Monday, January 28, 2008

New Years Resolutions, and Other Sure Fire Ways to Fail

I remember right after the holidays our gym was packed. Large, pear-shaped bodies with sagging flesh wearing tight-fitting sports apparel with all the right labels. The regulars were still there, but now we had to wait in line for our favorite machine or piece of equipment. It's the same every year... hearts filled with good intentions.

If you have to wait for New Year's for an excuse to do something you wouldn't normally, or because a date on a calender means from this point forward things will be different... guess what? It probably won't. There's a huge difference (at least in my mind) between New Year's resolutions and goals. A person who is goal oriented or goal driven will strive to hit his mark, regardless of those around him. Whether he reaches his goal or not, there is no certainty. But at least he or she is self motivated enough to have a plan of action.

Like the New Year's resolution, those who only think this way during a certain time of year because it's "safer in numbers" and "everyone else is doing it", are usually the first to fail.

I'm no different.

I've visited my archived Word files and seen resolutions from years gone past:
Lose weight and be more physically active
Drink less
Get that book published
Insert your personal wish list here

Like trying to quit smoking, will power alone isn't enough. You have to have a "bigger reason" to actually make change stick. A number on a calender won't do it. I gave up on my resolutions years ago, but not my goals, defintely not my dreams. After countless years of failure I've concluded there has to be something inside you that wants it (whatever it is) bad enough that whatever sacrifices you must make in order to achieve it, you've decided that's the road you're going to take.

Failure alone is not enough to deter anyone from trying. Everybody fails, but everyone is also capable of winning. Look at it this way:
Every morning when you first get up you haven't had a cigarette all day, you have no guilt from eating too much, and so far... your significant other hasn't got a reason to be angry with you... You're already winning. But once those feet hit the floor, the choice is yours...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fear of Rejection

Everybody gets it. Remember that first girlfriend/boyfriend in school? You wondered if the feeling was mutual. Girls had it easier than boys. In my elementary school, we had dances on Friday nights at BullDogger's Hall, which bore a striking resemblance to our school cafeteria.
Teddy Nugabaur (I'm sure I butchered the spelling) was the hottest 6th grader you ever laid eyes on. I remember trying to get up the nerve to ask her to dance. Then American Pie came on and I had to give it a shot. Favorite song, favorite girl, wow...

All she had to do was sit there. I came over, palms sweating, knees shaking, and in my deepest adolescent cracking voice, I asked her to dance. Even Don McLean was proud, his lyrics telling the story of our time. It was a wonderful moment. Had she said no, I think I would have picked a new favorite song...

The greatest rewards usually come with the greatest risk. I had a fantastic streak going, as far as my professional life is concerned. But I find myself once again, with sweaty palms and fearing rejection of a different sort. My first book, FLAT OUT has done great. I love the craft of writing, and I'm trying to capitalize on the success of my first book by trying to put my foot in the door of the publishing industry to have another look at this wannabe with pen and paper.

My goal is to, when asked what I do for a living, one day proudly state "I'm a writer," and to have a few books to my credit to back up such a bold statement. Talk about nerve racking. I could continue on in the manufacturing trade and live my entire life making ends meet and being the responsible father and husband. But I'm the same (outside the box) guy who drives a motorcycle at 350 mph. Taking the safest route doesn't always appeal to me. People said I'd never break the world land speed record. It took me 8 years, two teams, and a myriad of close calls and some disasters, but I did it.

And now I'm working on becoming a successful writer. I hear the same negativity from some, surprisingly, even from close relatives who think it foolish to have such lofty goals. But that's not enough to stop me now. This is the only life we get, and if we don't take chances and strive to find whatever it is that makes us happy, we're just putting in time. Hell, goldfish can do that.

So here I sit, palms still sweaty, a knot in my stomach because I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing, and even though I have support from some, others think I'm crazy. Its a feeling I'm unfortunately learning to live with. Rejection sucks, but giving up sucks more. Eminem's hit, Lose Yourself is the song I relate to today: You get one shot, one chance, do you take it, or let it slip away? Your one shot isn't that if you don't succeed your first time, you've taken it and you move on. The way I see it, your one shot is this life. Take your shot, no matter how long or hard it may be. Rejection be damned.

Nobody said it would be easy...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My First Time

Hi Everyone. I'm new to blogging outside Myspace, Amazon, and my personal webpage. The reason I'm here is like most of you, I'm hoping to be heard.

Where is the volume knob on this thing anyway?

For starters, I'm a published author, and my first book, FLAT OUT The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record hit the book store and internet retailers in late July of 2007. I've had good reviews and the book was nominated for the Dean Batchelor Award for automotive journalism by the Motor Press Guild. What makes that special (at least to me) is that only 3 books were chosen out of all the motor sports books published in 2007.

So much for beating my own drum. I was lucky enough to be put in a position (driving for a world class racing team) that allowed me inside the world of land speed racing, microphone in hand, shit-eating grin permanently attached to my face. In 2006 we actually broke the record, my best run being over 349mph.

I was living my dream, only to have it taken away 2 days later by my former team. My shit-eating grin was surgially removed and reattached upside down. Wah.

At least it gave me something interesting to write about, and it was a true labor of love on my part. I've always loved the craft of writing, and am spreading my wings, having a go at fiction with the same bull-headedness and determination that brought me a world record.

It seems agents and publishers can sometimes be even more challenging than a nasty sidewind or sudden loss of traction. They can be down right brutal. At least at the end of a 10 mile record attempt, you know where you stand. My agent seems to like my work and has submitted it in hopes of landed that next publishing contract, but I somehow fill like I got left in the pits after the meet was over and everyone went home. There's no trophy girl to kiss, no dog to kick, and no cameras or reporters waiting in the wings to be the first to report that latest success.

And yet I'm hooked. My land speed racing career is still moving forward, yet I find the writing world every bit as thrilling, if not even more challenging at times.

My helmet's on, I'm strapped in, and my mouse is at the ready...