Archive | March, 2017

Afraid To Take the Plunge

28 Mar

 

One of my favorite places when I was growing up was Surprise Lake.  It was located about ten miles from our home, and maybe three or four times each summer our family would drive to the lake, bring along a picnic lunch, and make a day of swimming and lazing in the sun.

From the beach there was a horseshoe-shaped dock, and maybe thirty feet from the dock there was a very large wooden float. Rising above that float was a wooden tower, and on that tower were three diving boards, one at ten feet in height, one at twenty-five feet, and one at fifty.

I was ten-years old when I first jumped off the ten-footer.  I was twelve-years old when I stepped off the twenty-five footer, but that fifty-foot board scared the hell out of me. When I was fifteen I climbed up to the top diving board.  My knees literally shook when I walked out on that diving board and looked down at the water.  I couldn’t do it.  Fear had paralyzed me. Eventually I sheepishly walked back to the ladder, climbed down, and joined my parents on the beach.

It’s too high, Dad,” I said as I sat down next to him.

“It’s pretty damned high, that’s for sure,” he said.  “There’s no shame in not jumping, son.  No shame at all.  But the thing is, that fear you were feeling, that doesn’t go away unless you face it.  There’s no way to talk yourself out of fear.  It’s not something you sit down and have a rational discussion with.  Something I learned about fear, over the years, is it will stay with you forever unless you laugh in its face and kick it in the balls. Plain and simple, Bill.”

The next summer I took the plunge from that fifty-footer.  I spent an entire year worrying about that jump and talking myself into taking it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” Eleanor Roosevelt
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY

I can’t even begin to count the number of people I’ve known over the course of my lifetime who were afraid to try something new.  I saw it as a teacher and I see it today as a writer, and usually the fear is of failure.  What if I fail? What will people think of me? What will I think of myself?  What will happen if I take the risk and fall flat on my face?

I know this to be true, and I’m going to toss it out for you to consider: I’m sixty-eight years old, and my time on this planet is dwindling down.  I don’t have time for fear, and I don’t have time to waste being paralyzed by fear.  The worst that can happen, by trying, is nowhere near the worst that can happen by not trying.

Thus speaketh the old man!

SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY

Meet my new friend Dale…here is her website/blog, A Dalectable Life….I like her style and her outlook on life, and I’m pretty sure you will too.

SECOND SHOUTOUT OF THE DAY

Another friend of mine, Sydney Spence, just recently published a coloring book for young kids…

Hippo Henry and Friends….you can find it on Amazon by following this link.  It’s for a good cause, proceeds going to her local school, and community programs for kids, for much-needed supplies.  Sydney also has a website where all of her other books are listed and you can find that here.

AND THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

Most of you who follow this are writers, so let me ask this of you: what are you afraid of doing? What is fear holding you back from?

Kick fear in the balls!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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It’s Lonely Without Love

21 Mar

My dad died when I was twenty.

No single event in my life has had as much impact, on me, as that did.

January 9, 1969, three days before his fiftieth birthday, he died of a massive heart attack on a cold, cold night in Tacoma, Washington.

I was home from college for the weekend.  He and I were watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  He said he wasn’t feeling well, got up to go to the bathroom, and dropped dead.  I called 911, held him, and he died.

End of story!

Except it really isn’t the end of the story.

I was adopted at nine months.  I’ve never known my biological parents. I have no idea who they are. All I know is Dale LeRoy Holland, three years removed from serving in World War 2, and Evelyn Josephine O’Dowd, recently annulled from a previous marriage, hooked up in 1948 and decided to adopt a blind kid.

It turned out pretty damned good for all of us.

Now I mention all that because people keep asking me where my work ethic comes from, and they state, in wonder, that I’m able to achieve so much (they don’t add ‘in my advanced age’).  But the reason is in that grave, in Tacoma, Washington, with the grave marker that says “Dale LeRoy Holland.”

I am my father’s son, with or without the biological similarities.

I was told, as a child, that working hard is something to be proud of. I was told that limitations are for people with a very narrow view of life.  I was told that the time we have on this planet is precious and shouldn’t be wasted.  And I was told to find something I loved to do and then become the best I can be at it.

