Currently, I am working on updating a book I published in 2014. The title (which will be changed soon) was How Changing My Thoughts Changed My Life. Yes, it is a cumbersome title, and now that I have more insight, and my life has truly gone where I wanted it to go, I am ready to polish that book and re-release. Back in 2014, I was living in West Jordan, Utah, and life was good. I thought it was time to tell the story of how I used the power of positive thinking to change my life. I wasn’t ready to write that book. Why? Well, my life was about to take a turn, and the negative mindset was just around the corner.
In 2010 I bought a one-way train ticket, took my last $60 and headed to Salt Lake City, Utah. The plan was to spend a few weeks with my good friend that lived there and head to New Mexico and Colorado. I had taken a leave of absence from my job as a prep cook, and I had three weeks of vacation pay coming my way. At the time, I was sick of struggling in Michigan, and I wanted a new place to live. I also was planning on going through my literary fiction novel and publishing it. In 2010, the indie publishing world was starting to blossom, but I didn’t have useful information on the process, and it seemed daunting. So, I ended up putting my writing dreams on the back burner, settling down in Salt Lake City, and I looking for a “real” job.
I went to graduate school because the economy was not in good shape in Michigan when I graduated in 2001. The only job offer I received was in Massachusetts at a school that paid $20,000. It was a prestigious school, but living on $20,000 in Massachusetts was not logical, so I didn’t take the job. Instead, I stayed in Michigan for nine years without being offered a decent job. During that time, I went to graduate school, something I would not recommend for anyone who would like to become a writer, but I wasted time trying to find a way to live my dream, and have a “real” job.
Here’s what I’ve learned about graduate school and “real” jobs. You don’t need either. Graduate school is a place where writers are urged to write literary fiction or literary non-fiction. For the most part, no one is pulling out a character sketch, outline, or genre fiction roadmaps. Instead, students are taught to write in a way that the majority of the world does not care to read. What does this do for you? Not much. You may be published in some academic journals, and your literary fiction may be picked up by a traditional publisher, but this is not the most common path to becoming a successful writer. What is the most common path? Sitting down and writing until you finish a novel. After that, repeat the process and you are on your way to a writing career. I wasted years sitting in classrooms analyzing writers and their work, when I should have been living life and embracing the fact that most people are just looking for a good story. They aren’t looking for an obscure piece of writing that leaves them questioning the meaning of life. Most people want a good story, so focus on telling a story and not writing the next literary fiction smash hit, which will probably only sell about 1,000 copies.
I thought I had learned all of this and incorporated it into my life, until I wrote How Changing My Thoughts, Changed my Life. First of all, it’s barely 25,000 words. Secondly, I couldn’t quite get my point across because as happy as I was, I still wasn’t truly living what I was preaching. Writing has always been my passion and no matter what other paths I’ve pursued, my goal of being a full-time author was the huge elephant in the room.
In 2014 I had just taken on what I considered my dream job. I had been working at a wonderful treatment center as an assistant in the Education department. In April of 2014, I was offered a full-time teaching position. I was elated and thought, “I’ve made it!” But in the back of my mind, the dream of writing was still there. Even so, I told myself that this was the best-case scenario. I loved the place where I was working, and that job would turn out to be the best experience I had in the Education realm, but in reality, it was a barrier. I wanted to be a writer. Regardless of how happy I was to score a full-time teaching position finally, and even though I loved where I was working, the truth was undeniable. In my heart of heart, I wanted to be a writer.
When the Utah State Board of Education began telling me that I was not qualified to keep the job I loved, I thought there’d been a mistake. Unfortunately, they never relented, and four months after I accepted the job I loved, and two months after I published How Changing My Thoughts, Changed My Life, I ended up being forced out of my job by the state regulators. I ended up taking a $10,000 pay cut, and my workdays went from 7 hours to 12. This change in my life truly changed my thoughts.
Life began to deteriorate in several areas, and I found myself slipping back into a negative mindset. A negative mindset can be all-consuming, and since so many people live in negativity, it’s easy to get stuck in that way of thinking. It was not until I started to tend to my spiritual life things started to around. Once again, I was forming a positive frame of mind. As I moved back into a positive mindset, great things started to happen. For example, shortly after my fortieth birthday, I decided that marriage wasn’t everything, and it wasn’t on the agenda for my life. So, instead of looking for someone to date, I would try to meet men who wanted to be friends. I was just looking for men to hang out with, purely platonic friends, and I met one guy. We’ve now been married for just shy of two years.
There is also an example of how changing my thoughts changed my writing life. In December 2018, as I was mourning the loss of my daughter, I decided that life had to change. It could never be the same again after the loss of my Lillie. Everything would be different, and that something was quitting my teaching job and publishing the first book in my detective series. Instead of letting the tragedy destroy my world, I decided that I would allow it to push me toward my dream.
It seems that once I decided that I was going to write and be a successful author, things began to fall into place. All I had to do was let go of the negative and decide that whatever my goal was, it would be achieved. It is a lesson I’ve had to learn over and over again, but now that I have applied it to the one constant passion I’ve previously ignored in my life, I think I’ve learned the lesson. Now, I can pull out that old manuscript and do it justice! Change your thoughts, and you will change your life!