Quantity beats Quality


You usually don’t hear the saying “quantity beats quality” a lot. It’s usually the other way around, and for good reason.

Quantity, however, beats quality in certain circumstances. A perfect instance is when a person is trying to learn a new skill and/or get better at something.

We all want to learn something new. When I worked as a news reporter a few years back, several of the journalists wanted to write novels (typical stereotype, I know). When I was taking classes at Texas State University, many other mass communication students wanted to learn coding or design.

Did ever get around to learning the skills? Some did, most didn’t. In my web design class, many of the students I talked to didn’t like the progress they were making towards learning coding and building their websites. When I asked them about how often they practiced, they mentioned only working on their websites during class time (which was a once a week night class).

It brings me to a thing I’ve seen over and over, learning by immersion, making as much as possible and treating what you’re learning about seriously.

I recently read a Fast Company article about this very topic: learning a new skill by doing it every day, embracing quantity over quality (in a good way).

The article has a bunch of examples ranging from a lady who taught herself graphic design in six months and got a job as a designer and a woman who make 180 websites in 180 days.

Outside of the article, I can think of another example: coding bootcamps. Around the county there are programming bootcamps that last on average three months and teach people to code and become web developers. In most of the bootcamps, student put in between 60-80 hours a week learning how to code. They live and breath it.

During the month of November, thousands of new and seasoned writers aim to complete the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The task is to write at least 1,667 words everyday and doing word sprints everyday. 

The point is to just start doing it (whatever “it” might be) and do it everyday. One of my goals for next year is to learn a lot more about graphic and web design. I know in the beginning a lot of what I produce is going to be subpar or downright crappy, I (and you!) just have to keep going.

Even with things you can’t or shouldn’t do everyday (like say running to train for a marathon), visualize and think about it everyday. Think about how you can improve. Give it 100 is a great site for inspiration from people who have worked toward their goal everday for 100 days.

Never settle and let frustration consume you, keep moving forward and you will get better.

I have a lot I want to learn in graphic and web design. I’m going to be practicing everyday and reading up on design theory and layout.

I wish you all the best in your journey toward a new skill.

Cheers! Happy Learning!

Image credit


Why I’m Self-Publishing


Before the days of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform and paperback distributors like Createspace, the way the self-publish your novel meant going to a small indie press, they would make a few dozen of your books and you would hand them out to friends, family, and maybe put an ad in the classifieds sections of newspapers.

Things have come a long way. Self-publishing has exploded in popularity due to easy access tools like Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, and many more. The industry has gained notoreity due to smash hit self-publishing successes like Hugh Howey, Andy Weir, Brenna Aubrey, and E.L James.

Although there are many indie author success stories and self-publishing being tagged with the often touted benefit of having full creative freedom over your work, these were not major reasons as to why I chose self-publishing. Below are some of the reasons why I chose the self-publishing route.

I’m not about that publishing business mindset

When you go the traditionally published route, they whip your novel into shape, promote it, do some release day publicity and then…it’s a matter of being hopeful. Hopeful that readers will buy the book, connect with it, and recommend it to others. What happens if you don’t bring in a desired amount of money? You’re cut. It’s harsh but it something that happens in the traditional publishing industry a lot. I don’t see too much of a problem with it because at the end of the day publishing companies are still businesses. They need/want to hit a certain amount and if you don’t bring in the desired amount of money, you’re cut.

I’m in a tricky, emerging and not yet fully understood genre market

New Adult fiction. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. St. Martin’s Press coined the term in 2009. A genre sometimes labeled as “older YA”, focusing on characters, age 18-25 leaving home, navigating college and career and coming into adulthood. Self-publishing had been driving the genre into popularity.  Despite the growing number of New Adult novels, traditional publishers as well as others still don’t know what to think of the genre. Stereotypes such as it being a genre for reckless behavior, lacking responsibilities and casual sex have circulated.

My novel doesn’t involve any of those things, it just focuses on a woman, recently graduated from college, trying to determine her next direction in life. It has themes of courage, hustle, tenacity, and creating one’s own legacy. Publishing companies probably wouldn’t understand my novel and where it would fit in the book market. I want to be the one to drive readers to my book and show them the struggles so many millennials face when coming into new found adulthood. I understand my brand and novel better than some publishing company would.

Money & Pricing

If I went the traditional publishing route, my book would probably sell for $9.99 for the e-book and $15.00 for the paperback. Even with a publishing company to back me and several marketing and promotional efforts, I still think not as many people would buy the book at these prices as opposed to the lower prices indie titles are at (usually $2.99 or $3.99)

I’m selling my book at a lower price to attract more readers and engage with more readers. Word of mouth and awareness for my novel is far more important than money.

