Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Distractions

An amazing thing happens when I cut distractions from my life. I write books.

More distractions on the way.
More distractions on the way.

A long time ago, I used to be a Twitter junkie. I couldn’t go two minutes without checking my newsfeed. Somehow, I found someone tweeting about their latest experiment with Mentos and coke fascinating. My DM feed was worse. It became a hodgepodge of ads from folks who wanted me to check out their offers for the latest diet fad, the most affordable bank loan or the cure for the ebola virus.

Facebook had me scrolling through reams of baby photos, birthday greetings, wedding announcements, graduation congratulations, college tuition woes, car crash images, death notices—you name it, I was there. And what would a newsfeed be like without the required charity pitch? California didn’t seem dry last summer when folks were pouring buckets of ice water over their heads.

It doesn’t end on the social networks either. Visiting a news site required me to install ad-blocking software on my browser to prevent me from clicking on related articles dealing with cooking, time management, of all things, and anything else you can imagine as taking an extra few minutes of my day in a senseless pursuit of useless facts.

Now that's a big oops.
Now that’s a big oops.

Add the hours I had spent surfing online “researching” favorite dog toys or best practices in lawn manicures—you had yourself a dull Jack.

Humor aside, it didn’t take long for me to change once I realized I had fallen into a spiral of mediocrity. At the time, I wasn’t writing nor was I thinking about anything that I was doing. I was going with the flow. Surfing. Not ruffling feathers. And any other cliché you’d like to stick in there to illustrate being trapped in the throes of everyday life.

Once I tallied the amount of time I was actually spending with the distractions, I had no choice other than to confront my time-wasting ways.

What happened? I changed. Just like that.

How? Simple. Imagine taking a vacation every week and that vacation turns into quality time with family, friends, and to pursuits that you’ve always put aside because you felt you’ve never had the time to enjoy them.

Now, imagine if you will, actually acting on that idea.

That idea is about taking one day and dedicating it to none other than yourself. Scary, huh? Pretty terrifying, don’t you think? Guess what? It is scary. It is terrifying. How can one do that with the bills to pay, the kids to shuttle back and forth, the meals to prepare, the laundry to wash, and the shopping to bring home? How? Theoretically, it’s impossible.

And you know what? It is impossible.

But once I had decided I needed a change, to cut the distractions, and live a more productive life away from the online world, all of a sudden I had time to do anything. Those little slivers in between tasks where I would have sneaked a tweet, read a Facebook entry or pressed a like button had disappeared, replaced by a meal with the family, a trip to my kids’ recital or simply a talk with someone I love.

That one day in the week I’m now disappearing from the online world has become the day I look forward to the most.

By the way, don’t forget today and tomorrow are the last days to pick up your FREE copy of my first book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse from Amazon. It’s my gift to everyone who has stuck with me for the past three years, putting up with my banter while I lost my mind writing the conclusion to the Ranger Martin trilogy due out October 20.

Distractions

What about you? Do you dedicate a day away from the online world? Are you thinking about if?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Life Is…

There are days when things don’t make sense. Like when you walk across the street and a cop stops you for jaywalking—not that it’s happened to me. Or when you step outside and it begins to rain. Or when you’ve just missed your bus by a fraction of a second and all you can see are the vehicle’s taillights trailing into the distance. Or when the movie you’ve wanted to see all spring is sold out. Or when the waiter brings you a dish you thought you hadn’t ordered and realize it is the dish you ordered. It was the wrong choice after all. Yeah, some days things don’t make sense.

Life Is…
Life Is…

This is my Freedom Friday article about—well, you’ll just have to find out.

But then there are those days you want to hold on to until the end of time. Like when you order a Greek salad and the waitress adds extra olives to the dish. Or when you’re driving and every intersection you pass there’s a green light. Or when you buy that item you’ve always wanted, and find at checkout that you’ll be saving an extra twenty percent because you came into the store at the most perfect time. Or when you find the last sale item on the shelf and wonder if life could be any more amazing. Or when someone holds the door for you, and you know it has made all the difference in the world that morning when you’d lost total faith in humanity.

Yes, we all have those days. Bad or good, they are our days. No one can take them away from us and no one can say they can relate either. Your days are your own, even if it’s happened countless times to others.

Isn’t that the purpose of life, though? To hold on to the things that no one else has experienced in order for one day to show others we can provide some wisdom worthy of learning? Of course, it’s never that simple. Every moment of every day sets the bar higher and we’re still holding our breath trying to stay ahead of it all.

Yet, regardless of how the day goes, there’s always that single instance when you feel the world and all the forces of the universe have collapsed within themselves as a means to connect with you to show there is something as perfect as hope. And it’s that hope that carries everyone forward to a better life filled with wonder.

Now, it may sound strange and in some respect seem all random. But there is a logic to this illogical existence we call life.

It’s just a matter of finding out what that logic is.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Have you had anything good happen to you lately? What makes it so special?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Time Is Precious

This has to be my favorite time of year. With the days getting shorter and the nights growing colder, I don’t miss the sweltering heat of summer. But I’m sure if I live through six months of frigid arctic weather, I would grow weary enough to want to have the sun back. Just, not right now, though.

The Woods
The Woods

I can’t believe how quickly October went by. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day telling how this month disappeared. Then again, I did have a book release, so that did make the time fly. Nonetheless, my friend felt time has been speeding along while all we’re doing is enjoying the ride.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the woods while the leaves were turning colors and I had the opportunity to have my camera with me. Actually, I went out to take a few photos, so the opportunity was a planned event. As I walked through the woods enjoying the scenery, I noticed how quiet it was. I noticed it before, yet it never hit me quite as dramatically as that day.

I sat on a log and took it all in. I could hear the leaves rustling in the wind. The squirrels were dancing along the perimeter foraging for food. And the air was still warm, left over from the summer.

The Woods - A week later
The Woods – A week later

A week later, I went back to that same spot and the leaves had all but changed to a brilliant orange. Gone was the multi-colored tapestry nature gladly spreads honoring those who venture nearby. In its place, a bed of leaves surrounded my feet. A cold wind ran through my jacket as I sunk my hands into my pockets. And the gray sky made everything barren-looking. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything changed.

I’ve been noticing that quite a lot lately. I’m not sure why that is. In the town where I live, construction has overtaken major roadways. What used to be a peaceful area now bustles with workers. They’re improving the area. At least that is what I think they’re doing. I notice it more when I have to drive through it, running errands.

How quickly things change.

The log
The log

This time of year calls for nostalgia, wanting for things to be the way they were. I miss those days when things were simpler, when I didn’t have all the responsibilities I have today. I’m longing for those people who were once in my life, but are no longer there. I miss them. Their ghosts come and go, yet the present remains the same.

Time is precious and there’s no escaping it. What is today will become yesterday. Let’s enjoy every moment.

[Another Freedom Friday post inspired by fall.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

How do you view time? Does this time of year also spark a longing for the way things were?