The Unexpected Consequences of Dream Chasing

Photo: William Bayreuther (Unsplash)

Dream chasing is typically applied to future plans.

When I have enough money, I’m gonna…

Once my kids are older, I’ll have enough time to...

After I retire, I’ll finally…

I thought that way, too. What changed? That fourth kid–the unplanned roster addition. I was teaching middle school at the time. Long story short, I quit teaching–thinking it would be 2, maybe 3 years before I went back full-time.

I never did, though.

Why?

Well, I said I taught middle school, right? So, I was an English teacher. My main interest was writing–modeling writing for students, writing with students, running after school workshops for students to prepare for publication. I loved getting kids into the whole writing process.

All along, I said I was going to–repeat, going to–write a novel. Someday. When I had enough time.

Didn’t you have time when you were teaching?

I mean…yeah, but not really. I already had 3 of my own kids, plus the grading. I like teaching writing, but…

That means you have to assign writing, then carefully read the writing, and respond to the writing. That takes a full day. When you grade the final draft, you re-read the first draft, then the second draft, then respond, then grade. That takes a whole weekend.

(***Side note: If you’re going to be a teacher, BE A MATH TEACHER: homework’s waaaaaay easier to grade. Paul Tremblay is a math teacher, that’s how he has time to write best-sellers!)

So I wrote some short stories, poems. Tried to write a novel a few times but didn’t have enough time to really dive in and, I guess, kinda lost my momentum.

But that fourth kid came and changed everything. His name means “lucky”, which was a joke on the unplanned part–the idea that he’s lucky to be here. Now, I think it was him who brought me luck.

With teaching out of the way…

Once teaching was in the rear view, I had more time–not a lot more, but more–and I ended up finishing a novel. I let a few people read it and the response was encouraging. So I decided not to go back to teaching, but rather see where writing would take me. My dream was pretty simple: make enough money writing novels to justify not getting a “real” job again.

It’s not going that way. Not yet. Still don’t have a published novel. But it’s alright.

Allow me to explain:

I saw Tom Segura’s latest special, Ball Hog, which is hilarious. That dude is maybe my favorite active comedian. Top 3, for sure. (This is going somewhere, I promise.) Anywho, he said something in that special that made me reflect on my journey, up to this point, of chasing my dream:

“As long as you accept that your dream might not go exactly as you planned, you will still feel fulfilled by the pursuit of your dream. So always go after whatever you wanna do. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?”

Tom Segura, Ball Hog (2020)

What’s the big deal with that quote?

From an outsider’s perspective, you might look at my dream and say, “How come that book isn’t published yet? You’ve been at it for awhile…” and it would simply look like a failure.

It’s not from lack of effort. So, yes, that means there’s been lot’s of rejection. I’ve been through a few rounds of querying agents. Nothing yet.

But here’s the real thing about my dream and its unexpected consequences:

It’s led to a bunch of other opportunities!

One day I was talking to a parent at my kids’ school. His name is Jason. While we talked, he asked what I do. This was shortly after I decided that I was going to be a writer, and that I would actually tell people I’m a writer. So…I told him I’m a writer, working on a novel, and hoping that goes somewhere. Then he asked me to come on his podcast and talk about it. So I did.

That led to Jason telling me to do my own podcast. He was quite insistent, even said he’d help me get started if I wrote blogs for his podcast. So I got rolling on writing blogs and doing a podcast.

After getting neck-deep into the podcasting world, Jason started a business producing podcasts. My connection to him hooked me up with other people who needed a blog writer. And they were willing to pay!

Then there’s my podcast. I get to immerse myself in a unique blend of creative-minded people. Not just writers, but all kinds of people who are dream enablers. But especially the authors I’ve interviewed. They’ve sent me signed copies of books and offered me advice. So. Cool.

Aaaaaaaaaaand

I’ve had a few nibbles on the book recently. Nothing to get excited about, but progress from the days of the simple form rejections. So…YAY!

I’m starting to get a foot in the door. I feel like it’s really just a matter of time before I can start putting links up for my book. Then I’ll finish the one I’m working on now and do the same with that. And rinse and repeat.

And that’s all I ever wanted. All this other cool stuff? Unexpected consequences.

When I started the first sentence of my book, I didn’t know if I’d finish it. Didn’t expect it to get me on a podcast, that’s for sure. And starting my own podcast–never on my radar.

Most of what’s happened as a result of chasing this dream has been completely, 100% unplanned. My dream hasn’t looked anything like I thought, but, man. The pursuit, thus far, has been fulfilling as hell!

-CT

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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

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Creative Ops (A Podcast for Creative People, by Creative People)

Behind “The Process”: Productive Procrastination in 4 Steps

Writer’s are good at wasting time.

by Adam Distel (Unsplash)

But I don’t want to be good at wasting time. I want to be good at procrastinating!

Why celebrate procrastination?

Today I found a meme informing me that a lovable kids’ cartoon character is by choice a virgin, not-asexual, and perfectly content with it. This, as it didn’t help me get any writing done, was a waste of time. Procrastinating is different. So let’s talk about it.

