Chasing an ambulance is more exciting than following a taxi.

People are curious about the lives of first responders. Image by Queven from Pixabay

When I see lights and hear sirens, I want to know what’s happening. It’s not that I want to see someone injured or killed. But something out of the ordinary happened. What could it be? Was it a car accident? Was it a fire? Did someone have a medical emergency? Were the cops chasing a bank robber or a car thief? If I’m near a TV or radio, I’ll switch to the local news to see if anyone’s reporting on it. If I’m in my truck, I’ll follow the lights and sirens to see what happened.

I’m curious to a…

Don’t waste time doubting yourself

Self-doubt can leave us feeling like we’re stuck and wondering how to fix it. Image by silviarita from Pixabay

I’m immersed in self-doubt. Sitting here, staring at my laptop’s screen, I think about the words I’ve written. I wonder if I should reveal something as personal as doubting myself to the world? I ask myself if people will read the first 5 words of this story and say, “Who cares”. I wonder if they will stop reading. I question my opening sentence and ask myself, “Is there a better way to start my story?” I considered deleting the small amount I’ve written, and then one of my favorite quotes comes to me.

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do…

Being an influential writer is a never-ending process.

Every journey starts somewhere. But you will not end up where you started. Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

I will guarantee you one thing. No matter where you are as a writer, one year from now, your writing will not be the same as it is today. Like every other skill, the longer you do it, the better you become. But even when you’re “the best”, there’s room for improvement.

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” — Octavia E. Butler

I was looking at some of my…

I’ve been debating about writing this story for several days.

Ice cream vendors know how to make people happy. Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Donald Trump left the office of President on January 20th, 2021. Rush Limbaugh died on February 17th, 2021. Both men garnered millions of followers. Some fans waited on every word either man said. Other people dreaded everything about them.

Detractors used similar terms for both men: homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, racist, and liar. Supporters also used like-minded terms: patriot, bold, passionate, and conservative.

Without question, both men were the epitome of success. They both amassed enormous wealth, fame, and popularity. And they also garnered massive dislike. Some people’s anger with these men has turned into hate.

When thinking about this article…

A faceless person, in a crowd of faces, is easy to recognize.

A faceless image in the midst of a crowd of people
Being faceless in a crowd doesn’t mean you won’t be recognized. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We all want recognition. We want to be known for doing something. And we want to be remembered as being someone. But most of us will live our lives as nameless faces in a crowd. We won’t do anything spectacular. We won’t make a life-changing invention. And we will leave no remarkable legacy of being someone famous.

When thinking of people I recognize as influential, I think of famous people. A president, an actor, a philanthropist, or an inventor comes to mind because of what they’ve done. I hear their names on the news, and I see their photos on…

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” — Charles Bukowski

The Mad Hatter in a street parade
“No great mind has existed without a touch of madness.” — Aristotle. Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Accomplishing anything great starts with someone’s delusion that it can be done. In Understanding Delusions, Chandra Kiran and Suprakash Chaudhury wrote, “A person with a delusion will hold firmly to the belief regardless of evidence to the contrary.”

Thomas Edison believed in the light bulb even though a British parliamentary committee determined it was “unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.”

Nikola Tesla believed in alternating current. Thomas Edison said, “… fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.”

John Logie Baird believed in the television. Darryl Zanuck said, “people…

Is there such a thing as negative progress?

Making progress is sometimes like running up stairs. Photo by Ev on Unsplash

I’ve been looking at my stats on Medium and there’s only one conclusion.

I suck as a writer.

I’m not making any excuses. I wrote a story. After editing it, I think it’s not too bad. The idea for the article is good, and it should get some attention from readers. I’m pretty sure I’ll make a few dollars. It might even go viral.

Instead, I checked my stats in a couple of days and see readers viewed my story 10 times, read it 2 reads, and it made me 3 cents. …

What I learned from shopping at the grocery store

A plastic cup litter.
Common sense is becoming scarcer every day. Image by Markku Vuorenmaa from Pixabay

When I was at the grocery store yesterday, a clerk stopped me. He stood next to a shopping cart with liquid pouring from a paper bag inside the basket. There was a trail of liquid from the store’s front door to the cart in the produce section. I was standing nearby, so he asked if the cart was mine. I said it wasn’t mine as he bent down to look inside the leaking bag. “It’s a Coke from McDonalds,” he said. With hands on his hips, he said, “Look at this mess. Why do people do this stuff?”

While I…

How you fish for ideas will make you a better writer

A woman fishing.
Getting ideas is like fishing. Knowing how to do it makes a big difference. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I don’t think Idea Deficit Disorder (IDD) is an actual medical term (although it should be). Running out of ideas is so common, I’m going to guess it affects most writers, and some of us suffer chronically from it.

Here are a few signs of having Idea Deficit Disorder:

  • Routinely sitting in front of your computer staring into space with a blank look on your face while pinching your lower lip.
  • Your most common expression to your significant other is, “I can’t think of anything to write about.”
  • Habitually reading articles about how to find ideas to write about.


Dayton Parks

Published in The Ascent, The Writing Cooperative, Illumination-curated, Writers’ Blokke.

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