Your Secret Bucket List

 

IMG_0655I bet you have two bucket lists.

I used to.

They’re usually labeled, “It Could Happen,” and “Only if I Can Find Where My Dog was Burried in the Backyard On the First Try.” Otherwise known as, “Not On Your Life.”

In the “It Could Happen” bucket, you have things like,

Ride on a hot air balloon

Get a promotion

Live long enough to see Episode IV

Make out with someone by graduation

Read ten books this year

These are things well within our grasp. Well, my high school self had a hard time finding people to make out with, but chances are, if you’re not me, you can make it happen.

These are things most people around you have accomplished and, as long as you don’t mistake an active volcano for a swimming pool, you’ll live long enough to carry out as well.

Now let’s peel the lid off that second bucket, shall we? It’s much darker inside than the first bucket-bucket-bucket. It’s also emptier-emptier-emptier. (See what I’m doing there? With my awesome demonstrative skills, I’m illustrating with lyrically-placed echoes that this bucket is also much larger.)

You shine your phone around (because no one uses flashlights anymore, and if you do, you should add getting an iPhone to your first bucket list), and here’s what we find:

Publish your songs on iTunes

Write a bestseller

Start a blog and get 20,000 followers

Win a gold medal

Start a business

The difference between this list and the first is pretty obvious. It’s likely you don’t know anyone who’s accomplished anything in your “Not On Your Life” bucket. Which means you’re on your own.

Do you think that stopped Cam Newton from putting his dreams in one smaller, more manageable, public bucket?

Do you honestly think J.K. Rowling kept her biggest hopes isolated from her more ‘achievable’ goals?

Did Adele attempt to hide her much bigger bucket list from everyone she knew?

I doubt it, too.

Stop separating your bigger dreams  from your smaller dreams (which are basically items on a to-to list). Because then you’re only focusing on what you think you can accomplish and those bigger dreams only get visited once in a purple moon. I’ve never seen a purple moon, so…

Don’t be ashamed of your dreams, either. There’s nothing wrong with having high hopes. Tell everyone you know. Who knows – they might be tremendous sources of encouragement. Or, they might ask you really difficult questions like my wife did when I told her I wanted to start my own publishing company.

In a way, that’s better than a blanket encourager. Her questions forced me to evaluate whether I can really do this or not.

So combine your to-do-list dreams with your larger dreams. Earning your airplane license should be in the same bucket as dying your hair blue.

No more secret goals. Make them real, make them public, make them happen.

Have you entered the Endever Writing Contest yet? Add that to your bucket list and win $150! Deadline is February 25th.

I Hope You Don’t Die So You Can Read This

I’m not good at many things, but I’m awesome at jinxing people.

I’m also pretty incredible at not being like everyone else. And sometimes these two go hand-in-hand.

For instance, I have two colleagues at work who leave a half-hour before I do and every time they leave I try to say things that other people wouldn’t normally say.

So instead of saying, “Have a good night,” I say, “I hope your night doesn’t suck.”

Or instead of, “See you tomorrow,” I say, “Keep your phone nearby in case you choke on your dinner.”

I’m not morbid; it gets a laugh out of them. Plus, I like being remembered.

A couple of favorites have been, “Don’t crash on your way home,” or, “If you do crash, limp away, if you can, from the site in case you have a gas leak and your car’s on fire.”

Well, turns out neither of them listened to me.

In the past three weeks, one colleague totaled her car in a snow storm, and the other one came limping into work with a leg brace and an cast on his arm he won from a bad wreck. I understand he dragged himself away from his car, semi-consious, before the fire got out of control. I take credit for him still being with us today.

So now my supervisor is coaching me on common social cues such as, “Drive safe,” and “See you bright and early tomorrow.”

That’s boring. And, never has a “Be careful” saved a life.

To further my defense, my way of bidding people farewell causes them to think a little differently about things. Like, “Wow I totally could have been hit by that merging semi on the freeway.” Or, “That Big Mac could have been the last thing my weakening heart could have taken. Glad it didn’t get wedged in my throat. But if it did, I had 911 ready and by my side.”

Here, at no charge, I’ll offer you a couple of my trademark takeaways:

That book you’re working on could be the only one you get a chance to attempt.

That song you’re writing could be you’re only hit.

Your blog could be your only major social media presence. Ever.

You could think of those as being negative, or you could see the message behind them. If you do the latter, it just means you have to put extra effort into what you’re currently working on.

I realize my publishing company may be the only chance I have to own and run a business. This may be my one shot. So I’ve got to make it really good.

Don’t just “have a good day,” or, “drive safe.”

Don’t crap out. Don’t give up. Don’t crash.

If you do, hopefully your spouse and kids will still be around to gather around your coffin. That is what I wish for you and for me.

Have you entered the Endever Writing Contest yet? Write a 500-word story and win $150! Deadline is February 25th.

 

Meet Lynn, Partner and Co-Founder of Endever Publishing Studios

Lynn Galloway is one of two people I have chosen to help me get Endever off the ground and running into a full-blown publishing company. Please take a moment to get to know her. 

