writing

365 Challenge: Day 153 – Routine

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Routine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program

hhj

A conversation recently held by someone I know:

  • Setting:
    • New York City, East Side, 12th Floor of Apartment Building, 8:30 AM
    • Living Room Couch
  • Characters:
    • Jay #1: Type A Personality, People-Pleaser
    • Jay #2: Old, Sleepy & In Need of a Vacation
    • W: Significant Other (either J1 or J2, still undetermined)
    • Ryder: almost 10-year old shiba, AKA the food whore

 

J1: OK, what’s on tap for this morning? Daily post. Check messages. Breakfast. Finish edits to Glass novel.

J2: Sleep. And shut up, I’m not ready to deal with you.

W: Did you want yogurt for breakfast?

J1: Yes, please.

J2: Grumble. Don’t speak to me. Not conscious yet.

Ryder: I’ll have some. <He jumps off the couch on W’s side, stretches on the carpet, jumps up the couch on J2’s side. J1 is in the middle trying to come up with a topic for the 365 Daily Post. >

J1: There is no yogurt for Ryder today. He needs to have a non-human food day.

J2: Shut up.

Ryder: I don’t speak with J1 anymore. Only J2.

<Yogurt arrives hand-delivered with more coffee, too.>

J1: Thank you!

J2: I need my bed.

W: Did I snore again?

Ryder: I’m waiting. <A paw reaches out and scratches J2’s leg.>

J1: I can’t decide what to write for today’s 365 Daily Challenge.

J2: Put a picture of me sleeping with a sign that says “out to bed.”

J1: I don’t need this from you.

J2: So write your post and leave me alone with my yogurt and my Ryder.

J1: What about W?

J2: He’s already done and getting ready for the gym.

J1: Don’t we have to go to the gym?

J2: Yes, you do. I don’t.

J1: How is that possible? We’re the same person.

J2: Nap time.

W: I’m going to the gym.

J1: Go for me, too?

Ryder: Um, you gonna eat that? <Paw pushes empty container across the end table to the floor.>

J1: Did you just take my yogurt?

J2: Zzzzzzzz.

Ryder: Lick, Lick, Lick. I prefer the honey flavor, not this strawberry one. Aftertaste.

W: Get your own next time. Wait, why does he have your yogurt cup?

J1: Zzzzzzzz.

J2: Zzzzzzzz.

Ryder: Zzzzzzz.

 

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Yes, this is an example of a normal Saturday morning routine in my apartment. I like routines. They are comforting. They help me keep everything moving along in the right direction. Some routines are good. Like working out. Eating yogurt. Sleeping. Some routines are bad. Like letting Ryder eat dairy.

Another thing that’s become a routine is me talking to myself as if I really am two people. It used to be a silly joke or expression I’d say every so often. Now I’m beginning to believe it’s actually true. And so while I thought the word of today might have been “prolific,” or “congratulations,” or “sleepy,” I decided to type out this morning’s conversation as best I could remember it.

Hence why today’s post is a non-routine one… instead of something witty and informative about me, you’re getting a glimpse into a guy who’s written so much fiction this week, he had little energy to dream up a routine post. Don’t yell at him too much. J1 can only handle so much stress. And J2 (that’s me, closing this one up) is not in the routine habit of cleaning up his mess.

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Mama Cass @ Aspen Trees Book Review. We met online a few months ago over a few different book reviews but it quickly turned into frequent discussions on each other’s posts. For some reason, she calls me Superman and throws quiz questions at me about things I probably should know but do not. In turn, I do my best to confuse her on tricks in the WordPress world of blogging. But the honesty and depth of thought in her reviews is quite good, which is reason enough to check out her book reviews. And then peruse the entire site. Between our shared love of 80s music, the Stephanie Plum series and several TV shows, we always have fun chatting. If you have any of those in common with us, you’ll love her, too. If you’d like to learn more about her but not from me, check out what is on the site’s About Me section:
    • “I have been reading since the time I could walk.  50 years later and I read approximately 150 books a year.  I want each author to take me to a land, a time, a place of their choosing.  I am merely along for the ride.I read many different genres of books, because I love diversity, sociology and culture. So, that being said, you might find books about African American literature, books about Buddhism or Muslim, or a gay or lesbian love story.  I don’t believe in just reading what is familiar, that’s a good way to miss out. I recently started reviewing books and am happy to start blogging them. I live with my family in Colorado and we all enjoy the beautiful outdoors.  I love nature and all animals.  I believe in spirituality and diversity in all things. Enjoy cooking, hiking, bicycling and healthy living.  Learning Tajifit.  Thank you for being here.”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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My Novel: Watching a Glass Shatter

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It’s been a few months since I mentioned anything about my first novel, Watching a Glass Shatter, which prompted me to assemble this post as a way to share its current status. As you already know about the second book, Father Figure, I wanted to reveal a little more about the first.

