Whatever you dream to do, be sure to do it well.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Someday. A day in the future where it all works out. A day when I look back to the now and laugh at the hurt and think: it really wasn’t that bad. I had a someday moment last night as I thought about my depression through college and how I survived it. External triggers unfortunately dug them up from the hole whence I banished them. Usually when I let the memory of those years resurface, my heart aches or I cry, but this time I only laughed. What I had experience came nowhere close to the great suffering of countless others.

Look on the bright side!
I do not belittle my pain, however, because it’s part of who I am. I’ve just grown enough to not let pain hinder me in any way and to laugh it off. So, today, I have hope in someday, but even greater still because I will take an active part in making my someday happen sooner than later. As the last few days of 2012 roll on by, my mind grasps at someday. It will be more than strength to surrender pain and choose happiness because I can do that today. It will be a new life in California; days at study near the water; winters snowboarding in Colorado; and sunsets at the beach full of peace, smiles, and a good friend beside me to share a hot potato and a cool drink. These are the days I will fight for in 2013. Along with these goals:

-Finish editing COT
-Get an agent for COT
-Get COT published
-Finish AWYG (Alien Within Your Gates; short sci-fi drama)
-Send AWYG to a publisher
-Save $4000 for Japan
-Live and work in Japan for a year
-Read 100 books and review them
-Live in France 
-Apply to Ph.D. programs in California
-Get accepted to a school in California
-Live in California

Into the West: a new life awaits! 
It’s astounding really what you can learn in only four months without work or school. My return from Korea has had its lows with several points of high. One of those highs included reviving this blog. It has become a dear friend to me. It helped halt my drifting though Ghostland to rise and walk in the land of the living.

So, for this last post of the year, I want to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading,
CSS :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Death as Motivator?

The end of the year always offers me a chance, a gift really, to start all over again. I try to make my relationship with time less stressful. I can’t fight time and expect to win. It’s a battle with no victory I can call mine. So, instead of heading butts with time, I’ve decided to understand it and relish what it has to give. Itself. Youth fades faster than snow melting under a sun in a cloudless, warm day after a snowfall. Old age creeps up unexpectedly similar to how a few quick chugs of bourbon hits the brain. You’re one place in one minute and another place in the next. Time is a beast. It devours everything: our youth, our strength, health, skin, teeth, and ultimately, our life. Try as we might to replace all of them through the help of science or healthy living, the inevitable truth strikes us all. We will die. And yet for me death is not a source for fear, but rather inspiration, motivation, and courage. Courage to stand up for my dreams and what I want to see realized in my life. Knowledge of my unavoidable demise gives me courage to counter arguments trivializing my ambitions or snuffing out the delicate flame that lights my hope in a life lived differently. I cannot live the dreams and hopes of another. Others have had their chance and now it is mine. This life is mine to make mistakes. Mine to learn, live, get hurt, recover, and move on. The sooner I understand and fully grasp this the better. Time teaches me that risks need to be taken and possible failure courted because it is a beast.

Busan, South Korea. I miss it.

I may not always make the best decisions. This is true. However, they are my decisions and I take full responsibility for them. Only Gods knows my future so I speak to Him and that conversation is between Him and me. It’s a conversation not many can understand, and that’s quite all right. I grow sick of explaining myself over and over again. Just let me be. Let it be. Let it be. Oh, but very few of us can because we want control, especially control over another life or more. I’ve been set free so I am under the control of no authority except God. I respect and behave courteously, of course, because good manners mean a great deal to me. If I’m able to overlook a person’s bad manners, it means I love his or her personality above all else, but that is a very rare occasion. However, I digress. My point. What is it? Let time be an ally. Don’t make it an enemy because it’s a merciless beast that will never give back what it has devoured or rather what we have allowed it to devour. Death is the only thing that stops us. The only thing that moves us is life. 

thanks for reading,
CSS :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tomorrow is not Assured.

Hi Folks!

