book

Manifest My Desires, Universe! Chop Chop!

by D.J. Paris on January 22, 2014

I’m trying my hand at this manifesting thing.

I’ve been into New Agey crap for twenty years. Most of it is BS but I’ve always found spiritual practices entertaining. Back when I was nineteen I was introduced to the idea of chakras. Whether they’re real or not (probably not) I can still feel all seven of them simply by putting my attention on those areas of the body. Which to me, if they’re not real, is even more amazing. That the mind is so powerful that one can create feelings in certain spots of  one’s physical being.

For years I’ve read about the Law of Attraction which has been popular ever since The Secret hit. This was a best-selling book that millions embraced because it introduced the idea of daydreaming. Yes, you can have what you want by merely thinking of it! Of course, the real world doesn’t work that way. You need to bust your ass to get what you want.

Or do you?

I’m currently reading a book on manifesting. I won’t mention the name, but all these types of books are pretty much the same. They claim there’s a force in the universe that, when you align yourself with, will bring into reality that which you desire.

The easiest way to defeat this philosophy is to think of all the starving people in the world. Maybe they just didn’t think about food hard enough! Clearly nonsense. However…

What if it is possible to attract certain things just by thinking about them?

In this book you’re supposed to put your attention on what you want (the author said to pick something small that you believe is possible but unlikely to happen) and give it a due date of forty-eight hours. You’re to literally command the universe to produce your wish within two days.

I like bossing things around so I figured I’d give it a try. Nothing to lose really.

I won’t mention what I’m attempting to manifest but it is objectively verifiable. In two days I’ll either have this thing or not. One of the points of manifesting, the author states, is that you have to believe that receiving the item is possible. I’m putting aside all logic and reason and changing my belief system for the next few days.

In my experience to bring something into the world requires hard work and discipline.

But then again, I have also had unusual circumstances where things I wanted just showed up.

In an earlier exercise from the book I attempted to manifest that a brand would contact me to do a promotion. Brands rarely reach out to me – it’s not a common occurrence. Two brands tweeted out to me within the next day. Weird. But could also be coincidental.

The worst thing that could happen with this exercise is that I don’t end up with what I didn’t have anyway. Should that occur, I’ll get back to my normal way of manifesting. Putting my head down and working diligently for a long period of time.

But if it does work I’m going to milk this manifesting thing for all I can get. Riches, fame, fortune? Already on the list.

Also, if the universe was really cool it would hook me up with chiseled abs without me having to do any sit-ups.

I COMMAND THEE!

abs

I put a picture of a woman’s abs because the ones of dudes made me feel uncomfortable…

photo credit: Malingering via photopin cc

10 comments

I Sometimes Publish Crap – A Confession

by D.J. Paris on January 17, 2014

Years ago I used to bother celebrities on Twitter and write about the interactions.

I called it CelebTweets. After a few posts went live a television producer contacted me with an idea. If I wrote fifty more of these she could pitch it to publishers and get a book made.

She cautioned me, however, to be very selective on what else I wrote on my blog. I did a lot of other styles of posts and she thought that might hurt my “brand.” If I wanted a book deal, I needed to decide if I would be the guy that bugs famous people on Twitter exclusively.

I decided against it. I wanted to do other things.

At the time I was separated and starting to go through a divorce which would become the most painful experience of my life. I had only, up until then, written silly posts. I was terrified to try anything unfunny. Looking back, I don’t know why this was such a scary proposition – I only had fifty readers. If nobody liked the serious stuff I could always go back to comedy.

By the way, my dad’s dick post is still the most popular story on this blog. Can you believe 154k visitors read that last year? Yes, that’s sad. And yes, I’m bragging.

I decided to change up my style. I started to chronicle feelings, thoughts, and perspectives around daily life. Sure I’d pepper in a joke or two, but the overarching theme was honesty and vulnerability. That was my mission.

In 2012 I ended up writing every day. I published 185k words that year. And let me tell you, not all of the posts were gold. Some were flat out stinkers.