Watching a Glass Shatter is the story of a ~65ish widow, Olivia Glass, who receives shocking news after the unexpected death of her husband, Ben. In a letter Ben left behind as part of his will, he confesses a secret about one of their five adult sons, but fails to specifically mention which one. Wretched with anger and fear, Olivia asks the attorney to investigate Rowena Hector, the mysterious woman whom Ben names in his last communication. While the attorney searches, Olivia embarks on a journey with each son to share one final moment and connection before the secret Ben kept must be revealed, ultimately changing the face of their family’s future.

Olivia has neglected her family over the years, losing touch as each son became a man and built his own life and family. She grew too focused on her place in society and her own needs that she failed to realize how to be a good mother. When she visits with her sons, Olivia learns they’ve been keeping secrets from her, too. The journey becomes not only about accepting the decision Ben made without her years ago, but to help prevent each of her sons from destroying their own lives with the secrets they’ve kept.

Theodore, the eldest, should be taking over the family law firm, yet his focus is anywhere but on the family business. When his wife intervenes, everything could change.

Matthew’s always been the dependable son, but his struggle is one that could have long-lasting impacts on the family if Olivia can’t help him learn how to survive.

Caleb chose to abandon his family a decade earlier, unable or unwilling to share his life with those whom he once held a strong bond. Will he even return at this point?

Zachary’s given his parents the most grief over the years. Olivia berates him over how he cares for his young daughter, unaware he might be strongest of them all.

Ethan is the youngest, finishing up the final steps to becoming a doctor and falling in love for the first time. But is the pressure getting too intense for him after the loss of his father?

The novel is about the relationships between brothers, husbands and wives, parents and children. The Glass family were once a strong brood, but blood can’t always keep you together when people’s fears and desires takeover. The story is told from the viewpoint of Olivia and each of the five sons, sharing the perspective and points of view from all angles. As the secrets slowly unfold, the Glass family begins to shatter. Olivia knows it needs to be her to break down the barriers and re-assemble what was once a powerful family. But time is running out in more ways than she knows. When she meets Rowena, the final pieces of the puzzle come together, placing the decision to reveal Ben’s secret in her hands, and her hands alone. Has she learned the lesson or will she make the same mistakes again? It’s her no-nonsense sister, Diane, who helps Olivia determine the path; however, the path is one neither of them could have predicted.

____________________________________________________________________________________

My passion for this story is infinite. I lived and breathed the Glass family from September through December in 2016. It’s been through a few editing and beta reading stages in early 2017, and out with agents and publishers the last few months. I’m close to making a decision with a plan to publish the novel before the end of 2017.

If the story interests you, please check out the first three (3) chapters I’ve posted on the novel’s website:  https://theglassfamily.wordpress.com/watching-a-glass-shatter/

And tell me what you think! I’d love to hear from everyone. Thanks for reading.

 

-jay

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 137 – Character

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Character: (a) the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, or (b) a person in a novel, play, or movie

character

Characters are on my mind today. In many different ways. The characters on my screen at some point changed to a whole bunch of symbols. I didn’t do anything to cause it. They just up and converted themselves. I gave the laptop screen my best sideways glance, calmly explaining that I was not taught how to read hieroglyphics. I casually mentioned if this was a message from the Writing Gods to consider a different language or story, my response would be to remind them I could close this file and start an entirely new novel, one in which they did not exist. I stepped away to pour a glass of seltzer, hoping it was just a momentary glitch. When I returned, all was back to normal. Apparently, when I speak, computers jump. I also realized I had been leaning on the touchscreen monitor when trying to adjust its angle, somehow temporarily changing the font to “MT Extra.” Word of Caution: Unless you are Robert Langdon, I wouldn’t suggest doing this to yourself.