No, not cartoon characters being…procrastinating.

C’mon guys.

GIPHY

But hold on, hold on–this isn’t a how-to-stop-procrastinating-altogether thing. I’m not here to tell you you’ve been naughty and get your head on straight. No, no, no, no, no. No. Procrastinating is widely looked down upon, something that is a sign of laziness. Or outright stupidity. Procrastinating is viewed on par with being lazy–wasting your time. I know because people have told me this in my life. A lot. But some see it differently.

Procrastination as a positive?

In a Business Insider interview, Adam Grant talks about how his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, refers his readers to the ancient Egyptian definition of procrastination: “waiting for the right time”. The article goes on to say, “…once we finish a task, we stop thinking about it — but when it’s interrupted and left undone, it stays active in our minds. Procrastinating strategically means stopping whatever creative tasks we’re working on before they’re complete to allow more creative ideas to bubble up.”

I agree that some minds, particularly creative ones, don’t always go where they’re instructed to. When I force myself to do something, it rarely results in my best effort. But if you indulge it–responsibly–you can keep the flame going long enough to eventually steer a full head of steam into what you need to do. For example, I lost some steam writing this, put it away partly finished for two day, then finished and edited it to sweet, sweet perfection.

Woo!

Now–without further ado…

4 Steps for Productive Procrastination

  1. Make a list of things several things you need to do
    • For me, I have notebooks for each type of writing I do–novel A, novel B, short stories, blogs, free-writing. I have them all on my desk in a pile.
  2. Prioritize the list
    • Every day, the top of my list is getting a couple pages on the new novel, go over a couple pages of the old novel every day.
    • My mind isn’t always game for those two things, so I’ll add other productive tasks–one or two for each day of the week, typically. Monday is usually blog & social media day, Wednesdays I try to fix/update something on the website, etc….
    • If I have other stuff that needs to get done that day, I’ll put that in as well (ie. housework, appointments, life-stuff)
  3. Don’t get mad at yourself when your brain’s like, Nah, bro, to one of the anchor tasks.
    • Give it another task to do, or pick up a writing pad and jot some stuff down that you might use for something later.
  4. When your brain’s like, Nah, bro…to ALL of it, go for a walk, run, or meditate.
    • Let your mind drift for awhile. Or just shut it down temporarily–recharge. Eventually, you’ll come back to it. Think about it for awhile without trying to write. Just let it stew. Maybe you need an hour to think about it, maybe a weekend. But if you don’t force creativity all at once, you’ll get the juices get flowing and be ready to tackle that big task! (At least, that’s how I feel now.)
Yup, that’s it. Procrastination 101 in quick, easy steps.

Next time you need to feel good about procrastinating, listen to my podcast Creative Ops. It’s a podcast for creative people, by creative people. I talk to business owners, writers, farmers, artists, and more. Find out who they are and what they have to say about the creative process. The show is produced by Hey Guys Media, and sponsored by River Town Adventures & Baby Farm Soaps. All three of these businesses are locally-owned, with products AND people worth supporting! Please check em out.

Creative Ops | Ep.8 | Brandon Scott, Author of “Vodou” and “Sleight” Creative Ops

  1. Creative Ops | Ep.8 | Brandon Scott, Author of “Vodou” and “Sleight”
  2. Creative Ops | Ep.7 | Aaron Daane, Coach & Former Youth Soccer Club Owner
  3. Creative Ops | Ep.6 | Parenting & Hobby Farming w/ Andrea Draft
  4. Creative Ops | Ep.5 | Fresh Coast Seed Co.
  5. Creative Ops | Ep.3 | Ben Kraker and Jason Tieri Teach Me How to Make a Podcast
  6. Creative Ops | Ep.4 | Heartsick vocalist Alfonso Civile rocks my podcast!
  7. Creative Ops | Ep.2 | Jennifer Soucy, author of “Demon in Me”
  8. Creative Ops | Ep.1 | Paul Brogan of River Town Adventures talks small business & conservation

That’s it, that’s all I got. Hopefully, next time you’re feeling a wave of distraction, this helps you ride it, not drown under it.

(*Fingers crossed*)

-CT

Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

| Website | Instagram | Twitter FaceBook |

Creative Ops (A Podcast for Creative People, by Creative People)

Behind “The Process”: 10 Tips from the Author of the Vodou series

Hey there!

There’s a writer you should all know about…

Brandon Scott,
author of Vodou and Sleight

Brandon Scott is a very nice guy, and a fantastic writer of supernatural fiction. His novel Vodou hit #1 on Amazon’s occult fiction list, and he recently released the sequel, Sleight. We were fortunate to get him on the podcast and we had a really fun conversation. To hear it, go to the Creative Ops website, *OR* go into your podcasts and search “CREATIVE OPS”, *OR* simply look for the media player at the bottom of this post.

Alright, let’s do this.

