David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “The joy of blogging”

100 Blog Posts and the Art of Self-Discipline (2014-10-21 Daily)

Yesterday I spent some time with Chad Michaelis, owner of Vertex Electronics, troubleshooting one of his newest commercial products. After successfully resolving the issue, we decompressed a bit and chatted about the prospect of increasing my hours at Vertex, an opportunity that’s both exciting and nerve-wracking as I’m very protective of my writing time. As we talked, the conversation swung toward the challenges of owning a business. Leaning back in his chair, Chad folded his hands behind his head and looked up at the ceiling. “I’m convinced that the majority of businesses fail because of lack of discipline,” he said.

I nodded. “After I was let go from my job last year,” I told him, “I still get up at 5:00 or 5:30 in the morning, walk the dogs, then go to work. I need that discipline to keep me focused or I wouldn’t get anything done.” For me, organization and self-discipline are second nature, but even so, I’ve found that working from home sometimes takes monumental effort to stay focused and remain on track. Spending hour after hour in my office with my plans on one hand and reality (aka, family life) on the other has managed to crumple my inflexibility and polish my forbearance. But it’s still dang hard! And amazingly rewarding.

A couple weeks ago I posted my 100th blog post, two months after reaching my blissful one-year anniversary with WordPress. In these past 14 months I’ve cranked out and published about 100,000 words on the blog alone—that’s two modern books, or about 1/6th of War and Peace.  That’s self-discipline.  My good friend, Robyn Conley, is a writer, book doctor, and speaker (http://robynconley.com). Before each speaking session, she passes around a small box filled with an assortment of buttons. After each of the participants takes a button, Robyn explains the symbolism: It’s a reminder to keep your “butt on” the chair. Because, for a writer, the button position is the most important position to assume and the most imperative to maintain.

At the moment I have no set writing schedule, just a goal to post at least once a week and to make progress on the six book projects plus the school curricula I’m juggling at the same time. Flexibility has never been my forte, but I’ve found over the years that I actually prefer the freedom to write “organically” as opposed to sticking to a rigid outline and schedule; it keeps my muse much happier. And if my muse is happy, I’m happy. But with greater freedom comes much greater responsibility; no situation will test you more than being turned loose to make a living under your own auspices. It’s sporty but oh so exhilarating. As Chad Michaelis told me yesterday, “No one’s writing me a paycheck.” Our lives are what we make of them, and this writing thing suits me just fine even when the inner engineer wants to do the math on everything, especially the checkbook balance. So I write, I post, I turn the crank with diligence and fearlessness.

Practically every day I plant my butt on the chair and either tap away at the keyboard or write longhand in my journal. Some days I work on a blog post, other days I design power supplies or oscillator circuits, yet other days I sit down with my wife to plan book signings. I’m getting ‘er done. Why do I subject myself to this self-imposed, beautiful torture? As I’ve said before, it’s what I do. It’s what God created me for and I honor and glorify Him by walking obediently in my calling. I choose to write. I have to write! And 100 blog posts and two published books later, I’ve found that I write “despite.” Despite the mornings I’m wrapped in apathy and discouragement, despite the days my muse decides to sleep in and not show up for work, despite the weeks nothing I’ve set out to do gets done. With purpose and determination, it happens.

I’ve managed to generate and upload 100 blog posts with the hope and prayer that something I’ve written will touch someone’s life for the better. Like yesterday, when our dear friend Bridget Brooks posted the following on Facebook, regarding The Epiphany of Joy: “‘I know this will be a lifelong adventure, a continuous education, and a reminder that Joy is a gift planted in me by the Spirit of God. I need to remember to unwrap that gift and receive it daily in my heart.’ – David C. Hughes. I’m just getting started and already know what a blessing this book will be!!!! Thank you for your obedience.” Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,” the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy, “but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV®). This is a verse Mary and I quote to Hannah when she tells us she’s scared of something, but how often I’ve whispered this scripture to myself, reminding myself that, first and foremost, the Spirit of God empowers us to walk in our callings with self-discipline.

I left Chad Michaelis’ office last night with a renewed sense of destiny as I remembered God’s faithfulness and all the “coincidences” I’ve experienced in my relationship with him, his family, and with his company. God created this opportunity to work for Chad as a demonstration of His continuous provision, confirmation I’m walking in my giftedness. By faith I continue to step out despite the fear of failure. In love I accept the challenge, knowing God will guide my every step. By the Spirit we are all empowered, and by self-discipline we all proceed. As the Apostle Paul reminded us in his letter to the Romans: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:31, 37 NIV®).

Now to conquer the next electronic design challenge. And the next 100 blog posts!

 

 (NOTE: Starting next week I plan to post a six-part series on motivation for writers. Until then, many blessings!)