 

My name is Lynn Galloway and I reside in the beautiful state of Colorado. I live aboutLee and Flatirons thirty minutes away from the base of the Rocky Mountains and am blessed to be able to see the gorgeous landscape every day. This is a picture of my husband, Lee, on our wedding day, watching the storm clouds roll in (we had an outdoor venue) and those behind him are the Flatirons in Boulder. This is one of our favorite hiking places.

We will always live in Colorado, which makes looking for a job in publishing that much more difficult. We were not about to pick up and move to New York, which is the main hub for publishing. Endever coming along and taking a chance on me was the best thing to happen to me in the world of publishing to date. I am able to stay in my favorite state, work from home, and be in publishing.

Why publishing? It wasn’t my original intention when I started college. I thought my calling would be music because I am such a band kid (flute, piano, and percussion). It wasn’t until my senior year, in one specific Lit class, that I discovered English was my forte.

Lynn Bio PicMy first year of college I attended Colorado State University, but I was homesick and came home after one year. The next 8-9 years went a little like this:

Move out of my parents’ house, work three jobs, think about attending college again, finally get back into school, but of course meet a boy, have a baby girl. Put school on hold to be parents. Get married. He completes his degree while I manage to get back to school. He goes to police academy and becomes state certified, I obtain my degree, and start the job search.

But that’s just an overview. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in English with a concentration in writing and a minor in journalism in May of 2015. I switched up my major from secondary education to writing when my Mom said to me, “If you could just get paid to read, you’d be all set.” And it was true! Reading is my kryptonite, but I have also always been a writer. I didn’t necessarily know it at the time, but as soon as I took the leap and switched my major, I realized I had found my calling.

Hollywood GlamThrough it all, my husband and my daughter, Layna, have been my backbone and support system. Layna is six-years-old and in first grade. She is a pro at pushing my buttons and loving me all in one moment. She is energetic, talks all the time, and has a heart of solid gold. She also loves to stare at herself in the mirror, dance, and sing.

Any questions you have about me, ask! I want to hear what you want to know.

You can follow me on Twitter, Goodreads, and my blog: FictionMusings

Have you submitted your short story for the Endever Writing Contest?? The deadline is February 25th, only 22 days away, so get your story in!

Happy Birthday Pixar!!

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February 3rd is better than Christmas.

It’s the day Pixar was born and thus, the world, and millions of lives were better for it. Today, Pixar Animation Studios is thirty years old.

Without further adieu, I present you thirty reasons I absolutely love Pixar:

1. The shorts. It’s their “Thank you” for coming to watch their movies. They make no profit off of these gems. (You’re welcome, Pixar!)

2. Their influence on (and, ultimately salvation of) Disney.

3. Their courage to be honest with everyone – even kids (Monsters, University anyone?). 

4. Toy Story. Toy Story 2. Toy Story 3. And probably Toy Story 4. 

5. Bob Parr and I would be best friends. We get each other. 

6. The Art Of books that accompany each feature film. 

7. The way Woody runs.

8. The hundreds of rewrites the entire Pixar staff endures in order to bring us the best movies possible. 

9. The crazy-intense originality of Ratatouille. 

10. Everything about Joy. 

11. The final playtime scene from Toy Story 3

12. The two Pixar books: The Pixar Touch by David A. Price and Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.

13. The eye candy in Finding Nemo.

14. Pete Docter. 

15. Cowboys + Dinosaurs = very brave move. (Well done!) 

16. They’re not cartoons. Heck, oftentimes they’re the most mature movies out in theaters. 

17. Pixar movies tend to get better and better with each viewing. 

18. All the theories that haven’t been disproved. 

19. Julie Fowlis’ songs in Brave. 

20. Name more than five predictable moments in the entire Pixar canon; I dare you. 

21. The shock of who the bad guys turn out to be.

22. Every score by Michael Giacchino.

23. Presto!

24. I love crying. 

25. Bing Bong’s dolphin imitation. 

26. The commentary on every Pixar DVD. 

27. The fact that Pixar is my one reason to dress up and spend the money for a full-priced ticket for a night out (unless it’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens). 

28. The feeling of extreme anticipation for The Incredibles 2, to the point that I literally want to throw up and run naked around my high school track covered in petroleum jelly if it means getting to June 21, 2019 much quicker.  

29. The fact that my name is Andy Toy; I like to think I am the original owner of Woody and Buzz. 

30. That when you write posts like this, Pixar writes you back and thanks you. 

(This picture was taken several minutes after I received a letter from Pixar. See number 24 to know what I did for twenty minutes after receiving it and before this picture was taken.) 

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Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit. (Deadline is February 25) Any questions, email me at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask in the comments below.

Follow my publishing company’s new blog and find out in subsequent posts how Pixar has inspired me to start a business! Click here! 

 

The Birth of Something Amazing

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February 3rd. This is a good day for so many reasons.

One being that today is Pixar’s 30th anniversary!! 

My partners at my publishing studio, Endever, decided last week on our first book production!

It’s going to be the YA novel I recently wrote about a girl who falls in love with a boy after he dies.

