Straining Toward Your Goal

Webster’s defines Goal as an end that one strives to attain. This can be applied to anything; writing a novel, or a book of poems, or building a playhouse, or even restoring an old car or furniture, the race is in the finish! I’d rather use the Chinese parable, “the journey is the reward.”

  • Set a reachable goal, No need to invent, the wheel has already been invented. ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew’, taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. That’s like throwing your confidence away when it has a great reward stored up for you.
  • Imitate the best and keep learning from him. Apply all those things that made him/her successful in your goal for your benefit. You are not imitating to become that person, but rather, to gain from them.
  • Forget what lies behind; look forward to what lies ahead. Recognize that the choices we make worsen or lessen our wounds; what we’ve experienced bring about the changes we need. Lesson learned, in the words of William Shakespeare,

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

  • Action! Action! Action! Exert yourself in purposeful activities. Press on toward the goal for the prize; after all, footprints in the sand are not made by sitting down.
  • Arrogance will play NO positive role in your journey. Success does not consist in talk, but in action—your work.
  • Self-control/Discipline is the strength (root) of your will, mind and determination. Plant the energy-seed of enthusiasm and you will reap a sense of dedication that maintains allegiance to your goal so that you are not turned aside by any reason.
  • Pay forward. Remember the chains of others, where you have the skills, offer it. Who knows, that person (or another) might have what you need to break your chains.
  • Follow the leader. He/she is successful for a reason, and can lead in a unique way that may carry you down the road to your success. Follow his/her practice regardless of how long it will take.

These rules are what I try to follow. If they suit you, Be encouraged, you have need of endurance… go ahead, accomplish your task.

Double Headed—Writer/Publisher

Writer/Publisher
Writer/Publisher

Fewer people are reading today, and there’s more competition to sell your book than ever, especially if you are a self-published author. Why do I write? Not only is writing an absolute passion of mine, I write to entertain and hopefully educate while at it. Writing is also, sort of, a therapy for me. I am given the opportunity to express myself, and can also vent through the different characters I develop, also sweep up ideas of my mind into orderly thoughts and hopefully provoke change. Many of my characters are developed around society’s social ills and controversial issues, therefore allowing me a persuasive voice to get those points across.

During the 90’s, I started writing poems for the school paper and local community paper, then short stories and essays. Since then, I’ve written a book of poems (Journeys), a book of essays (My Dear Liberia), two children’s books (A is For Africa & Good Manners Alphabet Book), two collections of short stories (The Dowry of Virgins & other stories) and (Montserrado Stories), my first novel, Heart Men, in 2010 and its sequel (Dead Gods-HM2) to be released in 2014. I went through the effort to become a published author and the task was… mystifying, to say the least.

Writing has also given me the opportunity to ‘dip my foot into publishing’. When I started writing during the 90’s, it was next to impossible to get a major publisher interested in a book deal, especially if you were a novice writer without an established platform. I, along with two business partners, started Village Tales Publishing and was able to self-publish my first book, MY DEAR LIBERIA (Recollections) in 2004. Today, Village Tales Publishing provides those services other writers need to self-publish their book. Self-publishing enabled me to determine my own fate; becoming a professional writer and published author. But, self-publishing is not easy!

The role of the self-publisher is to produce a book that reads, looks and feels like any book from a major publisher. A quality book needs content editing, copyediting, layout and production, cover design and an ISBN (a unique tracking number for your book that identifies a title’s edition). Then, marketing and distribution! Oh, and accounting! You wear many hats.

My personal journey went from selecting the genre of my book to countless hours of research, to writing, re-writing, re-checking and re-editing as many times as I needed to, selecting the graphic for the book cover, fonts, typesetting interior pages, obtaining an ISBN for each title/format from Bowker (the official U.S. ISBN agency), book barcodes, copyright registration with the Library of Congress and registration of the title in Bowker Books in Print, which is used by all the major search engines and most bookstores and libraries. I acquired the skills of Microsoft Office (Publisher, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel & Access) and several Adobe programs (Photoshop, PageMaker, InDesign & Illustrator)… then, I understood what it takes to publish or get published. BTW, I also acquired the skills of website building (Dreamwever, html and xhtml languages, Joomla and WordPress) and social media (Tweeter, Facebook and Goodread).

As a writer/publisher—the obligation, that is, is double the pleasure; double the load! Writing is challenging, and getting it from manuscript into a book is even more challenging. Being a writer/publisher is like assuming the roles of mother and doctor at the same time—giving birth and doing the delivering yourself. You work very hard. You work long hours. But this is my passion. I love what I do and enjoy doing it. So, I approach every writing project as a labor of love and every book, a new baby.

Is all this hard work actually worth it? For me, YES! The reward is immeasurable! It’s almost not financial, but the reward lies in validation, appreciation and a sense of worth. When the readers fall in love with your creative world and its characters, the admiration is priceless. Money is important, of course, since it is a source of income. But it’s the readers that motivate me to keep writing.

If you are thinking about writing a book, or publishing one, or both, do not do it for financial gain. Financial success is far from reality (some writers do gain financial rewards), but that should never be the reason for writing or getting published. The journey is wonderfully challenging, so no matter what, never give up and… be encouraged.

Be Encouraged!

Every life follows their very own pattern, that’s why all things happen for a reason. Put fate aside, and some unseen force draws each person toward the lesson needs to be learned, or the life that needs to be lived, or the fulfillment that needs to be achieved. Perhaps the ultimate happiness comes when the disasters of your life in retrospect are its greatest blessings. Such is the pattern of life. So, no matter what you are facing, be encouraged.

God gives understanding in everything, as long as you make a good effort and never give up. “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules; and it is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of crops,”—2nd Timothy 2:5-6

Through this blog, in humility, I wish to pass on my experience that may encourage and inspire others.