“Spread Out!!”

In the 1978 Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way But Loose, Cholla, the leader of a gang of outlaw bikers called The Black Widows, always barks the same order when his men make their entrance to a scene and dismount from their hogs:

“SPREAD OUT!!”

This is pretty good tactical advice, if you’re expecting a fight and you don’t want to get bottled up in a corner. It allows you to cover the exits, prevents opponents from easily flanking you, and establishes control over a wider area.

The only problem with the tactic was that Cholla’s men were idiots. (more…)

Let It Out

Completely drained.

That’s how I felt about writing today.

As I opened my laptop this evening to write something – anything – I realized that my heart just wasn’t in it.

I’m still struggling with yesterday’s news, and the struggle has seriously impaired my enthusiasm for writing.

Tragedy has a way of stealing the joy from every area of your daily life, to the point that you don’t want to do much of anything for a while.

It tends to lock you in place, and threatens to hold you there.

You lose focus, and begin to dwell on the loss, the sadness, the pointlessness of it all.

I did a bit of that today, and in the midst of my funk, I couldn’t find a good reason to write.

Then I thought about what helped me through yesterday.

Writing. (more…)

Requiem For an Old Friend

Yesterday, an old friend lost his life.

And though I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in more than 17 years, the news today still hit me like a kick in the gut.

We weren’t close friends.

But we were brothers in arms – stationed together in the military, we shared a common experience and a lot of good times. We shared good friends, people who knew each of us better than we knew each other, and that seemingly thin bond made us a permanent part of each other’s life story.

We shared beers, barbecue and very similar work experiences – and when it came time for me to leave the Air Force for civilian life, we went our separate ways. (more…)

Significant Progress

I mentioned in an earlier post how writing every day for this site had unexpected side benefits.

I had been using Klok to track my time working on editing projects, and found it to be very helpful. After I started the writing challenge, it occurred to me that tracking my time on other projects just made sense – so I started tracking them with Klok, too.

That was February 22nd.

Before then, I had absolutely no idea how much time I was spending on (more…)

Delirium Cogitans

How do you know when a habit becomes an addiction?

It’s when the cessation of that habit causes discomfort, pain or irritation – real or otherwise.

For example, I am hopelessly addicted to coffee – which I lovingly refer to as the elixir of life. If I attempt to abandon coffee for even a short period of time, say two hours after I wake up in the morning – I‘ll suffer crushing headaches and a general feeling of anxiety. Give me my coffee, though, and my head stops hurting, the clouds part, and the world looks like a much better place.

I know I’m addicted to the stuff, and I know addiction is generally a bad state of being, but quitting coffee (at least right now) is pretty low on my list of self-improvement needs.

I have thought about it, though. (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…)