That’s fine. I can take a practical joke. On to the writing. Have you ever argued with one of your characters? (if you’re a writer, that is… because if you’re not, I suspect you don’t have characters… but I wouldn’t know for sure as that’s what I have all the time… these characters in my head who like to start fights with me). Today was all about nicknames. I have a thing for them. I’ve been given nicknames all my life. It gets to the point where everyone now calls me something different and I just have to learn to deal with it. So I think it’s OK to have nicknames. But not everyone else does. For instance… my main character suddenly has three different nicknames. It could confuse people. Or make it easier to know who’s talking without any dialogue tags. Eh, I won’t bore you non-writers. It should be sufficient to say, we are all different characters, depending on who we happen to be socializing with at the time. And having a nickname that is different from friend to friend seems like a logical thing to me. I don’t care what my character thinks about this decision. I write. They listen. If there’s a problem, call Thursday Next to help. {Aside: She’s a literary character who fixes problems with book plots and characters in a murder mystery series by Jasper Fforde.}

Some people bring out the sultry side in me. Yes, there is one. I usually project a vanilla and plain personality, so as not to cause an uproar on the blog, but there’s more to me than just the blogger you all know. I actually can be flirtatious, seductive, sexy, alluring… fill in whatever word works for you. But then again, my characters also need these qualities, so I often need to blur the line between them and me. I’ve currently got two people on a train who suddenly get jostled together, and I need to describe the intimacy growing between them. Where do I start? Experience. But as I’m writing it, I think… wait, now that’s something I would do. Would “x” do that? Hmm… Wait, would I really do that? Fifteen minute reflection on how I’d behave on a train in public under those conditions. Anyways, I find a way to write the scene, return to edit it, then put it down for a few hours. When I re-read it, something kept telling me it was the wrong two characters for that scene… that’s fine, I’m amenable to change. I can cut/paste to a future chapter and write something for the two on the train who won’t leave me alone. Characters. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them, huh?

We all have friends like that. People who are characters, pushing and pulling us in many directions until we just don’t know what to make of them. That’s how I feel about describing myself sometimes. I’m different depending on who I’m with. I feed off the energy between us and find a way to make what exists in our little world at that moment something special. I have a friend who is absolutely hilarious when it comes to all the efforts he will go to when trying to get out of a new relationship. I’m talking after two or three dates, nothing serious. Rather than tell someone he is no longer interested, he ends it a few different ways. He will just stop responding to any texts or calls. He tells them he’s moving to North Carolina. He tells them he is entering the priesthood. But none of them are jokes. He makes it seem like it’s all serious. He’s also the same friend who leaves parties, bars or dinners without saying goodbye. He is there talking one second, says he needs to use the bathroom or is going to talk to someone else, then he sneaks out. While these are two things he does that could showcase a negative quality, he’s so amusing and fun, you always just look the other way. He makes it a fun experience, and for that, I’d call him a character.

Character can also be that moral stance you take or image you project… usually said by someone wiser… “You’ve got a lot of character.” {Aside: Yeah, I know, tell me about it. Too many to handle.} But what makes up that sense of having good character. Honor? Humility? Down-to-earth? Strong? Honest? Old-Soul? I’ve got a few of those under my belt, but I wouldn’t really consider myself as someone with strong character. Not in a negative way, but I think the word describes someone who’s had a harder life, somebody closer to the Earth… gets his/her hands dirty every day, builds things, teaches moral lessons. Not sure that’s me. I’m more the partially funny / partially nutty one who tries to find hidden meanings in things while stirring up a little bit of fun trouble.

So where am I ending up here… a few questions I’m pondering as I pick up new books, shuffle some people around and draft my own chapters:

  • Will you describe your definition of a strong character in a book?
  • What qualities make up an individual with solid character?
  • How many different characters (unique people) do you have in your life?
  • Who’s your all-time favorite character in either a book, show, movie, cartoon, etc.?
  • Have you ever tried to read hieroglyphics (AKA, this rather peculiar post)?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Avonna @ Avonna Loves Genres. As today’s post is all about characters, the connection is Avonna’s love of literature, books, genres and characters. We met five months ago on Goodreads, where we connect on tons of books with each other all the time. We have similar reading interests, as well as some differences, too. But her site is full of so many different reviews — always very detailed and analytical. I’ve picked up a few new books from her and hope I’ve shared a few good ones with her. If you love books, and you read different genres, and like reading reviews, then this is a good site for you. If you don’t believe me, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I am an avid reader, reviewer and genre book lover! This site is for reviews, discussions and articles on genre books. We are all lovers of great stories, but like all readers, we have differing tastes and opinions even on the same book. That is what makes reading and reviewing interesting. I would love for you to comment on the various books reviewed and feature blogs. I will not publish a book review I would rate less than 3 stars. I hope everyone enjoys my site and reviews!”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 2 – Friday, July 14th, 2017)

