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My Freedom Flame

Motivating Writers Worldwide

Tag: dreams (page 1 of 3)

If Your Writing Dreams Don’t Scare You

They aren’t big enough. It’s taken from the old quote from Muhammad Ali, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Now, insert the word ‘writing dreams’ and this statement appeals to writers.

It appeals to everyone.

This article doesn’t just go with writing, it goes with life, but for the sake of my audience, we’re relating this to writing.

While success in writing is a long, long uphill battle filled with more starts, stops, sputters, and stalls than the Cleveland Browns’ offense from 1999 to 2017, the view of the mountaintop is available in all four directions. Eight if you count northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast.

Given a fact that can be proven simply by looking at the mountain, the climb to the top is frightening for anyone wishing to experience such a thrill and sense of accomplishment when they reach the peak.

The dangers of avalanches, wind chills, snowstorms, and crevasses are enough to motivate most of the global population to turn their back and lodge while someone else accomplishes such a feat.

But why do you want to stand on the sidelines and wait while the starting quarterback wins the Super Bowl?

Why do you want to sit and watch others go through hell to accomplish what they may at the end of the journey?

Do you know what happens with those people who sit and wait? Those who choose to do nothing due to the required step from their own comfort zone?

If you see a correlation between those who say they’re going to do this, and say they’re going to accomplish that but never take that step forward, or take that step forward before taking three steps back and throwing in the towel, and negativity in this world, your guess is 100% correct.

In fact, many of these people root against those who are trying and succeeding, while laughing at those trying and struggling.

The negativity is rampant.

But, these people are scared and while it’s good that they have dreams that are big enough to scare them, the fact they turn and hide while pouting and blaming everyone and society for their mishaps will create a permanent barrier between their dreams and themselves.

If only they can break that barrier.

These people are on the right track simply because their dreams are big but they continually veer off track.
How can you as a writer stay on track?

Let me give you a rundown.

 

Another Ali Quote

“I hated every minute of training, but I said… ‘don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Many of us writers who are starting off or aspiring writers are likely working a job that we hate every second of. If I were lecturing you all as a group I’d ask for a show of hands.

And I’m no different. I have aspirations not only to write, but to return to my old stomping grounds in the fitness industry, but that day is a little ways off. And yes, I hate not every minute but every single second of my DDJ.

But it doesn’t just pay the bills; it gives me money to invest in my books, book promotion, converting the back room in my apartment into office space, and even getting ahead on student loan repayments.

Just as for Ali, training didn’t just make him a great boxer; it made him a champion.

So yes, I’ll suffer now to live the rest of my life as a known novelist, even if known just enough to eek out a full-time income on it.

 

But, Why Stop at One Dream?

Hey, many of the writers who follow this blog are novelists, but there are so many other avenues and cash flows that can go into your writing that it’s foolish to stop at just one funnel.

Now, if you want to make a living solely off just writing books, you can, but bear in mind you’ll be churning books every two months, or six new works a year. That takes a lot of dedication and repetition. If that’s what you want, then have at it.

For the rest of us, let’s look at a few more options.

I have four blogs, three of which are monetized and making me a small income already while a fourth blog is in its infancy.

Why four?

Each pertain to different niches. As explained in previous posts on My Freedom Flame, this blog is a niche on writing. I might down-niche to something later on, perhaps put it toward writing fantasy novels or whatever the case may be, but for the time being, it’s a writing niche.

Get Pro Football Apparel is my second blog and it discusses football apparel while also pertaining to NFL team news with apparel-based links, such as seasonal reviews for each team, etc. In the future, it’s likely I’ll down-niche to simply apparel but Google’s search engines are weird with affiliate sites providing too many affiliate links.

Lord of Columbia Series is the blog I consider a cousin or sometimes a sister to this blog. As you can see on the sidebar here, you know what it pertains to. Also, if you click on the bold-facing link provided, you’ll find a similar color scheme between this blog and Lord of Columbia Series.

And my latest and final blog for the time being is my Wealthy Affiliate affiliated blog, Ditch Corporate America, where I’ll provide a few details here and there.