You have a longer window of opportunity with self-publishing 

With traditional publishing, they release your book, do a few book signings, interviews, and after a few weeks, or months, if you can’t bring in a certain amount of money, they pull it from book stores and minimize publicity and marketing. Many traditional published authors have talked about how a lot of the book marketing falls on them after releasing and they get little help from the publishing company.

With self-publishing you months and years on end to reach readers. Maroon 5’s beloved first album, Songs About Jane, was a slow burning success and took over two years to start getting recognition. While this isn’t a self publishing story, it is a good example of how sometimes it takes a while for things to catch on and have the so called “hitting it big”. Self-publishing allows a much longer period of exposure than traditionally publishing books.


Even with the list of reasons why I’m self-publishing, there are some not so sunny sides to it. Many like to romanticize self-publishing. There are things to note when going the indie route. For one, self-publishing (depending on the way you look at it) can get expensive. Developmental editing, copyediting, cover design, formatting, copyrights, and more can add up. Self-publishers spend an average of $2,300 for each book they release. You can spend a lot lower or a lot higher, regardless of the price, you will have to spend a pretty (but not soo pretty) penny to yield a quality book that people would want to buy.

Even though you’re self-publishing, some tradition publishing rules still apply: put together a media kit, figure out target audience, get a good editor, get a good cover design and make a welcoming author website.

Self-publishing has it’s advantages, disadvantages and is a lot of work but I’m embracing it. I can’t wait till I have that feeling of holding my own book in my hands and being able to connect with readers.

Image by Alice Hampton

The Indie Author Kindle Unlimited Debate


I bring an issue to the table today, the ongoing debate of Kindle Unlimited’s affect on indie authors.

Indie Authors & Kindle Unlimited 

In Jul 2014, after a few months of speculation, Amazon announced Kindle Unlimited, allowing people to borrow as many books as they choose for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. Indie authors quickly got skeptical.

Kindle Unlimited features over 700,000 books for subscribers to borrow. Although bestsellers and well-known books are featured in the commercials and advertisements, 85 percent of the books in KU are by self-published authors.

To be in Kindle Unlimited, a self-published author has to enroll in Kindle Select, and have their e-books remain exclusive to Amazon. In the trade-off for being exclusive, authors have access to 5 free promotional days and time-bound promotional discounting during the 90 day contract period.

Jane Friedman wrote a great blog post on the skepticism behind Kindle Unlimited.

Traditionally published e-books are paid the same amount as a sale while indie authors get paid through the Kindle Select Global Fund. When a person borrowing a book gets to the 10% read mark, the author gets paid.

What’s the pay rate? Well..it’s kinda vague and unpredictable. The global fund varies from time to time and pay rates are released on a monthly basis. In the first three months of Kindle Unlimited the pay rate averaged $1.62. Is this proper compensation? Authors getting paid $1.62 for their novel?

Let’s examine the price points for indie/self-published books. The majority are priced at $2.99 and $3.99. Publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and with the author royalty rates at 70%, an indie author would be able to take away $2.09 and $2.79 on a $2.99 and $3,99 priced e-book, respectively.

So the pay rate is higher if an indie author is not enrolled in Kindle Unlimited but…an author wouldn’t get the promotional benefits provided by Amazon.

It’s a tricky issue about whether indie authors should enroll in Kindle Select and be part of Kindle Unlimited. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, talked about how authors who go exclusive with Amazon become more dependent (rather than independent) of Amazon.

Coker’s statement is something of note, considering many authors are focused on growing an audience and readership for their book(s). Is remaining exclusive to Amazon helpful or hurtful to authors? Is remaining exclusive to Amazon beneficial or hurtful in the short or long run?

It’s the author’s choice to decide.

Saving Big on My College Education

Saving big on college degree

College is expensive.

Most people know that but it bears repeating due to the constant horror stories about student loans, underemployment, parents getting their paychecks seized for parent plus loans and so forth.

I always knew college was going to be a huge financial burden for me. Mainly because I fell into the turmoil many middle-class families with college-bound kids experience. I was too poor for college but too rich for FAFSA. They paid for a fraction of what my college education cost.

Back track to spring of 2010 when I was 15 years old and a high school sophomore. While in web design class one day, my teacher presented the class with brochures about the early college start (ESC) program the high school had in partnership with Austin Community College.