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Based on the votes, you chose Father Figure as the next novel I write. Last time, we kicked off the weekly updates with an introduction to the book and my accomplishments during week #1. It’s already the end of week #2, and I’m happy to report that it’s been a productive one. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post.

writer

Status:  Friday, July 14, 2017 – Week #2

  • I edited the chapter by chapter outline by moving a few events around, adding two additional chapters to add to the drama in the opening pages, and incorporating some key dialogue points and lines into the first ten chapters.
  • I flushed out detailed bios for the 2 main characters and 6 of the 12 supporting characters. Molly’s and Brianna’s physical descriptions have been fully detailed, as well as their relationships with each of the family members. Both women have clear goals and objectives, thus driving the story arcs where I need them to go.
  • I’ve settled on the ethnicity, race, age, sexuality and attitudes for 6 of the 12 characters. By doing this, I’ve come up with two sub-plots which will help drive the story along, as well as provide depth to the characters. I’m finding myself slightly enamored with one of these supporting characters, trying to decide her ultimate fate among a sea of options.
  • I’ve listed approximately 20 locations that will appear in the book, organized by the 3 primary cities in which the story takes place. I’m working with a few friends who know those places well enough to provide some critical backdrop details. And within those 20 locations, e.g. coffee shop in NYC, professor’s office in the university, I’ve prepared a summary of the overall look-and-feel that will be included in each setting.

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #3

  • The remaining characters will be flushed out so that I have a 1 to 3 page detailed bio for each supporting character, depending on how frequently (s)he appears, and a 7 to 9 page bio for the 2 main characters.
  • The narrator’s voice still needs more focus. It will be third-person omniscient but I’m debating the structure of the voice, e.g. direct and clear versus amusing and fluctuating, pending which main character is the focus point. Hard things to figure out, but important before you start writing in my world.
  • Detailed timeline by date, not specific to chapter. A true list of dates and times that all the action occur so that I can ensure I’m including appropriate connection points, drama, red herrings and shocker moments. You are in for a thrill (at least I hope) with 3 really suspenseful scenes and 3 moments where the intention is for a WTF reaction of “no… that can’t happen!!!”

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • While I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped to work on the novel this week, I definitely devoted a solid 10 hours to it. It’s amazing the moments of brilliance you have about a plot or a character when you find uninterrupted time to truly ponder.
  • I’ve decided to add some big diversity points into the story. I’d known in the beginning that I wanted one of them to be included, as I felt it was a major component of a character; however, as I thought about what story I’m trying to tell here, I felt it needed to play a larger role. I’m going to need to research more as a result of this decision, but I think it’s also going to make the connection deeper with readers.
  • I’m debating the father. I keep picturing a scene from Star Wars and going back to…. “Well… maybe her father really should be X instead of Y.”

Ugh, just tell me who your father is, Brianna. NOW!

 

Open Questions / Thoughts

  • I’m still working through the ending. Cliffhanger or fully tied up? I may write both and see what a few beta readers think. The way it’s planned, I’d only have to write 2 to 3 chapters differently, which is less than a week’s work for me, especially since I have both endings clearly in mind already. The response last week from everyone was split fairly evenly, so if you have any examples of good or bad cliffhanger endings in books with sequels, throw ’em out there for me to consider.
  • My first thought on the opening lines… still very much a work in progress… and more just about setting the tone:
    • “I didn’t raise no harlot, Amalia. When you’re done with school today, you will go directly to the hardware store and help your father and me manage that register.” The back of Janet Graeme’s left hand stained her daughter’s flushed cheek with a burning imprint as she pushed passed her towards the stove. The piercing whistle of the tea kettle not only took precedence over the conversation, it disguised Amalia’s unexpected hollow whimper.
    • “But Momma, all the girls from my soccer team will be at the lake. We’re just gonna go for a swim and watch the sun set. I’ll be home to help with dinner,” Amalia replied, the strain in her voice grew weaker with each of her mother’s refusals to let her be a normal kid for once. She knew it wasn’t time to give up.

