8th Anniversary Post

Posted on May 20, 2019

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Featured image are the beats from my nearly completed novel, working title Fishing the Dorian Gray.

Saturday was the 8th anniversary of this blog. This is the time of year I look back and really reflect on why I have this blog, what it means in general, and what progress I’ve made in life.

I am seriously disappointed in myself, only 15 posts this year, once a month, down from my average which for a while was almost a post a week.  (286 in 34 categories in 8 years, 56 drafts). I am just about at 100,000 visits.   It used to be I would “publish” anything I wrote here, figuring this was a training ground and when I was “good enough” I would start submitting to magazines. But very early on, stories here “got discovered” by people hungry enough for content to publish them. Something like two dozen of the stories here have been published on other blog sites or in print publications.

At that point, I started to run into markets which want first publication rights, and first publication includes vanity blogs. So, to be professional, new stories go there first, and I try to drive people there to spend money, to keep those people in business, so they can publish more of my stories.  Right now  I have two pieces which are going into anthologies (both horror, a completely new market for me), a couple of pieces in perpetual development for Hatch. I am also working with PSE on a project almost a year in the making about their Baker River Dam project, where they catch and tag bull trout and also have a salmon hatchery that uses artificial spawning beaches. Plus I’m about 100 pages into my novel, and while I don’t bother you with them here any more, I’m writing quite a bit about Agile. In truth, I’m toying with writing a book there.

Also, I did sit down and from scratch write the story that got the feature spot in the Fly Fish Journal last summer. That’s like 15 pages of press with images. That was a big coup, and I found a brand new market that I think will take some of my back log work, including the sci-fi, that I am very excited about.

After a dozen years and several thousand hours, I finally have Fly Fishing in Russia: The Far East, all set for the Kickstarter. Mikhail is working out the business details and we are good to go. That project not only required my editing skills, it also required me to undertake book design, self-publishng, and Kickstarter . Something I did a life time ago in my first crazy venture when we published the Idea Journal. (Anybody remember that?)

But probably the number one reason I have so many unfinished drafts, is that after 15 years of jousting at a broken romantic windmill, I am lucky enough to have Amber in my life. She went to school for photography, and she documents things with her smart phone usually better than I can with my DSLR. But the time I’ve even begun to ponder my deep thoughts, she’s posted on Facebook, and since most of you follow one or both of us there, there is little motivation for me to compete with that! Specifically, I would love to write up our epic Fernie trip, but I think I took a total of 3 images on that trip, while Amber posted every day. She also came with a built-in remodel which has become my main non-day job time sink. However, Amber will stop me from working on the house to go fishing. That’s right, you need to get yourself one of those. And, while I’m not writing about fishing so much anymore, at least I can no longer bitch about not going. Que sera, things change.

My partner, my editor, my muse, Amber.

So, with not so much writing to look back on, I started looking back at life. Eight years ago, I owned my damn bar. Then I had an office automation company. I also co-founded a design thinking firm, which just had it’s fifth year anniversary, a health food store, and I’m partnered in a brewery that is unfortunately mothballed at the moment. Oh, and I have a couple of cafe racers in parts in the garage, but don’t tell Amber. Day job-wise I have somehow convinced people I should be head of the Agile transformation for GE Digital, which I keep finding is a much bigger gig than I ever thought. I write for them almost every day. (I woke up at 3:30 this morning to write a blog “No Weeds in the Garden” about drags on velocity. It’s a real screen scroller, I tell ya. Probably inspired by buying some roses for Amber and then ripping out all of the landscaping in front of the house so we could plant them.)

When I look at things in that context, I have to tell you the things that are the real milestones in my life, whether the Idea Journal, the businesses, the Homebrew Fair, the software ideas, or the bar – those crazy ideas that I rope people into helping me with – it seems I’m overdue. (You have been duly warned.) Sure, I sort of set out to have a career and kind of bumbled into it, and I have a great job, with great people, and a short commute. But…that’s not me and I need to be looking for that next thing. Because I just do that to pay the bills.

Of course, as the scales fly from the great salmon slap you just gave me, maybe it’s time that that big thing is writing. I have had an incredibly lucky career. I went from getting paid for every non-fiction word I ever wrote, but never a word of fiction, to selling about half of the work on this blog – with just a nudge from me. Last week I wrote I Shot Muldowney in a sitting, and sold it 3 days later. It’s gaining momentum, I have several series outlined, and I even have friends doing it.  In fact as I write this, Ethan Freckleton, who used to be my boss at Microsoft, just sent me a review copy of his third (?) book. We even went to a self-publishing conference in Vegas together last year where 10% of the people are making $100,000/year, and one percent are making $100,00 month! Ironically, he somehow credits me for starting him on this path.

And so, with that, I should get back to the business of writing, unfortunately it’s Ethan’s business, and review his novel while I ponder which drawer mine will go in when it’s done.

Posted in: Photography