My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach.
When you have a birthday in the Schwarz house, it means you get to pick the dinner spot. For me, growing up, the dinner spot was always Perkins. Because just like Ron Swanson, I am a breakfast man. (Let’s share a moment of silence for the recently departed Parks & Recreation. Sad day.)
Every year, I’d order more than I could eat. I love pancakes, waffles, omelets, french toast, scramblers, eggs, bacon, more bacon, (did i mention bacon), and mammoth muffins. My love for crepes came after my first experience at Bob Evans, and still to this day when my wife and I travel, I make it a point to stop there for one.
I’m getting sidetracked.
Breakfast is in my veins, and every time I eat it, I want to eat all of it. This is not an odd behavior for me. My wife calls it my “laser vision”.
I’ll give you a few pictures of this. When I was 13 I learned about novels. I decided I wanted to write one. It was going to be an adventure novel about a bunch of sailors who get shipwrecked on an island. Only the island became an archipelago to account for every climate zone on Earth, the stakes went from survival to preventing a dragon from destroying the world, and instead of one book, it was three books — all with stories taking place in conjunction and all with intertwining plots that ran into one another from time to time. Mind you, this was before I had even read Lord of the Rings (mind blown). I hand-wrote 16 college ruled 120 page notebooks in a year. I nearly broke my hand.
This is laser vision.
When I turned 18 and decided I wanted to make a career for myself in music, I could have started a band and played some local shows at bars and hoped for the best. But no. I dropped out of college. I quit my job and I literally found a way to tour full-time with 8 guys in a van as my 9-5 job, seeing practically the entire Untied States by the time I was 23. For the record, I was not accepting cash payouts from parents or relatives. Playing sets of original music at high schools, colleges, bars, venues, and event centers around the country was my job, and it paid well enough to make ends meet and continue doing it. I played shows with television stars, bands that were on the radio, and we even convinced a high school to bring the entire 8-12th grade into the assembly hall to watch us perform and ask us questions about touring as a business.
I see what I want, and I think of the biggest baddest most awesome way to do it, and that’s where I start.
There’s two reasons I think this way. I believe life is pretty dang short, for one. There are way too many people out there in this world who waste all kinds of time deciding what to do. I figure I’m lucky. I’ve been given the gift of decisiveness. Might as well use it.
But the second reason I think this way is because fearing failure is just plain worthless.
I mean, think about it.
Failure is an idea.
It’s not even a universally accepted idea. Some people see what I did when touring as a complete failure because I failed to earn millions. I see it as a complete success. I did what I set out to do and I did it while many people said I wouldn’t last a week. I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in any corporate America job since, and I had the experience of a lifetime.
We have complete control over how we define failure. We establish a goal and a way to test that goal, and then we either achieve it or we don’t. The goal is up to us — and so what we consider failure is up to us as well.
It’s just silly to fear an idea that we create in our own minds.
I have my goals. I have my plan and my method to achieve them. I know I will achieve them because when plans fail, I make new plans and I don’t compromise the goal. I have big eyes that stare down big problems without being afraid of them, because with enough hard work and persistence and motivation, there is always a way.
So now in this chapter of my life, I choose to call myself a writer. I hadn’t finished a book in 10 years. But in November of 2013 I wrote 120,000 words. And I did my best to edit that book and send it off. And now in 2014 I drafted another book at 70,000 words, and started two more. I’ve joined critique groups. I’ve read more articles about writing and the ever-changing publishing world than I can count. I made a goal for myself to read at least a book every two weeks this year and I’m still going strong. I am not just a writer. I’m an animal lover, a devoted husband, a musician, a coffee addict, and most importantly a dreamer.
I write because there is no way to dream too big in writing. Because programming robots relies on the limitations of the robot, and music relies on the limitation of notes and chords. I write because words are as close to a completely blank slate as you can get, because when you dream up a world – you don’t have to think about set design or what a green screen can do or whether its possible to reverse gravity altogether. I like to dream of new worlds.
I write because in writing, your eyes are never bigger than your stomach.