Writing Updates

The first two months of 2024 have been tough and at the same time pretty exciting so far.

My wife continues to deal with rehabbing her shoulder and recovering from a large blood clot in her lung. It has been a really tough time for our family as we deal with this situation. We really appreciate all of the love and concern from our friends and family. Your perspective on life really changes when you go through a life threatening illness.

In other news, I went for my first winter run in years. It might have been a mistake but I ran 23.4 km outside in February. I thought the walkways would be mostly dry, but I faced soft snow, slush and puddles everywhere. My stabilizer muscles, especially my IT band, were not happy!

And my Star-Lord tattoo is complete. Chris Labrenz from Black Gold Tattoo did an awesome job on this artful masterpiece.

Blogging

Well, blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to some of my other activities this year. I have been focused on my writing between Run For Your Life and Dennis on the Run.

I do intend on maintaining a monthly blog. And at certain times throughout this year, my blog should ramp up slightly for the launch of both books. I may also have special events like the Calgary Marathon with an event blog coming out.

Frankly, I’d like to blog more. But right now I am in a season of writing a book and I need to spend most of my energy on that.

Writing is hard. Writing takes discipline. I am my own boss as a writer, so at the end of each day, I can choose to write or do something else. It can be extremely hard after a full day at work on the computer to turn my chair and start writing. I have a high stress and busy job. I am usually tired at the end of the day.

So, how do I do it? Each day I need to find a reason to stay focused and stay disciplined. One day, I might write because it gives me energy; maybe I am working on an exciting chapter or topic. The next day I might write because of habit and discipline. One day I might write because I have given myself a deadline to write a chapter this week.

Or like today, I might write because I want to get a blog out in February and today seems like a good day for it.

I would like to tell you that it is all roses and easy. But it is not. And since I signed a publishing deal, I am more invested in writing than ever before. Literally. I have spent money to write and publish a book. I am invested.

I talk about this topic often in my blogs. A hobby is fun until it gets hard. At that point, a hobby has become more serious. And most hobbies require a certain time investment for improvement. And then the work gets hard. Practice is harder.

For example, I bought some drums. At first it was really fun. I just played them when I wanted to and took some online lessons with Drumeo. I played some music and had fun. Then I signed up for weekly lessons.

Now, I am relearning drums. I need to be more disciplined with my practice because I hate showing up for a lesson unprepared. My wife has joined a band. That take things to the next level. Now you have other people relying on you. Boom! All of a sudden, you may have to practice when you don’t feel like it. At this point, discipline and habit become super important.

Or you need a love for your hobby that can’t be explained. For example, lots of golfers say that a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day in the office. I don’t say this. I love golf, but I have had some rough days on the golf course, both weather wise and swing wise. A couple of times, I have left the course mid-round. However, I am working on my mental game to make sure that golf is fun, even on a bad day. Still, I am a fair weather golfer.

So, where was I going with all of this? Blogging started as a hobby. I was writing for fun and to share my story. Now, I have turned that into two new books coming out this year. Writing is still a hobby, but it has gotten a bit more serious. And because I am spending so much time on writing my book, blogging has become tougher.

Run For Your Life

I am an author! Achievement unlocked! Run For Your Life is complete. The book is scheduled for launch on March 15, 2024.

I am a coauthor in this incredible book alongside 13 other inspiring runners, all from Alberta. We all have a different story to tell about our lives and running. I call this an Alberta-based Chicken Soup for the Running Soul. It is truly a beautiful book and I’m honored and humbled to be included.

My chapter in this book is a bit of a teaser of my story and a glimpse into my own book coming out in Fall 2024 called Dennis on the Run!!

Run For Your Life is already available for preorder as an eBook (Kindle): https://a.co/d/hrtwYTx

I am so excited about this book. The authors are amazing and their stories are awesome!

The book is already trending on some Amazon tags. I have seen the book as high as #7 in Running. I cannot wait to see what happens once the book is available for sale!!!

I am prepping for a big launch of this book and I want to have a lot of fun with it. I believe that this opportunity leads perfectly into my own book.

I also designed Run For Your Life t-shirts. Get yours today and support my Etsy store!

https://dennisontherun.etsy.com/ca/listing/1645637786/run-for-your-life-t-shirt-running

Dennis on the Run

I have been working diligently on my own book since October of last year. I am extremely happy and fortunate to be working with the same publisher on both books.

