My Words at 30.

My Words at 30.

 

God I still love this song. Such a classic.

I first listened to this song when I was somewhere around the age of 18. Twelve years later it’s still great.

I thought I’d be scared or freaked out by thirty.

But I’m pretty happy about it. I’ve got a lot of reasons to love where I’m at in my life. Looking back at all the things that I’ve done (get it?) brings me more joy than anything else.

There are many various ways to measure how my life has gone, but…

I have so much love in my life. And I have given so much love and happiness to others over the course of my thirty years. Of all the things that I’ve done, that’s really all that matters.

As a thirty year old man, I feel in many ways like a better, stronger, wiser version of my younger self. I’ve grown up in the ways that are valuable, and I’ve stayed young in the ways that matter.

I can’t ask for much more than that.


I think one of the strongest truths that I know now at my age is this:

Words mean everything. 

The words you tell yourself in your head will define you. Positive or negative you will make them real.

The words you say to others about yourself–sooner or later you will accept them as truth even if you didn’t in the beginning.

The things you say to other people and the things they say to you is the fabric all of humanity is built on. Say good things, meaningful things, useful things, funny things–be careful with the hammer that is your anger and frustration. Saying harsh or critical things is necessary in life. But do not make it something that gives you power or satisfaction.

Many people live in fear of saying positive, kind or flattering things to others. They only do so sparingly as if it somehow is a risk that makes us lesser, weaker or vulnerable. It does not. Do not believe the lie that kindness is weakness. Kindness is true strength.

Thank you to everyone that has made my 30th birthday something special. I love you guys. And to those that have never met me or do not know me, I love you too. I hope all’s well.

-Evan

 

The Search for More…

The Search for More…

There’s something inherently human about wanting more, about always looking towards the next goal.

It might just be wired into how we think. It’s the reason why billionaires still want more money, and why many famous people still feel unsatisfied enough to have breakdowns despite what others might see as “achieving success.”

So last week I just got my first Bookbub for HOOD on May 11th. For those of you who don’t know, Bookbub is like the Starship Enterprise of book promotions–and the next closest promotion might be a Hyundai Sonata in comparison.

In short, it’s a very big deal for authors, they’re very hard to get, and it’s been one of the top goals of mine since I launched the book.

When I booked it, I was doing all kinds of shouting and fistpumping and bouncing off the walls of my apartment.

And yet, something funny happens. And it happens to us all.

Mere days later I was looking ahead to what the next steps were. I got the Bookbub I so lustily desired, and now I was booking other promos. I was thinking ahead to when I can have Book 3 done, and maybe having some new covers made, etc.

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The point is, we always chase the next thing ahead of us. Even in the face of great success. Make no mistake, booking this Promo was a huge coup for me. And yet so quickly I push on to the next goal. In many ways, this is a positive thing. Stay Hungry, as they say, and drive yourself to do more and find your own greatness.

But there is a problem with this. We need to enjoy, celebrate and revel in our successes. Our wins in life must feel like wins. Because our losses certainly can feel cruel and horrible, sometimes cripplingly so, can’t they?

If we do not take time to appreciate what we have done, what we have overcome, and bask in the sunlight in the positive things we’ve created in our own lives, whatever they may be, then we are driving our one and only car ragged down the empty road of the wastelands until it breaks down.

It is good and noble to strive for more, to better ourselves, to be in search of our better selves.

But we must not strive aimlessly like an addict in the dark. When we find pieces of our better selves, we must stop to appreciate them.

Maybe–I don’t know–but maybe there’s a point where we need not strive anymore at all?

-Evan Pickering

 

 

Longview

Longview

Ah, what a classic jam. Sounds like childhood.

If you could picture yourself on the timeline of your life, and you could climb up a great tower and take a longview in all directions, what might you see?

  • Backwards, we can see the path we’ve taken here. Messy, bending, rife with good times and bad. Hopefully more bad than good. This way lies madness. A short look back might bring a smile and some warm thoughts. But the longer you look the more obsessed you become with the choices you made.

 

  • To the left and right, we see what could have been. The places and people we might have gone and met, some catastrophic, some fantastic, some wildly different then what we know now, but probably many that are just different incarnations of our own life. This is a matter of curiosity, of warnings and possibilities, but still it only serves us to consider our choices now.

 

  • Ahead, we strain to see forward, but the fog, the great fog clouds what we can see. We think we see shapes and possibilities, we make guesses as to what is and plan what paths we might take through the fog, but we cannot see clearly no matter how much we try. Still, this is the direction we must face moving forward, pushing blindly into the fog and trusting our reactions and instincts to find one of many right ways on.

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I’ve lived most of my life thinking little of the future, enjoying the present and trusting in myself. I’m blessed to be able to do this, and it is by in large a good thing. But there is a caveat. It is vital, I believe, to be proactive in the present, and to imagine the kind of future-present we hope to have. And to be unrelenting in our pursuit of whatever it is. Our imagination is a weapon used for or against ourselves, and we must use it to envision the truly good and valuable things we want and purse them.

It’s easy to imagine all the things that can go wrong, all the reasons not to do something. But through our imagination of what can be is where we can achieve all great things.

Our lives are some small percent the perception of the present moment around us, and a huge percent all the things we imagine about ourselves; the stories we tell ourselves about our past and our future and what could have been.

Your thoughts can be a weapon used for or against you. Don’t let them cut you so deep you can’t push on. Longviews can be necessary, but don’t linger there too long. There’s plenty more to be enjoyed and done right now.

 

-Evan

 

We get to live.

We get to live.