 

Summary of Father Figure (if you’re new to it)

  • A young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances she’s placed herself in due to the choices both her mother made 18 years ago and the young girl has made on her own in the present. How well do you really know your parents? And do they truly understand you?
  • A mystery and contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she’s attacked by a stranger and her life is never the same again. Amalia makes a few choices which will later have disastrous consequences.
    • 2018 – Amalia, going by Molly and living in NYC, sends her daughter, Brianna, away to college. Just like her mother, Brianna begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man whom Molly had a one-night stand with and later found herself pregnant and no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret that her mother never knew who the father was because it could have been more than one man. As Brianna searches for clues to find her father, she stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change her future. But when the stranger who attacked her mother re-surfaces, not even Molly knows if she can protect her daughter anymore.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 123 – Learned

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Learned: connected or involved with the pursuit of knowledge; erudite, scholarly

learned

I’ve spent my last twenty-four hours pondering the various ways in which people learn new things, subjects or topics. As a child, it’s relatively easy to find methods for learning, particularly because in most cultures you are either being schooled at home or attending public or private school. Though it certainly varies from country to country, children and young adults generally attend grammar and secondary schools until they are 18; often, it’s followed by anywhere from 2 to 8 years of undergraduate colleges and graduate universities. Sometimes you take a break, re-enroll or return for additional degrees and certifications throughout your life. Ultimately, your education is generally formulated during those first 25 years of your life before you are more than likely forced to focus on a career and/or earning money to support yourself and/or a family.

In those first 25 years, a majority of the learning process or time is directed by a teacher or professor who has done the research, or been told by the school district, department chair or board of directors what methods to use and which books to read. My point, though it can be interpreted in many different ways, is that someone else “above/before” you is driving the education you are receiving. You might have selected the school, teacher, course, or some independent study components within the overall program, but you aren’t doing a majority of the planning and decision-making on how the entire learning experience will play out. Yes, you certainly pick a lot of the things you focus on within that course or degree, but you rarely can make up a majority of the requirements for your own education. While that seems like an obvious statement, I felt the need to establish it as a baseline understanding before I chat a little bit about what’s going on in my head these days…

It’s easy to rely on someone else to set the boundaries or parameters of your learning experience. And when you let them, you are able to focus on the actual reading, research and experimenting to gain the knowledge in preparation for your future. But what happens when you’re done with your formal education and you still want to learn. What are your options? A few ideas:

  • Read books, journals and magazines
  • Find a seminar or course
  • Research via the Internet
  • Talk to people in that field

All are good options, but they require you as the individual to drive that piece of your education. If you want to learn pottery, you have to find and take a course, choose what books you want to read, travel the world to look at different artistry elements… you are left with an endless supply of information, but not always certain on how to proceed with so much at your fingertips and so little in a comprehensive overview. No longer do you have a documented itinerary or list of requirements that directs you towards gaining the knowledge you need. And for many people, that can be overwhelming. As I look at the things I’d like to accomplish in my future, I find myself thinking about who will help guide me through all the vast and open paths. While I’m confident I can navigate a big piece of the puzzle, am I really qualified or prepared to figure this out on my own?

The answer, at least for me or in my opinion, is NO. Or at least it isn’t specifically right now. Let’s take the option I’m considering for self-publishing my novel. While I continue to draft and send queries to literary agents, we all know it’s a big piece of luck and chance that will bolster my success, no matter how talented I am. And so I am excited about looking at all the options out there for self-publishing as an alternative. As I began writing my project plan over the last week, I found myself having to research topics on the Internet, talk to other writers and bloggers, look for already written summaries, etc. And it dawned on me, while there may be a class or video blog out there to help, it’s still 100% up to me to figure this out. There’s no advisor, professor, parent, boss, chairperson… whatever the appropriate person is for the field I’m looking at… and in reality, I actually first need to figure out what my educational plan is going to be before I just randomly go research it.

