenses.  It’s just a matter of taking a look at your own personal situation and decide what you can live without. Some other suggestions to get you started are growing your own vegetables and canning for use later and shopping at thrift stores. I haven’t owned a new car for years but save thousands by buying cars that are still in great condition but just a couple of years old. I also bike to work when weather allows.  

 

Once you begin to analyze your situation ways to save money will become very apparent.  Ironically, you’ll find that most of the cuts you make to your budget will come along with the fringe benefits of simplifying your life, improving your health, enhancing your creativity, and giving you more free time to do things like read and write.

 

The English writer, Brian Aldiss said, “A writer should say to himself, not, How can I get more money?, but How can I reach more readers (without lowering standards)?”  It’s important not to let financial concerns slow the progress or stall the enthusiasm of your writing career.  As you grow your career your income typically will increase organically.

 

Even before you can make the full transition into your dream of writing full time it’s good practice to view your part time writing gig like the business that it is.  Before your writing can pay all of your living expenses the first step is to make your craft self sustaining.  By self sustaining I mean, try to support all the expenses associated with your writing with proceeds from your writing. When you try this you will realize that supporting writing expenses from only your writing proceeds sounds much easier than it is. If you don’t think outside of the box you may find yourself stuck in a cubicle.

 

I’ve found that launching a writing career takes a fair amount of two things, time and money. To make your work known to the world you must pay for things like marketing, professional editing, and travel to and from appearances just to name a few.  If you can get to the point in your career where your writing is paying for itself you will be that much closer to achieving the dream of making a living with your words.

 

Since income as a writer can be so sporadic it’s important focus on diversifying your revenue streams as much as you can to make the most from your writing.  Begin to think of different and creative ways your can market the same work.  For example, I publish collections of my poetry in book form but I also sell the poems individually, matted on parchment paper.  In doing this, I produce two different products and can profit twice from the same poems.  Additionally, I offer a service where I will collaborate with clients to create a completely original poem for a gift or special occasion and by doing so can use my talent as a poet for a third potential income opportunity and the best part is I love doing all of them.

 

As an indie author, you’re busy writing so it’s easy to overlook all the ways to profit from your work, and many writers often do.  The first, and most effective, thing to focus on is making it as easy as possible for readers to find you and buy your work. It’s important to have a page on your website or blog that list live links to where readers can purchase each of your published books.  Regularly post a link to this page, with an attention grabbing introduction on your social media sites.  It’s also imperative to choose the correct keywords on your pages so they show up in internet search results.

 

Whenever you have the opportunity to do personal appearances like book club meetings, readings or any event where you have the chance to make a face to face sale it’s important to have extra books on hand and provide your readers the option of purchasing these books easily with a credit card.  Companies like PayPal and Square offer reliable, easy to use, and compact credit card readers that plug right into your smartphone.  Buy one of these credit card readers and learn how to operate it.  Never be hesitant to wisely invest in yourself and in your career.  According to a recent survey of BankRate.com, fifty percent of Americans admit they carry less than $20 in cash, and nine percent say they don't carry cash at all. Giving your audience the ability to easily pay with a credit card is a simple way to improve your sales potential.

 

Another great way to add another source of revenue is to monetize your blog through pay per click ad programs such as Google’s Adsense. This service will embed ads in your blog that usually correlate, at least remotely, to products or services you’re writing about in your blog post. Once you sign up for these programs you will get paid each time a reader clicks on an ad. You can even download the free Adsense app to your mobile phone to manage your account on the go. You won’t generate much revenue at first, but it will grow as more readers begin visiting your blog. Although it’s not typical, Google reports that some users are making tens of thousands of dollars per month off this program. Whatever you make, every little bit helps.

 

I can’t stress this enough, just because you choose to pursue a writing career doesn’t mean you have to be a starving artist, it only requires you to think differently and have the discipline to stick to a budget.  Use your gift of creativity to discover new and different ways to get people to pay you for your work and be mindful of the money that you’re spending. If you accomplish this balance you will be well positioned to successfully support yourself with your words. More than ever before writers really do have control of their destinies. Utilize all of the tools at your disposal and you will soon see that reaching the goal of becoming a full time writer will feel every bit as amazing as you imagined it would be.

 

Here’s to your success!

