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Deep Thoughts With Jack Handy

Updated: Mar 30

Welcome back heroes. well, I hope your all heroes, but I will admit, I'm not to proud to accept villains. Or, pretty much anything or anyone that wants to check out my writing is welcome. Aliens, dogs, cats, big foot, come and join the party. Today I want to take some time to procrastinate on my current WIP by putting down on digital paper some of the thoughts I have been having lately. For those of you that are as old as I am, you probably noticed the SNL shout out in the title. For those of you who are too young to remember that series of skits, I feel sorry for you. You didn't have the pleasure of growing up in the best era of SNL and you truly missed out. (Sorry, but SNL was never the same after that cast moved on.)

  • Thought Number One:

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck if a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood

The depth of my imagination knows no bounds. This children's tongue twister is actually a great esoteric mystery that has baffled scholars since ancient times and my infinite imagination decided to try and solve this riddle from antiquity. What is the answer you say? Well, I will enlighten you. He chucks as much as his discipline level will allow.

What does that mean? It means, my dear readers, that his level of skill and productivity when it involves wood chucking will directly correlate to how much time and energy he spends doing said chucking. As a creative, this is a lesson we can learn from this majestic creature. Myself for instance, spent a lot of time complaining about how little writing I get done, but find every excuse I can not to write. (This blog is perfect example. All though, that is kind of an oxymoron since I am in fact writing.)

You can be a person who makes excuses, and we all know the famous saying about excuses, or you can be a person who does. It really is that simple. I do know that it really isn't that simple, but it is. I have a really good friend who I have known since eighth grade. He was a NAVY man and a body builder and has never in all the years I have known him been overweight. His philosophy is that being unhealthy is simply a result of being a "lazy POS." Now, I don't agree with him that all overweight people are pieces of crap, but I do agree with the sentiment. Nothing changes if you keep doing the same things you always do.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." Albert Einstein
"Do, or do not. There is no try." Master Yoda

So, after actually checking out the great community of 20booksto50K, I have realized that this stumbling block is one most creatives struggle with. I also found, that all of the people who find any level of success as creatives, have learned to or are continuing to overcome this. They make time for their art and don't allow other things to get in the way. Just like changing your lifestyle from an unhealthy one to a healthy one. It takes consistency and discipline. It also, takes time management and learning balance, and that leads me into my second deep thought.

  • Susie works in a shoeshine shop. Where she shines she sits, and where she sits she shines. Balance is One of The Keys to Life

I use a quote often from JRR Tolkien. When asked why it took him so long to finish LOTR he stated: "Life happens." What did he mean by this quote? I feel what he meant was that his life had many things in it that were either just as or more important than his writing.

In his life time he lived through two world wars, the great depression, the Spanish flu, he got married, had children, and taught at Oxford University. Life happened and while it was happening he created a living breathing fictional world complete with its own languages and history. His literary world, however, was not more important to him than these other things.

It is very easy for us to get so caught up in our drive to succeed or to tell the stories that are rolling around in our heads, that we neglect the things in life that are more important. If writing isn't your main source of income, than your job is currently more important. The 20booksto50K group was designed to be a community that helps writers build towards a place in their lives where they can quit their day jobs and live off their writing.

Finding a healthy balance while working towards that goal is essential. If not, you could potentially burn out, or neglect the things in life that are more important. Just like the last point, learning to balance your life will actually help you find more time to write without neglecting the other things that are as or more important than your art and even your dreams.

I have been approached in the past by other creatives who wanted to know about my books. I was ecstatic that someone wanted to know more bout me and my stories and I responded to them happy to connect. In the end, they really weren't interested in my writing, they wanted to sell me their self help services. A lot of them, after I looked at their stuff, weren't what I was looking for. The reason why, because they tended to be all about success at any cost. As a minister and a person whose day job is taking care of developmentally disabled people, that is not a sentiment I share. Some of them were about surrounding themselves with driven successful people while purging themselves of anyone who isn't.

Sure, I have and continue to try and be involved in the writing community and I have found that it is essential for me as a writer. It's the same principle that works for a person's Christian walk. You need to be apart of the body and be involved with God's kingdom. So, I agree with the idea just not quite some of their application of it.

Sacrifice and discipline are necessary but success is not what life is about. Solomon who is possibly the poster child of success and excessive living came to this conclusion at the end of Ecclesiastes. All of the success in the world is vanity. You can't take it with you when you die and it won't be what God judges you on, so why make it the center of your happiness. God and being thankful for what you have in life are the true keys to happiness.

So, be honest with yourself about where you are and what you need to change, but also set realistic goals you can attain without neglecting other important things or yourself. I want to barf when ever I hear corny lines like the one I am bout to spew forth, but I really think it works here. Be kind to yourself. Push and challenge yourself because it is the only way to grow, but in a healthy balanced way.

I, for instance, am not going to quit my day job anytime soon. I like it and I like the stability it brings. My goal is to get to a place where when I retire my writing will be a great source of supplemental income and a thing I can continue to build in my later years. For some, their goal is to make as much money at writing as they can and to be able to not work a day job again. What ever your goals are, you need to find how to achieve them while also living a balanced and healthy life. If not, you may find that, in the end, you leave this life filled with regrets.

I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures on this. It's where Jesus is talking to Martha. She is rushing around taking care of the house, cooking the food and administrating the event. The event is Jesus visiting. Everything she was doing was very important and it was things that would lead to a successful visit. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting at Jesus feet. Martha got angry and asked Jesus to make her get up and help. Not an unreasonable request. They were both working towards the same goal and Martha seemed to be doing everything while Mary sat and enjoyed Jesus. What he said to her was:

Luke 10:41-42 New King James Version (NKJV)And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

What did he mean? Jesus was physically there and he would soon die and not be there in the flesh. It was a special and important moment that they would never get to experience again. The work would always be there, but he wouldn't. Mary saw this and chose Him over the work. She chose the good part, she chose what was more important at that moment. Being aware of the moment is very very important to balance and to a happy life. Be aware of the moment, because somethings in life are only attainable at a specific time and place and if you don't recognize them, you may just miss them.

Trust me, as a father who went through a divorce when my kids were young, I understand this from the bottom of my heart. So many moments I missed out on and can never have back. One example, is that someone else taught both my children to ride a bike. It may seem like a small thing compared to the vastness of life, until you realize it is a moment you missed and can never have back. Life is filled with such things and realizing them and not letting them slip through your fingers is honestly more important than how many books you write or how much money you make. Trust me on this.

So, in conclusion, be honest with yourself about what needs to change and make those changes. Grow in discipline and consistency and you will grow in success and productivity. Likewise, find the balance in life between work, play, family and personal time. If not you will burnout quickly, live a life filled with regrets and possible never really find true happiness. Just ask Solomon who was more successful than you will ever be, or Jesus, who was God among us. I think they are more qualified than me, you, or anyone else this current life has to offer.


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