The number one reason bloggers tell me they don’t write more often is that they want each post to be gold. I understand. I do, too. But I have way more singles and doubles in me than home runs. I also have strikeouts.

Yesterday I struck out. I sat at my computer for two hours trying to save a piece of shit. It wasn’t working no matter how many times I edited. But, in a way, I felt okay about it. The piece was as good as it was going to get. I had pride because even though the post didn’t turn out perfect, I had done all that I could. I hit publish.

According to stats 74% of my daily traffic comes from new visitors. Today many people were introduced to my blog with maybe the worst post I have ever written. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t return.

So, why do I publish strikeouts?

One, failure is part of human experience. We all put effort into projects that don’t pan out. People relate to mistakes. Two years ago I dropped the need for my posts to be perfect and the weirdest thing happened. My viewership increased. The comments from readers got longer and more frequent. I was connecting with people at a deeper level than that of just fart jokes.

Also, many kept coming back after a less-than-stellar post. People forgive. I found that the only time anyone got pissed was when I didn’t share something intimate or “real.” Like if I wrote a joke that for a quick laugh I would receive little engagement.

I believe part of respecting and honoring an audience is to show them the truth. The flubs. Times that it doesn’t come together. As long as the writing is honest and in my voice I push it through. Now, I accept the consequences of this behavior, too. I lose readers who expect better consistency.

I guess at the end of the day I just want to feel good. During that marathon session yesterday I put my heart and sweat into that piece. I just re-read it again and yes, it’s cringe worthy. It was also the best I could do. I feel good about it because I see all the hard work that went into the process.

The question is, however – should I subject the audience to a mediocre post?

I’m probably alone here, but I say yes. A resounding yes. I just want to try my hardest and let the chips fall where they may. Were there readers bummed out after reading yesterday? I don’t know – I’m sure some were unimpressed.

So, here’s my deal. I write a lot. I have a boring, normal life and sometimes my posts will suck. Usually they won’t. Thanks for understanding.

crap

Hey, at least when I publish crap, it’s free!

photo credit: Plutor via photopin cc

44 comments

The Squatty Potty and Turning Pro

by D.J. Paris on January 11, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever written about a product that inspired me.

Well, I’ve tweeted about the Squatty Potty. It’s changing my life. Hands down, the best $25 I’ve spent. Actually, I didn’t spend the money. I asked my girlfriend for it for Christmas. How’s that for a trusting relationship? We had only been dating around four months at the time. Anyway, I recommend you check it out. Trust me.

I’ve  written several times about how most evenings I have no idea about what’s I’m going to discuss on the blog. Ideas don’t often pop into my head earlier in the day. Most of the time I’m filled with a low-level fear that I won’t be able think of anything good. I let that fear overtake me for a full year in 2013.

Back in 2012 I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is where you motivate yourself to write every day for a month. I pushed through the difficulties and ended up writing four hundred days without a miss. Then I hit a wall and needed a break. I got out of the habit and  only published around seventy-five entries over the past year. I’ve re-committed to posting every day this January. We’ll see what happens after that.

The book that really kicked my ass into gear creatively, is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

In the book Pressfield states there are only two types of creatives – amateurs and pros. He is militant in his beliefs that writers need to write as often as possible. That they’re not supposed to strive for perfection – that will just paralyze and halt the ability to create. He posits that you have to be willing to “turn pro” which means you are no longer a sidelines observer, that you take time every day to do your work.

This book was just the reminder I needed that when I sit down and “do my work” I find the greatest reward. I feel satisfied creatively. People have asked me over the years how to find a blog audience. I tell them to write with truth and vulnerability. Everyone wants to connect through shared experience.

But I also tell them one other thing – write for yourself. Here’s why. It’s not because it’s the noble thing to do – there’s nothing wrong with wanting to find readers. The reason to write for yourself is because YOU get to feel good.

