Your Beliefs Create Your Reality. Part 5

Health Challenges:

My train of thought has been known to derail.

In the previous installment I touched on the subject of health as part of a general view of my personal reality. A few weeks after posting that one, I wrote an e-mail which expanded on the theme which I will share to complete the thought.

First, for those who have not yet read Ms. Creant, my book delves into LIFE–which of course include matters of health. There is more room in a book to go into detail but for the sake of brevity I will give you the key idea which I presented on this subject:

There are four integral parts of a human which need to be kept healthy or else we open the door to major health challenges.

We are bombarded by books and articles about the importance of exercise, eating right, and eliminating the intake of things that we know to be bad for us. These writers tell us that if we look after our bodies, we will be more energetic, happier and will live longer. IF THIS WERE TRUE:

  • None of them would ever have to face significant health challenges but many will.
  • None would ever become depressed but approximately 17% of this group will.
  • All of them would outlive the rest of us but many do not.

The reason is fairly simple to grasp. They focused on only 25% of their being’s needs to the exclusion of the other 75%.

Here is what they missed:

  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their INTELLECT. The more advanced the thought processes, the more power the mind has to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us.
  • They placed little or no value on the exploration of their inner SELF–who they are—their identity.  They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us on an emotional level.
  • They placed little or no value on nourishing their SPIRITUAL side–the part of all humans that needs to believe in something  greater than themselves so they can remain hopeful. They were not able to moderate the intake of things that we know to be bad for us to offset feelings of hopelessness or meaninglessness.

You cannot nourish that which you do not know or understand.

  • To nourish our INTELLECT, one must simply READ; READ; READ! I would love to tell you that you must read my genre (nonfiction) but it would be self-serving if I did so because there are thought provoking books in many other genres. The key to a good read is its ability to make you think–not merely escape. People who feed their intellect are less likely to succumb to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  • To nourish your SELF, you must explore the who, what, when, where and how of the significant events which affected you emotionally creating your behaviors. You can read a great deal on psychology but it is doubtful you will be able to accurately assess your own behaviors without a perspective from someone trained in the field. People who understand themselves have fewer emotional outbursts, are better at managing stress, anxiety, depression, and are less prone to psychological disorders in general.
  • To nourish your SPIRITUAL side you must first acknowledge that there is meaning–if not a plan–to your existence. Next you must find inner peace in some belief or (better still) beliefs you can call your own. Philosophy; even the philosophies of various religions, are particularly useful in giving life meaning by again adding an outside perspective to your life. Everyone knows of my disdain for religions who profit from fear mongering; who help only those of their own ilk; that endorse sexism and violence while perpetuating the division of humanity . . . but even their books contain worthwhile messages for a seeker of meaning.

Preface over; now on to the subject at hand.

Hope springs eternal. Hope is what keeps us going. Most people consider this a given until presented with challenges they were not PREPARED to face. The least AWARE among us will be quicker to lose hope, while thinkers will take their time to process this new information before ACCEPTING the opinions of the very fallible indoctrinated humans who dispense it.

If you believe a singular prognosis, it is YOU who will make it a reality.

This brings us to the point you were making. Reasonable or cautious optimism are a part of what thinking people wrestle with constantly. We must be cautious yet hopeful. Most importantly, we must be careful not to RATIONALIZE poor choices or behavior as a result of a new-found belief. At the same time, we must not DELUDE ourselves either or we could allow a decline in our condition which could have been prevented. This is a great deal of information which we must process. Fortunately the human brain is capable of this level of cognitive reasoning when the mind has been properly trained to think about the probable outcomes of numerous possibilities.

Thinking people ponder their options while other humans merely react.

A person who is considering several courses of action is undecided about the outcome so they have not yet chosen to BELIEVE anything. Conversely, the person who immediately chooses to believe, will also immediately begin to live a REALITY created for them by someone else.

We have a choice as to what we believe. This is certain and it also implies that we have a choice of realities.

A health challenge is a test of WHO we are: our intellect, our spirit, our emotional stability and our will to continue. No school program ever PREPARES us for these life challenges, even though they should. I wrote my book, in part, as an attempt to create change in what we teach–to encourage life preparedness. In order to achieve this we must place emphasis on creating young people with fully formed and understood identities rather than letting them flail about in the world, HOPING they will find their way.