~Eric Vance Walton, Author~

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More information on finding success as an indie author can be found in my book, One Word at a Time, Finding Your Way as an Indie Author. This book debuted at #7 on Amazon and currently has 19 reviews with an average of 4.9 stars.

 

A New Path

I had posted something on social media a few days ago about learning something new every day and wrote yesterday about the need to step outside of my comfort zone when things don’t feel as if they’re progressing. Since the launch of my novel, Alarm Clock Dawn, in 2013 I’ve worked tirelessly to write new books, engage readers, and generate new original content almost every single day across Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and whoever else will have me. All the while I've kept my day job. In these years I’ve had some successes and have met some truly amazing folks.  

After three years of very hard work, I’ve realized that I’m not reaching my goals fast enough. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over an expecting different results, this is precisely what I’ve been doing. The truth is social media isn’t the path to success that it once was for us indie authors. Facebook is limiting post outreach more and more every day.

 

A friend (who happens to be a wonderful editor) sent me the right information at just the right time and it’s caused me to rethink everything and reevaluate how I’m spending my most precious commodity, time. Most of this information I already knew but the missing piece to the puzzle was to actually learn how to put the ideas into action. Thanks to her I now I have that missing puzzle piece.  (Jennifer, I owe you a drink or lunch.)

 

I believe everything happens for a reason and when it’s supposed to, this recent string of events must mean that I’m finally ready. I hope so.

 

Over the next few months I’m going to be recalibrating my entire approach to my writing career. Instead of spending all my time generating content and writing books that reach only a handful of people, I’m going to work hard to build an army of readers that Facebook, Twitter, nor any other entity can limit my access to.  Along the way I’m going to be completely transparent with you about my results so others can benefit from what I learn.

 

Writing is, and always has been, a labor of love for me but I also want to make writing my fulltime career. Building a large readership base and then setting my marketing on autopilot will free up my time to write more books, create more quality social media content and engage with you more than I could ever hope to any other way. This will involve developing a mailing list, building a proper website, as well as many other things that I won’t bore you with right now.

 

I’m very excited for the future and I hope you're a part of it. Please be patient with me during this transition.

 

Know that each of you are very much appreciated. Your support over these past few years is what has kept me going!

 

~Eric Vance Walton~

 

The Happy Path

Lately I've been steeped in the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. I'm reading it, slowly and deliberately, one verse per night, and letting the wisdom sink in.  I've read the Tao Te Ching many times before but it's never resonated with me like this. There's such a infinite wisdom in this book I can see how it's survived thousands of years. The message is so good, so poignant, so useful to humanity that it's stood the test of time. I've been doing my usual year-end reflection and have been thinking a lot about my writing, mainly the snail's pace in which my career has grown. Many times I've asked myself why I haven't achieved the level of success I've wished for. I've been working at my craft for more than two decades and each time I hit a wall and feel like giving up my psyche has always offered up a myriad of excuses:

You haven't met the right contact;

There's too much competition;

It's impossible to make a living at writing;

Facebook is severely limiting my outreach;

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

These excuses are falsehoods that, once I climb from the mire of self-pity, eventually allow me to justify continuing down a path that isn't working out.  Yes, I receive great joy from my work, there's no denying that, but one thing the Tao Te Ching has taught me to do is step outside myself and look at things objectively.  When I do this I see the truth, my work is just not good enough. Admitting this is an amazingly freeing and cleansing experience. If my writing was good enough my words would resonate with people to the point they would catch fire. I would be doing what I love for a living.

This very moment I'm taking full ownership of my life, both the successes and the failures. Like James Altucher has said many times before, there are no longer any gatekeepers. This is very important to realize because when you do you can't blame anyone but yourself.  I'm totally responsible for my own happiness and success.

My second novel, Truth Is Stranger, will be done by June, a series of short stories called, Embrace The Wobble will be published shortly after that, and I'm actively seeking people interested in making my trilogy of novels into films.

Indentured Solitude, my latest short story, is the best fiction I've ever written. I know I can do this. I see that all of the struggles and life experiences I've been through have made my writing better. I'm going to continue to learn, continue to walk down my happy path, and continue to write.

A few other things the Tao has taught me is: 1. everything happens in its own time, when it's meant to; and 2. we must act but detach ourselves from results of those actions.

