Thursday, May 15, 2014

Green Light... Go!

Last year, I traveled the county with my books, selling and signing copies at every venue imaginable. Looking back on the book tour, it was an absolute honor and privilege; we met so many incredible people, mostly veterans and I realized they all have a story to tell. They were all incredibly wonderful stories that should be told.  I listened to thousands, and learned a great deal about not only myself, but our nation’s veterans and history as well.    
Often, an aspiring writer would say to me, “I am thinking about writing a book about my life story… You know about my time in the military,”
“A memoir?  Have you started on it yet?” 

“Well, not yet but I've got a lot of ideas!”

“Really… Have you written a mission statement?  When do you think you might start?”

Look of confusion.

“A mission statement?  No... but one of these days I'm going to do write a book… you know, when I find the time.”  

Then I would go into my spiel about how I use my mission statement to guide my efforts, to keep me focused.  Writing a book is a very long term project that can take years and years.  The best way to do it is a little at a time, working on it each day, so forth and so on.   Sort of like building a fighting position.  You add a few more sandbags each day and pretty soon you have a fortress.  Still, you must know why you are building that fighting position and a mission statement will help.   
If it hadn't been for those encounters, I’m not sure I would have continued down this path as a writer.  With each encounter I wondered, “Why do these people open up to me like that?”  I think perhaps my personality may have something to do with it.  Are you the kind of person who complete strangers open up to and tell you things they wouldn't share with their own mother?  I am I guess… It happens to me all the time and I’m not quite sure why.   
All these encounters made me realize that I needed to make my writing about more than just what I am able to imagine by myself.  That perhaps, I could use my imagination and skills to bring life to some of these incredible stories.  I realized these are stories that should be told, stories that need to be told.  And although I am not known as a screen writer, my analysis of the story telling industry led me to realize the big screen and television have replaced other venues from which we receive information.  I.E. print, and so I rewrote my mission statement to include bringing these stories to life in both print and screen.  
I understand the debate within the publishing industry, and the difficulty of breaking into the business as an unknown screen writer in his early fifties.  The odds and task seem to be insurmountable but there is one question that plagues me…  What if?  What if the idea works?  What if I can learn and grow as time goes on?  What if I can develop the skills necessary to create something absolutely incredible? What if by helping others achieve their creative dreams I can accomplish something others say is impossible?  What if! 
I have decided that from now on, I am going to use my time and energy to help others; especially veterans achieve their creative dreams by writing screenplays and books based on their stories.  The stories they willingly share with me in the hopes their legacy, their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Do you have a story that needs to be told, that should be told?   It is time to get started!  Someday was yesterday, tomorrow is too late!  Or do you need a swift Jump Master kick in the back side to get you out the door?  It would be my honor to spot the DZ for you.  Stop thinking about it, do it! Green Light…Go!

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