Posting for the next few weeks before New Years will be somewhat sporadic since I've switched locations to spend time with my family in Georgia. Regular posting will resume after New Years. Until then, please continue browsing around and I'll try updating as much as I can. Enjoy the remainder of the year and hold tight to your family and friends and tell them you love them. Tomorrow is not assured. Many happy wishes!

thanks for reading,

CSS :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pass through the Slump

Make it Spring every day.
Smile. Laugh. It’s not easy. When I want to cry, sleep forever, and run away as far away as the farthest galaxy. My head pounds and frustration pushes behind my eyeballs and tries to poke them out of my sockets. POP! And like a stubborn dog on a bone this dull ache gnaws at the heart. Mind says no answers exist. Nothing new to look forward to. It will always be like this. Lies. Lies. Lies. So what do I do? Smile. And then I laugh. I smile and my heart feels lighter. I laugh and these negative feels grow week and crumble away to nothingness. I laugh at the pain because it means nothing. I praise God for the pain and move on with my tasks. I conquer. I pay no mind to my situation and my environment because they soon will be gone. They will cease to exist. Know it. Understand it. Be happy. So. I smile. And laugh. And move on. The result? I suffer from random smile and laugh attacks.

thanks for reading,
CSS :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Writer: What am I Supposed to DO!

Sooooo many options! Hmmmm...
Just cracking a door into this topic makes my head want to explode. With so many options out there for writers to publish their work, it takes research and good judgement not to screw it up and mar a career before it's even started. I compiled a list of pros and cons for traditional publishing, self-publishing, and...wait for it, the coolest kid on this side of the block right now: E-Publishing. Let's take a look!

Traditional Publishing: The Literary Agent

  • Most publishers will not accept manuscripts without an agent. Agents filter submissions and reduce the workload for publishers.
  • Agents have access to editors of large and small publishing houses and are thus better able to put the right story and writer with the right editor.
  • Agents know what editors want, and the writer's manuscripts receives priority.
  • Agents handle contracts and negotiations so writers can focus on writing.
  • Agents help writers polish and lead proposals in the right direction to help editors sell them to superiors.
  • A good relationship with a literary agent provides an outlet to help generate ideas for the next book concept before time is invested in a concept that needs tweaking or eliminating.
  • Experienced agents know and understand the publishing industry and can get the right contract for a writer.
  • Experience agents understand editor's needs, know what's current and what's not, and are on top of corporate policies.  
  • Lack of autonomy in terms of handling negotiations and selling of work
  • Sharing the profits of books sold; Most agents earn 15% of author royalties.
  • The trap of new agents out for him/herself and not the author; new agents have little to no previous contacts with publishing industry.
  • Scammers: agents or impostors who make money off the writer by charging reading fees; not members of AAR; other hidden fees: manuscript critique, editing services, additional services, connecting clients to fee charging publishers, etc
  • Writers must do careful, extensive research on agents to ensure they find the right agent.
  • Query letters (enough said)
  • And the waiting and rejection letters
General Advice:
  • Author Michelle Buckman: "Getting a bad agent is worse than no agent, but a good agent is precious to your career."
  • Ask agents smart questions: Material they represent, length of contracts, fees charged, prior representations, willing to represent more than one book, willing to nurture careers, etc.
  • Meet agents at writers' conferences because connections can be established and an agent might express interest in work unlike in cold contacting.
  • Agents are interested in writers who are familiar with the publishing industry and have been in the field for a time. Get informed.

Non-Traditional: Self-Publishing (Print)

  •  Autonomy: control price and cover; control changes, decisions, etc
  •  Autonomy over the creative process
  • Self-publishing writer can receive 40-60% of selling price as opposed to author in traditional route who receives 10% of selling price.
  • Instant publication
  • Writer controls marketing details of book.
  • “The accomplishment of building something from the ground up.” – Sally McGraw


  • No free professional editors, people to handle layouts or format book, cover art, printing, sales people, etc: All this must be done alone or seek help, which costs money.
  • Most likely to sell fewer copies than if with a traditional publisher who prints and distributes books
  • Writer must figure out how to negotiate payment and ensure contract matches typical publishing contracts (writer to editor without agent).
  • Writer is responsible for promotional costs.
  • Print route is risky in the midst of popularity surrounding e-books and digital publishing.
  • Money is invested before received and there is no guarantee a return.
  • Writer must find a distributor because most book sellers will not buy directly from an author.
  • Building brand and garnering audience might take some time.
  • Very stressful and time consuming
General Advice:
  • Create meaningful connections with other writers; promote self through bloggers in terms of reviews, giveaways, and promotional incentives.
  • Work with a small press that specializes to the book's genre.
  • Organize or host local events to promote self and bolster sales.

