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Back From The Pastures

November 15, 2009

Looking at the date of the past entry on this blog, one may as well thought things had been put out to pasture like an old typewriter or the MP3 player I had bought last year. But won’t go down that road today.

Terry made me

Friend, co-worker, partner-in-procrastination and (as of last week), pusher to get something started, came up with this challenge where we each take a given idea we each have had (maybe for a year or so) and actually get it completed.

You see, we each have been experts in our own field for some time. That field being of having an idea, getting it started, then jumping to something else.

Hey! Its had it’s moments of working out for us over the years. It allowed us to get many things half-started, one-tenth completed, and began making us masters of list making, idea jotting and pen shopping.

Reasoning out current incompleteness.

I admit I didn’t quite get the idea completed by our Friday (I mean Saturday, or maybe end of November -I’m planning ahead) deadline. But I like to believe I have great reasons.

First (going back to the project planning course I took a few months back), the scope of this project changed. Actually, in the process of working on it, the idea changed several times to a point where it would be almost worth it to just start again, but keep what I have to fill in the gaps.

Second, other related avenues to this very project came about which needed to be addressed. Blog changes (as well as this entry), thoughts about the Humor Writer’s Conference in April, and necessary additions of previously written ebooks posted to other locations.

Let me know if you can see yourself in any of this because I hate to feel I am the only one like this. I doubt you created another Twitter account in your own processes of thinking and doing things…. have you?

Did he get things done?

Now I don’t know if Terry completed his or not. (Oh, sorry. Forgot about the re-introduction. Terry is of fame as well as some other terrific sites out there). We might learn more on Monday (unless he finds this post and comments on it tonight – there is hope I can cause another distraction for him for a few moments).

How this matters to you

It probably doesn’t… unless you have ideas on how we (or even you) can stay focused on a project, article, sentence or whatever and not drift to other things…. YES! they really are related… trust me.

Share what you will. Unless they are ancient secrets passed down to you through the ages.

(photo credit from thorinside

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David Stoddard

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New Goals, Same As The Old Goals.. (Sing along, won’t you?)

September 30, 2009

Last night, I came across my Sony micro cassette player (complete with tape inside). Wondering to myself just what in the world I was thinking at given moment in the past, I choose to play the tape. — Well, what would you do?

Picking up speed
After about a minute or so once the player learned that it was supposed to play the tape when I press the play button (it’s been a while since it was used), I could actually begin to understand the voice on the tape. (once it got up to speed).

And yes, it was me rambling on (hard to believe) about goals for July 2005.Actually, it was more about things to work on during the month ahead. (at least I am thinking it was the month ahead and not me thinking about it on say July 19th or something).

What did I say?
The David on the tape talked of getting into the habit of writing every night for say 30 minutes. Then he dropped back and adjusted it to maybe 3-4 nights a week.

He also mentioned the owl book which was started years before. He mentioned newsletters, articles for anthologies, rewrites of ebooks to make them more up to date. And he wondered just where in all of this his writing would fit in.

Is having the same goals a good thing?
As I played the tape a 2nd time, I wrote down the above mentioned things the David of 2005 mentioned. Looked at the paper and thought to myself it looks a lot like the things I write down still today. (and for those wanting to know, no, my handwriting has not improved by doing this).

After reviewing the vintage tape, I have come to the agreed understanding of sooooo many others in the past and present that it’s important to write your goals down.

For those with crummy handwriting (or printing), feel free to type them into a computer and print them out where you will see them. Then after you see them over and over, act upon them.

It really does make sense.

  • Write your name on the top of a piece of paper
  • Write today’s date 1 year from now.
  • Write what you want to accomplish by that date.
  • Create milestones which you will need to reach to get to that accomplishment
  • Get started on the trip.

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David Stoddard Follow me on Twitter
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I Gave A Speech Today

September 16, 2009

It was a day like any other day. I woke up, headed to the basement, found clothes, got dressed and headed to where the speech was to be held.

Had my room temperature glass of water, my notes in my head, shoes on my feet as the audience arrived at the precise time I was there. They were pretty quiet as they came in and took their spots. Their eyes wandering around just wondering what the speech would be about.
Here’s the kicker,

Neither Did I

I didn’t have the heart to tell em that I really didn’t know exactly what my own speech would be about, how long it would be or what good it would really do them.

But the speech went on. I talked about my own times of not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. I talked of what I remember thinking as a child growing up. I wanted the audience to know that they were not alone in what they were thinking.

In the end, the things I wanted to let them know were that they were better than they believed. That they already had an idea in their mind of what they wanted to be, do and have if they would just listen to themselves. That they should just get back to what they started years ago. And that they should start today, no matter how small of a step it may seem.

Damn I can be good

After the presentation, the audience stuck with me. They seemed to be thinking of what I had said. As they moved along to their normal routine of the day, I can only hope that they took what I had said to heart and will begin doing something to move in the direction of their dreams.

I gave a speech today.

The audience was I, and I alone.

I only hope I was listening.

Writing Time…

  • Write about a time you were by yourself
  • Write about what you learned during that time
  • Write about standing up and speaking out about something
  • Write about having to write at the end of all of these postings

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David Stoddard

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Your Role Models Are Worth Writing With

July 31, 2009

I came across this pic by accident today. (Isn’t a lot of what we come across usually by accident)? Anyway… it made me think for a moment about the writers I have liked reading over the years. Folks like Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, Tim Bete, Bob Baker (and some others whose last names don’t begin with a B).