A prepared mind is less likely to believe in a reality created by someone else, and more likely to see their HOPES come to fruition.

I wish I had thought of the line above sooner . . . it would have saved a great deal of time.

Your Beliefs Create Your Reality! Part 4

This is a very special unplanned segment.

For those who are not among my handful of followers, I am the author of the book Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! pictured above. At the beginning of 2017, I started this new blog series which explores how all of us are, at the very least, influenced by what we believe to be true or in the worst cases, completely handicapped by those beliefs. The message of this new awareness campaign is pretty simple:

We must question our beliefs or we fall victim to them.

This special segment is not about society or humanity as the others are. This one is about me. Unless you have read my book, you probably do not know much about me so I will give you some insights.

In 2007 I was injured in a workplace accident which, according to the various medical experts who evaluated me, has left me with a significant permanent physical impairment. Their collective prognoses did not paint a pretty picture of my future:

  • Daily pain worsening as years pass requiring ongoing ever-increasing prescription drug intake.
  • Limited ADL’s (activities of daily living)—worsening over time.
  • Eventual loss of mobility leading to other associated health problems.

There were more but you get the idea. I was faced at the time with what appeared to be only two choices:

ACCEPT or REJECT.

It appeared I would either have to BELIEVE and submit to THEIR FUTURE for me, or I could deny their findings and fight. I was never one to place any faith in authority figures and throughout much of my life I had always rebelled against them. For years I chose DENIAL and that did not work out so well as I endlessly suffered with re-injuries. These long recovery periods are where I began to write what I thought would be a short memoir to leave to my young nephews who were already repeating the mistakes of my younger days. The more stories I wrote, the more obvious my own repetitive behaviors became to me. I was creeping up to the edge of awareness or an awakening without knowing it. I would then spend a year researching a great many academic disciplines as I sought to unravel the mysteries of human behavior.  When I wrote The End for the first time years later,  I was already AWARE I had always had a third option where my CHOICES were concerned. I could have chosen to LEARN MORE. Since that time, every decision in my life has had three ways it could go:

ACCEPT, REJECT or RESEARCH.

Had I BELIEVED the medical experts, by now I would probably have:

  • become a prescription drug addict.
  • significant organ damage resulting from the continual drug use.
  • liver, kidney and heart problems which would of course be treated with still more prescriptions.
  • an inability to feel when I am at the threshold of overexertion so recurring injuries would have been far more frequent; thereby furthering my level of disability.
  • a brain chemistry so impaired that writing anything remotely cogent would be unlikely.

Fortunately in my youth, I somehow absorbed the importance of possessing the ability to learn; courtesy of the Canadian public education system.

Knowing how to learn is everything!

This brings us back to the present and closer to the special part I promised.

When I began my journey as an author, there were a huge number of things I could have BELIEVED which could have made me quit:

  • “Major publishers will not accept queries from first-time authors without agents.” This turned out to be true so I pitched the smaller ones.
  • “Publishers will not accept queries from non-fiction self-help authors lacking a PHD.” This turned out to be true but I had a problem with the idea that only PHD’s are capable of rational thought or original ideas. It is elitist and it does not explain why people with advanced  degrees have always sought me out when they needed a new perspective—so I pressed on.
  • “Agents will not take on new writers who do not have a substantial writing portfolio and author platform.” This turned out to be true so I began building one.
  • Publicists: “We are looking for a PHD as well, unless you are an entertainer.” I was unsure how those two equated so I moved on.
  • I amassed a large collection of rejection letters from both agents and publishers which led to the idea of self-publishing as an indie-author.
  • “Indie-authors need to build a massive following over a multitude of social media platforms for their book to even be noticed.” This may be true but I only march to the beat of my own drum and I have little desire to be another dancing monkey.
  • “There is no point in sending out press releases if you are an unknown author.” I sent them anyway.
  • “The mainstream media will ignore indie-authors.” There was evidence to support this belief.  Several major book critics and newspapers do not allow submissions of self-published titles. However . . .

Not being quick to BELIEVE has created my new REALITY.

 

A Holiday Message. . .

Times are tough.