As you can see, I’m looking at not one but a few different ways to make money on my writing while also making minimal startup investments, which is why blogs are popular. If blogging is for you, look back into my archives where you’ll find more blogging-based articles that will show you how to be successful in your blogging career.

 

Multiple Pen Names, Anyone?

You can also brand yourself in different ways as an author. For instance, say you only want to make a living writing novels but you write both fiction and nonfiction. This is a great way to create multiple brands for yourself.

I’ve always stated I’d use the name T.C. Matthews if and when I do start writing nonfiction or even creative nonfiction. Sure, if you’d like to create a blog about your works, I advise you create separate ones, complete with full SEO and keyword research tools, which is what makes Wealthy Affiliate so convenient.

If you wanted to write three genres, why not create separate brands and hence, separate cash flows?

The list goes on and on, but the advantage multi-genre authors have is the fact they will create a new cash flow with every single work they produce that is in a different genre.

 

The Freelancer

Maybe you love to write novels and maybe you even blog, but did you know that there’s an untapped goldmine in freelance writing?

There are also blogs that are dedicated to freelance, such as The Write Life and Freedom With Writing. They’re reputable sites that will point you to blogs that pay for writing, while also providing freelance job boards where you can find work.

Freelance writing isn’t for everyone and it’s for those who are willing to research and write about a variety of topics and take on new challenges. For those who dislike routine workdays, freelance may be a good option to go.

I prefer blogging, but then again, blogging isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re an impatient person looking for immediate results. Freelance writing is great for those looking to start off making a little more income than your authors or bloggers.

 

Success, the Biggest Fear

The human mind is a strange one. Part of us wants nothing more than to be successful. For us authors it means making appearances, book signings, book launches, massive social media presence, the works.

But when we realize, usually once something crazy like that is booked, that we have to leave the safe spaces of our homes, libraries, and coffee shops to interact with those we’ve never met and whom we don’t know but they sure know us, things can and will get overwhelming.

Some of us realize these things must happen earlier than others and they’re something we’d love nothing more than to live without. We’d rather sit in a corner and pass out our writing to our fans with zero interaction, but that’s not the way it works.

I’ve always dreaded leaving my own comfort zone but at the end of the day have gotten to the point to where I’ve looked beyond the here and now and instead focused on the endgame. Doing so helps me realize what the sense of accomplishment will feel like at the end of the day. The endorphins, the high, the satisfaction that comes with it makes me laugh at the fear and uncertainty I’ve felt before such byproducts of success came about.

And if such a fear that I have scares you, you’re in luck. Your dreams are big enough and if you continue to look past the here and now when things get tough, instead looking to the end goal, you will accomplish every once scary dream you once thought was a journey away.

Until the journey has been completed, that is. Make sure your dreams are big enough to scare you and you will break down the fear barrier that might have been plaguing you this whole time.

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Christmas in September?

Strange, Vivid Dreams: Part III

Here’s a short Friday evening article for you. You all know I love writing about my vivid, whacked dreams. Well, the next one is entitled ‘Christmas in September.’

 
What a name, right?

 
Here’s a rundown:

 
1. It was at least eighty-degrees. The sun was out, it was clear, and perfect late-summer, early-fall weather. Best time of the year, right?

 
2. You know how dreams change? Ditto. After spending time in the pool, splashing around, carrying on, the snow comes.

 
3. At this point, I’m scrambling out of the pool, rushing to the house as now ‘thunder-snow’ is beginning like some late-summer, early-fall snowstorm. It’s freezing at this point.

 
4. Few hours go by, or however long, time doesn’t know any different in these dreams, the ground’s covered. Vehicles are covered. As in the popular U2 song, “A world in white, is underway.”

 
It went from September to December within minutes, and from December to February (by far the coldest, snowiest month here in the Ohio Valley) within hours.

 
Few minutes later, here’s where things get real interesting, it’s back to September, as if nothing happened.

 
Well, kind of. It was still colder than normal, but warm enough for the snow to melt. Give or take a few minutes, or hours, and the snow’s gone. Without a trace. As if it never happened.

