31 October 2011

Dream Are Only Dreams (...Until They're Not Anymore)

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being a featured speaker at the Idaho Book Extravaganza.  And while I went there excited to be a part of the event, meet writers and editors, and talk to the community, I left with something more: a deeper appreciation for what accomplishing a goal can mean to a person.

As I met person after person, and heard about their manuscripts and goals, I couldn't help but feel moved.  Here were people who were taking a step toward accomplishing something they'd always wanted to do, people who were brave enough to approach me and tell me their stories.  I noticed how their expressions would change when they started talking about their manuscripts, and I could see that many people were revisiting dreams they'd almost given up on, dreams that are still very, very present.

As I reflected on my many conversations, I couldn't help but wonder: What is it that causes us to move in the opposite direction of our dreams?  Why do we put that half-written manuscript inside a desk that sits in a room no one uses?  Why are we so afraid to talk about the things we desire?

Of course, not everyone wants to write a book.  Other people have different dreams: climbing a summit, backpacking through Europe, doing a triathlon.  But it's not really the type of dream that matters, is it?  The question still remains: Why don't we spend every waking moment moving in the direction of our dreams?  What is it about success that is just so terrifying?

When I was in long distance track in high school, my coach once said to me, "When you run, keep your eyes on the back of the person in front of you.  You naturally move toward the thing you're looking at."

And so it is with goals.  The more we read, talk, think, and write about our dreams, the more likely we are to accomplish them.  We must keep our eyes always forward and our bodies always moving in the direction of our dreams.

After all, if we are always looking forward in anticipation of the prize, aren't we naturally more likely to become victorious?

27 October 2011

Oh, You Silly Chicago Manual of Style Editor

I found this hilarious Q & A buried in the archives of the Chicago Manual of Style online:


Q. About two spaces after a period. As a US Marine, I know that what’s right is right and you are wrong. I declare it once and for all aesthetically more appealing to have two spaces after a period. If you refuse to alter your bullheadedness, I will petition the commandant to allow me to take one Marine detail to conquer your organization and impose my rule. Thou shalt place two spaces after a period. Period. Semper Fidelis.

A. As a US Marine, you’re probably an expert at something, but I’m afraid it’s not this. Status quo.


I'm a diehard two spacer.  Abusus non tollit usum.

25 October 2011

Hello, Boise!

I love being home.  Boise is one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been in, and the reasons are pretty clear: it’s clean and safe, people are nice, traffic is minimal, and the city is lovely.  On top of all of that is Bronco spirit, which really seems to permeate everything in the city.  There’s a general sense of goodwill and overall awesomeness.  But, shhhhh…don’t tell too many people.  I like Boise how it is, thank you very much.

Good for you, you’re likely thinking.  So?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me.  I’m going home for a few days, and I’m excited.

In fact, I’m aboard a plane right now, writing this post from 20,000 feet high.  (Or maybe it’s 10,000 feet.  I really don’t know anything about airplanes.)  I just finished some editing, reviewed my presentation for this Friday, and now I’m putting fingers to keys to write about my excitement.

Presentation, you ask?  Oh, yes…that’s the reason I’m heading home.  This weekend is the Idaho Book Extravaganza, and I’ll be leading a workshop entitled, “Write Your Best Book: The Writing and Editing Process” on Friday, October 28th at 12:00 p.m. at the Boise Center on the Grove.

The class will touch on the writing process and the four main types of editing, but the main concept is on how a strong focus on editing can strengthen a manuscript and save time and money during the writing process.  I’ve prepared several handouts, including a checklist to help determine what kind of editing is needed for a manuscript, a manuscript review form, and tips for hiring an editor.  The workshop will teach the lingo needed to communicate with editors, including what to discuss and the kinds of things that should be written up in an agreement or contact.

It’s going to be a great class.

And while I’m a little biased about how awesomely informative my workshop will be, there are some other amazing workshops going on over the two days.  But don’t take my word for it, check the website out for yourself.  I hope to see you there—or perhaps we’ll see each other on the lovely streets of Boise, smiling in that friendly, Northwesterner sort of way.

11 October 2011

Goodbye, Steve Jobs...For Real, This Time

Image Source: http://www.globalnerdy.com

When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple, I wrote a blog about his departure.  Yet, it's taken me a few days to write after his death.  I'm not sure why that is, but I think maybe I needed to process what losing someone like Steve Jobs means for our technological future.

Steve Jobs was the foremost inventor of our time.  He did more for computing and technological creativity than anyone, ever.  His vision, commitment to ingenuity and perfection, and willingness to think big has forever shaped, well, everything.

Many of us have listened to Jobs's commencement address at Stanford University.  And while all the talk about death in the address seems rather pertinent with his recent passing, I think this speech is a beautiful way to remember him -- wise, motivated, accepting nothing less than perfection.  Here's a favorite quote of mine from his talk:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
And, his final advice really spoke to me: Stay foolish.  Stay hungry.

Thanks, Steve.  I will.