It’s been almost fifty years now since that cold January night, but my dad still lives on, in me, and I’m his proud son.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I think the whole world is dying to hear someone say, ‘I love you.’ I think that if I can leave the legacy of love and passion in the world, then I think I’ve done my job in a world that’s getting colder and colder by the day.” Lionel Richie
THOUGHT OF THE DAY

I love you!

Take that to the bank and deposit it.

I love each and every one of you!

FINAL THOUGHT

Do you love to write?

Is writing a passion for you?

Then what are you waiting for? Write like your tail feathers are on fire.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Riding the Rails for Success

14 Mar

I’ve mentioned this before, here and in some of my articles, so hang with me while I tell it again.

My dad dropped out of high school as a sophomore during the Great Depression.  He packed a bag and jumped the first freight train he could find in Iowa, and for the two years he rode the rails in search of spare jobs.  He would do whatever was offered, make a few bucks, and send that money back to his parents to help them pay the farm bills.

I want to stop and let that sink in for a moment. I think we all live a reasonably comfortable life.  Oh sure, it would be nice to have some extra money, but by and large most who are reading this have the comforts of home and have food in the pantry.  I doubt seriously if any out there reading this are so desperate that they need to pack a bag, jump on a freight train, and leave home for two years in search of money to pay bills.

I find it amazing that he did that, and he certainly wasn’t alone on his travels.

Anyway, this was the man who was my father, and you better believe he taught his son lessons about self-reliance and determination . . . lessons that have stayed with me now for sixty-eight years.

My dad would not tolerate excuses, and he wouldn’t tolerate failure.  In his opinion, failure came when you gave up, and giving up was not an option…thus, failure did not happen!  End of story!

There’s a point to this story . . . I promise!

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

REFLECTION OF THE DAY

So here’s the thing:  I refuse to give up on my writing journey.  I am determined to be a successful novelist. I may not be another John Steinbeck, but I do believe I can be a financially-successful writer.  I just have to find the winning path.

Enter The Urban Farming Coloring Book!

I just finished my first coloring book, and I had tons of fun making it, and now I hope that sucker outsells all of my novels combined.

Why?

Because guerilla marketing is all about getting your name out into the world any way possible, for the least amount of money, and I aim to do just that with the coloring book.  This summer I’ll sell my coloring books at farmers markets, where we also sell our quail eggs, and on the back flap of the coloring book is a reference to my novels.  I’ll also have point-of-sale materials to hand out at the markets, and people will get to know me as an author and not just a producer of coloring books.

It all ties together!

It is all about William D. Holland, Author!

It is all about my goal!

HOW ABOUT YOU?

What’s holding you back from your goal?  Maybe it’s time for you to step out of the box and try something outrageous.

Just sayin’

THE SHOUT OUT OF THE DAY

Since marketing is the theme of the day, I’m going to give a shout out to a marketing genius….Heidi Thorne…and you can find her on Facebook by following this link.  Heidi shares her information in a practical manner that is easy to understand and oh, so helpful. I hope you’ll check her out.

MORE NEXT WEEK

So much to do, so little time.

Until next week, best wishes and love always.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

 

I Am Writer Hear Me Roar!

7 Mar

INTROSPECTION

I was a quiet child.

I was the one in the corner at school dances, watching everyone else.

While friends went out and partied, I took walks in the woods.

I avoided crowds. I still do!

I would rather listen than talk.  That’s always been the case.

I am an observer and not an active participant in group activities.

I speak when spoken to, but do not offer information unless asked for it.

This is who I am.

I didn’t keep journals as a child.  I rarely wrote, preferring to play baseball, or football, or go fishing, but I suspect my muse was working overtime during those childhood years, for now I have a treasure chest of ideas and experiences to write about, all of those memories stored up over the years.

I am a writer!

I listened to stories told by my grandparents, stories about the Great Depression.  I heard every word as they told me about life on their Iowa corn farm, about losing that farm, and about their journey out west to a better life.  I watched as my mother and father worked hard, providing for me and my sister, never complaining, always giving love in an abundant supply.

I grew up in the 50s and 60s, transitioning from idyllic Leave It To Beaver to the tumultuous protests, my country suffering growing pains, the stalwart words “liberty and justice for all” under fire, all of us experiencing growing pains, and all the better for it when it passed.

Sixty-eight years have molded my writings, and those writings will continue as long as I am able, for I am a writer and proud of it!

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”