E-Book Publishing


  • Writer controls the rights of his or her work; can choose the cover, the editor, etc.
  • Writer controls pricing and examines novel sales as they're happening, which offers insight to markets tactics that work and don't.
  • There's no need for a middle-person or company who takes portion of proceeds.
  • Speedier process as opposed to the one or two years wait that results in a hunt for an agent and editor and wait-time for book printing and availability in bookstores.
  • Potential for increased readership
  • Market for E-Books is growing.
  • Potential to make a small fortune
  • Easier to produce subsidiary content for your work
  • E-Books can never go out of print so opens up new opportunities for new readers.
  • Investing money before making money: paying for custom cover art, professional editor, formatting, etc
  • Lack of standard formats available for readers using a variety of systems; can lead to reader confusion
  • Writer must take sole responsibility of marketing side; invest time in learning marketing strategies.
  • Sales have ups and down. Unpredictability
  • Quality must be high to compete with other E-Books.
  • Amazon's algorithms for suggesting author's works to readers does not always work to the favor of the author.

General Advice:

  •  Aggressively, but intelligently market book online. Take time learning about marketing strategies through social media.
  • Invest time in building an audience and targeting readers.

What do you think? Think something I should add something or remove anything? Let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,
CSS :)

List of Sources:

  • Jennifer Reed: How To Decide If You Need a Literary Agent. And How to Find a Literary Agent (http://bit.ly/QU5Yjv)
  • Ali: Book Writing and Publishing FAQ – Do I Need a Literary Agent? The Pros and Cons of Having Literary Agent Represent You to Publishers
  • Writer’s Nook Club: Creating And Selling E-Books: The Pros & Cons For Creating Electronic Books (http://bit.ly/TTl4Wi)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Speak to Your Dreams

Happy Monday! I hope you all had an awesome weekend. If you didn’t, that’s okay. You can be happy today because yesterday is gone and never coming back. Let’s press forward together. (Please don't mind my random photos.)

A picture I took of the Haedong Yonggung Temple in Busan, SK

What’s the post for today? Doing it well. :)

We find great intrinsic reward in putting our whole heart into a project because it’s ours; it’s our creation; it’s our baby and we want to see it grow. And grow it will if we nurture, nourish, and gently guide it to it’s highest potential. We encourage and support at points of inspiration, and refocus and recharge when everything is in the pits. You may think me crazy for saying that we can encourage our projects, but it is possible! Talk to your piece of writing, art, movie, new venture, or whatever it is and give it strength. “You’re going to be awesome!” “Your potential is limitless!” “I believe in you so don’t be afraid. I won’t abandon you!” It creates and cements an intimate bond between you and your project that no one can sever.

Aren't these little guys cute?
Bring it back down to earth. I’m quite aware that some projects won’t work or fly despite how much effort we expend, and we need to be wise enough to set them aside and move on with new ones. It’s not so much the current project you’re forming a bond with, but rather your dream. And if you don’t know what your dream is, that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to find or uncover. Don’t be discouraged because a dream rests inside each of us. I’ll be sure to post some links that I think will be helpful in finding your dream. I think it has a lot to do with being more in tune with yourself and raising your self-consciousness. Maybe I’ll add links on that too! It’s endless.   

Please don’t mistake doing something well with perfectionism. Perfectionism stifles, cramps, and inhibits meaningful transformation. Static dreams benefit very little, especially you. Like everything in our universe, we want our dreams to be in motion and change into something better, more surprising, and wonderful. We want our dreams to stay infinite.

I've been writing stories since I was eight years old, and it brings me such immense joy and pleasure to work on a story. At the same time, I want to produce great writing so I pour an equal amount of energy into researching and learning how to write well and improve my  craft. My focus doesn't end there. I want to transform my writing into something uniquely mine, and thus contribute a piece of my heart and soul to the world.

I'm sure we've all heard it countless times that it's all been done before. But guess what? Just as each human has a unique set of fingerprints (even identical twins), we all have a unique imprint on the creative process. It takes time, hard work, and much love and dedication to find and grow that unique imprint. When we create, we don't want to make replicas of what has been done before, but rather learn from the past and transform into something that is ours. And that's what Do it WELL is about: transformation. 