Here’s my process. I sit down at the computer. I’m terrified and doubtful that I have anything to say. Most of the time nothing comes for fifteen or twenty minutes. I write anyway. Something begins to take shape. I’m still doubting the entire way until the last sentence. I re-read the piece three times more and remove extraneous words. I still feel unsure. I finish editing, hit publish, and call it a night.

The next morning, on the way to work (I take the subway) I re-read what I had completed the night before. The strangest thing happens – I start to feel good. Not because every sentence is perfect – I’m probably critical of 80% of the content. But I find a few gems in each post and I feel more pride than just about anywhere else in my life. At that point I don’t care if anyone reads it, comments it, or shares it on Facebook. I’m satisfied with what I wrote and nothing can alter that feeling.

From there anyone who reads the post or comments or shares is gravy. The fact that people want to read this stuff is a very gratifying experience. As such I try to connect back to them through comment replies and reading their content should they be a writer.

I encourage you to read Pressfield’s book. It’s not for the faint of heart. He’ll kick you up and down the creative hall. He takes no prisoners. But at the end – he’s right. You get to feel satisfied when you beat your resistance (we all have it) and sit down to do your work. It’s just about the best feeling in the world.

do your work

She understands.

16 comments

I Threw My Holiday Cards in the Trash – A Confession

December 31, 2013

It started with the stamps. Last Friday, like a good and dedicated employee, I went into work. There were some appointments I had set up for the early part of the day. On the way home I popped into a Dominick’s grocery store to pick up a few items needed for the weekend. I remembered […]

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I’m Going Off Caffeine After Abusing the Sh*t Out of it

November 6, 2013

I’m going off caffeine. For most of my life I wouldn’t let caffeine into my system. I decided at eighteen that it was a terrible chemical to introduce to one’s system and never let it pass my lips. In that same year I became an evangelist against milk and swore off the white. I had […]

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I’ve Never Written a Song – A Confession

October 18, 2013

I’ve been playing guitar for over twenty-five years and have never written a complete song. Not for lack of trying. I bet I’ve put more than a thousand hours into jamming with myself with the sole intention of writing an actual piece of music with a beginning, middle, and end. It just hasn’t happened. I […]

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My ThoughtsFromParis App Was Rejected by Apple For This Reason…

October 15, 2013

I was thinking on the subway this evening, “Why did I really build an app for my blog?” The easy and obvious answer is that it would make accessing my content easier. The app aggregates my podcasts, posts, and even videos, as well as my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It does, in fact, help people […]

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The Infamous Naked Ice Cream Bathtub Photos – REVEALED

September 6, 2013

I had forgotten that this happened. Timestamp – September 6th, 2006. Back when I had just started dating my future ex-wife I used to take a lot of baths. She had a condo and lived a few blocks from me. To help with the mortgage I acquired a roommate. This made sense as I spent […]

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I Came Home For My Father’s Birthday and It’s All His Fault

June 21, 2013

My father is turning sixty-six tomorrow. Yesterday he did the cutest thing. He called me to tell me he just ordered the Samsung Note 2 – the exact same phone I have. I had been talking up how great it is a few weeks back and he must have been listening. This is interesting because […]

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I Called a Stranger – BandBackTogether BlogAThon

June 1, 2013

Originally posted on WhyILoveTheSemiColon I called a stranger today. It’s not a completely unusual occurrence, at my job, to pick up the phone and call someone I’ve never spoken to before. I’m sure many people call strangers, many times a day. Nowadays, I think nothing of it, and that’s the strangest thing of all. I […]

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A Day Spent in your Bed Isn’t Always a Bad Thing – BandBackTogether BlogAThon

June 1, 2013

Originally posted at OldDogNewTits Today was a weird day. My mother-in-law’s services were yesterday and I found myself trying to play second-tier hostess (my husband and his siblings being first, of course) to so many people. Many of whom I’ve never met before … or thought I hadn’t until they awkwardly reminded me of our […]

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