Copyright ©2014 by David C. Hughes

My Blog at One Year (2014-08-14 Daily)

On Thursday, August 15, 2013, I debuted my blog site, David C. Hughes, Writer.  I was ecstatic!  Two months of design, layout, and content development culminated in the launch of what’s turned out to be more than a labor of love—it’s the fruit of faith!

I remember June 11, 2013 well.  With my digital recorder in my pocket and my Mead Five Star notebook in the other, I traveled to Southlake to meet with Bob Hamp, author of Think Differently Live Differently: Keys to a Life of Freedom, and the Freedom Minister for Gateway Church at the time.  I originally had plans to meet Bob at the church to interview him for The Epiphany of Joy, but his admin called and asked if I could meet him at a restaurant for lunch instead.  “Sure!” I replied, wondering immediately how well the voice recorder would pick up our conversation over the background noise.   But I was elated nonetheless.

You see, Gateway Church’s Foundations of Freedom video series, featuring Bob Hamp (http://gatewaypeople.com/ministries/freedom-kairos/media1), had inspired me several months earlier to finally quit messing around in the mud of apathy and fear and swan dive into the clear lagoon of full time writing.  I’d absorbed every word Bob had spoken in the video series, and I just knew I had to interview him for the book because, as I saw it, he not only lived his passion, he shared it.  I wanted to get his take on joy and living joyfully.  What I got instead was something much more valuable: a lesson in social media!

Yep, here I was sitting across from one of my heroes, eating grilled fish and sautéed green beans, and he’d deftly charged forward discussing how to use social media to market my brand.  I listened as intently to Bob in real life as I’d listened to him speak on the Foundations of Freedom videos.  He showed me his Twitter feed and explained the potentially exponential spread of a message as other folks picked up the tweet and re-tweeted it.  I nodded in appreciation as I listened to Bob excitedly explain the logic of using Facebook and the common sense of developing and maintaining a blog page.  Until that moment I’d been using email to broadcast my “Dailies,” and I’d been transmitting them to thirty people each time I clicked “send.”  As we wrapped up lunch, he asked me what I wanted to talk about regarding joy.  I conducted a short interview, scribbled a handful of quotes, and left the restaurant knowing what I had to do next.  I was suddenly overjoyed at (and scared of) the prospect of building a blog.

Two months after that interview I opened the curtain on David C. Hughes, Writer, and I’ve been having a ball ever since.  Don’t get me wrong—as my newborn has grown into a toddler, it hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it.  Having a blog page—an active blog page—sets before me the challenge of regularly sitting down to write.  Imagine that!  Instead of merely hanging out on the sidelines dreaming of writing, when I committed to posting a meaningful essay at least once a week, it forced me to grab that dream by the collar and drag it into reality.  Writing’s hard work, but with practice and passion it becomes doable.  And with time, it can become viable.

Having a blog site gave me the drive to turn the crank on The Epiphany of Joy.  Blogging the book was an amazing experience, and having a vehicle to “test drive” the initial manuscript in a public forum kicked butt.  It’s hard to write a book, even harder to finish it, but publishing the book serially on the blog page kept me motivated and conscientious.  After all, I knew I just couldn’t post an unpolished first draft out there—someone might say something negative and hurt my feelings!  Just kidding . . . . sort of.

Speaking of which, when I jumped into this undertaking, I thought I had thick skin.  I’d been a member of read-and-critique groups off and on for the past twenty years, and I thought I’d developed a tolerance for criticism.  But launching my work into such a public forum pulled the covers off that myth!  The first time I received a less-than-favorable comment on one of my posts, I allowed the remark to toss me into a two-day funk.  Now that I’ve experienced that, I’m coming to realize that, as a writer, not everyone’s going to agree with my opinion all the time.  And as a Christian writer, it will be even more challenging as I face people who have dissenting opinions backed up with zeal.  But I welcome the challenge and look forward to the dialog—just keep your comments short and to the point, please, so they don’t take up three pages of my blog!

But this endeavor is only worth pursuing if it not only inspires me to keep chasing after my passion, but also if it affects the lives of those who take the time to read it.  My job, my obligation as a writer is to write.  My job, my obligation as a Christian writer is to write to glorify God.  God’s job is to bring the readers to my writing, and if one blog post, essay, or book that I’ve written touches a one person’s life and changes it profoundly for the good, then I’ve done my job, I’ve fulfilled my obligation.

So as we celebrate my blog site’s first birthday, I look forward to seeing what happens as my toddler starts developing an attitude!   Thank you all for keeping me motivated to continue turning the crank, and thank you all for your support, prayers, and interest as we travel on this incredible journey together.  Without you my life’s calling would be meaningless.  With you the world is truly blessed.

David

P.S.  I’ve now taken the plunge and set up a Twitter account: @TheJoyGuy.  What else?!

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