There is a great deal of uncertainty at the very least, if not fear or outright paranoia in our world at the moment.

Please try to reign in these thoughts–especially over the holidays.

If you are able to read this on-line, it most likely means you can afford devices and services which connect you to this on-line world. This also implies that your immediate security needs of shelter, food, and clothing have also been met. Be grateful for what you have as there are a great many others who are not as fortunate and who will not be able to read this.

The holidays are a time for giving–our way of expressing love, caring and thanks to people we know.

 

Even strangers tend to treat us a little better at this time of year. They might smile as they hold a door for us when we have both of our hands full of shopping bags. Our preoccupation with finishing the damnable shopping, so that we can jump back into the hustle and bustle of the season, might make us overlook this tiny kind gesture. Seize the moment to look them in the eye and say thank you and wish them a happy holiday. It might be the only present they receive this year.

The holiday season puts increased demands on our time because of all the commitments we make to family and friends. This causes us to be stressed and possibly irritable. We need to remember that we are fortunate to have those friends and family members with us, as many others may not.

Some people will not be able to travel to see their friends and family this year. They may feel very alone. They can change that by volunteering their time to a cause they believe in. Many worthwhile causes do not close during the holidays and spending time with the other volunteers will almost certainly turn into new friendships.

We pick up the holiday spirit by being compassionate. Give some canned goods to the food bank, give some blankets to a shelter or contribute to your local toy drive. The smallest things make a difference in this world. We often forget this. We do not have to solve global warming to improve the planet; the kid who receives your toy this year might be destined to do that–if they are not emotionally scarred by Santa missing their home. This is how we are all connected.

Goodness spreads like a virus through all walks of life, across all religions, and it does not see the color of someones skin or their gender. By spreading that which we know to be good, we spread hope. The hope we create can alter the path of another.

This almost certainly will be my last blog post for a while.

I wish to extend my gratitude to all of you who follow me on social media. To you, and everyone you care about, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

E. A.

 

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life With Women: The Long-Awaited Instruction Manual

This book was created for everyone, from young adults to seniors. It was written from a male’s point of view, speaking to men who are endlessly struggling to understand the opposite sex. For women, this is a fascinating journey inside the male psyche. The book gives a young reader a glimpse of the future, with a recommended timeline for key life events. Mature readers, who have already experienced much of what is discussed in the book, should come away with a new-found understanding, and perhaps even closure. Ms. Creant is a controversial, entertaining, yet informative look at everything that influences human behaviour including: relationships, life, health, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology, politics, genetics—even physics. E. A. Barker shares twenty-four “inappropriate” stories of life with women. The author based these stories of women behaving badly on his real life experiences, spanning four decades of his search for an ideal partner. The lessons taken away from the book will serve to help readers make better choices, become more aware, grow, and change—at any stage of life.

ISBNs

978-1-77302-134-8 (8×10 Large Print Hardcover)

978-1-77302-132-4 (8×10 Large Print Paperback)

978-1-77302-133-1 (eBook)

Amazon US ➜ http://tinyurl.com/hpdbjtp
Amazon CA ➜ http://tinyurl.com/jxa7zab
Amazon AU ➜ http://tinyurl.com/zhufwl6
Amazon UK ➜ http://tinyurl.com/jnrp9dn
Smashwords ➜ http://tinyurl.com/grxg5sv
B&N ➜ http://tinyurl.com/j9murlr
Kobo ➜ http://tinyurl.com/je2ytyp
itunes ➜ http://tinyurl.com/h47zplv
Indigo ➜ http://tinyurl.com/jye4q5m

https://www.facebook.com/MsCreantTheWrongDoers/

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/58727166-e-a-barker

 

Blog 5.1 Everything I know… so far.

What do books, music, TV and films have in common?

Someone has to gamble on them.

The publishing industry as a whole gets kicked around by “indie authors” an awful lot these days- in some cases, rightly so. A “good read” should always get published, or at least be picked up for distribution. As an industry, we owe that to the book-buying public. There are just too many “B-grade” books on the shelves these days from “one hit wonder” authors who received a multi-book deal.

No industry survives without paying attention to the buying public.

