“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

I had this quote in my head today without actually remembering who said it. So I was a little surprised when I looked it up and found it attributed to Napoleon Hill. After all, I’m more likely to remember Charles Dickens, Hunter Thompson, or Frank Zappa than I am to remember the words of Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, or the author of Think And Grow Rich. Nevertheless, there it is.

And it’s a new year, which means new goals, new dreams, and new projects.

I don’t usually do too much cross-posting on social media, although periodically I’ll share an article I wrote for my LinkedIn account via Twitter or Facebook. But today I’m actually featuring an image I created for my Instagram. It’s the intro to my work-in-progress (WIP), Whizzers, which I started to develop as far back as 2001.

Yes, 2001.

I know it sounds outrageous, but over all those years I was working on Miles of Files, I would periodically set it aside and start something else. And the years kept rolling along. In fact, I have two projects I started – Whizzers and a historical novel tentatively entitled Duty of an Educated Tyrant – along with a third, more nebulous project which only exists in a folder as notes, character sketches, and snippets of dialogue.

But Whizzers is something special.

It’s by far my most autobiographical work, and it’s also ambitious…in the sense that I don’t even know what genre to call it. It has elements of the supernatural or metaphysical, but…heck, I don’t know. I’ll work on categorization when it’s finished.

After I put out my first three novels, and my collection of short stories this past year, I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d have to get back to working on Whizzers. To be honest, I hadn’t actually planned on finishing it soon. I just hadn’t. Then I saw the hashtag #sixwordcommitment on Twitter on New Year’s Day, and absentmindedly tweeted “I will finish my fourth novel.”

Oops.

So now it’s on the internet, for all the world to see. I just set a goal of 12/31/18, at the latest, for the completion of Whizzers. Watch this space for more. And please feel free to let me know in the comments what you think of that intro!

money

Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow…Right?

Recently, I was reading a post from an online trainer who coaches authors and other professionals. This trainer discusses the contrast between writing for money and writing for passion. In other words, the age-old conundrum: if you do what you love, will the money...
presidents

Presidents’ Day: Crappy Holiday Or The Crappiest Holiday?

“The buck stops here.” —Harry S. Truman “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” —John F. Kennedy “I don’t take any responsibility at all.” —That guy   I’m old—so old I remember when we celebrated George Washington’s...
technophobe

The Technophobe Part 2: Why I Wish I Was Better At Some Of This Stuff

The last few weeks have been all about pros and cons. In June, I wrote several blog posts about my biggest strengths, and now I’m writing about some of my greatest challenges. So the two categories are, roughly, “Stuff I’m Good At” and “Stuff I Wish I Was Better At.”...
giving

Why I Think Giving Your Work Away Is (Mostly) A Bad Idea

​Free books—who doesn’t love that idea, right? Me. I don’t love that idea. In fact, I think it sucks. Now, you might wonder: why, Mike, are you so against free books? I mean, don’t you want more people to read? You’re not against libraries, are you? No, I’m not...
cover design

The Importance of Cover Design and Interior Design for Novels

I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I'll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects. Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads...
election

Meet The New Year—Same As The Old Year?

Looking back at the blog over the past few months, I see a few obsessions emerging. Nothing surprising there—of course we’re all suffering from pandemic fatigue, and I’m not surprised to see my worries about the 2020 election as topics. In my October 26th post, If...
door

The Open Door Of A New Year

Dawn another year, Open it aright; Thou shalt have no fear In its fading light. —Joseph Krauskopf   I read this quote in a meditation book a couple days ago and it kind of stuck with me. Not the exact wording, of course—I mean the overall spirit. After all, the...

Cover Reveal: Rides From Strangers

Rides From Strangers is coming! Today’s post is a reminder about the upcoming publication of my new short story collection, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the book. For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I will be...

But What If I’m Sick?

Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it. And...
COVID-19

The Scary Weekend I Thought I Had COVID-19

Since March 2020, I’ve lived almost as though there was no such thing as a coronavirus vaccine. You might wonder why, as multiple vaccines have been available since earlier this year, some even before that. I’ll tell you why. My wife is an essential worker who...