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Category Archives: Blog

your-voice

Where is Your Voice Going?

On Friday I told you that you have a voice that needs to be heard. Here’s the next question you need to ask yourself: Who’s hearing my voice?

My voice is primarily one of encouragement and counter-intuitive thinking—with a few nuances here and there. And I’ve been working hard at writing from that voice. At speaking from that voice. At meeting over coffee from that voice. That’s good. But one of the things I frequently forget to do is to use that voice when I’m speaking with those who are closest to me.

Am I speaking with encouragement and counter-intuitive thinking to my wife? My friends? My pastor? My church? (more…)

a-voice

Is Everyone Special?

There’s a weird notion in my generation in the ones following. It’s the idea that anybody can be famous. And to be honest, it’s somewhat true. Anyone can gain a following online and have people listen to their opinions.

Anyone has the opportunity to make a viral video. Anyone can self-publish their own book (and do pretty well). The crazy thing is, though, that if everyone is famous…nobody’s famous. It’s the same thing with being special.

I love this quote from David McCullough Jr: “If everyone is special, then no one is.” Being special means that some other people aren’t special. Being famous means that some other people aren’t famous. So sorry Mr. Rogers, but I don’t believe everyone is special. I do, however, believe that everyone has a unique voice and a message to share with the world. (more…)

later-time

When An Idea Won’t Let Go

Over the Christmas break I got an idea for a novel I want to write. It was magic. The idea was pure energy, and I had an amazing amount of focus. It’s like I could see the whole story arc in my head: characters, complications, climax… It was all right there.

Unfortunately, when I approached my agent with the idea of writing fiction, she shut down the idea pretty quickly. “You just started in nonfiction. You need to focus on that.” Oh yeah. I forgot. I’m working toward something here.

She pulled me back where I need to be. But that doesn’t mean the idea would let me go. I kept sitting down to outline my next book and my fictitious characters kept pervading my every thought. What if the antagonist was abandoned as a child?! It made it nearly impossible to focus on the task at hand. (more…)

My-Niece

Are You Settling for the Fake?

My 5 year-old niece holds a special place in my heart. I love her. She sometimes calls me up on FaceTime during the day, and I drop everything when I get that call. We spend the next hour talking about everything. I even find myself watching her put together a puzzle on the other end of the iPad. It’s not exactly riveting conversation, but I just love to be with her—even digitally.

Well a couple of weeks ago my sister and my two nieces actually moved to Texas. We picked them up from the airport and spent a few hours with them. But the weirdest thing happened. While hanging out with my niece—finally in person—I found myself wanting to play a game on my phone. (more…)

maintain

Have I Finished the Blueprint?

I had a deep moment of thought the other night. I realized I was extremely content with how my projects are doing right now. I feel like they have a great amount of traffic, a great amount of income, and I’m pretty pleased with the content I’m producing.

It’s funny the thought that struck me. I wanted to toss those projects aside and start new projects. I seriously considered selling all the sites and moving onto something else. (Still considering that a little bit.)

I still have a passion for the sites. I’m still in love with the projects. But I’m not the type to sit still and maintain. I’m a builder. And it appears I’ve finished construction on my blueprints for these projects. (more…)

life-story

What I’m Learning About Telling My Story

I’m learning that discovering your story is a bit like searching Google. One particular story will result in thousands of details, but it’s up to me to figure out which of those details is important to the story.

For instance, I’ve been writing a short story about my experience trying to get to India to speak at a conference. Those seven days of hellacious travel yielded thousands of details and micro-stories. They’re vivid in my mind and I’m tempted to tell them all. (more…)

battle

Creativity Can’t Live in Apathy

The day my creativity died. I was working for my church. And I was starting to get tired of the arguments I was having. Staff meetings were filled with people who disagreed with me. My ideas were shot down left and right. It seemed people just weren’t getting it.

So I gave up. I decided I’d sit back in my seat, check out, and play some games on my phone during the meeting. If I did it right, I knew it would look like I was taking notes.

That’s the day my creativity died at my church. As soon as I let apathy creep in, I stopped caring about my job and I stopped caring about our level of creativity. (more…)

criticism

Criticism Hurts, So Stop Listening

Realize this: We live in a world where thousands of people can instantly give you feedback on anything you do.

A few years ago, you could write a book, and only the people who really hated you would take the time to write you hate mail. Now, anyone can hop on Twitter and thrash you to pieces without even breaking a sweat. It’s a new world we live in with unlimited connectivity. But we weren’t meant to hear all that negativity. (more…)

silence

The Blank Canvas for Your Mind

I must admit. Wednesday’s blog post was sort of phoned in. It was actually a chapter from an unpublished manuscript. I posted it because I couldn’t think of anything to post on Wednesday.

Before I made the decision, I was wracking my brain trying to think of something I could write about. How did I do that? I turned on the TV. I ran while listening to an audio book. I turned on my favorite music.

Figure this, though: No ideas came. None of those entertaining activities gave me any ideas. Who’d have thought? (more…)

permission

Defend or Act

Stop. Pick one. You can either (1) defend your idea to everyone you encounter, or you can (2) act on your idea. Unless you’re one of the characters from Twilight, you probably won’t have enough time or energy to do both.

We all have jobs, families, and responsibilities. And chances are, your dream has to come in between all those things. You can’t drop the ball in those areas in order to follow your dream.

That means your time is limited. You don’t have enough time or energy to act and defend those actions. You have to choose one.

Last year I started a new business to help bloggers. It’s a stock photo site that gives bloggers unlimited photos for a small monthly fee. It was a genius idea that I knew many of my friends would be interested in. I was so eager to share the idea with everyone I knew. (more…)