 
I go back to the pool, which has remained open the entire time, and stick my hand in the water. It’s so warm you can see steam emerging from it, as if the pool had a heater.

 
What do I do?

 
Hey, I’m climbing back in the pool.

 
Once again, here comes the snow. About five minutes, or however long, after I hop in, it’s coming down harder now than it did the first time. Imagine being in a pool and the temperature drops below freezing. About ten degrees below freezing.

 
Yeah, even in a dream, you’re feeling it.

 
Time lapses, and now my family thinks it’s a good idea to go out to eat with a good six inches of snow on the ground. Fantastic. It’s twenty-degrees, but the day’s relatively long since it’s still technically summer.

 
I’ve had dreams like this before and I call them nightmares since I’ll wake up, praying it wasn’t real life. It’s not until I take a look outside and remember what day it is, do I feel a sense of relief.

 
Now, in the winter and there’s a blanket of snow on the ground, those spring/summer/fall dreams are heartbreakers. Man, you wake up after a vivid summertime dream beside a pool and it’s eighty-degrees only for your heart to sink when the ground’s covered in white.

Strange, Vivid Dreams, Part II: One Wild Dream

My Vivid Imagination, C’est la Vie

I woke up at seven-thirty this morning and not because it’s Labor Day. Instead, I was up until one-thirty-two o’clock last night fetching some blog ideas. Little did I know today’s topic would find me while I was sleeping.

 
That was one wild dream. Wow. I remember many details, so I’ll give you a rundown here. I post these at times because I’ve always believed some of our greatest writing ideas come during our subconscious hours.

 

Blasts from the Past and Weird Stuff

Okay, so when I state blasts from the past, I’m not fooling around. There were tens of them. Here’s a rundown:

 
1. Between 2013 and 2015 I texted about a dozen girls (no real relationships lol) and my favorite one from that time and I texted about power metal. Weird.

 
2. Once upon a time, my primary gig focused on personal training over writing. This has since changed, but what didn’t change in this dream were the faces. In fact, there were faces present from every single place I’d ever trained clients in.

 
3. My singer crush and I hit it off well (Dianne van Giersbergen, hence the power metal convo). Why she was here I have zero idea.

 
4. This gym I trained clients was in a freaking skyscraper and let me tell you, their locker rooms were top-notch. And the group training area…whew!

 
5. One of my least favorite bosses ran the place, but for me it somehow wasn’t an issue as he was never present except for a few seconds.

 
6. The Browns were playing the Buccaneers on the big screen, it was Week Three of the 2018 season (they don’t even play Tampa Week Three). Anyway, they went the first two weeks of the season without scoring a touchdown and Duke Johnson finally broke the barrier.

 
7. There was a strange locker room party, which is just flat out weird.

 
If you’re still reading this, you may be a little too interested in my weird, random dreams. I woke up and checked my phone for the time (what are alarm clocks, these days?) before remembering what the heck it was I’d just dreamed about and why.
As for the why, I still have zero clue.

 
All I’ll say is I must be staying up too late and these eleven in the evening gym sessions might have something to do with it, as I wrote a post about a string of strange, vivid dreams a couple weeks back.

 

Book Motivation

I don’t know about book motivation, but strange, vivid dreams might provide some decent motivation for your next blog post. I know it’s a strange place to garner ideas, but you may take an element or two, or base a character on someone involved.

 
Not just that, if you’re interested in submitting some work to literary journals or sites that buy short stories, they may serve as inspiration, too. Obviously, not every dream, but here are a few of my own that might make their way into a story.

 
1. A relative’s house is raided by burglars overnight at a massive family get-together while everyone was asleep. I was the only one who woke up (in the dream) and heard the commotion.

 
2. My neighborhood is standing on the site of a chemical plant explosion from the 1980’s that killed everyone in the plant (not in real life, at least to my knowledge!).

 
3. I’m sneaking into a house in the dead of night (and sometimes this occurs in the daytime) and am racing against the clock before either someone inside catches me or the homeowners make it home. This one’s a thriller.

 
4. I’m falsely accused of committing a crime and am on the run from the feds.

 
5. Something like a gang war is taking place in my neighborhood and I’m running for my life. Talk about your heart pounding when you wake up.