The decision was almost nerve-wracking as Endever Publishing Studios is not genre-specific – we’re story specific. (We don’t want people to assume we’re a YA publisher.)

So I gave my partners (also acting as editors, story developers, publishers, and so much more) the first chapter and they gave me the greatest compliment a writer should ask for:

They said, “I’m not feeling it. The main character’s whiney. And I don’t get her parents at all.” In essence, everyone was shallow and one-dimensional.

I’m actually not saying this is a compliment to be sarcastic. I mean it.

Writers have a tendency to surround themselves with Yes People. We tend to give our work out to those whom we know are going to throw flowers at our feet and laud us with compliments and climb mountains to praise our work before the heavens.

Joseph and Lynn, my partners, are not yes-people.

Endever is not a Yes publishing studio. We’re also not a No studio.

When we start accepting book submissions, we’re not going to send you a heartless rejection letter if we don’t love your story idea. We’ll send you tips, ways it can be improved, suggestions, tips. (More on this later.) Because we’ve been in that position – being rejected by publishers and agents time and time again.

It’s like that teacher you hated because all he or she did was hand out big fat F’s but never taught you how to fix your work or point out exactly what you were doing wrong.

And that’s just one way Endever is going to be more awesome than other publishing houses.

So February 3rd is amazing for a lot of reasons but especially because I’ll be busy rewriting that first chapter for my partners, who represent all of you – the readers. And soon, the first book production from Endever Publishing Studios will be born, and you will  cradle it in your hands and hopefully call it the best book you’ve read in years.

That will be Endever’s goal for every book.

Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? Why not? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit. (Deadline is February 25)

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask below.

Why I’ve Decided to Stop Hating My Day Job

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If you’re reading this you probably feel trapped in the monotonous hell of a 9-5.

And every day is the worst day of your life.

Saturdays are bad because you’re still trying to unwind from the stress of Monday-Friday and Sundays are worse because you’re dreading the next Monday-Friday steamroller.

I know this feeling well. But I’m not there anymore.

Not because I quit. No, I’m still punching a clock like you.

I’m not there anymore because I’ve changed my outlook.

I’ve decided not to see my job as a hinderance to my dream job as a book publisher and author, but rather as an enabler (and I do mean that in a good way).

It’s because of my day job that I have money to pay for my mocha frappuccios (fancy shakes) while conference calling with my business partners. Of course, I’ll need that income later to pay for a personal trainer to lose all those carbs.

My day job pays for my food and my gas and my internet. I couldn’t pursue my dream without those things.

But it’s more than that.

My day job is my platform to put my best self forward. While there, I can practice pulling my colleagues together and encourage them to work their best. After all, those traits will be required of me as CEO of Endever Publishing Studios.

So, even though it’s Monday, and I’m dealing with difficult people on the phone all day, I want to say, “Thank you, Day Job, for providing sustenance so I can pursue my dream.”

I challenge you to thank your boss for the job you have. And work at it as though you’re the CEO.

Have you submitted your short story for our writing contest yet? Why not? You can win $150. Give it a shot. Click here for the rules and guidelines and the link to submit.

Click here to submit! (deadline is February 25th)

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask below.

 

How Starting a Business is Like Space Travel

 

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Starting a business, as you might guess, is pretty terrifying.

I trust you know all about the writing contest my publishing company, Endever, is hosting. We will be awarding the best 500-word story $150 as well as publication on this blog AND on Endever’s new blog.

Anyway, my partners and I are like three astronauts strapped to our seats in a rocket ship counting down to take off.

And we know one of three things will happen.

  1. We go to the moon and complete our mission. In this scenario, we get at least 65 submissions, we choose the three finalists to publish, and everyone votes for the winner. Further, we raise enough funding to register our business and explore territories untouched in the publishing industry.
  2. We have an Apollo 13 incident. This scenario is where we get into space, but something goes haywire. Perhaps we get the funding to get our business off the ground, but then something happens that prevents us from becoming as big as we expect. Endever, I believe, is revolutionary enough that this is the most plausible outcome. But this is not exempt from any business startup. Ever.
  3. We have a Challenger disaster. This is where we don’t even receive funding to get our business up and running. Or we don’t get to publish our first book because, say, plague-infested unicorns bite us and we die from boils. Basically, our spaceship blows up on live TV and everyone mourns our fateful, and detoured, departure from earth.

Why do I spell out these dire possibilities? Because I believe scenario 1 will happen. I believe we will, as Bing Bong says, “Take Riley to the moon.”

But I’m a normal guy like you. I have my doubts and fears. But I’ve strapped myself in the spaceship and I’m hoping like Lee Ann Womak that this will work.

I believe that all my writer friends and loyal blog followers will submit their 500-word short stories RIGHT HERE for a chance to win $150 and get published. This will also, assuredly, go toward helping Endever Publishing Studios not blow up upon takeoff.

But if it does, at least I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut.

Click here to submit! (deadline is February 25th)

Follow Endever on Facebook and Twitter to watch us grow!

Any questions, email us at endeverpublishing@gmail.com or ask below.

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