Why I Wake Up at 4:00 A.M.


earlybird1I get up at 4 in the morning to work.

Not to go to work, which starts at 6.

I get up at 4 in the morning to work on what I don’t have time to work on the rest of the day.

People are always saying, “I don’t have time to accomplish my dreams, or do what I want to do.” They’re saying this as they’re flopped in front of the TV mindlessly tuned in to The Bachelor or Game of Thrones.

“I hate my job,” people say as they sleep in as late as they can without being late to their day job.

I say, Get up at 4 (and earlier if the alarm hasn’t gone off yet and I’m awake). Freedom didn’t come freely or easily, so why should your independence, or your dream job, or your money?

I get up at 4 because I believe, with all my heart, that if I work hard enough and sacrifice enough sleep, that my dream job will come true. So I get up at 4 in the morning and write, and write, and write.

At least, at the end of the day, I can say, “I got to do what I wanted today.”

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On Writing: Curing the Creative Rut

giphyYou writers and creative-types – you’ve been there. It’s a hellish place, for sure. A chasm of fear, doubt, agony, frustration…

While everyone else around you seems to be excelling in their craft, accolades are given to everyone but you, your neighbors hit the jackpot…

Come on, I’m not the only one. You’ve surely been there, right?


A hellish place for sure. It’s worse than that moment you’re about to start the first sentence on a blank page.

It’s worse than having to wait 119 days until Jurassic World finally opens.

You know how I find my ideas when I at this point? It’s embarrassing, and no one has ever seen me do it, except Sarabeth when I thought I was alone, or my little girl who just thinks it’s hilarious. 1tumblr_lgp6q5NhE21qcjtu8o1_500

I dance.

I talk out loud.

I sing.

I act.

And I’ve yelled.

It’s humbling, but true. I imagine myself standing before the heads of Universal Studios or Disney and I’ve got five minutes (I’m generous) to pitch them my idea.

So I yell, I act, I pitch like a storyboard artist convincing the director that my idea is the only thing that will work. I talk aloud about something that I believe in.

I might not yet have an idea to believe in, but I believe that I will find one.

I encourage you to give this a try. Crank up some Fun. or Owl City, or Delta Rae on the ipad and dance.


Yes. Just start dancing. Let your body go. Just release the stress of everyday life. The last thing you want weighing you down when you’re trying to be creative is the rock-hard facts of  life that your readers are looking to escape from.

numa-numa-kid-oSo… escape.


And talk.

And then ask yourself later, What did I talk about? Anything interesting? Jot it down.

Bless your Facebook feed by joining my new author page. 

The American Dream Revised


It used to be that people in America achieved the Great Dream by running and sustaining a business or trade, owning property, and passing down an inheritance to your offspring, be that monetary or a learned skill. But that Dream has morphed into something different over the years.

This is what the new American Dream sounds like: Pay off any debts and live on a private beach, emphasis on private. 

Nowhere in today’s revised Dream is there a place for work. To be more specific, people want to earn as much as possible doing the least as possible – and for most of us, that will always remain just that: a dream.

Me, I like to work – the issue is, the type of work I’m doing. My Dream is the freedom (or time) to do my work to earn money for me, not for a company. I want the freedom to travel so I can write about different locations and research history for compelling books.

Stop dreaming about doing no work and start thinking about doing your work.

Think about what energizes you. Maybe it’s teaching kids in Sunday school, or gardening, or critiquing restaurants, or sewing pillow cases.

Dive into your hobbies and personal projects as though you were making millions of dollars off of them. Become an expert in your field. And then find a way to make money off of it.

Make that your new Dream.

On Writing: Stretch Yourself


The awesome thing about writing is that it probes us authors to explore in more ways than one. Not only does writing encourage us to seek out and discover uncharted territories in our imaginations and throughout the world, but we are beckoned to explore the vastly wide expanse of the available genres themselves.

I told Sarabeth just last night while doing research for a book I’ve been too afraid to write for years, “I’ve discovered a new love.”

She glared at me for a moment then said, “You shouldn’t say things like that to your wife.” (I didn’t realize that Jennifer Lopez was presenting a Golden Globe on the TV wearing a dress with a V-cut as wide as the Grand Canyon.)

I said, “No, not that. Biography-ing. I know it’s not a ward, but I feel like I’ve found a new niche.”

I thought I’ve already been stretching myself out of my comfort zone of writing mainstream fiction, by working on not just a teen book, but a young readers historical novel. But due to a long-festering force of inspiration, I began a third project recently – a biography about a man you admire but don’t yet know by name (I’ll be dropping hints on my brand new author’s page on Facebook).

