Monday, February 9, 2015

Don't Give Up

Last year I had only 11 posts on this blog compared to 2013's 22 posts. I think part of the reason for that was the idea I would only be in Korea for one year. Now Korea has become my home and because I have settled in so much here, I don't think about updating my goings on.

Everyone has a reason for keeping a blog. Mine is personal to me. It acts like a journal. There are people who read, but it's been a great resource for me to look back and see some of the challenges I've faced and hopes that I've had.

So much time has passed since I changed careers. While I have loved much of this new career, I can't wait to start something new. It's the time before then that's most difficult. So many uncertainties. As I begin the countdown, I look back on the previous year (as I did in a post from Jan 2014 about 2013) and consider what if anything has changed and what if anything was accomplished.

I saw the completion of my first novel (or what I thought was completed at the time, more to come on this later).

I mailed my manuscript to roughly forty literary agents and publishing houses the majority of whom rejected me (the rest did not reply).

I rediscovered my love of reading. I read more books than I can recount in my head, usually reading three books at once, each of a different genre. This led to the fascinating discovery of books I had never before heard of. It also propelled my own writing.

I did 101 consecutive pushups, 15 consec pullups, ten one handed pushups on each arm, a pistol squat with my left leg (and since those early days of squat training I have destroyed my knees, let this be an everlasting lesson to me for not knowing what I was getting myself into with these intense calisthenic exercises).

The only fitness goal I set that I did not reach was a handstand. I blame the weather. I was training outside until the weather became too cold to continue. But, I know, I know. This is just an excuse. I plan to do one by the end of this year as I, hopefully, will learn in the backwoods of Georgia.

Speaking of Georgia, I cannot believe the places I am going this year. I don't think about it because it seems so far from now, but really, in just six months I'll be starting a journey that will take me to many places I've never been before. SO EXCITE. Yes, excite.

I realized more about what I am capable of accomplishing and what I was born to do.
This might be the biggest accomplishment of the year. Any little bit of further understanding on this front is huge. Everyone has a purpose in life and a reason for their existence but few take the time to sit down and understand what it might be. Not what it is, but what it might be. I strongly believe it takes a long time to understand what it is and many people don't even get close to the "what it might be" area.

Take a little time out of each day to think about what your destiny is.




Sunday, August 24, 2014

Launch

It's a very dark and rainy afternoon. I'm alone in my office on the completely empty fourth floor of my school. I know there are others in the building because there are cars in the lot. Every now and then I hear some distant thunder. I sit and stare out the windows occasionally. I'm still in a slight fog. A result of the nap I just woke up from a few minutes ago.

I spent the morning researching books. Since the spring semester ended, all I've been doing is research. Researching schools, degrees, books, franchises, and how to do this and how to do that. Sometimes its fun other times its a little boring, but it all seems necessary enough for me to keep at it. The fall semester starts in two days and I want to launch into it. I don't want to roll over in a sleepy fog (similar to the haze I'm currently in) into it. I want to LAUNCH into it.

I'm on a mission.

I've hit and gone past the middle mark of my stint in Korea. It's home stretch. It's finish the mission. Part of that mission is to study up on business and entrepreneurship. Something I've always been interested in. Something I realized my love for when I read Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

So I found a handful of books I'll get from Amazon Kindle and Gmarket and get to studying. I'm always reading at least one book. At the moment it's two. But I've a feeling it'll be more than that once the books start arriving and I really delve in.

I've got a lot to learn but I'm really motivated. I don't feel excitement for classes resuming. I feel excitement for what's beyond the classes. For what happens when there are no more classes to teach. But I'm called to live for God today, so I need to stay in the moment (while still planning for a future).

So my prayer is that I wont miss out on what God is doing around me today. All while keeping the vision and preparing to launch into what's next.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Website and other ventures

As some of you are already aware, I have started a website. This site will host a selection of fiction and spiritual growth books. It is in its earliest phase of creation, but does already contain several sample chapters to read. However, until I am ready to launch, the address remains a secret:)

Why a website? I needed a break from writing and querying agents/publishers and found building a website to be an enjoyable yet important venture. I want potential publishers to see the initiative towards marketing my first story and the stories I am currently working on. I also have a vision for this site to be a collaboration of artists, both writers and designers. I am excited to say that I have two contributors to the site already.

Another thing I've been working on is cleaning up my youtube channel. I've had two channels for a number of years, but always uploaded to the same one. I'm in the process of making one a personal channel and the other one specifically for my compilation videos I so much enjoy making.

Here's a link to my compilation channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/jbarden27/videos

Here's a link to my personal channel (still being updated): http://www.youtube.com/user/jeremybarden/videos

If you have a youtube account (or google+) be sure to subscribe to both. I'll be reuploading the rest of my personal videos this week, Lord willing. I'll also be adding some more material to the website.

While I am largely finished preparing for Summer English Camp, I do have some materials I need to print and cut. I wont have many classes this week, giving me plenty of time to work on that.

God bless!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That moment you realize...

...that you can never go home.

This feeling really sunk in for me only recently. I realized I can never truly return home. The problem is with the word "home." What does it even mean?

When I first arrived in Korea, I didn't want to call my new apartment "home." I just called it my apartment and cringed if anyone asked me, "are you going home?" when referring to going to my apartment. Now I don't care anymore. Largely because everyone has differing ideas about what home is.