I don’t know why it made me think of that, it just did. I had never before thought about looking at other writers as role models before. At least not consciously I don’t believe. The closest I came was thinking it would be pretty cool to be able to write humorous things (and get paid for them in the multi-figure numbers that other Dave guy makes).

I didn’t think about the whole emulating his writing style or writing out his columns word for word to get a sense of his writing as it was happening nor looking into the life and times of Mr. Barry to see how my life and writing history matched with his. But thinking as I type that now, it is an interesting thought.

So how about you…

  • Who do you enjoy reading?
  • Who do you wish you could write like?
  • Write out word for word a piece of their writing as if you are writing it.
  • Look up info about your “role model writer’s” bio.
  • Who can you be a role model for with what you write?

So, back to rolling out some more stuff.


pic courtesy of
(Don’t tell Shannon or Bruno there is a cat on this blog).

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David Stoddard

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Rules Of The Road

July 14, 2009

Driving has rules.

Baseball has rules

Workplaces have rules

Professional wrestling has ru……. ooops, never mind.

Rules are not so much there to keep us from doing things, there are there to guide us in doing what it is we want, need, must, want and care to do. And yes, it would be nice to have a rule where we work 2 days a week and are off the other 5. Will need to work on that someday.

I am sure we all have personal rules and such. You have rules for your home. You have guiding principles in many areas of your life and your activities as well. And writing really isn’t all that different.

Technically, in my own mind, writing is one of those things where there are optional rules except 1… writer’s write.

The poster above lists 12 1/2 rules of writing which someone believed and put on the poster. But so what. They may or may not fit our rules or thoughts of what it takes to write. It is up to each individual to determine what works and what doesn’t.

So here is your assignment:

  • Write your own rules for writing
  • Write about rules in your past
  • Write about a ruler
  • Write about a famous ruler
  • Why are there so many rulers in my office?
  • Write about being slapped with a ruler

Last rule…… stop read this and start writing something…..

—Always write your way.


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David Stoddard
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Night Owls Write

July 10, 2009

(Photo credit, Terry Riffey)

Here it is, another night and I am on the computer doing the usual roaming of the Internets, checking email (which this time of night makes no sense), and trying not to get too addicted to any more games of Facebook.

For years, I had been one of those night owls you hear about. I wouldn’t go to bed until after Midnight or 1ish. Boy things change as you get a tad older, though I hope to get back to that.

There just is something not as perfect writing during the day for me. And yet that is when one is most awake. I have thought (briefly) about getting thick dark curtains and hang those up to keep the house dark, almost night like. But I am sure that would just make me feel like I am in the Addams Family house, so that’s out.

But how about you? Day writer or night owl?

Your Nighttime Assignment:

  • Write about the dark
  • My first time alone in the dark that I remember..
  • Write about your own rhythms of the night
  • Your favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie and why

Good night everyone. (or is it morning)?


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David Stoddard

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Ok, Let’s Start Today

July 6, 2009

I know what you’re thinking. Can’t David make up his mind when he is going to write something? Boy, 2 posts in a single day on this blog. Dude, what gives?

I mentioned that 80% of writing success comes from being there, getting started and just writing. Now I can already here the whole premise that you have to be able to write to be successful.. And to that I say yes. But in order to write well, you first must write. There is now real other way around it. (unless you talk what you want to write, I suppose that can count as not getting started per se, though you must start with that as well).

Anyway, before I get even more wordy that what is already been worded, let’s set the tone for this blog and what is to follow.

For those who have read this off and on over the past year or 2 or whatever versions my blog(s) have taken, you’ll notice they have been a bit all over the place.

I started of writing kinda-sorta preachy posts about getting off our tails to make something of ourselves. That worked for a while until I found myself losing interest in that way of doing things. Hey, there are only so many ways you can advise others (and myself at times) to get off your tail and do what you need to do to get to where you want to go.

So, back to this blog and what the focus is…..

  • Writing
  • Getting Started Writing
  • Learning Through Writing
  • Finding Focus Through Writing
  • Writing Because You’ve Always Wanted To Write
  • Getting Over Past Feelings Of Writing Failure From Years Ago
  • Fighting Former Fears Of The Red Pen Police

It’s that simple. Kinda.

Together, we will begin…

  • Writing more
  • Creating more
  • Learning more
  • Understanding more
  • Fearing less
  • Stalling less
  • Wishing we were writing less

What has be getting focused on all of this (and what is the picture of Bruno doing up there)……

The blog I started for my girlfriend’s daughter’s dog’s Vacation Blog on MySpace. Bruno is writing of his adventures during the past few days. Will it continue after they get back, most likely. Daily, not sure. But more than if he didn’t sit and get started in the first place.

Check him out here

For now, get started with these….

  • What I did for the 4th of July……
  • What I should have done on the 4th of July…..
  • What George Washington would say today…..
  • Who 3 people would you most want to go on vacation with… write about it…..

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David Stoddard

Writers with a Kindle, pick up 200 Writing Prompts from yours truly.

Follow me on Twitter
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