Larissa from Next Page Publishing is amazing to work with. Like all of the people I work with and trust, we really get along, she is a consummate professional and at least 50% counsellor!

In late 2023, I completed the planning for my book and started writing chapters. I am finished the initial writing on seven chapters. So I am more than 50% through my initial writing stage. I am planning to have writing and the first round of my editing complete by the end of March. Phew! Shit just got real! That is six weeks away and I have a ton of work to do.

I will be focused on completing the rest of my chapters over the next three weeks. I have at least three planned chapters, and possibly a bonus chapter that I am thinking about.

Writing Dennis on the Run occupies most of my available brain time and free time during the week. I have been writing about one chapter a week and that takes discipline. So far, I have been pretty close to that schedule. I needed to take things a little slower when my wife was injured. But I have been pretty consistent so far in 2024.

Fortunately, I have not really experienced any writer’s block thus far. I think having a good plan in place helps with that. I also have copious notes stored in my blog filled with stories, concepts and ideas. So I have lots of inspiration to draw from.

Neighbours of Summerside

Neighbours of Summerside is “an exclusive magazine for the residents and neighbours of Lake Summerside”. That is, of course, our neighbourhood.

In our community Facebook page, I saw a request looking for families to feature early this year. I reached out to the content coordinator and mentioned that I had two books coming out this year and that I thought I had a story to tell around my sobriety that might be great content.

Just this week, I got a call from them and there is an opening in April 2024. So our family is going to be on the cover and featured in the magazine in April. So exciting!

We went for family pictures with the dogs yesterday for the magazine. And the photographer mentioned that the distribution is 6,000 magazines! Wow!!! Awesome!

You just never know when an opportunity is going to work out. And this is definitely a case of putting myself out there and hoping for the best.

Being a writer is tough, but it is important to get your name out there. I believe in my story and I believe that my book will help people. I want both Run For Your Life and Dennis on the Run to be a success!

To Present or not Present

Yet another opportunity “presented” itself this week. My publisher is working with a professional coach that provides training to authors that want to speak/present.

I am hoping to take my book to a speaking engagement level. I currently have a rough presentation that I have used at work a couple of times. So I think I have a great base to start with. I need help refining my content for an audience.

It is another way to put myself out there and it is so overwhelming!

Self Doubt

How can I not have self doubt at this point?

My book is not finished. Run For Your Life is not on sale yet. I think my writing is good; but is it? I mean, my wife and dogs think my writing is good! Haha! I am only half joking. One of the dogs is not sure…

My publisher says my writing is great and that I have a great story to tell and that my story has a market. My publisher also says (like I said she is 50% counsellor to me) that I need to take a small piece of paper and write down the name of people whose opinion matters. No other opinions matter.

And I guess that is where self doubt comes from. Will people read my story? Will people like my writing? Will people buy my book? Do people want to hear me speak and share my story?

My writing is definitely getting better. As time goes by and I discuss my latest chapter with my publisher, the feedback seems to be less harsh. My topics are flowing a bit easier and I am finding it takes less energy to put my thoughts down into a logical pattern.

One thing that I struggle with is writing a blog versus writing a book. You see, blogging is all about me. I am sharing my story and my thoughts and I am allowed to start sentences with “You see” and “I’m allowed to use contractions and I don’t have to spell out the number 1”. At times, in my blog, I will turn things back to you, the reader. But largely, I am sharing me.

However a book is different. I am writing a book for my readers. There is much more “you” focus in a book. I have to constantly remind myself to turn it back to the reader. Here’s my story and here’s what you can do with that. Maybe I should be doing that more in my blog.

That can be hard as well when self doubt creeps in. Who am I? I am not a professional. I am just guy who has been sober for three years. As Popeye says “I yam what I yam an’ tha’s all I yam”.

But I truly believe that I have the stories to share, the learning experiences from them, and some real advice and steps to help people. And some days you just have to tell off self doubt. Eff you self doubt; I can do this! I am doing this.

Wrap Up

I hope you enjoyed this update. There is a lot of great stuff happening in my life and it is all happening so fast. It feels just like yesterday that I pitched my concept for Run For Your life. And here we are, three weeks to launch!

I am a writer!

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