 
6. Either my house (or a friend’s house) has changed into a three-story, old mansion and is haunted by demons. For some odd reason, it’s either my room if it’s my house or I find my way into the room if it’s their house.

 
7. I’m ghost hunting in a huge house which always contains a long hallway.

 
8. A more light-hearted one, but I’m watching the Browns play in the AFC Championship Game (like that’ll ever happen).

 
9. I’m in a store that’s about to close permanently. The shelves are half-full, and people are fighting over snagging the remaining items as if it’s one giant Black Friday sale.

 
10. This real strange dream where I’m near the bridge taking one from Steubenville, Ohio into Weirton, West Virginia, but traffic has multiplied one-hundred-fold and there are these tunnels resembling ones leading into Pittsburgh to take you across the bridge. On the West Virginia side, Weirton has become a minor metropolis while the Ohio side is a barren wasteland.

 

Speaking of Number Ten

This one strikes me as very, very interesting. Weirton and Steubenville, a little background on the two cities, lost more population percentage-wise than any other “metro” area in the United States from the 1970’s until the early 2000’s.

 
The two cities and the whole area became one of the most depressed in the country during this time and it continued into the early 2010’s.

 
During this time period, I knew many students attending Franciscan University of Steubenville, one of the most popular Catholic Universities in the world. So popular, two members of Luxembourg’s Royal Family attended the university in the early 2010’s.

 
Well, today, in 2018, the two cities couldn’t be moving in more opposite directions.

 

Starting in the early 2010’s, Weirton sought to develop and turn away from its checkered past. Steubenville, on the other hand, despite my friendly words in a recent article has fallen into deeper economic despair (unless one’s uptown, and it’s like another world).

 
In the past year alone, Weirton has embarked on a project, garnering new developments in different locations throughout the city and are in the beginning stages of tearing down the old steel mill, which has sat crumbling in the heart of downtown for quite some time. Throughout late-2017 and 2018, two-dozen new businesses sprung up, with more on the way. Weirton lost the old K-Mart, but who isn’t these days?

 
As for Steubenville, the Fort Steuben Mall’s about had it, filled to about twenty-five-percent capacity. Business after business are leaving, some having been in the area for generations. The steel mill will never come back, as Weirton realized. Unemployment is high, poverty has followed, and old paintings from a roaring time now lost to history provide the only evidence the city once had a treasured history.

 
More on the two cities later, but I wanted to get across the one recurring dream that really jumped out at me because, well, it relates more to real life than anything listed above.

Strange, Vivid Dreams

Unforgettable Dreams the Last Few Nights

You know you’re a writer when you experience strange, vivid dreams. Well, during my bodybuilding/men’s physique days I took a supplement called Bullet Proof by Muscle Pharm and man, did it spark the mind. Even the product reviews stated you’d get some strange dreams. After Muscle Pharm did away with the product and came out with a newer one, which was ZMA-heavy, the strange cycle of dreams started again.

 
These days, I’m supplement-free because for the most part, your supplements are loaded with fillers, sugars, and some have even been protein-spiked (claiming a product had more protein than it really did). In fact, I eat one actual whole meal a day and snack on healthy food during my other waking hours.

 
So, my fitness lifestyle shouldn’t have anything to do with the strange occurrences in my dreams.

 
Three nights, three whacked-out dreams.

Tuesday Night: Running in Heat, Snow, Ice, and Storms

I’ve always had a recurring dream that I’m running either in or outside Wintersville, Ohio, either on a backroad by the oil fields and distribution center, or on a road leading to Main Street. The time this happens is either morning or evening.

 
Last night, I’m proud to say I made it to Main Street! At 5am! Before any businesses opened their doors. For some odd reason, a high school stood on this part of Main Street, contrary to where it really stands across town, and I had my own locker in the teachers’ lounge. Strange, I know.

 
Thing is, I wasn’t a teacher in this, and if you all know me, I’d never work in a public school even if they paid my six-figures. So, my morning routine in this dream, since we all have our own life histories in dreams, is that I’d sneak into the lockers, eat or whatever, and bail before any other teacher arrived.