The program let students who have completed sophomore year/declared a junior, take two college classes per semester free of charge. The student just had to pay for the class textbooks and any necessary supplies.

FREE college classes? Heck yes.

I signed up for the info session, took the ASSET test, and signed up for two college classes to begin at the start of the summer after completing sophomore year. Determined to save as much as possible, I keep signing up semester after semester. By the time I graduated high school, I had accumulated 44 college credit hours and had completed most of my basic required courses.

Since graduating with my bachelor’s degree in December 2014, I’ve been wondering how much I saved by doing so many free college classes while in high school.

If I had gone to community college for 1.5 years after high school:

I say 1.5 years instead of the usual 2 years because I completed 44 ECS hours rather than the 60 that would be common with doing 2 years full time.

Cost for one credit hour course with ACC was about $83 in 2012 (when I graduated high school). Considering the cost, this is how much I saved:

  • $83 x 44 credit hours=$3,642
  • $30 for three semesters of parking permit

So I saved $3,672 dollars in tuition by taking 44 credit hours while in high school rather than waiting to take them at community college after I graduated high school. The amount does not include textbooks and any class supply fees as I still had to pay those even when I was in early college start.

If I had gone to a university state college for 1.5 years after high school:

After I graduated from high school with the early college start credits, I enrolled at Texas State University. I went to a university straight out of high school because as I had mentioned before, most of my basic requirement classes (classes you usually take at CC) were already completed and to stay on track to graduate, I needed to go to university right away to begin taking upper level courses that went towards my major.

Cost for one credit hour with Texas State University was about $300 in 2012. Considering the cost, this is how much I saved by taking the ECS classes instead of spending the additional 1.5 years at university:

  • $300 x 44 credit hours=$13,200

Room & Board costs:

  • Dorm room: $7,200 for three semesters in a traditional dorm room at Texas State
  • Meal Plan: $3,600 for three semesters of the 250 meals per semester meal plan at Texas State.
  • Cost of required green resident parking permit: $285–$105 of commuter permit I bought=$180

$24,180, that’s what I saved by taking 44 ECS credit hours in high school versus not doing ECS and spending the extra 1.5 years at university.


Wow. The community college number is a good chunk of change but the university one is a BIG chunk of change I saved. It makes me think about all of the high school students who, despite knowing how crazy expensive college is, still decide to go straight to university after high school instead of doing two years at a community college.

If students stayed at home and did community college, instead of heading off to university, they could save a lot of money. So why aren’t more students doing this?

There’s a stigma.

Community college is seen as something less than ideal and not able to provide “the full college experience”. I experienced backlash myself for deciding to do early college start. While in high school, so many of my fellow students (and even some teachers!) would say that I should how I should just focus on full time on getting a “well rounded” high school experience to look good on college applications and get into university.

Students would turn up their nose and say that I was studying too much and “not enjoying my teen years” while in high school (never mind the fact that I was president of my theatre troupe, part of student council, several clubs, and held a part-time job in addition to my seven high school classes and two college classes).

Most of all, their was a badge of honor people got to wear when they told people they had gotten accepted and were going to attend a university. There was excitement and celebration when finding out you got into university. The students that chose the community college route were often dismissed with a simple “Oh, that’s good”.

I didn’t mind.

I graduated college in December 2014, with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations-Mass Communication, having completed my degree in just 2.5 years at the age of 20 years old.

I still have a good amount of student loans to pay off but not as much as what I hear a lot of other people have. I’m glad of my choices.

What did you do to manage student debt while in college? How much did you graduate with and how are you managing it? Let me know!

Image credit: Unsplash (Joshua Earle)

Would you rather one novel or several?

one great novel or several okay ones


photo by Andre Freitas


There are a lot of crappy novels with even crapper cover designs

This is what I was thinking as I scrolled through different selections of self-published novels on Amazon. As a soon to be self-published author, I always try to look through self-published books on Amazon to buy so I can support my fellow indie authors.

I interact with authors and book bloggers on Twitter and started to notice something. Many self-published writers followed a very strict, militant-style writing routine where they would write for several hours every night of the week and anywhere from 5-12 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Some people, who had the luxury of not having to do a full-time 9 to 5 job, said they wrote even more than that. Over and over, I kept hearing about how self-published authors apparently need to write between 2-4 novels a year in order to stay relevant and keep people from forgetting about them.