How about you? How do you do well whatever you do?

Thanks for reading,

CSS :)

P.S. I have not forgotten about completing the rest of ESPER. E and R are on their way soon! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Changes are good. I like changes. Changes mean growth. If you’ve been following my blog lately, you’ll see that I’ve done a little work around here. First, I’ve renamed it to Do it WELL. In my last post, I realized that I didn’t want to make this blog about me, but about you and everyone else who happens to come along here. I called it Do it WELL because I’m a firm believer of doing well whatever it is you dream to do. If you don’t give it your all, why give anything at all? Second, I’ve developed seven little gems that will inspire the new entries of my blog: creativity, wellness, joy, unlimited potential, community, goodwill, and achievement. If you look to your right, you’ll see I’ve added some links to help readers who are aspiring authors. To your left, you’ll see a series of links that for anyone searching to improve his or her state of mind and find motivation and inspiration from a variety of different voices. I found these sites to be quite helpful. 
Four things will be coming soon:

  1.) A corner for stories on people who persevered and made it
  2.) A corner for good news (people doing good things for other people) because we don’t hear it that often

  3.) A corner for game changers (people unafraid to take risks or simply go against convention) 
  4.) A corner for teachers on living with less

I’ll be sure to search for a minimum of three to four articles for each corner and try updating them every several days. I’ll do a feature twice a week on any of these interesting stories I pick up on my search. 

Well, what do you think? What else would you like to see? Please let me know! I’d like to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions, or ideas.

Thanks for reading,

CSS :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It’s Not about Me. It’s about Them.

December 12, 2012. December 21, 2012. December 31, 2012. What do all these dates have in common? You already know. It’s the end of the world, folks! What is it with humanity and the world ending? Are we finally fed up with life? Are the depressed economies, the boneheads in government who offer no solutions, desensitization to violence, globalization, constant connectedness, instant gratification, mindless consuming, endless freak environmental disasters and wars, excessive boredom and shock antics, and you and me and everyone else finally catching up to us and we’re ready for the experiment that is humanity to be shut down? Been there, done that! Nothing new can surprise us or shake awake our sedated minds. Smells like a revolution is in order. But it’s not the world that needs changing, it’s you and me; it’s us. It’s time we live up to Ghandi’s endlessly repeated quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The thing about beautiful words is they strike but don’t often hit their target.

Last I checked, we haven’t ended world hunger and poverty, cured AIDS, made contact with ETs, commercialized flying cars, destroyed all nuclear arsenals, completely liberate ourselves from fossil fuels, achieve worldwide literacy, and I could go on forever and ever until my head explodes, but the point is this: something hasn’t been done yet, and we need to find out what it is and do it. And we don’t have to be geniuses because we are the experts of our lives and dreams. There are connections to make, people to meet, bonds to strengthen, gaps to close, communication barriers to break down, needs to focus on, understandings to reach, and lives to touch, rescue, love and hug.  So in the end, it’s not about me. It’s about them. The people in our lives, people outside our doors, outside our country—everyone else. 

Yeah, I want to make money, publish books that garner fame and recognition, be an excellent teacher, and create organizations that dismantle and create institutions, but all these things would mean nothing if I didn’t have love for my fellow human beings. So you know what excites me about life? Meeting new people. Because it means I discover another soul with whom I can make a possible connection. Now, I know can’t bond with everyone, but it’s still worth it whether those connections die or thrive. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant like sharing a life or death experience with someone for it to be meaningful. 

Naima, if you're reading this. Contact me. :)
Sometimes it’s as fleeting as a meeting on a train. I met a kind, lovely young lady on the subway who proceeded to tell me about her name and its origin. Naima. My stop cut our conversation short. I hopped off and realized I hadn’t gotten her contact info and instantly regretted it. I won’t ever see her again, but I still remember her, and those brief five minutes were meaningful to me. Take a leap and talk to a stranger. Not everyone is an ax murderer. (Should I put up a disclaimer somewhere, hmmm?)

Wait! Where’s the part about writing? Errrr… that will come tomorrow since I punk’d out on Tuesday. :)

Thanks for reading,