Some publishers will make the case they just could not afford all the staff necessary to do all the query reading. They are right, but there is a free resource for the feedback they need- their retailers. They often overlook these “recommends” in favor of continuing to back a “one hit wonder” who is now on book four; ever clinging to the success of a “debut album” in the hope that more hits will follow, just as with the music industry.

QUESTION: Why do both the publishing industry and the music industry do this?

ANSWER: R. O. I. (Return on Investment)

Both industries sink large sums of money into what boils down to a bet on a horse. They pay signing bonuses (advances), production costs, promotion costs, and distribution costs UP FRONT in the hope that they have backed a LONG TERM WINNER like Elvis or The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. They typically put out a VERY HIGH QUALITY PRODUCT. Even with these huge names, only one remains today. Yes, there are many other names just under those, but they often break even or just pay bills and are more quickly forgotten.

The two industries employ teams of expensive specialized people in order to accomplish this lofty goal. Both industries take a gamble, a leap of faith or outright RISK to produce the next “BIG thing”, just as with the film industry. Yes; let us drag in the film industry too.

The problem with a debut book, album or film is the talent’s first work is a “best of” product from the author, musical act or director. These people worked years or perhaps their entire lives on the refinement of their this initial SINGULAR PRODUCT.

Mark Twain, The Rolling Stones and Steven Speilberg are ANOMALIES and not the norm- they do not even come every generation, but THE GAMBLER NEEDS TO BELIEVE IN HIS HORSE.

Digital technology has hurt two of the three industries.

Film has not suffered because the movie going audience has high expectations for their audio-visual experience. Digital special effects have enhanced the film experience, but are far too expensive for the “indie film producer” to entertain. Independent films are celebrated because of their innovative low-cost solutions, while putting out a noteworthy product. TV screen writers take note. You must pitch economy and value of the production- not just a story.

The music industry has suffered tremendous losses. Everyone knows about illegal downloading of music so I will not bother delving into it here. The album market is in its death throes. The single song download means the record company only receives 10% of the revenues they once did, and they now have only 10% of what they are accustomed to keeping in the bank. Sure there are some artists who can get as many as three singles from ten songs but they are rare. The record companies just do not spend money like they once did.

They are in SURVIVAL MODE.

They have battened down the hatches to ride out the storm by cutting back everywhere. There are few new signings, few sponsored tours, layoffs, and restructuring throughout every aspect of the once rich industry. The “indie music scene” has an abundance of talented players and performers, but continually pumps out badly recorded, badly engineered, badly mixed, and badly mastered products, and they wonder why they cannot sell it beyond their core fans. Additionally, the sheer volume of indie artists producing crap on “home studio” gear, do nothing but create “noise” which masks the true talent that is out there.

I could almost copy and paste the above paragraph and just substitute out a few words here and there, but I will earn my pay.

Authors are not rock or pop stars. They never have been. Their earnings are rarely even close. J. K. Rowling might be the only exception these days, and if we take away her movie deals, even she would not be close. We sell books, e-books and audio books. J. K. may get an appearance fee here and there, but nothing compared to a top music act on tour.

In essence we have ONE REVENUE STREAM. We sell words. We do not perform those words. This is why the publishing industry has never been as rich as the music industry. More people in North America buy music than buy books, by quite a large margin. The book publishing industry is MUCH SMALLER than the music industry, and it is suffering too.

How do they hedge their bets these days?

In music, the record companies have been backing proven horses for decades. Deep Purple’s Machine Head album featuring the song Smoke on the Water was not a debut album for the band, but just their North American debut. Additionally, I believe that Metallica sold something like 40,000 albums off the back of their truck, before they signed with a record company.

These were “sure things” to invest in.

The book publishers hedge their bets by narrowing their focus to textbooks and children’s books, as that is the core of their business. In other words, the least risky and most profitable. They publish fiction from well-known authors and non-fiction from celebrities and doctors- whether they can write or not. Ghost writers are often employed.

The prevailing attitude is one of “Why gamble when we can invest.”

They are playing it safe.

The MEGA-PUBLISHERS have streamlined their operations and craftily removed all the query reading by having an AGENTS ONLY SUBMISSIONS policy putting the job of screening out all the crap squarely on the literary agents; and crap there is. The big name players reduce their risk further by LIMITING NEW UNPUBLISHED AUTHORS TO 10% of their yearly offering to the book-buying market.