So there comes to be writers who quick draft their manuscripts and complete the journey of word one to publication in 3 to 6 months. They skimp a bit on editing by either getting a not as experienced editor or by only doing certain editing like developmental editing and then opting to skip proofreading editing and just doing it themselves.

Sometimes this works. A lot of times it doesn’t. Authors get so wrapped up in releasing as many books as possible, they forget that if they built a platform where readers could interact and regularly engage with them, the readers wouldn’t suddenly “forget” them if they didn’t release several books every year.

So many authors put out a bunch of books that are less than stellar but could be a lot better if they took the time to do an extra draft, get good quality editing, and have a good book cover design.

I don’t want to be a self-published author who churns out several okay books per year rather than one great one. I don’t want to be one of those self-published authors that has an abundance of typos/grammatical errors and plot holes in their book. I don’t want to be one of those authors who has a shoddy cover design that doesn’t follow certain design guidelines. I don’t want to be one of those self-published authors that gives a bad name to self-publishing by fueling the stereotype that it’s inferior to traditional publishing.

Self-publishing a book can be expensive, but I’d put the money in to creating one great book rather than spreading my money thin by releasing several books a year and not being able to afford professional high-quality editing and book cover design.

There should be a diligent pace in place when writing a novel but you shouldn’t write it so fast you glaze past making it the best it can possibly be.

Jenny Bravo, founder of the blog Blots and Plots and author of the forthcoming novel These are the Moments, posed a question on Twitter about novel writing:

one great novel or several okay ones

I was conflicted about it. Writing several books helps a writer hone his/her craft. In contrast to that, there are also a lot of great authors who have only written one novel.

Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind


J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye 


Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird*


*To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee’s only novel for over 50 years before it was announced early this year that she was publishing a second novel 

There are a lot of other famous authors who have written only one novel. I’ve been working on my first novel for a while now and felt conflicted about the one novel vs. several novels idea. It didn’t take long before I came to an appropriate response to the idea after another writer on Twitter gave her answer on the question.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 7.24.15 AM


I will continue to write several novels since I want to get better at writing. Will those future novels ever see the light of day/get published? Probably not. I don’t mind it though. As long as I’m working on my craft I’m fine. Many “one novel authors” have most likely written several stories but that one novel was the only one published.

There is a happy medium. Writers can publish several great novels. The idea is to only publish novel you (and beta readers and editors) have faith in.

What do you think? Would you rather write one great novel that touches lots of people and gets several accolades or write several okay novels? 

Image credit

Review: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving


The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Life is something that can’t really be planned. Even when you have a plan, it ends up getting a few detours, roadblocks, and your plan may even drift away altogether. The only way to get past setbacks, disasters, and tragedies is to seek a new context, and focus on the now (and not the how or why).

Benjamin Benjamin (yep, he has two first names) is a 39-year-old guy who’s trying to figure out how to approach life in light of a terrible family tragedy. He’s separated from his wife and dodges all of her attempts to get him to sign the divorce papers. He hasn’t worked in months, getting by on a cashed out IRA and cash advances from an old Visa. Ben isn’t a deadbeat, he’s just a guy wondering what the next step is in his life after losing all that he had before.

He takes a 28-hour night course called “The Fundamentals of Caregiving” and gets a $9 dollar an hour job caring for a 19-year-old guy who is confined to a wheelchair due to duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The novel isn’t the typical tale of a saddened atmosphere surrounding a character with a fatal condition. The tone of the story follows a similar nature of John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars. Although even with the common characteristic of a character in fatal condition, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving follows a different tone.

The characterization is very good. Ben Benjamin is a broken guy wondering out to get out of the hole he’s in. The author interweaves the present day story of Ben’s care giving with his past life as a stay-at-home dad. The reader is introduced to his wife and two kids and gets a glimpse at the cherished, loving life he had before the tragic accident. (Note: This isn’t a spoiler, there is much, much the novel dives into).

Trev, a young guy slowly withering away, yearns for normalcy. He dreams of the seemingly simple things he could do if he didn’t have his condition, things like peeing upright in the way most guys do. When he gets a notice about his estranged father living in Utah, Ben decides to pack up the van and take Trev on a road trip from Washington state all the way to Utah.

Along the way they pick up a handful of characters like a runaway teen (Dot), a bright-eyed cheerful pregnant woman appropriately named Peaches, and her husband, Elton, a guy looking to get rich quick with a seemingly smart business idea.

The novel, with it’s delightful character anecdotes and scenarios, forms part road trip novel, part buddy novel.  The characters are real, flawed people trying to find the next direction in their lives. Along the road, the stop for sight seeing and evaluate their next steps.

