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Regardless of everything, you need to read the book pictured above.
My man Josh Nason of Ring, Ropes and Cage has become my personal Yoda when it comes to expanding my knowledge-base and understanding of the world I'm trying to break into, and I have to say that as good as On Writing was, Crush It!, well, crushed it.
This book is going to change my life, and I say that without any asterisks, hyperbole or pretenses.
Basically, this book not only confirmed all the fundamental beliefs I had about my passion for Mixed Martial Arts and the opportunity I have to make a career out of it, but also delivered a blueprint for how to do that.
What makes it even crazier is that a number of the steps and strategies are the little things that I already do, like Facebook the bejesus out of everything I write, and tweeting all my posts...
Gary Vaynerchuk - the author - has instantly launched to the top of my "Awesome People I Know About That You've Never Heard of Before" list, though I recommend you go out and get familiar with him.
D'you know how we all show up at work grumpy that we have to be there? We don't have to, and I'm not going to, thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, Josh Nason and the dedication and passion I have to make my career something I enjoy, and not just a means to an end.
I give a lot of random advice on this blog, but if you've never listened to anything I've said before, listen to this: read Crush It!
The damn thing is only 130-pages long and cost under $25... and could change your life.
If you don't believe me, keep watching and see for yourself.
Monday, January 18, 2010
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Sunday, January 17, 2010
1. Write for Love, Let the Money Come Later
After spending a good number of months building up a readership at a couple different sites, I put them on the back burner to pursue a job with Heavy.com for the lone reason that they were going to pay me.
Ten weeks later, I was dropped via email... without ever receiving a check. I've been assured it's coming, and take solace in the fact that the continuing staff there have yet to receive their pay either, but it made me realize something.
I write because I love it and that needs to be the motivation. Ironically enough, I finished Stephen King's On Writing last night, and d'you know what the final message of the book was?
"I write because I love it, not because of the money."
2. If You Hear "No Disrespect," Expect an Insult to Follow
I'm as guilty on this one as the next guy, as I use the line, "no disrespect to (insert fighter)" fairly frequently, following it up with some statement about how the inserted fighter isn't up to par or a legitimate contender.
It's as if we think that offering up that precursor gives us the ability to say whatever the hell we want about someone. They no I don't mean it disrespectfully, so saying they look like a total jackass / have the talents of a trained chimpanzee / smell a little south of god-awful is okay...
No it isn't, and I hereby pledge to remove that phrase from my vocabulary.
3. I Love My Non-Paying Jobs
The one that pays me - picking produce orders for 35-40 hours a week at Islands West - isn't all that bad, but the pair that put little no money in my pocket on a regular basis are great.
After the whole Heavy debacle, I joined forces with the guys over at Five Knuckles. They had been syndicating my work from Keyboard Kimura for a while, have a great community and believe in my talents to help propel their site to bigger and better.
What really has me stoked is my role with Armageddon Fighting Championships. While I don't really have a defined title, I'm doing all kinds of different things, like hunting down sponsors, lining up media exposure, and building Fan Pages on Facebook.
Yes - you need to join.
Kind of ties in with the first thought of today - enjoy the work, do a good job and the returns will come in time.
4. Victoria Kicks Everywhere Else's Ass
It's January 17 and I plan on wearing shorts today. Not because I want to see if I can brave the harsh outdoors with my pasty white lower limbs, but because it's around 10 degrees, nice and sunny and there is very little wind.
Additionally, not having to shovel... awesome! Yes, it rains, but d'you know what? Rain at five, six or seven degrees is so superior to snow and ice and bullshit at some god-awful temperature well below freezing.
I've enjoyed everywhere I've lived over the years - 13 cities, 31 addresses in 31 years - but Victoria takes the cake.
5. So I Never Told You My New Year's Resolutions
Thanks for sticking around... and Happy Sunday!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
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Two bones to pick today.
The first one - how did you people who call yourselves my friends allow me to go years without watching How I Met Your Mother?
Honestly... you don't do that to a person, and certainly not someone you seem to like.
For four seasons, I spent Monday nights flipping between crappy football games and the same version of House - you know, the one with the crazy doctor, mystery ailment and last minute cure? - when I could have been enjoying this marvelous piece of television goodness from the beginning.
If you knew about this show and how awesome it was without telling me, you're entirely un-awesome.
Second bone to pick: if you're not watching How I Met Your Mother, why do you have a television?
Seriously though, there is nothing better on television, and not just because of the numerous catchphrases of Barney Stinson. Or the high fives, although high fives rock!
Sidebar: How awesome is Neil Patrick Harris? Best Barney / NPH moment - typing Barney's Blog a la Doogie Howser...
The legendary thing is overplayed - in real life, as on the show - but there is a small part of me that wishes this show was around during my "going to the bar" years so that we could have played a little game called "Have you met Ted?" with any number of my shy-but-terrific friends.
Oh, you know who you are...
Anyway, the moral of the story today children is that you need to watch this show.
This show is so awesome, I've bought all four seasons, watched them in like six days and have already started watching them again.
Because they're legendary!
Yeah - I went there, and now I feel cheap.
Oh well... start watching this show, suckers!
Friday, January 15, 2010
Back at you for the first time in a little bit - and I promise I'm going to try and be here a lot more regularly moving forward - and time to call out everyone.
Yeah - everyone.
At some point, we're all guilty of not giving credit where credit is due, and it's become something that really grinds my gears like Peter Griffin.