 
Well, this time a teacher did come, and they thought I was just another teacher. Keep in mind, it’s not like the schools in the area I live boast thousands of students; more like hundreds. After staving the teacher off and conducting my run while summer rapidly changed to winter yet people still rode their motorcycles, I returned to find the teacher sitting there. They ask me which class I teach before I’m forced to admit I’m not really a teacher, but am allowed a locker (a lie, obviously).

 
The dream changes to where I’m now running (why am I always running in these dreams) in my parents’ neighborhood. Now, it’s early evening and summer again with a storm brewing. Lightning flashes and the sky is pitch black, except for an orange glow near the water tower situated on the adjacent street to my parents’ street.

 
I run to the top of the neighborhood and snap a photo; it’s kind of cool to see the glow, but as I drew nearer, smoke is erupting from the base of the tower. I rush forward to get a better look, dodging lightning strikes, until I come across a group of people; all of whom were friends or former classmates of mine in school. Everyone’s concerned about the tower and whether or not it’ll survive the lightning strike as sirens blare in the distance.

 

Monday Night: Flashback or Present Day?

I’m at my grandmother’s house getting ready for a party. For one, it’s just another recurring dream…starting out anyway. Soon after, people arrive and the boring stuff gets out of the way. Anyway, there’s a large food buffet in the kitchen. I mean, the table and counter are stacked.

 
I head there, only to find the place looking the same way it did in the 1990’s. Keep in mind, my grandparents had their kitchen redone in 2016 and had upgraded it many times throughout the 2000’s.

 
The small, hand-dial TV’s (I think that’s what they’re called) from the 1980’s, pale yellow walls, checkered brown carpet, the works.

 
Even stranger is everyone appears to be younger versions of themselves…. except me. I’m in here, at this party, almost the same age as my parents. Everyone remotely close to my age is anywhere between ten and twenty years younger.

 
I wander into the living room, and a few relatives are speaking of horrific events that happened in that very house comparable to the DeFeo murders (keep in mind that in reality, nothing horrific had ever happened to my knowledge) and now the vengeful souls were on the move again.

 
It’s around the time you hear footsteps behind you is when you wake up, realizing your had an over-active mind.

 

Sunday Evening: Going to School with Special People

This one didn’t have as much of a horror or action/suspense aspect to it. Instead, it was rather cooler than anything else and definitely something I hope becomes recurring. I was hanging out with, well, my main book characters, seeing them the exact way I pictured them while writing.

 
It wasn’t my Lord of Columbia cast, but instead the two mains from my prequel series, Neo and Seneca, a first book in series that will be open-published as soon as today, as late as this weekend.

 
It’s funny, because I created two small novellas (70-75 pages in length) of Neo and Seneca, their purposes being simply funnel and magnet books. The open-published work is a perma-free one that will introduce readers to my writing style with links to both the magnet book and Northern Knights, in case these readers’ interest perked. The kicker here is I started creating these projects the Friday before last and have worked tirelessly on the 11,000 word works.

 
But what was even cooler is their looks, personalities, everything, were the exact way I pictured them. If you’ve read my first work, Northern Knights, link at the bottom of the article, you’ll know I don’t like to describe my characters because I want my readers’ imagination to work.

 
I never found anything so annoying as to picturing characters in books one way only for an author to describe their appearance to be a completely different look to what I had in mind. It makes me have to concentrate on characters’ appearance which takes away from the actual story. So, even though I use vague outlines for their descriptions (Seneca, for instance has blue-green eyes and auburn hair), it’s as far as I’ll go. I might use adjectives like built, gigantic, burly, narrow, etc. to give a base description, but other than that, most characters’ appearances will differ in my readers’ eyes.

 
In addition to seeing Neo and Sen (what Neo calls her) in the book, I hung out, talked with, and became borderline friends with the pair. It was a rather exciting experience to say the least.

 

Whacked Out Short Stories

Who knows, I might create stories from these rather odd dreams. I want to say the weirdest one was last night, simply because of the summer snowstorm which melted by the time I reached my parents’ house.

 
Or perhaps everyone aging in reverse as had occurred Monday Night?

