Archive

Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

Physics Is For People Who Don’t Believe

July 13, 2015 2 comments

This is not a post about my books. Not directly, anyhow. This is me being damn proud of myself. You see, four and a half years ago I tried to tear my arm off. I failed, but managed to rip the pectoral muscle off my arm and leave it flapping like a broken chicken wing. I was training for a powerlifting meet a month out. Bye bye competition.

I ended up having surgery to reattach the muscle, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I would never lift that much again. I moved a week or two after the surgery across country and lost my health insurance for a while. It was a kick in the nuts, to say the least, because I identified with being a big and strong mofo. Fortunately, I’d been studying my body and weightlifting for many years now and was able to self-rehab myself back to being within 85% of my prior maximum effort. Over time I accepted that. My books started taking off and I dreamed of a life where the pen was mightier than the bicep.

But I kept lifting. I wasn’t going to be a little guy or a skinny fat guy ever again. I would never compete again, but as long as I stayed in shape I could cope. So I did. Through a few more states and a few more moves I stayed strong and kept at it. And I got older. I peaked at 36, whether I wanted to or not. Now I’m 40 and I’m here to say recovery and a lot of other things aren’t what they used to be.

But I also managed to rekindle my love of picking up heavy things this year. It never left, but it definitely had a few lulls along the way. I’ve designed a new routine that works a lot better for me these days and allows sufficient recovery and, believe it or not, growth. I began to see gains that I didn’t think were possible anymore…but the iron never lies.

Last night I bench pressed a bar with only 15 pounds fewer than my competition best. AND I had enough left in the tank I wish I would have done 5 more pounds. I’ve given myself 6 weeks to meet and / or beat that prior maximum effort and I am positive it will happen. If you’re curious about what that means, I benched 390lbs tonight and I plan to meet or beat my 405lb lift that was a state record back in 2009.

That’s not the point though, what matters is that I’ve done a lot of crazy shit in my life. Some of it good, some of it not so good. Some of it… well, never mind (hi, Mom!). None of that stuff taught me the lessons that powerlifting has taught me. Lessons like how a determined human being has no limits. Physics and gravity be damned, if you put your mind to it you can do anything. Weight lifting, writing 12+ books a year, or doing anything you really want to. Hard work is the key. Hard work and determination. Heck, with enough hard work we might even be able to fix our government (remember, I write a lot of fiction).

 

Tonight’s lesson is this: F*** the rules, make your own.

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

A Readers Dilemma

October 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I spent some time in the waiting room at the hospital emergency room last night, then later in an actual room in the ER. I brought in my wife’s Kindle for something to pass the time and while browsing through the items on it I had a few discoveries. No, not discoveries like some great reads, rather discoveries that alarmed me. I had a hell of a time trying to find something worth reading! On the Kindle screen the cover is too small to see much of it, plus it’s black and white. The title was all that stood out. So other than a few searches I conducted I mostly browsed through the top 100 lists. I selected a few that found away to pique my interest and downloaded the samples of them to check them out. That’s when epiphany number two struck.

A lot of the books on the Amazon best selling lists suck! Oh sure, there are varying levels of suckage, and in some cases he story was interesting but just not enough to compensate for the errors in flow or the technique (or lack thereof) in which the story was told. I even checked out a story from a Twitter friend of mine and found it to be close, but still a disappointment. How is this happening?!

A lack of control is the answer. Self-publishing is taking the literary world by storm but I can see how the near obsolete publishing companies of old laughed at it initially. It’s hard to believe people will accept the quality found within these self-pubbed books compared to what they’ve grown up on in properly edited print versions. To be fair, some of the problems are conversion issues. Some. The rest…not so much.

And that led me to a moment of controlled anger. Why are these books ranked so highly when mine, which flow far better and have a much more polished look, languish in lower ranks. Am I saying my books are better than these bestselling top 100 lists? Yes, yes I am. Sure, I’m biased, but amongst 11 published titles my lowest review is a 3 and no, I don’t have my wife and family posting reviews for me.  If you don’t believe me I’ll accept that challenge and suggest you try out a couple of my books and compare them to other books in the top 100 list for the same genre. No, not the ones written by the famous NY Times bestselling authors that have been around for years, but the other indie authors out there.

