Things Don’t Always go According to Plan

We all know this. We do our best to plan something and very quickly realize our own lack of control. This was me over the last month. I started a new job on October 27. It was quite exciting to be writing a new chapter in my own personal book of life. But I soon realized the chapter would be much shorter than I’d initially thought. The job wasn’t a good fit for me, and I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it.

On Monday morning I spoke with the owner of the office in order to openly discuss where my head was and what was expected of me. We mutually agreed to part ways. The people I met and spent time with were pretty great, but the job was still the job. And it simply wasn’t for me.

I’m once again jobless. And that’s okay. The lesson I learned from this is simple: Don’t settle for something you don’t really want. That’s what I did. And that’s what got me here.

But there IS a silver lining. There were numerous days over the last month in which I worked 10,11,12, or even 13 hour days. Because employees are essentially brainwashed into believing it’s a travesty if they don’t hit their own goals they set for themselves. So it’s completely normal for employees to work 11:00-11:00 even though the workday is 11:00-8:00. Heck, on Black Friday I imagine every person in the office will work 12 hours. 

Anyway, those hours obviously leave little time for much outside of sleep. But now I’ll be able to focus on my reading! Finally. I started a new book last night and just the feeling of picking up a book felt great. I want to finish off 2016 as strong as I can.

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Firsts

We experience a lot of firsts throughout our lives. First day of school. First day living on your own. First child. First time on a plane. First trip to Disney World. First house. The list could go on forever.

Today I get to experience my third first day working for a new company. I imagine it’ll go exactly how I expect. The company has a great atmosphere and the people I’ve met have been great. So, here’s to something new!

*raises metaphorical glass*

What’s your most memorable first? I remember a few of my own if you’re interested!

YES!

Most of you all know I haven’t been working full-time since quitting my job at HPB. I can finally say that’s no longer the case. Yesterday I received two offers and accepted the one I felt was a better fit. It’s something different that I previously had never seen myself doing. But now I’m looking to take advantage of the opportunity given to me. It’ll be a challenge and there will be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m confident in my future success.
It took three months and more applications than I can count, but now I can say I’m starting a new chapter in this game we call life. 

2014: What do I think of you?

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Here it is, my 2014 recap! Cause I know you’ve been dying for me to write this. Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that this will not be all about blogging or books or writing…it’s going to be about all things me, and some not. Might as well get started before you die of boredom.

I’ve seen other bloggers write their recaps in chronological order, but no. I’m not doing that. I’m going to hit on whatever topics I want. First up…Blogging.

Blogging

Talk about a fantastic year. Did you see my WordPress annual report that gave you a little insight into my blog? If not, you can do so here. What’s happened on this blog is as unlikely as it gets. I blogged for six months last year and had a grand total of 1200 views. Let’s be real, that’s nothing. I was literally writing for myself cause no one else was reading. I only blogged about writing my first book. So I’d write a chapter and then write a blog post. I’d go a week without writing and I’d go a week without blogging. I didn’t read other blogs and I definitely never commented on any. I guess I thought WordPress would magically make my blog popular. Didn’t happen.

I turned the year with something like 80 WordPress followers. My app currently has the number at 2184. That’s pretty significant. And I’d have to say it’s all because of a change in format. No longer do I write about my writing, (especially since I haven’t written in months) but about anything that comes to mind. Sure books are the heavy focus, but now I include poems and my thoughts on particular subjects like Pearl Harbor and D-Day. I just realized that I posted 12 poems on here this year! Which means I’ve written 17 poems in my life. I think my Halloween poem was by far the worst. I mean, I shouldn’t have posted it because it was terrible. But I wrote it at like three in the morning and went to sleep. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. I really like the autumn one. And also the reading one. But the materialistic one too? Ugh. I can’t pick a favorite. You try.

And what my annual report didn’t tell y’all was that there were more than 10,000 comments on my blog this year! Read that again…10,000! That’s why I like blogging so much. I get to discuss all these things I have going on in my head with people who know so much more than I do.

AND I’ve gotten the chance to get to know some great people over the course of this year because of this blog. Maybe one of them (or me) will one day write a huge bestselling book and go on a book tour so I can attend an event and be like, “Hey! I’m that guy who goes on rants about books on WordPress! It’s nice to meet you!” I heard there’s a WordPress expo? Maybe? Someone find out.

I have some lofty goals for 2015 for Write me a Book, John! First, I want to hit 40,000 site views for the year. Second, I want to reach 5,000 WordPress followers. And third, I’d like to post 25 new poems on here in 2015. Think y’all can help make those happen?

2014 final blog stats:

282 posts

30,102 views

12,195 visitors

5,302 Likes

10,159 comments.

Reading

Hmm. This was a terrible year for me, which you already know if you read this post. I managed to finish a grand total of seven books this year. I’m basically a reader who spends more time talking about reading than actually reading. I read a couple good books and a couple that were okay, but that doesn’t matter. I need to read more. Period. This is serious stuff.

