Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

February 1, 2010

Dream Big, My Ass

I guess one of the reasons I'm me is because I do things like this. I don't have New Year's Resolutions. I have a New Year's Motto.

This isn't just a wishy-washy little promise that I have no intention of keeping. No, a Motto represents the foundation upon which all of my choices for the coming year rest. It's a belief system. And, just like any motto, it has to ring perfectly true if I expect anyone - especially me- to follow it.

Some years I can never quite settle on one. So I just don't. Those are usually the years I tried to kid myself into thinking that I will start cooking and eating healthy on a regular basis. Not. Going. To. Happen.

But some years I nail it. Like I did with the very first Motto. That one really changed me.

F.U.N. (Free of Unecessary Negativity)

It was the late 90s, I was in my mid-20s and sharing an apartment with two girlfriends in Brentwood, just down the street from Nicole Brown Simpson's front porch. This was about the time I started realizing that maybe the world wasn't really that terrible. And that maybe, just maybe, I had a serious problem with pessimism. I just wasn't having as much fun as everyone around me seemed to be.

I kind of do things head on, without much room for emotional nuance or game playing. So I announced to my roommates that the coming year (I think it was 1997) was going to be F -- U -- N. Free of Unnecessary Negativity.

This is what that Motto represented to me. It's actually quite simple. When I have an idea to do something (and I often do), I should just stop thinking right there. Shut up, stand up, and go make it happen. Because if I start thinking, I will find every possible way to talk myself out of it. Even an idea as simple as "Go to Universal Studios," something I'd wanted to do since I moved to LA two years earlier but always found a reason not to.

My friends - who clearly did not have issues with pessimism -- were all in.

I have it all chronicled in a photo album called "The Year of F.U.N." Inside it are photos of my first camping trip (Grand Canyon), rollerskating on a weeknight and flirting with the DJ so he'd play all of our favorite 80s songs, theme parties like Beers of the World (we bought a case of O'Douls because we thought it was "Irish beer"), and - you guessed it - Universal Studios.

I admit, I did go back to being slightly lazy once the year was up, but that Motto was a huge shift for me. And why I'm doing what I am today. Which is the whole reason I got on here to write this post. So here goes.

Late last year I took a class on writing a non-fiction book proposal. I'd always wanted to adapt this blog (or what the blog was supposed to be if Wine Guy hadn't ruined everything so soon) into a book. After a few weeks of bouncing the idea around with my classmates and getting encouraging feedback from the instructor, I thought, "Hey, I could actually do this."

The more I thought about it, the more reasons I came up with for why I know I could make this happen. People I know. Skills I have (like writing - duh- and working in media and marketing). A lot of free time which, if I were to have a baby like I hope, would vanish. I could be a writer. Well, a paid one anyway.

That's when I thought up what would be the first draft of my motto for 2010.

Dream Big


People sell their book ideas every day. Some actually get read. And some people actually become full-time, professional writers. Why can't that person be me?

But I still wasn't sold on the Motto. Something was missing. After a few days tossing it around in my head and in conversation, I discovered the hitch. The word "Dream" was one big, gaping loophole. And if my little insecure self sees a loophole that will keep me from trying to be great, I'll jump right through it. And a dream, my friends, is something you wake up from. It ain't real.

The second and final draft was a no-brainer.

Believe Big.
I will be a writer.

One week later I got the phone call that confirmed for me the power of a good tagline.

To Be Continued.... but in case anyone out there (like a publisher:-) is wondering, I haven't even finished the book proposal yet. But trust me people, it's still good.