Trev isn’t cast with the stereotypical brave soul sufferer. He’s real, and the reader gets to experience his want and desires in life. He yearns to experience what “normal” people do. He’s blunt in the way he speaks. When he develops a crush on Dot and creates experiences while living life on the road, he gets a sense of normalcy that he’s never had before.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving is able being open to where life takes you, moving forward in life, finding your place, and forming connections with people that are experiencing the same difficult journey in trying to make sense of their situations.

In life there are a lot of things you can’t control. You won’t be able to control things like when setbacks happen, when things don’t go your way, when failure and mistakes set in and the circumstances your born into. The one thing you do have control in is how you respond to things in life and how you choose to move forward in life. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving ends on this commandment.


Note: In case you haven’t heard, the novel is getting a film adaptation! Paul Rudd, Selena Gomez, and Craig Roberts have all signed on to appear. The movie is currently filming in Atlanta, Georgia right now and is expected to be released this fall. Make sure to read the book before the movie comes out!


Realizations Upon Visiting NYC


As you may have seen from last Wednesday’s post, I visited New York City. Aside from a job interview, I played tourist a bit and wandered around, finding new places to visit. Along the way, some thoughts entered my mind about The Big Apple.

1. New Yorkers seem to walk really fast or really slow, there is no inbetween

2. Making eye contact with a stranger in the murky underground subway station is more awkward than most eye-contact scenarios. Keep your eyes on a revolving rotation while in the station.

3. People really love Starbucks here (everyone I walked past was jam-packed crowded (although maybe it’s just cause NYC has so many people…maybe).

4. WHY DOES EVERYONE IN THE COFFEE SHOP HAVE MACBOOKS ?!?!? (sorry, macbooks are just too expensive for me #windowsforlyfe).

5. By the end of your visit to The Big Apple, you will have perfected your “subway smug face” (seriously, everyone has it while they ride the subway).

6. There is little treasures of different places everywhere

John Lennon dedicated Strawberry Fields section of Central Park
John Lennon dedicated Strawberry Fields section of Central Park

7. WHY IS IT SO COLD HERE?!?!? (I’m from Texas, I’m not used to 9 degree weather!

8. You can find the most incredible views in the most unexpected places.

View from a bathroom window in Dumbo, Brooklyn

9. I suddenly love bagels (NYC has great bagels)

10. Movie Tickets are expensive (I thought paying $10.75 in Texas was expensive, in NYC tickets range from an okay-reasonable $11 to $15 freaking.dollars.).

11. This may be the city with the most amount of jaywalking

12. There’s so many neighborhoods and different cultures (I mean, I thought it was just the standard Manhattan, Brooklyn, what’s Dumbo? Williamsburg? Greenpoint?)

13. Times Square is a horror zone that must be avoided at all costs (seriously though, there’s SO MUCH more to explore in NYC besides Times Square).

14. Basically, NYC is beautiful and you should definitely take a visit up to the city that never sleeps

Magnificent Brooklyn Bridge *not posting a picture of Times Square*
Magnificent Brooklyn Bridge *not posting a picture of Times Square*



My New York City Visit in Photos

Yesterday I got back from a 6-day trip to New York City. My time in The Big Apple was a blast. Aside from the job interview I went for, several great things happened. I visited a few famous buildings and places from TV shows and musical artists. The trip brought new connections as I got to chat with a budding playwright while sitting in Starbucks and talk with a senior account executive at a well known NYC public relations firm.

All in all, New York City was great to experience. This was my first time visiting in the winter time and it came as a shock! It was 9 degrees at one point, definitely not something a born and raised Texan like myself has ever experienced.

Look through the photos below to see my visit to the big city!

dumbod The first time I came to NYC (back in 2009) I was with a tour and mostly stayed in Manhattan. I made a point to see more of Brooklyn this time. The photo above was the view from a bathroom window in a Dumbo, Brooklyn office building.



Tom's Restaurant, the restaurant seen in the TV show Seinfeld
Tom’s Restaurant, the restaurant seen in the TV show Seinfeld
John Lennon dedicated Strawberry Fields section of Central Park
John Lennon dedicated Strawberry Fields section of Central Park



Central Park
Central Park









Monica Gellar’s apartment building in the TV show Friends









When I was a teenager, I LOVED the TV show Wizards of Waverly Place. So glad I got see the New York City street referenced in the show!



Practiced my hand-lettering while sitting in Starbucks.