So… to bring some perspective back here… this post isn’t me saying “anyone have thought on self-publishing?” as I have already begun to prepare my own comprehensive plan on how to go about doing this, given all the materials at my disposal. But this post is saying… how does the rest of the world handle this? And doesn’t it seem silly that we spend so much of our early years “planning and learning,” only to find ourselves truly needing to be in a place of constant learning and growing without the right tools? Isn’t that one of the major points of life in any religion, culture or calling? To educate one’s self so that you can be a productive member of society and enhance the world for our future. But how do we do that if we end our formal learning process by 20 to 25 and leave it up to everyone to individually find time in our busy schedules to keep the momentum growing without these processes and tools.

In a way, it’s almost like suggesting we should have a “Life Skills” course that is taught by people who focus on these things day in and day out. Now that’s a job I think I would be tremendously strong at! I spend so much of my time thinking about all aspects of life, how to be a better person, how to be open-minded and fair… it seems like that we all would benefit from a regular educational experience about how to grow as people, move the world forward and become more highly intelligent beings. Many of us do this already… often inconsistently… usually on our own. But what if there were learning facilities with people (almost like the concept of a life coach) focused on helping make this a prominent component of everyone’s life. Forget about whether it’s required or optional. Start with just having something that actually offers the ability to connect and talk with other people about these things in a regular forum.

It’s along the same path as teaching life skills courses during the early years to help people have a 360 view of what the world has to offer and what we should be doing as human beings. It’s something I try to push myself to think about every day when I write the 365 Daily Challenge post. It was suggested I turn these into a book at one point, and I’m seriously wondering whether this is something that needs to be more of a focus in my life. It shouldn’t be 3 minutes of someone’s thoughts whenever they have time. I feel like maybe this should be part of a Life Skills & Learning Platform that becomes part of our post-degree or post-school educational experiences. Inclusive across the board on gardening, cooking, problem solving, genealogy, overview of sports, religion, cultures, blogging, buying a house, having a child, volunteering, car maintenance, travel planning, meditating, accepting failure, etc.

All these things have books, seminars, blogs, videos… but it’s so decentralized. No one-stop shop or place to truly have a place to turn in life to keep on that continuous educational wheel. Am I crazy? Am I just ignorant of something existing already out there? Or are there other people like me who realize we’re not placing enough importance on these things in our own life at the right frequency, and we really need to make this change? I’d love to hear what others think of this topic and how you handle it in your own life. Let’s make this one a big share everyone…

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Valerie @ Valerie’s Musings. Valerie and I have been chatting for about 3 months. We first bonded over our love of cozy mystery fiction, sharing different authors and book series with one another. And when we read the same ones, we have so much fun chatting about the characters, settings and plots. We moved on to other genres and will be doing a buddy read later this month of “The Bear and the Nightingale.” But once we started chatting about general life musings between my 365 Daily Challenge posts and her focus on making positive changes in her life, we bonded over lots of great ideas and thoughts for the future. She is a very smart, friendly and open-minded woman who deserves great things in life. I look forward to her feedback and comments each week. And for those reasons, Valerie should be on your watch list, too. Go check out her site from the link above and poke around the site. Make the most out of her musings!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Award: Blogger Recognition #1

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Des’ Random Thoughts tagged me in her Blogger Recognition Award post, and now it’s my turn to give this tag a little workout among my friends.  First, I appreciate her kind and thoughtful mention, and everyone should stop over at Des’ site to look at everything she’s pulled together in the last year.  She has a variety of book reviews, general posts, updates & summaries, tags and awards. It’s always a fun treat when stopping by each day. And to keep the momentum going backward, Des was tagged by 

blogger-recognition-award

 

rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give at least two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

How My Blog Started

Last year, I left my full-time corporate technology position and found myself with a few months of free time, at least before I would head back to work again. Part of my professional position included managing WordPress website development, and I had done some XML and HTML coding over a decade ago. I thought I should get a bit more hands-on with WP, which led to me creating three (3) websites: (a) professional, (b) this personal blog and (c) my book. I also began reading and posting my reviews on Goodreads each day. After a few weeks, I found myself meeting new people, adding more content and having a grand ole time. I had things to say and people seemed to have fun reading and commenting. It’s taken off over the last 6 months and I now have about 2500 followers between all three sites and my connected social media accounts. Thank you to everyone; I truly appreciate all the kindness and interest. It’s become part of my full-time job, in addition to writing, bringing lots of fun and depth to my life each day. And now I’m looking to build and grow in many directions, looking for guidance, advice and requests from each of you! So bring it on…

My Advice

With only 6 active months under my belt, I’m not sure I’m qualified to provide blogging advice; however, I will certainly share my knowledge and you can choose to love it, hate it, take it or ignore it!