Work

This is a topic that I’ve really only shared with a handful of y’all. So, now I might as well share with all of you who decide to read this. Most of you don’t know that I work in retail. I actually started when I was 17 and I’ve been at the same job ever since. I make more and I have a different title, but the job is largely the same. I started the summer before my senior year in high school and worked all the way through college. And now 19 months after graduating from UHD, I’m still there. I have no issue with the job. But now I’m looking for something more. In each of the last three months I’ve had three major interviews for CJ related jobs (my degree is in criminal justice). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the first two. BUT the most recent one was just over a week ago and I’m moving forward in the process. There are five steps total. And this is the first of the three that I’m confident about. I’ll have to let y’all know what happens. I have about three weeks before the next step.

Sports

I’m from Houston. I’m a die hard Texans fan. You probably already know that their season is over. They finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs by a single game. But I’m not going to complain too much about a team that improved by 7 wins over last season with largely the same personnel. Nope. And the Rockets (NBA) are looking more and more like legitimate title contenders with each passing day. James Harden is leading the way with an MVP-caliber start to the season. Wouldn’t it be something to have the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) in JJ Watt AND the NBA MVP in James Harden? JJ Watt will most likely be the unanimous winner of the DPOY and his case for MVP is out of this world. Let’s see what happens. All things considered, I’m excited about the future of the three major sports teams here in Houston. Jose Altuve just won the batting title for the Astros. Just an FYI.

Writing

Ugh. My goals at the beginning of the year were to write two books. I wrote maybe a third of one. Which is fine, I’ve known for months that I didn’t want to revisit the story until the new year. Well, time to put up or shut up. I have about 30k words written and I know exactly where I left off. I may even have a little surprise for y’all about this at a later date. We’ll see.

But my writing goal this year is to finish the first draft of the story I have now. No other timetable. I just want to finish it. I think I can. Even if I start working a new job, I think I’ll be able to finish it.

The Hunger Games

Yep. Gets a whole bullet to itself. Hm. I bet if I did a search of my blog for Katniss of THG or anything at all related to those three books that I would come up with a couple dozen posts. I mean, I’m obsessed. Sure I didn’t reread the books like I said I would, but now all I do is singĀ The Hanging Tree. Not even kidding. Matter of fact, here. Watch. Yes I know that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t going to win any Grammys any time soon, but really? Did you expect her to sound so…perfect? Seriously. You can’t listen to that and not be impressed. And the movie itself wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as memorable as either of the first two, but no one expected the first half of the worst book to be the best movie. At least no one who knows anything about the movies and the books. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the series. Pretty sure I’ll be that crying uncontrollably emoji once it’s over. Not even kidding. Y’all have no idea. I want the mockingjay pin tattoo.

YouTube

This is one that I would never have imagined happening. I’m big on TV. Y’all know this. Before 2014 I had subscribed to a grand total of zero YouTube channels. And I could have named one YouTuber. But then in July I discovered Superwoman. I still sing her song #Leh just about every day. And I watch all of the videos she releases. But that’s not all. I’m now subscribed to maybe a dozen channels that range from top ten lists to pranks. I discover new channels almost every week and have discovered that I’m genuinely entertained by people who just put themselves in front of a camera and record. Here’s Superwoman’s 2014 recap. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this really made me happy to see. I know I don’t know her personally and I’ve yet to meet her, but there are very few celebrities who I believe are as genuine as she is.

People

Oooh getting personal. I’m no different from any other person. I have people in my life who matter more than or less than the next person. 2014 was no different. I’ve had a number of people just kind of drop out of my life this year, and one that I never would have expected. But hey, that’s life. I still have a number of people who I personally admire and respect. I’ve written about a few of them on here this year.

Overall 2014 will be remembered for the people I now know from blogging and for me beginning my career search.

So I think that’s it. No real major events. No random kids. No random marriage. Not really anything that would mean something to someone else, but that’s okay. It was my year.

A Change of Plans

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Okay guys, something that I’ve told a couple of you and that the rest of you have been in the dark about is that lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my future, particularly my employment. I’ve mentioned it many times on here that I currently only work weekends at a job I’ve had for five years. You can do the easy math and realize that I’ve been there since I was 17, so this isn’t exactly a career for me. So I’ve been thinking about my future and I sought the advice of a few bloggers who I interact with quite a bit and also just a few friends of mine. Let me tell you what I asked most of them to consider before I continue.

There were three things. The first was that I move from my current job to working at the library or a bookstore. Both jobs would pay me less than I make now, but theoretically I’d be working more hours. The second was grad school. But I wasn’t thinking CJ, I was actually thinking library science. The third choice was a job in CJ, because after all, I have that degree thing.

Now let me tell you what those few people told me. A few said that if I want to work in a library or bookstore so that I could be surrounded by books all the time, then I should do it. A couple others said that I should work in CJ because I won’t really know what I think of it until I give it a shot. And one person was like “You’d be perfect in grad school!” That might even be a quote from her text.

Suffice it to say that there was no consensus on the matter.

So that’s what I asked them to consider and those were the answers I got back. But I was planning on writing this post to ask you all what you might do in my shoes. Obviously I would weigh what you all say a bit differently from what the others said because they’re more familiar with me and what I have going on, but this week that changed.