We're all so quick to attack and criticize; calling people out for their decisions and everyday actions, putting just about anything under the microscope of negativity as if we're without flaws and worthy to pass judgment.
Sure, there is some element of that necessary in the world, but with that should come a willingness and acceptance that you have to pay attention to the other side of the coin as well. You can't just be critical and not give credit when it's due...
The title of this piece - another brilliant lyric from Jay-Z and the song "A Star is Born" - sums up my personal connection to this situation incredibly.
As I'm sure I've rambled on about here a couple of times, a bunch of my Mixed Martial Arts writing is syndicated to Bleacher Report. Over the first six or seven months of my existence there, I went from being the new kid on the block to being selected as a Featured Columnist and the top-ranked writer in the MMA Community.
With the success came the usual collection of haters and detractors. It seemed that my dedication and commitment to writing every day was a problem for some. The line was usually something along the lines of, "No wonder he's #1 - the guy writes a million articles a day, and all of them are crap."
Seriously. You gotta love it.
Funny thing is, shortly after questioning my practices, a couple people started to put the pattern I laid out into use for themselves... and have now risen to the top of the charts in my place.
Note: I stopped posting a bazillion pieces a day during my two month dalliance with Heavy.com... but I'm back now, and plan on reclaiming the throne.
D'you think I've gotten any, "Sorry for busting your chops all summer. Now that I'm being as successful as you were, I can see the merit in your methods" type emails or messages?
Of course not.
That would involve giving credit where credit is due, and we can't have that.
It would take away from all the bitching and complaining about everything...
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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Remember how in my last post I told you I was supposed to talk to my new editor and find out my future with Heavy.com this week?
Well, today I found out, in the form of an email.
It was thoroughly not awesome.
Guess who's got two thumbs and is no longer writing at Heavy.com? Yup, this guy.
Budgetary cutbacks are the reason I'm being given, though I know there was a whole lot more to it than that. My temper and emotions got the best of me over the weekend, and well, Sarah's long-time fear that me being a hothead would interfere with my progress in the writing world have been proven 100% valid.
Time to learn from a mistake and move on to bigger and better.
In an all-too-familiar turn of events, I've done a truckload of work and received zero pay. Yep, much like Passion Magazine, I've put forth a great deal of effort for Heavy and am left with lint in my pocket.
They're telling me that the check is in the mail and things will be squared away, but those were the same lines I heard from Passion and we all know how that worked out...
Starting over from square one... again.
Stick with me people, because if nothing else, the ride is always a wild one...
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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Today was supposed to be a momentous day, one filled with positive news, answers to very important questions and unbridled enthusiasm about the future.
In the end, I got positive news, a pat on the back and asked to reschedule the answers to very important questions, and a karmic reminder that unbridled enthusiasm about the future should be discouraged at all times.
The moral of the story: driving a shitbox can take the wind out of your sails in a heartbeat, no matter how excited you might be.
And now, the story - and I'll even start with the happy part.
Who's got two thumbs and works for Armageddon Fighting Championships? This guy!
You can't see it, but I've got my thumbs up and am pointing back at myself, like Rob Van Dam used to do. I miss RVD.
As of a sweet lunch meeting today at Red Robin (Chicken Ranch Club... delicious), I'm the jack-of-all-trades Media and Public Relations guy for the AFC.
Basically, I write things, try to find things, suggest things and am one of three employees of the organization, though technically, I'm a contracted employee. The technicality is there just so that if I ever do anything stupid, Darren and Jason can disavow me without penalty or repercussion, from me or the law.
Still, technicalities aside, I work for an emerging Mixed Martial Arts organization and get to be pretty hands-on from here on out.
That is the one step forward.
The one step sideways came literally ten seconds after I walked in the door from that meeting.
Yesterday was supposed to be my "contract negotiations" with Heavy.com for the new year. I use the quotes because really - and don't tell them this - outside of them offering me less money, I'm staying put, but you know, only after playing some hardball first.
Anyhow, it got bumped yesterday and rescheduled for today.
Long story short, it got rescheduled again for early next week. While some positives came from the brief phone conversation with my new editor - he likes my work, sees the dedication and talent, wants me as part of the core team - I have no idea what kind of money I'll be making, which means tomorrow's joyous resignation from Islands West Produce isn't happening.
Interestingly enough, my editor calling wasn't who I was expecting on the other end of the phone. I was expecting Canadian Tire.
For my 17 American readers out there, Canadian Tire would be like if your local Mienke had a store attached to it that sold everything from hardware and electronics, to sporting goods, lighting and seasonal items.
True story - our '93 Honda Shitbox was leaking gas. Not really sure for how long, but long enough that today was the day we finally decided to check if it was our car after convincing ourselves for the last couple weeks that it had to be the boat in the driveway, Monica's car or something Derek spilled while filling up his snowmobile.
Turns out, it was the Civic and we really shouldn't have been driving.
Sidenote: good thing I quit smoking. One flicked cigarette blown the wrong way and I wouldn't be here writing this... Smoking can kill in so many ways. God I miss smoking...
The call from Crappy Tire eventually came, along with an estimate for roughly $500, depending on how bad things are.
It's a '93 Civic with decent amounts of rust around the back wheel wells, over 190,000 klicks on the dial, and we've spent a good 50% of what we paid for it fixing things in the year-and-a-half we've owned it.
The chances of "depending on how bad things are" coming back as not too bad at all are slim and none.
Ah, I see you have a vacancy at The Poor House. I'll take a room. Thanks.
Win some, lose some, throw a whole bunch of money at some.
Or as I like to call it... Tuesday.