I have recently seen a plethora of $1.00 or even FREE e-books primarily in the fiction genre. They had bad covers; bad interiors, bad editing, and some even featured bad writing. They had next to no publicity, no reviews, no press, and the “indie author” wonders why there have not been any sales. It is very sad these authors have become so desperate to get noticed that they will give away their work, but the cause is “indie publishing” where ALL THE RISK AND ALL THE COSTS ARE INCURRED BY THE AUTHOR.

The major publishing houses own some of these so-called “indie” publishing houses, so do not think you are a true “indie author” until you know everyone who is sharing your money. There is an opportunity to be “discovered” with one of these affiliated “indie publishers” if the editor loves your book. It could get “kicked upstairs” so to speak, and you may have to go scrambling for an agent to deal with a publishing offer. This is rare.

I can create a respectable e-book these days without the need of an editor, publisher, cover designer, social media team, sales team, warehouse, merchandiser, promotions department or publicist. I can send a PDF out for conversion to Kindle and place that on a server and start selling books next week for $9.95 and I will make about $5.00 a book.

Sounds great but it is doubtful that anyone will ever find it.

At a book a day, I would expect an average yearly income of $1825.00. I cannot retire on this.

Question: So how do we sell more books?

Answer: PROMOTION.

This does not mean giving your product away for $1.00 or even for free. It means you must create interest in YOURSELF as a writer, in order for people to become interested in your book.

You must BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with magazine and news editors, publishers, the media, bloggers, tweeters, people on social media site,s and people on relevant association sites. You must have reviews and be EASILY FOUND on the web through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) categorization and tagging techniques. You must appear as though you are capable of being put in a chair across from Oprah without embarrassing either yourself or the publisher. The publishing industry refers to all these self-promotion activities as being part of your PLATFORM.

Question: Can E. A. Barker instruct you as to exactly how to do all of this?

Answer: ABSOLUTELY NOT! (Some of it maybe.)

At the beginning of this blog, I said I would tell you everything I know. I do not know everything yet, but I LEARN about each area every day by WORKING AT IT. After 30 days of massive frustration with Facebook, I finally conquered it. I was able to take what I learned to WordPress, and in less than a week I had it doing what I wanted. I took those combined lessons to the AiA site, and had a nice page in less than a day.

The more KNOWLEDGEABLE you become- the better and faster you become. Your skills are honed and you work like a well oiled machine.

YOU ARE PAYING YOUR DUES!

Hype aside, here is where I really am after 18 MONTHS OF EFFORT and usually WORKING 7 DAYS A WEEK on it:

√ Copyright

√ ISBN

√ Index

√ Reference

√ Alpha readers: Very positive feedback so far. (Surprisingly)

√ Pitching Publishers directly: Only one request for chapters from a sketchy publisher.

√ Pitching Agents: 7 still out there who have not said no.

Website: URL only so far. No time or money for this at present.

Amazon store: after the website, promo goods and book is in print.

2 rounds of revisions remain with the publisher for the interior.

Promotional products for sale: not until site is up.

√Daily Tweets: but have yet to get a handle on building followers.

√Weekly Blogs: but have yet to get a handle on building followers.

√Sneak Peek of book on-line

Monthly e-mail blasts: This will soon be a reality.

YouTube book trailer: Time and money again. I refuse to put up phone-made crap.

Facebook Author page: Is new and growing steadily with some great people.

√AIA Association of Independent Authors: A minor presence there.

IndieWriteNet.com: Not yet.

FromTheAuthors.wordpress.com: Not yet.

√ The Coalition for Independent Authors

Canada Council for the Arts: Not yet.

Grants and Contests: Not yet.

12 / 25 or almost halfway to where I want to be, with WHAT I KNOW currently. Unfortunately, with each new exploration comes more stuff on your “to investigate” list, which in turn creates a larger “to do” list.

Blogus-Interruptus:

To be continued next week.

My book:

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers!

Life With Women: The Long-Awaited Instruction Manual.

… talks of relationships, health, life, biology, philosophy, sociology, theology- even physics, as well as the idea that CHALLENGES MUST BE MET HEAD ON.

Hug someone who needs it.

See you next week.

E. A.