As for how those other guys got on the top lists with only average work, the answer, clearly, is networking. Some of these authors must have people on tap ready to snatch them up in quantities necessary to propel them onto the lists and then, once there, the titles often take care of themselves. My experience with the Kindle proved that the easiest way to buy a book is via the top lists. If it’s not on there an author is fighting for table scraps.

No, I don’t have a suggestion for people to help them find books in a better way. Well, aside from typing my name into the search box, that is. 🙂  Seriously though, I’d advise readers when they find a writer they like to share the word and give them as much of a boost as they can to help them get up there. Without sales we lose heart (and the ability to pay bills), and that means we can’t write and publish as much since we’ll have to get a real job.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com

Living Life in the Red

August 22, 2011 1 comment

For those that remember the cold war era, this post has nothing to do with communism. At least not intentionally! Nor is it about reliance upon credit and living in debt. No, this article is about the difference between getting by and living life without regrets.

Talk about a bold statement! I used to get by. I had fun and enjoyed my life but I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything with it. There was no improvement or change, just the same old stuff one day to the next. Things were ‘good enough’. I just didn’t know anything else because I’d never had the notion that I could try. Instead for people that were successful i considered them lucky or flawed in some way that would come back to bite them in the ass. The best word to describe me: bitter. Okay, another word: pessimistic.

This isn’t about me though. I just wanted to throw out some self-observations in hopes that maybe somebody reading this can identify with that attitude or mindset. No, this latest inspiration for an article came while having a twitter discussion with a couple of people (@kreelanwarrior and @tjameswriter) that involved me picking up heavy things. Regular readers of my blog know I’m addicted to weightlifting – power lifting in particular. I’ve had my share of injuries from back strains to tearing my pec free of my left arm and needing surgery to reattach it. Yeah, you can grimace, it wasn’t pretty. It is a fun story to tell, but I’ve told it in another blog post already I think.

So how does power lifting equate to living life in the red? Well, think of a tachometer on a vehicle – you know, the guage that tells you how fast your engine in spinning. It’s got numbers and colors on it, and red generally means you need to shift up or you’re going to blow your engine. Well, life has one of those too. You can keep your life tachometer in the lower ranges where you never challenge yourself. You’ll live a safe life without any great successes, but also hopefully without any catastrophic failures.

Tachometer

Tachometer

What fun is that? Maybe that’s fine for the majority of the population, but for some of us it just doesn’t work like that. We’re greedy, we want more out of life. That’s where living life in the red comes in. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you’ve found that line in the sand that shouldn’t be crossed. Then again, if you don’t cross it, do you really know where it is? Every toddler knows where their line is – they attempt to cross it constantly with their parents (trust me, I’ve got a toddler!). But as adults we’ve been beaten down time and again for pushing the envelope so we start to not try anymore.

Risk is scary. Failure is paralyzing. Losing is a painful pill to swallow. There are many reasons why we shouldn’t try, and some of them are legitimate (injury, emotional upset, or worse), but sometimes the risk is worth the reward. I tore my left pectoral muscle so badly I’ll probably never be able to lift again what I once did. I even notice problems in day to day activities and movements. If my pecs are contracted (flexed) the left side looks drawn up and funny compared to the right side. I’d risk it again though…succeeding is worth it. I still do try lifting maximally and I hope to one day get to where I once was. I lift in a safer and more controlled environment, but I still live in the red both under the iron and in other areas of my life. I’ve accomplished a lot more than I ever expected to because of that and I’m not any more entitled to success than anyone else is. I’ve got a long ways to go too, but life and personal achievement have something in common – you have the most memories along the way rather than at the end.

Besides, what good are goals if you’re too afraid of failure to try and reach them?

Success

Winning!