Because someone I know told me that it was pointless to even consider part time jobs if I already have one and I’m not going back to school. But idiot me goes off and makes some really dumb remarks, even though I was only getting what I asked for. This was someone who I trust enough to ask about something as important as my job future and who was trying to help me with that decision-making process, and I just went off on some inexplicable rant for no reason whatsoever. The point that I’m making by telling you all this is that she was right.

I’m not going to sit here and say that every other person I asked about this was just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear, because I’m not in their heads. What I am saying is that if you’re going to seek out advice, then really seek out advice and the opinions of whomever you’re asking, don’t just expect them to see everything exactly as you do. Because then you turn into me and disrespect people who don’t deserve that under any circumstances ever.

I’m sure you’ve gotten this far and are wondering what the heck the point of this post is. It’s actually quite simple. Prior to these past couple of days I’d decided that I wouldn’t go to grad school and that I wouldn’t work in CJ. But that’s no longer the decision I’ve made. It only took someone to sit me down and tell me what no one else would, that there really is only one choice in the matter…work in CJ.

And if you’ve made it this far now you might be thinking that I can do whatever I want. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with this choice I’ve made. No one is here holding a gun to my head and I wouldn’t be making it if I didn’t think it was the best choice.

And some of you may now be wondering about this blog or my writing, well I’ll keep blogging forever and my writing is just not what I’m focused on right now. I’ll refer you to a post at the beginning of the year here in which I stated that my goals for 2014 were to finish the book I’m currently working on and begin the query process, finish the next book in the series, if those don’t go to plan, then work in CJ. I’m not writing two books before the end of the year and I’ll be lucky to finish the first draft of my current WIP. Sounds like it’s going according to plan, right?

That’s all I have for you today.

Things we do Rather Than Write

I wrote a post a little while back detailing the very specific reasons I struggled to find time to sit down and write. This post will be more general.

So you’re a writer, right? But you often find yourself scrambling to find something else to do other than write. Why? Because we’re a weird bunch and writing is so much more difficult than non-writers realize. But I’ll save what I think about the lack of respect writers get for another day. But back to the here and now. Let’s talk about some of the things we throw ourselves into to get out of writing.

Reading

This is probably the easiest and most obvious on the list. I mean, we’re all readers too. And we were all reading long before we’d ever put down a single word of our own writing on paper. Maybe you just picked up your favorite author’s newest release and it’s just too good to step away from. That’s not so bad, unless you’re forcing yourself to read because you’re trying your absolute best not to get any writing done. Still, I think this is one of the few valid reasons we can come up with not to write.

Social Life

Hmm. I mean, I guess. It’s Friday night and your favorite person just texted you to go out and do this or that. You think about ignoring the text because you’re not really in the mood until you realize that if you don’t do something that your manuscript will be staring you in the face the whole time you’re home. Either get the death stare from your writing or go out and perhaps have an okay time. We’ll likely go for the social festivities more times than not. Except for me, I don’t ever go out. And I still don’t write as often as I’d like. Go figure.

School Work

I’ve come to realize that there are A LOT of college students who are also writers. I could probably name five or ten off the top of my head right now. But let’s be real, when do you EVER put school work over something else? You don’t. Remember I was a college kid too not very long ago. And guess what I did for every paper I wrote my last two years of school? I wrote them the night before. So don’t sit there and act like you’re all about getting your school work done early so you don’t have to worry about it come the due date, you’re not fooling anyone.

Employment

This is another of those valid reasons that many writers face. I honestly don’t know how people go to work for eight hours and then go home and get any kind of writing done. I work six hour days every Saturday and Sunday and I am dead in bed as soon as I walk in the door, You’ve seen the internet Vines or memes of the kids getting home from school and literally dropping their bodies onto their bed. Yeah, well that’s me after work. So all of you full-time workers who also manage to write, well I salute you. And I want your secrets.

TV/Social Media

I’m raising my hand for this one. Because I’m the worst when it comes to both of these things. You all may remember that I watch way too much TV. AND 24 just came back yesterday! OH MY GOODNESS THE FIRST EPISODE WAS SO GOOD. But anyway, if you’re a TV junkie like myself, then you’ve likely convinced yourself a time or ten that you’ll write after you watch the latest episode of your favorite show sitting there on your DVR awaiting playback. But then the episode is so good that you can’t possibly think of anything else for the next 24 hours after watching. It’s bad.

And then we have social media. Maybe some of my older readers aren’t as fond of this particular excuse as some of my younger readers. I have to admit that I am on WordPress or Twitter all day long. It’s horrible. I used to hate Twitter. But then I started talking to other writers and bloggers on there and now I like it okay. And WordPress, well it’s hard to have other bloggers coming back if they’re commenting and interacting on my posts and get no response from me. I mean, come on. I said I’m on Twitter all the time, and I am, but my blog is a thousand times more important to me. I don’t think y’all realize how much I love this thing. I’m naming my first born Pressly. See what I did there? Just kidding, that’d be a little looney.

Okay, so there you have a few of the things we do as writers in order to get out of writing. What do you think of my little list? Is there something you find yourself doing that is not listed? Tell me.