2016, like any year, will be filled with the usual ups and downs but this year I refuse to see myself through the lens of any falsehoods, any excuses will be hunted to the point of extinction. In the New Year, and every year thereafter, I'm going to work harder than ever before at my craft until my words absolutely catch f*cking fire. There’s no other way.

Until then, my head and heart will be completely in my work, I will try to see things as they are and not how I wish them to be, and my nose will be trained for that first sweet whiff of smoke.

Happy New Year all!  Thank you all for the wonderful support and ideas.  May 2016 bring you truth and may that truth lead you to the success you seek.

~Eric Vance Walton~

PROJECT - PAY IT FORWARD FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A chance encounter with an old co-worker yesterday sparked a crazy idea. Well, maybe it's not so crazy. It began like this...I asked her what she was doing for the Holidays and she said, "My family has decided we have enough stuff. We're very fortunate so we're going to hand out twenty dollar bills on Christmas Eve." This is how it all started. (Thank you Joan.)

The news this year, more than any other year I can remember in my 44 years on the planet, is full of violence, racism, war, and fear mongering. It seems our world is going haywire. This really got my brain going about how we could start a wave of love and positivity. Through my social media pages I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty good sized global audience of amazing people. I'm a firm believer that there is still more good than bad in the world and I'd like to prove it.

Our society has turned this Holiday season into a frenzy of consumerism that brings with it a whole host of negative emotions for a lot of people. More than any other time of the year, the Holidays make people long for loved ones who are no longer here, brings back feelings of regret, it can make people feel like they don't have enough money or things, and like they don't measure up in general.

Your Participation Is Requested.

What I propose, if you can spare it, is to invest $20 in the goodness of humanity. You can use this $20 to help someone you know or a stranger you cross paths with. Pay someone's bill in a restaurant, buy a homeless person a hot meal, or simply hand someone a twenty dollar bill and say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whichever Holiday Greeting you prefer. It's easy to forget that each of us are fighting a battle every day and, despite appearances, we have no idea what kind of struggles others are going through.

This idea is very simple. It serves a twofold purpose. It may just help renew someone else's faith in the goodness of humanity and, I promise, it will make you feel INCREDIBLE! This simple act will bring you much more joy than anything the $20 could purchase. In fact, it might be the best gift you get this year.

I'm doing it and will report back my results.

If you decide to participate, please report your results on my author page as well. I'll be reposting this a few times per week until Christmas. Please SHARE this post. Let's start a wave of light to drown out the darkness of this world...or maybe just forget about it for a little while.

Thank you for your interest in my work this year. May your Holidays be rich with all the things that truly matter.

With Gratitude, ~Eric Vance Walton~

Special Announcement

DEAR READERS: I’m excited to announce the pre-sales for my newest handmade poetry chapbook start now!  

EMANCIPATION is the second volume of my poetry chapbook series.  Artist Kristi Casey has outdone herself this time by creating a beautiful work of art that incorporates a technique called encaustic painting.  The chapbook is handmade, hand-bound, numbered, and autographed. Emancipation contains twenty-three original poems with the general theme of freedom. I’m so proud to share this project with you.

 

This book of original poetry will have a very limited print run of 75 copies for this handmade version. The dimensions of the book are 5” x 6” and the interior is printed on 24lb paper. Since it’s handmade, each copy will be slightly different in appearance.

 

PRICE:

$15.50 per copy (shipping included/U.S. domestic only); and

 

$14.00 per copy for those outside of the U.S. (plus a flat shipping fee of $10 for up to 5 copies shipped to the same address).

 

Reserve your chapbook(s) via PayPal (https://www.paypal.com) in 4 easy steps: 1. log onto your Paypal account;  2. choose, “Pay or Send Money”;  3. click, “Send money to friends or family; and 4. send the proper amount to, “ericvancewalton@gmail.com”.  Please don’t forget to include the shipping address in the notes.

 

If you’d rather pay by check please send me a private message with the number of copies you wish to purchase and your address and I’ll respond with the address to which you can send a personal check.

 

Here’s the book’s foreword:

 

“I went through a few days of deep thought before the title of this chapbook came to me. I was trying too hard and getting nowhere. I was attempting to force the natural creative flow and this never works. Suddenly, while walking our beagle, a common theme for all of the poems in this collection came to light.

 

Emancipation.

 

Take a moment to analyze your dreams and wishes. Isn’t a large component of each of them the desire to be free from something? This was the case with all of my dreams and wishes but I never realized it before. The process of writing teaches me something new almost every day.