I had heard about Cafe Grumpy before. On my last NYC visit, I just went in, ordered some coffee, took photos and left. On my visit this time, I stayed in the place for a few hours and now it’s become my favorite NYC coffee shop. Fun trivia: This Greenpoint, Brooklyn Cafe Grumpy location is the one Hanna (Lena Dunham) works at in HBO’s Girls.



Visited Liz Lemon’s apartment building from NBC’s 30 Rock. 





Keep your eyes out for next Wednesday when I share some humorous insights I learned while in New York City. Stay Tuned and follow me on Instagram: colin_ashby until then!


Goals for 2015

I'm the tall one...
I’m the tall one…

The college graduate feeling has officially kicked in.

Being a December graduate has been weird. Since graduating nearly three weeks ago, I’ve been under the thinking that “Oh, I’m just on break. I’ll be going back for classes come mid-January.” Wrong.

I’m finally out in the real world, with no job lined up yet, and it’s both hugely exciting and hugely terrifying. I have a mixture of emotions but I’m ready for this new part of my life. A few job applications have managed to get completed and sent out but I had to constantly remind myself to enjoy this period. This period of free time, unemployment, and job hunting stress. I’ll never get this amount of time again until I retire, so I better enjoy it while it lasts (although I seriously hope it doesn’t last too long, bills gotta be paid, amiright?).

With 2015 now upon us, I have a few goals I want to achieve this year. New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation due to most people failing to achieve theirs. The usual sayings go: You don’t need a new year to decide to do something new. You can go after opportunities any time of the year. New Year’s resolutions are stupid!

Well…yeah, I agree with all those points. At the same time though, it’s still great to set New Year’s resolutions as long as the resolutions  are realistic, measurable, and you know the goal you want to achieve with them. 

Another reason for starting my new year’s resolutions now is because the the time constraints of college are behind me. Granted, I will soon have the time constraints of a full-time job,  a job has a more structured time block than college and it’s endless required essays, assignments and quizzes that take longer than expected.

Below are my goals for the new year:

Learn more graphic design

I’m not quite sure the specialties of graphic design I would like to learn more about design theory, logo design, web design, e-book cover design, and illustration.

For the past week, I’ve been putting together a “syllabus” for my self-directed learning of graphic design. I’m investing in some hardcopy material including The Design of Everyday Things, Logo Design Love, and You Can Draw in 30 Days.

To create a measurable aspect to learning, I’ve outlined some things I want to accomplish:

  • 3 typography sketches per week, every week
  • 3 graphic design projects per week, every week (retouching a photo, doing an exercise in Illustrator, the project can be anything but it has to involve working in Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesign)
  • Design one website/blog per month

Publish my first novel 

I’ve been working on a novel for nearly two years. I’m editing it and feel confident in it. This year, I will set out to self-publish it and build readership for the book. The release date will be sometime this spring, no set day yet.

Ahead of the release, once I get the manuscript back from my editor, is to share excerpts and quotes from the novel. I want to build excitement for it!!

This is my biggest goal for 2015 so for the first few months of this year, I’ll be spending a majority of my free time on it.

Go to the freaking gym already

I signed up for a planet fitness membership in August 2014 and started going there. It’s been great and I’ve made progress but I haven’t been consistent. I would go to the gym five days one week, two the next, you get the gist.

My goal for 2015 is to maintain a routine of going to the gym five days a week. Exercising gives me a better outlook and attitude on things. It makes me feel great. I want more of that feeling so I’m going to better my gym visiting habits this year.


Hope everyone’s new year is filled with insightful conversations, great connections, growing friendship, and full of learning. Here’s to the new year!



“This is Benjamin. He’s a little worried about his future”

In case you didn’t get the reference, it’s from the famous movie The Graduate (1967) starring Dustin Hoffman.

I’ve been thinking about the movie a lot now that I’m a college graduate. It finally happened. After four years two and a half years of hard work, I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations from Texas State University.

Many people, when graduating college, say it hasn’t hit them yet that they are finally done. Not for me. It has most definitely hit that I am done. The exams, essays, frivolous quizzes and assignments, I’m all done now. As they often say, it’s the first day of the rest of my life.

Now, it’s incredibly scary not having a job lined up after college but also a bit good. I’m in the job search now and setting the principles I want to live by and the things I want to do.  Right now I don’t think I want to live in Texas. Living somewhere else for a while, getting out of my comfort zone, seems fitting.

I’m ready. I can do this. Let’s go!