Early last December, my wife was running errands with our little girl. She had just parked in front of a strip mall to drop off my dry cleaning, when she glanced in her rear-view mirror and saw an out of control Jeep launching over a curb, headed right for her.

The Jeep plowed into the back of our car, driving it up onto a high curb and into a large stone planter. The driver was suffering from a seizure, and had lost control of his vehicle.

He didn’t even realize what he’d done.

He had come within a few seconds of killing half of my family, and he had no idea. (more…)

Thirty Days of Write

Thirty days.

Thirty days of writing and posting something daily.

Thirty days – without a break – of forcing myself to do what I love.

It seems silly that I would have to force myself to write, when writing is what I’d like to do for a career, but it’s true.

Writing requires effort, and effort requires discipline. Thirty days ago, I was a little lean on the discipline, and as a result I wasn’t making much effort.

Then I started the Write Every Day challenge, and I learned some pretty cool concepts along the way.

I learned that when you practice something long enough, it becomes a habit – it gets ingrained into your daily routine to the point that if you stop doing it, something feels wrong. (more…)

Time in a Bottle

A lot can happen in ten years.

When we moved into our house nine years ago, the kid next door was a shy little six-year old. Today I glanced out the front window and saw him pass our house – driving his dad’s pickup.

My niece still enters my memory as what she was ten years ago when we left our hometown to move here – a tiny little girl with a mischievous grin. She’s now almost six feet tall, looks like a model, and is engaged to be married.

Wait, wait… slow down, it’s going too fast… (more…)

How’s the Journey?

Yesterday my friend John Muldoon from Monthly Experiments asked me a great question about my ongoing Write Every Day challenge:

“Hey MP. I have a question about your writing habit. From our perspective, watching your journey has been fantastic and inspiring. But how do YOU feel about all of this? I’d love to know what this journey has been like for you so far.”

Like I said, great question.

I’ve been so busy trying to stick to the parameters of the challenge (write/post something every day for as long as I can keep it up) that I didn’t really pay much attention to the side effects it might be having on other areas of my life (more…)

Famous Last Words

I wonder what the most common phrase is that people utter right before they do something they’ll regret. I’ll bet it’s one of these:

“Come on, it’s easy!”

“I know how this works.”

“What’s the worst that could happen?”

“It can’t be that hard!”

“Don’t help me, I can do it myself.”

“Watch this!”

I especially like the last one – it paints a mental picture (more…)

Opportunity Perspective

Today I found out that I may have to take up to a 20% pay cut at my day job.

Pretty alarming news, when you think about it. Losing even part of your paycheck elicits feelings of instant panic and doubt about the future, unless you put things in the proper perspective.

Initially, I worried about what losing one fifth of my paycheck would mean to my family. Then I started to look for the silver lining in the dark cloud. I was able to find two reasons to maintain my calm and see the positive in the situation.

First, (more…)

Get Off The Bench

Life is not a spectator sport.

Modern society, however, is set up to encourage spectators rather than participants.

We live vicariously through video games, reality TV and social media – and the net effect is that we build habits that keep us on the sidelines; keep us from getting in the game ourselves.

For too long, I allowed this trap to keep me from pursuing my writing. I also used it as an excuse to let myself go physically – after all, it’s a heck of a lot easier to watch a triathlon than it is to compete in one. (more…)

The Productivity Snowball

Writing every day is helping me to get more non-writing tasks done.

Sound silly?

Let me explain.

Since I stared this writing challenge, I’ve been purposefully controlling my time better, in order to have time to write. The side effect of my nascent time management has been that not only do I make time to write; now I’m more productive with the rest of my time, because I don’t want anything interfering with (more…)

I’m Tired

I’m really tired.

Taking on the challenge of writing every day has been surprisingly exhausting. If I didn’t have a day job, I think the challenge would have been slightly easier, since I would have an open schedule to work with. Instead, I got up this morning at 3:30 so I could make it to work by 5:00. I got home at about 2:30 after fighting traffic for 25 miles and stopping off to pick up my dry cleaning – so I’ll have something clean to wear tomorrow when I get up at 3:30 to do it all again.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m very thankful for my day job, but (more…)

Failing to Succeed

Recently I wrote a post looking at how past success can play a part in present and future failures. Basically, if we focus too heavily on past successes, we run the risk of not working as hard on future projects; or we try too hard to top the last pinnacle and make a mess of things in the process.

Today, let’s look at it from a different angle. (more…)