10 Writing Tips from Brandon Scott

  1. Use sticky notes to collect your seemingly random thoughts. If you’re working on something and a strange new idea hits, write it on a sticky note. One liners, plot ideas, you name it. The main bad guy in Vodou started out as a sticky note, then later got incorporated into the story.
  2. Always start with pen and paper. Don’t switch to the computer until you feel like you’re actually watching the story in front of you.
  3. Don’t outline. Once you click with a story, you can make bullet lists and “ask [your] characters if they wouldn’t mind getting to some of these.”
  4. Write your first draft as fast as you can. You can “hack and slash” later. Scott says, “My first drafts are a disaster.” But that’s just step one in “The Process.”
  5. Take a red pen to your work. Don’t edit everything at the computer. You’ll second guess yourself too much.
  6. Do 5 or 6 drafts. Then, after an editor looks at it and gives it back, reworking it some more.
  7. Get character names from cemeteries. Scott goes through cemeteries in quadrants, writing down first names from one, matching them up with last names from another. Cool, huh?
  8. Write what you know. If you’re writing about a foreign place, visit it. If you can’t visit it, talk to someone who is familiar with it. Like many writers, Scott centers many of his stories in fictional places based on familiar places.
  9. Stop writing when the action is happening. Then you’ll be able to jump back into it quickly. I’d say this is one of the big things to take away from this. Several reviews of Scott’s books say that his pacing is phenomenal–which it is. So stop where it’s easy to get back into it.
  10. Have thick skin when it comes to writing. It’s a game of rejection and endlessly trying to improve. None of it’s personal, so don’t take rejection personally.

Quit sitting around!

Go get Brandon Scott’s books, check him out on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook. Also check out the small presses he’s a co-owner of: Crimson Creek Press & Mimir Press.

Creative Ops | Ep.8 | Brandon Scott, Author of “Vodou” and “Sleight” Creative Ops

Brandon Scott is an amazingly talented (and very nice) guy. He joined me from North Carolina to talk about his books, style, influences, publishing projects, and writing process. His book Vodou was #1 on the Amazon charts at the time of the interview, and his sequel Sleight just arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I started it, it’s AMAZING, can’t wait to finish it. Check this guy out–he’s the real deal, people!You Can Order Brandon’s Books on Amazon, then follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook.Thanks for checking out the show. Follow Creative Ops on IG, FB, and Twitter, too! Go to ChristopherTallon.com for show info, to contact the show, and just because it’s the right thing to do.Last but not least, the sponsors & supporters:Baby Farm Soaps – The. Best. Soaps. Other great products, too!!! River Town Adventures – Best outdoor experience in mid-Michigan. Award winning, locally owned.Hey Guys Media Group – They helped me make my podcast; let them help you make yours!
  1. Creative Ops | Ep.8 | Brandon Scott, Author of “Vodou” and “Sleight”
  2. Creative Ops | Ep.7 | Aaron Daane, Coach & Former Youth Soccer Club Owner
  3. Creative Ops | Ep.6 | Parenting & Hobby Farming w/ Andrea Draft
  4. Creative Ops | Ep.5 | Fresh Coast Seed Co.
  5. Creative Ops | Ep.3 | Ben Kraker and Jason Tieri Teach Me How to Make a Podcast

Creative Ops is a semi-regular podcast, sponsored by River Town Adventures and Baby Farm Soaps, and produced by Hey Guys Media. Check those guys out.

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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five!

Instagram | Twitter FaceBook | Creative Ops | Website

Creative Ops | Ep.8 | Brandon Scott, Author of “Vodou” and “Sleight”

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rh7sd-ed5c08

Brandon Scott is an amazingly talented (and very nice) guy. He joined me from North Carolina to talk about his books, style, influences, publishing projects, and writing process. His book Vodou was #1 on the Amazon charts at the time of the interview, and his sequel Sleight just arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I started it, it’s AMAZING, can’t wait to finish it. Check this guy out–he’s the real deal, people!

You Can Order Brandon’s Books on Amazon, then follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook.

Thanks for checking out the show. Follow Creative Ops on IG, FB, and Twitter, too! Go to ChristopherTallon.com for show info, to contact the show, and just because it’s the right thing to do.

Last but not least, the sponsors & supporters:

Baby Farm Soaps – The. Best. Soaps. Other great products, too!!! 

River Town Adventures – Best outdoor experience in mid-Michigan. Award winning, locally owned.

Hey Guys Media Group – They helped me make my podcast; let them help you make yours!

Aaron Daane, Coach & Former Youth Soccer Club Owner

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-npfdh-ec691d

For almost a decade, Aaron Daane ran a youth soccer club in west Michigan. He recently sold his club and now works as a coach and coach educator. We talked about what creativity means in the context of soccer and player development, as well as the challenges in youth soccer in terms of coaching, player development, and refereeing. Anyone who plays, has played, or has kids who play will want to listen to this. We discuss tactics, our favorite clubs and players, and where American soccer–at the youth level–is now, and where it is headed.

If you like soccer…CHECK THIS ONE OUT!!!

***Please leave a rating a review if you enjoyed what you heard***

Also, check out www.christophertallon.com for more info on the show and its host.

And please, connect with Christopher Tallon on social media…

IG: christopher_tallon

FB: @TallonWrites

Twitter: @TallonWrites