These are turbulent times for many of us. Regardless of which side of the election you’ve been on, it has been a tiring process. I’ve been thinking about life, the greater experience, what it means to be on opposite sides, whether we are ever ‘enemies’ or only just people on opposite sides of a divide.

I got to sit and talk about life, and philosophy, and existence with my lifelong friend Eastin today after class. It was something I think I sorely needed–I think we can all stand to take some time, and talk about all that is, all that could be, all that might or might not be true. There’s so much to be grateful for, there’s so much to question and to contemplate.

Let’s not forget that. Let’s not forget to put down the phones and turn off the screens and talk, not contentiously, not to ‘win’, but just talk.

It is of fundamental human importance.

Here was a thought I had today:

We get to live; express ourselves; chase dreams and love people; fight and make peace and keep searching for something in this wild world. What could possibly be more beautiful than that?

I love you all.

Evan

The Weight of What’s to come

The Weight of What’s to come

I think all people experience this feeling in varying degrees of severity.

The anticipatory cloud of some obligation; responsibility; work; etc. These tend to grow in number and size as we get older; or maybe it just feels that way.

Avalanche of grad school papers due. It’s the proverbial albatross. It’s almost done, though. Summer is going to be AWESOME.

It’s going to be my first foray into full-time writing. I can’t wait. It’s hard for me to get into the emotional and mental place to write right now with all the mire and muck of soul-sucking grad school work haranguing me.

But even summer will come with pressure. I want to try and write BOOK 2 by the end of summer. I want to have a daily word count to achieve. I want to be very industrious at writing efficiently every day.giraffic_park2-copy

It’s worth reminding myself that I love writing because of the joy it brings me; not because it’s a grind. So while I want to be very diligent, I don’t want to turn it into the kind of thing I hate. It’s a delicate balance.

So why by the end of summer? Because I know next semester of grad school will surely bury me again. I hate the feeling that my book/WIP is just stagnating while I do some other crap. Weight of future responsibility hovering nearby once more.

Ya gotta let go. I’ve got to let go. The only life without responsibilities is the loneliest one. Far better to embrace the reality that there always be something ahead of you, and that really, in truth… it is a good thing.

Relax, Evan. Trust yourself that you will do everything needed of you. Stressing out about it is meaningless.

Just a written reminder to myself. A week from now I’ll re-read this and relax again. Now if only I could remember. Or make it a natural response!

#JealousOfAtaraxia

-Evan

 

I live, I die, I live again.

I live, I die, I live again.

i_live_i_die_i_live_again___mad_max_fury_road_by_cyanidemachine-d8wf7ltI watched that movie again last night with my dudes. Gets better every time. Tom Hardy is just so awesome in that role.

In keeping with the theme… I’ve started to work on BOOK 2 of the American Rebirth Series. I live again.

It’s going to be another long road, I know. (It feels like trekking up a mountain on rollerskates sometimes) But my hope is to finish this book much quicker than HOOD, I’m looking to finish it within a year!

I also want to take a sec to continue being extremely excessively excited about how well HOOD is doing. I’ve been within the top 50 books in the Bestseller lists of Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian for awhile now, and I sold 58 books in the past 3 days, as well as had 19,372 pages read on Kindle Unlimited. Adjusted for KENP my book is 421 pages, so theoretically my book was read cover-to-cover 46 times in the past 3 days (reality is probably a bunch more people read small sections of it)

Regardless, the feeling is hard to describe. Getting reviews from people who loved the book and having people reach out to me on social media is just so gratifying knowing how much love and time I put into this book. Really, it’s better than the sales and the reads and everything else.

I realize it can become annoying talking about yourself as a Indie Author in excess, but I just want to share this with everyone who’s been a part of making this book real. I hope someone I love will tap me on the shoulder and tell me “you’re talking too much” if I get out of hand.

But hey, fuck it. I’m enjoying myself. And I want you all to enjoy yourselves too– readers, friends, family, strangers. Ya gotta enjoy the highs, because you’re going to feel the lows.

I live, I die, I live again. What a lovely day!

-Evan

 

It’s a Long, Long Road

It’s a Long, Long Road

Man, that kills me every time.

Writing, like in life, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself–Not take everything so seriously. As writers, we usually take our writing pretty damn seriously. It means all that and a bag of chips and salsa to us.

But at the end of the day, we do it because we love it. Because it’s fun to create. Because we were the kids that loved to play pretend in the backyard. Because we love storytelling, we love stories, we love new worlds and experiences, and we want to share our own with the world.

Me, I know I’m obsessed with storytelling. Reading books, watching movies, playing video games, writing stories. Maybe too much so 🙂

It’s a long, long road. With writing and with life. You’ve got to be able to enjoy the process. If find myself recently  (both in writing and life)getting so caught up in the goal that I’m not enjoying the process.

HOOD COVER FINAL 1
New Cover!

I’ve been fixated on finally publishing my novel. I keep saying “after this edit, it will be done!” But I’m still learning, I’m still improving. I know the work I’m doing in the editing process is making it a more complete, better story. I have to honor that. I told myself I’d have this thing published by the end of the year.

It was my new years resolution, if I remember correctly.

I hope to be able to do that. But if I can’t, to hell with the resolution. I’d rather tell my story right then hit an arbitrary deadline. After all, I’m working for myself.

It’s fun in a sick way, working on editing a book. There will be a day when I look back on this experience with this book fondly.

So take a deep breath, wherever you are in your life or in your writing, accept there’s a long road to be traveled yet. Enjoy it.

-Evan Pickering