Tag Archives: aspirations

Stumbling Over Statistics

charts-on-laptop-5760x3840_97336I confess, I’m too easily caught up with statistics. What’s more I’ve only recently come to fully appreciate their subjectivity to sometimes obscure factors, and that they are not always entirely accurate. Today, for example I discovered some fine print stating that my statistics source has an average eight percent variable. Does anyone else get the humor?

On to my point. I began my blog mainly to wade farther out into the publishing waters, hoping to develop a reader base, exposure, maybe attract an agent, etc. You get it. I quickly came to appreciate the additional benefits that come with blogging; accountability, increased sensitivity and attention to details. But who am I kidding? The bottom line is exposure.

I officially launched What’s Next (Doing the Next Best Thing) on 11 September 2014. Almost immediately my life’s course took some more overwhelming, unexpected turns. After some months I posted an official “pause” to the blog. I continued extensive, organized journaling but stepped away from writing for publication for that season.

After considerable research I restarted my blog, changing the name to What’s Next in September 2015. Soon I stumbled upon WordPress Blogging U and the WordPress Reader.

From there, wooed by my gradually increasing (and decreasing) number of followers and blogger awards, I posted everything I imagined, again I admit, mostly to inflate my numbers. The adventure continued into more directions than I want to admit to this forum. I was dramatically caught up with my blog statistics.

I had generated new outlines, chapters and a couple of manuscripts for what certainly could have landed on the desk of Spielberg, Coppola, Cassavetes or Jeremy Leven. And then I woke up. In truth, even I lost interest reading them. In in the new-found fun and fellowship of blogging I’d lost sight of my objective and my focus.

shreddYears ago, after filing several rejected manuscripts I learned the painful lesson about ignoring the distractions and simply write my stories. I can only imagine how the world turns for other writers, but in my world those distractions often came disguised as the care and feeding of my family. Juggling work with providing food, clothing, health care and the most accommodating shelter possible for us all became simpler as the boys moved on and out. Through the changes and heartaches I did my best to keep my eye on my goal.

So I’ve proven that statistics are good as a road map as long as they don’t become the focal point. There remains a distinctive balance between making a living and living one’s life. Some days my platform feels a little more slippery than others, but I haven’t fallen off the scale entirely – this week. From my perspective and experience I can only imagine a writer’s life depicted by Richard Castle, Jessica Fletcher and Jamal Wallace. I’m more like William Forrester. All. Fictional. Characters.

While I’ve never gone to war or lived outside the continental U.S. I relate to Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Jane Austen; living and writing about life as they knew it.

But imagine if they had blogged…


“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” John 7:37,38 (NLT)

Castle, 2009 – present; Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle
Murder, She Wrote, 1984 – 1996; Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher
Finding Forrester, 2000; Rob Brown as Jamal Wallace and Sean Connery as William Forrester



Filed under Notes from the Apex

The View From Ground Level

You probably don’t become so engrossed, so determined to redirect your life that you overlook living. I seem to have mastered the practice.

Allow me to elaborate.

Recently the status quo pushed me to my limit. Something had to change. Surely, I had to work harder. The year winding up, Thanksgiving already passed, I had to move fast.

Not entirely dumb, I prayed first. I listened. Soon the story came to me. I had it.

Painstakingly planning the process, outline, flow chart and all, I stepped right into work.

work Markus Spiske

Before long at all, so enthralled with the plan and the work, I happily keyed away – until either my cordless keyboard batteries drained or physical pain partially diverted my attention. Not hearing my alarms (another story), forgetting to eat or drink, I worked till the wall fell on me. And then I slept.

This cycle went on for some time – I’ll get back to you with the specifics.

I now recall having seen signs of Christmas here and there, noting to myself I must slow down soon – after I finish the manuscript that will not only change my life, but the world as we know it, of course.

Over a week into the Advent season, the numbers on the calendars flashed before me – what the… that date can’t be right. Noticing the ache from my waist down, I remembered blowing off my fitness routine for a day – or two – a week ago. No matter, I’ll think about all that after I sleep a little.

derailedThis morning began with a renewed determination to catch up, get my derailed train of a plan back on track. Start with the basics; hygiene, fuel, exercise, prayer and then work. But either the light was somehow wrong or the mirror lied at me – I looked awful! I felt fine, so I told myself I look good enough. All I could stomach was two bites of stale granola bar and a shriveled apple slice.

Reality caught up with me on the cold tile floor – where I sprawled, having fallen over my silly self, trying to pull on my walking shoes as I walked toward the door.

“I’m okay,” I announced, realizing I had released a loud, indiscernible sound as I rolled around quite gracelessly.

At that moment I realized I must seriously get my head back into living my life. Bounding ahead too fast brought me to ground level.

To catch up I had to stop. After a while I will stand. Then I’ll think about what’s next.




Filed under Notes from the Apex