  • Create the blog for yourself — not for anyone else, in the beginning. Give some thought to the things you want to say and how often you plan to share. Create content that makes you happy, as it will have more quality when you’re first starting out as a new blogger.
  • Reach out and connect to other bloggers who share similar interests. I’ve had about a 50% connection rate, meaning half the time I never hear back from the person, but  half the time I do. And in that process, I see great styles and topics on other people’s blogs, find wonderful people to share a few minutes of fun with each day and I learn different techniques for being open, flexible and friendly. Comment all the time. Be nice. Be friendly. Open new dialogue.
  • Build check-in points. I don’t mean put in a target to have “x” followers by a certain time period. I mean… check your statistics every week or couple of weeks to learn how people are using your site. Do you have 100 views and only 2 likes? What does that mean? Do you have 100 views and 100 unique people, meaning no one is looking at multiple pages? Learn what you’re doing that people like and what they don’t like, so you can determine if you need or want to make any changes down the line. Message me if you have questions on these features.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Over time, you’ll see growth if you’re doing all the right things. Some people hit it perfectly the first time; others take a few months. But remember, you need to start out doing this for yourself to get comfortable before you can leap frog all over the place.

 

Nominees

As I scrolled thru the list, there were about 100 names I wanted to add… but that would be too many! Many of these aren’t new to blogging, as they have big sites already. So… I went with the last 10 I interacted with thru either a like on their site or my site.  Please check them all out, and if you are tagged, I hope you’ll participate. No pressure tho!  And if you are not tagged, feel free to do your own post and let me know by linking back, so I can come check out what you had to say.

 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! And each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 63 – A to Z Foods

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A to Z Foods: A list of 26 foods that I either love or hate, one for each letter, a challenge posed to any readers who would like to participate. Maybe it’s the foods your mom made you when you were a kid… oh… Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! xoxo

ATOZfood

As a follow-up to last week’s fears from A to Z, this week we’re focusing on the foods we either love or absolutely hate (whichever you prefer), continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) of sorts that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

Rules

  1. Pick something that starts with that letter and add it to your own list. Don’t think about it… just come up with a couple ideas in under five seconds and choose the best of the bunch.
  2. It can be a hate or love, but not a specific restaurant or brand! I chose 13 things I loved and 13 things I hated. I’m all for equal opportunity!
  3. This week it’s foods you either love or hate… but next week will be something else. Add in any extra comments if you need to explain.
  4. It’s a fun game, but if you are nominated and DO NOT want to participate, you don’t have to. Just ignore it! Totally OK.
  5. You may not have been nominated, but you can totally participate by following these rules.
  6. Post it as a reply on the person’s blog where you found it. Also post it on your own blog as a new post.
  7. Should we use a tag so we can see all the responses? Suggestions… AtoZFood
  8. This may not go anywhere if there is no participation other than me. And that’s OK. The 365 Daily Challenge was about me to start, so I cannot expect or force anyone else.
  9. Have fun and get to know your online friends. Tell us when you post your 26 items.  Thanks!

A to Z Foods I Love or Hate

A – Avocado (love)

B – Beans (hate)

C – Cake (love)

D – Donuts (love)

E – Eggs (love)

F – Frog’s Legs (hate)

G – Grapefruit (hate)

H – Hot Dogs (hate)

I – Ice Cream (love)

J – Jelly Beans (love)

K – Kale (love)

L – Liverwurst (hate)

M – Mushrooms (hate)

N – Nutella (love)

O – Octopus (hate)

P – Pickles (hate)

Q – Quiche (love)

R – Red cabbage (hate)

S – Sushi (love)

T – Tartare (love)

U – Unagi eel (hate)

V – Veal (love)

W – Watercress (hate)

X – Xylitol gum (hate)

Y – Yogurt (love)

Z – Zucchini (hate)

People You Are Tagging

NO ONE! Anyone who wants to participate should… But someone has to… I don’t want to feel like the guy in the video below!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.