If home is a physically building (much in the sense when we call a building church) then I have several. There's my apartment home in Korea, my house in Superior, and my parents house in Minnesota.

If home is the place where you grew up, as in the physical house you spent your childhood in, then that place is long gone. Ten years ago this year since I moved from that place out on my own.

If home is where your biological family is then I am as far from them as I could possibly be. Haven't seen them (other than Facetime) in almost one year.

If home is where the heart is, then it's been spread all over the globe. I've given my heart to many, loved much, even at the cost of it being broken. Besides, the heart "is deceitful above all things" and has lead me astray more times than I can count.

So that being the case, I've had to accept there is no such thing as going home, because I no longer understand what home is. However, regardless of whether or not I find the answer, one thing I know for sure: I will always carry this feeling, the longing to go home.

And I think I know why.

Because my real home awaits me in life beyond this one. My eternal home, my final resting place. I must accept I will carry this feeling until I reach the last destination. But it will be worth all the toil of getting there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Done With Debt

I have paid off so much of my school loan since coming to Korea that I've cut my monthly interest payment in HALF. It's exciting to watch the debt go down and I look forward to putting all this extra money into savings very soon. 

That was originally going to be a facebook status update when I realized it sounded too haughty. So instead, it goes here! To a place most people will never see, save for those really curious. This post is an update on debt and, despite the misleading title, I have not finished paying off my debt yet. The title reflects an attitude towards debt that I've taken. In the future I will not pay for something I do not already have the funds to pay for.

I have almost hit the halfway mark in my debt payoff plan. I don't think this post is premature though. In terms of number of months in my payoff plan, I HAVE reached the halfway mark. 6 months to go and I started this plan over six months ago. 

I will put an update here as soon as I reach the end. The end is in sight. Thank you Lord, for giving me this opportunity to destroy this debt so quickly. You provided for me and continue to provide. Thank you.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Big Changes

Well, Saturday came and went and I met my goal, just not in the way I expected to. While I added 4,000 words to the story, I rewrote two entire chapters. So while the cumulative story amount is shy of 64,000 by 5,000 words, the total amount of words I wrote is over that mark. Nevertheless, I carry on, intent to surpass the 64k mark sometime in the next two weeks. Gotta have a goal or it will never happen.

Story aside, I did some big thinking on Sunday as I took the day off from writing. I came to realize that beyond thoughts of a certain Supreme Being, most of the time I spend thinking can be categorized into three things: one of the stories I'm writing, finances, and women. I can't believe I'm even admitting this, but it's true.

Now, God is at the center of my life and He always will be. I owe my life to him, recalling a time when I was in dark despair and he saved me, and I told Him then and there I would never doubt again. (This is a post for another time) I just wanted to clarify this, because if all I thought about were the three aforementioned things, well, I would lose my mind. Don't worry, my sanity is intact.

The whole reason I was even able to realize that about my thought process was due to some big changes that have happened and are happening back in the States. I don't want to get into details, but when I come back to the Twin Ports some day, nothing will be as it was. Less is as it was now anyways.

It causes me to think about my future, which led me to think about what I think about most of the time these days, and how my future isn't in those thoughts as much as I think it would be. WOW. What a sentence. You might need to reread that. I had to.

Anyways, all this to say, the future has never been brighter. This is because I am refusing to limit myself to living in one particular place. I don't know where I will end up and that is kind of exciting.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not too shabby

Over a thousand words in one day. For me that's not too shabby.

Sometime after I picked up writing my story again, I got obsessed with word count. I searched around the internets to see if other people who write (notice I didn't say 'writers', for one, because I am not a writer, and for two, because people who talk about writing are not necessarily writers*) have similar obsession. As it turns out, quite a few people are talking about how much they write in a day in terms of word count.

I have heard everything from the more (seemingly) normal 500/day to the outrageous 10k/day. One lady (who is published, btw) said she writes between 10k to 15k in a day. That is pure insanity. Even if you are a published writer who writes that much, you could churn out fifty books a year at the rate.

I've also heard of authors who write only a handful of words in a day. What they do with the rest of the day I don't know, but I imagine that it takes the majority of the day just to pen that handful of words. I also imagine them laboring over a single sentence, writing and rewriting and finally deleting it all together.

As for me, I do set goals for word counts, but those goals constantly change based on what kind of writing I'm doing. If I'm making something brand new, I generally shoot for a low 200/day mark. (I have a full time job after all). But I also set goals for the week too, what I want to have written in terms of story, or how many chapters I want to have edited, or what 'act' I should edit that week. But my favorite goals always involve word counts. I am beefing up the entire word count of my current story (doing some much needed fleshing out of the characters) with a goal of adding 10k words in the final act alone. I am well on my way to meeting that goal.

I like keeping a log of word counts too. When I started my first entire edit, I went from 46k to 54k in three weeks, which for me, again, is incredible. I surprise myself often when I write. I also keep a log of word counts for each chapter and I love seeing the increases on a smaller scale. Sometimes the increase is only twenty words and other places it's almost a thousand.

I could go on and on about my obsession with word count, but instead, I'll just leave this weeks goal here and come back at the end of Saturday to see if I met it.

64k total by the end of Saturday.


*I personally only know one writer (my friend Cherrie) and probably a hundred people who write. I consider a writer someone who is published. Not anyone can lay claim to that word. And that is why I'm not a writer.