 

I hope you enjoy and get lost in this collection. These twenty-three poems represent almost a year of my life. In them I hope you find joy, a seed of thought, or even inspiration for an emancipation of your very own!

 

With Gratitude,

 

~Eric Vance Walton~ “

 

This book of poetry would make a very thoughtful and unique Holiday Day gift. Although we can’t guarantee it, we will do our very best to have these to your doorstep by Christmas Day.

 

Again, the price is $15.50 per copy (shipping included/U.S. domestic only) and $14.00 per copy for those outside of the U.S.(plus a flat shipping fee of $10 for up to 5 copies shipped to the same address).

 

Thank you!

Truth

Blessed beyond words,truth is like a bird with a broken wing,

it cannot fly

but can surely sing this song calls to me,

the inner voice

of muse speaks, stitching together

fractured moments of my life

and giving each of them worth these words bubble up gently

from a place, cool and

deep inside of us all

that is immortal and wise,

their warmth and their light

wash over me to cleanse my

soul and remind me that

in a world that reeks of harshness

we are never fools to be kind all who seek solace will one day find,

a reason to keep smiling

in spite of the world 

and all its ways of beguiling

to notice it once will make it true, 

we are blessed beyond words. ~Eric Vance Walton~

Embrace the Wobble

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At this point most of you are already aware of my origin story so I won't delve into the details. For those of you who don't, the short version is I've been writing for twenty years while working a full time job with the goal of someday making my writing my full time gig. For my plan to be successful each day I need to provide value at my day job, produce new writing, promote my writing, try to be the best husband/uncle/son/beagle-papa/friend that I can be, and deal with all of the other responsibilities life thrusts upon me. To make it all work I've honed a juggling act over the years that maximizes the productivity of nearly every minute of every day. I envision each aspect of my life to be like the spoke of a wheel. Most of the time the wheel rolls wonderfully well, that is, until a spoke gets out of balance. When even one spoke is unbalanced the wheel of life begins to wobble. Sometimes the wobble is caused by circumstances beyond our control. I’ll provide a little backstory, my wife and I bought our craftsman-style bungalow at the worst possible time in the Fall of 2007. It just happened to be at the eve of the Housing Crisis of 2008, when real estate prices were at their peak. Lucky us. Like millions of others we were duped to believe the myth concocted by the banks that you would never lose money on real estate. We all have witnessed how that worked out. Two years after the crisis began we owed $60,000 more than the market value of our home but we continued to make the payments. Fast forward to 2015 and the market has come back with a vengeance and we want to get out while the getting’s good. We’ll break even if we’re lucky. For the past few months my wife and I have been working hard to get our house ready to sell and are looking for a new place to live. We want to downsize and find a condo that will be much less expensive and require less time and effort to maintain. These two life events have created such a wobble that the progress in writing my second novel, Truth Is Stranger, has completely ground to a halt. There just aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. I'm not whining… okay maybe I am whining just a little, but I know I'm not alone. Many creative people find themselves in this same predicament but it can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing way to live. After all, you have this wonderfully creative outlet that fills you with such positive energy and joy but it doesn't yet pay the bills. You have to eat and you don't want to be homeless so as a result your creative endeavor is usually the first thing to suffer when life becomes overly demanding. As a writer, I understand how easy it is to become frustrated and depressed when the demands of life make it so there's no time to write. Being stuck in the wobble makes me feel as though the dream of writing full time gets further out of reach with every revolution of the clock. This is especially true since everyone says it’s not a good idea to wait more than eighteen to twenty-four months between the publishing of your first and second novels. I’m no stranger to the wobble. I’ve been here before and have learned a few things about it that I’d like to share. Following are some tips that I've discovered to survive the wobble unscathed: 1. Be gentle with yourself and with others. During demanding times it's easy to be hard on yourself and those around you. Take a deep breath and release any feelings of guilt for not reaching your goals as fast as you planned. Also, it's important to never become too busy to express gratitude to those in your life who make you happy. 2. Continue to create something every day, even if it's something small. When times are particularly demanding I write haiku on my phone while I'm walking the dog. I've found that whether I'm working on a poem, a blog post, or a novel, the joy that comes from the spark of creation is just as great. 3. Take care of you (both body and mind). Eat right, exercise and get adequate sleep. Your health is your greatest asset. If you have a healthy body it's much easier to have a healthy mind. You need to keep your wits about you during times of wobble. Keep your body in the best shape you can and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish during demanding times. Remember, often times the untrained mind is the weakest link, it will cry "surrender" long before the body does. 4. Meditate. This will help to keep you calm and grounded despite what life throws at you. Meditation also fosters feelings of compassion and altruism even if these feelings are not in your nature. One quick way to forget about your challenges is to help someone else. I’ve been meditating regularly for over twenty years and even a few minutes of meditation per day will cause lasting positive effects in more ways than you can imagine. 5. Trust that the universe is unfolding as it's meant to and look for lessons and opportunities everywhere. Life rarely plays out the way we've planned but we must remember that the journey is half the fun. It's surprising what great lessons the journey has to teach us. We must be flexible and always remain aware to the lessons that are being presented to us. 6. Don't worry that ideas or opportunities will stop. When you truly believe ideas and opportunities come from a limitless place inside of you it helps stifle a lot of the anxiety that comes from the wobble. 7. Continue to promote. Promotion is the one thing you can't stop doing as a writer. Even if this means you need to occasionally recycle old content or post quotes or memes. You have to regularly stay in front of your audience to keep them engaged and coming back. 8. Harvest ideas from everything in your life, even your struggles. Write down ideas, even if you can't immediately act on them. This post is a good example. I reaped a blog post from my the depths of my current wobble. 9. Give yourself permission to say no to those who demand your time. I learned this important lesson from James Altucher, a mentor of mine. He says if requests for your time don’t immediately spark a “Hell Yes!” response from you learn how to politely decline them. This holds true especially during times of wobble when your time is even more precious. 10. Make time for joy and laughter. Both of these things reduce stress and increase your quality of life tremendously. 11. Keep in mind challenging times never last forever, the wobble will end at some point. In my experience challenging times rarely last long. In fact, the wobble seems to end just after you get to a point where you feel as if it never will. As the saying goes, it's always the darkest just before the dawn. 12. No matter what, never stop taking steps toward and believing in your dreams. I’ve lived long enough to realize there’s nothing in life worse than regret and as long as you’re advancing towards your goal each day, even if it’s just a little bit, there is nothing to regret. Be one with the wobble. Learn from it what you can and you will come out stronger on the other side. Stay strong and wobble on! ~Eric Vance Walton~