Crazy? Sure. But people don’t achieve their dreams by not being crazy. What’s so crazy about flopping down in front of the TV to watch another episode of Family Guy and then sleeping in until 9:00 the next day? That sort of doldrum behavior is to be expected. Do the unexpected.

You’re not going to discover new loves without being crazy enough to get out of your element and explore what the world has to offer.

They say to write what you know, but I disagree with that. I say write enough about what you don’t know, and the research will make you an expert.

“Duet” by Renowned Disney Animator Glen Keane


This video, running at three minutes and forty-two seconds has become an internet sensation and has struck the heart of thousands – possibly millions – of people around the world.

It’s a coming-of-age animated short that brings us back, briefly, to our cherished pasts of hand-drawn animation – but with a twist.

I’ve pasted the video below, which opens up with the creator and Tangled_glen_keane_image_01animator giving a little speech about the project. You may recognize him from years past, being featured on the Disney Channel or in interviews about upcoming movies during the previews that showed on your old Disney VHS tapes.

Glen Keane is the creator and animator of beloved favorites such as Ariel, the Beast, Tarzan, Aladdin, and many others. He’s recently retired from Disney animation and is proving his talent can stand on its own two feet.

In the speech he gives in the video below he says that in embracing this new technology (merging hand-drawn animation and CGI) he has “rediscovered his love of animation.” By watching the video, you can almost see the love pour forth onto the screen.

Watch the video and share your thoughts below. Share it with your friends…spread the love!

Post Your New Year’s Resolutions Here!

2015 new years illustration with christmas balls

Happy New Year!

Even though we can start fresh any day of the year, this is the day to declare a new life path starting on 2015.

If you read my previous post about setting impossibly high expectations for yourself, and read my ridiculously ambitious goal, you’ll hopefully be inspired to tap into your inner child (or dreamer) and start laying out a path for yourself toward that goal today.

So now’s your chance to put it in writing. Share with the world, not your New Year’s resolution, but your life goal that you are going to actively start pursuing today!

Just click the title of this post and leave a comment below. Have you already written your own blog post about your new goals? Then feel free to paste the link below!

Share your impossibly high goals and inspire us all to expect better of ourselves!

Resolve the Impossible

goalsEvery year we make the same old resolutions then wonder why we fail to keep them.

I wonder if we don’t keep these resolutions because they’re not good enough.

Usually our resolutions aren’t made in order to change our lives – they’re made in order to accommodate our lifestyle, and let’s face it, not many of us are happy with our current 9-5 lives.

Many of us are slouching around just to get to work on time, tune out on our lunch break, curse at the traffic on our way home, and endure screaming kids and crying babies during half-eaten dinners.


And yet, our resolution is to simply get a raise or lose a few pounds?

I think it’s time to set our expectations – and our hopes – a little higher.

One thing I ask most people I encounter is, “What do you really want to do?” I’ve gotten answers from being a bus driver to being an actor on SNL! But I’ve never been told that they’re already doing it.polevault1

When it comes to setting any sort of resolution, we’ve got to set the bar impossibly high, because whether you achieve that goal or not, the steps to get you there are assuredly higher than where you’re at now.

For instance, my life goal, decided earlier this year, is to be part of the story department at Pixar Animation Studios. I want to work alongside my heroes, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and others.


Realistically, will this happen? Probably not. But that’s not going to stop me from working toward it. And how do I go about doing that? I write fiction.

And not just any fiction. I’m very specific in choosing book topics. Just like Pixar movies are very diverse in their genres, my two published books are also diverse, one being a fantasy/thriller, and the other being a coming-of-age drama.

man in box








The two books I’m currently working on are even more diverse: A teen book set in modern times with a hint of fantasy, and a young reader’s book set in 1940’s Germany.

But they all have one thing in common: Any reader, despite age or gender, can engage with my stories just as Pixar movies attract audiences of every kind.

In the process of earning my place at the Braintrust table at Pixar, I’m developing my skills, showing the world, and myself, that I have what it takes. And so in writing these books, who knows, I just might hit the New York Times Bestsellers list, which happens to be another goal of mine.

I don’t have all the kinks and technicalities worked out, but I am busy building my portfolio with storytelling projects, showcasing my skills.

Tap in to your inner child this week and ask yourself where you’d like to be in five years, and start taking baby steps, strides, or great leaps to achieve that goal.

And remember, the bigger and more impossible the dream, the more likely you are to find success along the way.


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