 
Or, maybe even create a story of me in my actual work, hanging out with a couple compelling characters?

 
I’d like to thank everyone for coming across My Freedom Flame, and I really hope I didn’t weird you all out. Please come back soon.

Believers Are Achievers

Those Who Believe Their Dreams Will Become Reality Succeed

Sure, you need to put in the work. Yes, you need to stay up at least eighteen hours per day. Yes, you need to sacrifice weekends, social time, and perhaps even friendships to realize your dreams. You need to break down obstacles every single day.

 
But, above all else, you need to believe you can achieve. Believers are achievers, and those who believe their dreams will become reality succeed.

 
If you’re working toward a goal without belief it’ll happen, if you admit defeat before the battle even begins, bad things will happen. However, if you, despite the odds, realize you can achieve much more than the average person (average people are average because they choose to be), you will end up achieving more than the average person.

 

What Separates the Believer from the Average or Unbelievers?

It’s simple.

 
Believers are willing to make sacrifices. They’re not any better of people than those who are average or those who believe success won’t come their way because of some lame excuse like being a “product of circumstances;” they’re just willing to sacrifice everything including the kitchen sink.

 
Us believers are willing to spend all weekend long working on our craft while everyone else is out and enjoying the warm, July weather or during the cooler months, watching football or celebrating their respective holiday. We’re willing to give it all up. We aren’t going to happy hour on a Friday night. We aren’t going to a sporting event, clubbing, or watching the latest Netflix binge.

 

We’re Working

How many hours do we put in each week?

 
Well, we have one-hundred and sixty-eight hours in a week, so we’ll put in as many hours as necessary within these one-hundred and sixty-eight hours. If it means sleeping four hours a night, we’re willing. If it means spending every waking moment outside our day job, we’re willing.

 

 

We realize our goals, and we also realize the amount of work needed to achieve them. Even if we have, say, two competing passions and one must go, the one we hold closer to us will prevail.

 

We Begin with the End

Believers who are achievers begin with the end. In other words, we already see the final product in our minds, so all we need to do is figure out how to get there. Many claim they want this, or want that, but can’t see it. When they can’t see the final product, they’re going to get side-tracked.

 
Further, when one tries to add-on to their current lifestyle, they’re destined to fail. You can’t pursue a passionate goal by adding it onto what you already have. You’ll never see it through to the end.

 
It’s just like when I was in fitness.

 
Far too often, too many clients stated they wanted to change, but they never began with the end. They never visualized what they wanted. Instead, they wanted to add fitness in to their current lifestyle and no matter how often one trains, they’ll always fall short.
And as the title of this article implies: Those who want something but can’t believe in themselves enough to see it through to the end aren’t going to.

 
Belief in oneself is powerful, and this bodes true with everyone. I’ve tried writing many times before, as between 2005 and 2015, there were times as mentioned in previous articles, I’d write here or there. But to actually finish what I’d started? I never thought it’d be possible, because most who sit down to write a book never finish it.

 
But like I’ve mentioned in the past: It changed in 2015 when I saw not myself being lauded by others for a finished product, but what this product had done for others. As mentioned in a recent article, Lord of Columbia is a Manifesto for a Libertarian Revolution.

 

Conclusion

Before you embark on any journey in passion pursuit, you need to be able to see where you’re going. Begin with the end, and die empty. That’s one of the most inspiring statements I’ve ever heard in my life. It means begin by seeing the end goal in sight, and when one dies, we’ve fulfilled everything we’ve set out to do.

 
You need to see the end in your mind before you see it in person. To do so means to believe beyond the shadow of a doubt you can get to where you want to go. You need to know you’re destined for greater things than what you have now, and regardless of what others say, and there is going to be a lot of negativity, especially in the early stages, you need to tune it out. You must know where you’re headed, and why you’re headed in such a direction.

 
If you come across any naysayer, be they friend, family, co-worker, whomever, throw them to the wayside and be unapologetic about it. This is your life. Only you can control where you go. If you build or design a good enough product and do what’s required, people will buy and you’ll succeed in something you’ve always desired success in.

 
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.

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