JUST SAY YES

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It took me over eight years to complete my first novel, Alarm Clock Dawn. Why?  Because I am my own worst enemy. For almost a decade my brain spewed a steady stream of self-doubt, fear,  and hundreds of excuses as to why I couldn't finish the manuscript. I don’t know how to write a novel, I don’t have time, and at least ninety eight more idiotic excuses.But outside influences (mainly the wish to escape a horribly stressful job in which I was working 60-70 hours per week) forced me to push through the self doubt and fear and finish the novel against all odds. The final push came from a friend at a dinner party who jokingly asked me if I finished that novel yet. The day I finished the first draft was one of the best days of my entire life.

I've met a lot of people in my forty-three years on Earth and most humans are their own worst enemies. Something in our DNA seems makes most of us self-saboteurs. It’s so easy and comfortable to give into the self doubt and fear and take no chances. I gave into this way of thought and said no to opportunities for almost twenty years. After a while I simply grew tired of disappointment and disenchanted with failure. I wanted to say yes to life.

Charles Bukowski said, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”  It’s sad but true and this one quote explains why our world is in the shape it is. Some of the most intelligent people I know are trapped in a self imposed prison cell they’ve constructed inside their own heads. Their lives become paralyzed in a maze that keeps them in a continuous loop of over thinking.They forget how to listen to their hearts and their intuition.

Finishing my novel taught me one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my whole life. I learned the life we all want lies just on the other side of doubt and fear. Things feel the bleakest just before your big breakthrough. The life of your dreams begins after you say yes. Once you push through to the other side there is no turning back. The adrenaline produced by standing toe to toe with fear becomes addictive. There truly are no limits except for the ones we impose on ourselves.

Once I dipped my toe into the pool of success I began to notice others around me who live their lives by this mantra. Some of these people have overcome great failures. Some have just thought outside of the box of conventional thinking or refused to be pigeonholed into stereotypes.

A few years ago my wife and I took up roller skating. Shortly after we started we met Robert, one of the fastest skaters at the rink. Robert appears to be fifty-five or so but we discovered later he’s nearly seventy. He still rides dirt bikes, break dances, and is a faster skater than people half his age. What is his secret? Good genes might have a little to do with it but even more importantly, Robert says yes to life.

The next time you think of trying something new (and outside your comfort zone) and feel that familiar tinge of fear, simply say yes. The next time the universe presents you with an opportunity that you think you’re not ready for say yes and figure out a way to make it happen. I promise it will get easier the more you do it. You will be amazed at how fast your life will change for the better. This tiny three letter word carries a lot of power.  Just say yes, stand back, and watch the magic happen.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Just Before The Dawn

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I’ve been in this business longer than I care to think about. If I think too much about how many years of my life I’ve been pursuing the goal of becoming a full-time writer I sometimes get depressed. Up until just a couple of years ago I didn’t even have a real plan, I was only a dreamer and the dream didn’t have teeth. It’s good to dream but that’s only one element of what it takes to get you there. Recently just such a moment of depression descended on me. My sales had hit a plateau; there were no new opportunities to speak of. It only lasted a few hours but it was a gut wrenching feeling that this was as big as my dream would ever become. I feared my fifteen minutes were over. Then I remembered that I’d felt this a few times before and usually when I did a breakthrough was on the other side of that dark night. What I’ve found is the closer I get to achieving that next burst of exponential growth in my writing career the more seems to be working against me. I’ve learned from talking to others who are trying to achieve a dream similar to mine that this experience isn’t unique.

The challenges can crop up from a variety of places…the news, envious people, and, yes, even my own mind. All these challenges need to do to be successful in derailing you is to plant that seed of doubt and it will grow into a dream killing monster. But, you know what? None of that matters once your mind is made up and my mind was made up a couple of years ago. I am a writer. I will do this for a living while traveling the world with my wife, meeting new people, and experiencing different cultures.

The most effective way out and on to the next plateau begins with deciding to just focus solely on what you have control over. I know I have control over my mind. Most often I’ve learned getting out of this kind of slump requires a simple shift in mindset. Think about it, anything can seem difficult or even impossible if you’ve made your mind up that it is.

The secret is to make up your mind that your goal is attainable, not just attainable but easy to achieve. This isn’t fooling yourself, well maybe a little, but this Jedi-like mind trick fills you with such confidence and positive energy that I believe you attract opportunities and people that can help. The truth is most of us can’t do this alone and that’s okay. Build a team of helpers who are geniuses in their particular field (marketing, editing, etc.) You will be simply unstoppable with an army of experts behind you.

Whenever find yourself in a funk such as the one I just described ask yourself these three things:

1. What do I really want?

2. Why don’t I already have what I want?

3. What do I need to do to get what I want?

To answer these questions as honestly as you possibly can gives your dream teeth. In my case, my most limiting factor is always inside my own head. The mind is quite good at self-sabotage by peppering your inner dialogue with negative statements like, “This is going to be a real challenge” as well as countless other statements that begin with those two dreaded words, “I can’t…”. Negativity is pure poison and will keep you lost in delusion.

The truth is you CAN do this and if you want it badly enough YOU WILL. The other option is to find yourself right where you are in ten years from now doing the same things in the same way. Stay with me and we’ll build our dreams together. Create a strategy. When you make it through to your next day’s dawn I’ll be there to greet you. Maybe we can have a beer or a nice glass of cabernet at some quaint Parisian café and swap stories.

In just a few short days from ground zero I have renewed hope. I also have a few new and exciting irons in the fire. I can tell you from experience that what I speak of works and this sunrise, it’s such a beautiful thing.

I wish you the very best,

~Eric Vance Walton~

Join The Indie Publishing Revolution!

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We're in the middle of a publishing revolution. Publishing houses no longer hold all of the keys to success as a writer. The world is changing. Every writer has a chance to be part of the new publishing world. This book is not about publishing contracts and million dollar book deals. This book is about creating a life as a writer. One Word at a Time is a deeply personal guide to success as a writer. In this book I share my hard-won lessons about creating and sustaining the writer's life. If you want a practical and personal guide to success as a writer, this book is for you.  Available now for Kindle and in paperback. One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author