My big news, and as much motivation as I can possibly shove your way

I hinted to big news earlier this week and I figure I’ve procrastinated about as long as I can on writing it.

Typically, I knock these things out with barely a strain, same as I’ve written literally thousands of news articles. (And those were on deadline, under intense pressure, with the possibility of being sued for millions if I misquoted someone or made a mistake.)

But this one is different because I’m talking about myself, and like most writers, I can diagnose the hell out of someone else, but ask me to talk about myself and I flee like a crawdad shooting back under a rock.

At any rate, I’ve dallied too long and seriously disappointed my journalism professor Dr. Paul Ashdown, by backing into this story as pathetically as a first-year journalism student. “Just put the news in the first graph. In a single sentence!” he’d roar. “People are too busy to read your story, which reads like crap anyway.”

Enough. The news is this: I am now a full-time author. (Fireworks explode, an audience leaps to its feet in applause, and ex’s who dumped me start pounding their heads against the table.)

Wait, none of that actually happened, did it? Well, of course it didn’t.

But while none of that happened, I assure you this is a big deal for me.

My earliest dream as a child was to be a writer, and while I strayed from that goal with my time in the Marines and in the newspaper business, I’ve never stopped writing fiction on the side. (And thankfully, the stories are a little better now than the Cowboys versus Indians novel I started when I was nine or ten.)

I’m very fortunate to be where I am. I know so many incredible writers who are striving to reach this point, and I hope I never take being a full-time author for granted.

I’d be lying if I said I never thought this was possible though. I’m a dreamer, and I constantly work on my mental beliefs, reading self-help books on a regular basis and imagining myself successful (even when I was massively in debt and without health insurance).

Now, I’m here, and truthfully, I thought it’d take longer. Maybe another three years or so, and probably four or five more books.

But thankfully, my books have caught fire and that timeline has advanced nicely.

I owe each and every one of you, and I always swore to myself that if I were lucky enough to “make it,” I’d help encourage as many others as possible to reach their dreams, as well. (That’s why I constantly post motivating videos and thoughts, which I know can grate on you when you’re not where you want to be in life and it feels like the entire world is plotting against you in the most one-sided, unfair fight in the world.)

But that’s where I was just a few years ago. Just ask my close friends or my many creditors to whom I owed more than $100,000 in business debt.

But I kept believing, I kept fighting, and I want you to do the same. So, instead of any more gushy thoughts about my feelings — of which there are many right now, I assure you — I want to use the remaining space to try to inspire and motivate you. (If it works at all, share parts of it with some friends or others you know are struggling.)

So, what thoughts of mine could possibly help you? I’ve been chewing on that a bit…

Statistically, I know how staggering the odds are against success for either you or me. But I have always tried to lean on my most spectacular attribute! Without question, I’m honestly a little dense and stubborn and stupid, and these traits have served me well, teaching me to never give up. To be a little hard of hearing when someone says “no” or “you can’t” or “that’s impossible.”

And I’d encourage you to do the same, including evaluating immediately if your friends and family are supportive, or are they instead negative cynics who keep dragging you back to the ugly present. (If the latter, start looking for supporters and people you can look up to. Immediately. This journey is hard enough without carrying a lot of dead weight.)

The other two things I have going for me is I’ve never had much money, and the Marine Corps helped inject into me a little bit of crazy belief.

The good news for you is you probably don’t have much money either, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. The bright side to not having much money is it creates an amazing drive.

And you don’t have to go to boot camp to get what I got from the Corps. You, too, can get some of that crazy belief by reading dozens of amazing self-help books, same as I’ve done. (Here are two to start with: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline and Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny.)

Finally, I have mentioned before that I love to study Eastern Philosophy and martial arts. This heavy mental and physical training gives me loads of belief and energy.

And on that note, I want to quote just a few things from some of the Eastern Philosophy that I’ve studied (and that I love so much), in the hopes that it might help you. (The following quotes come from the once-secret book titled, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai, which was written back in the early 1700’s.)

And in that book, you’ll find the following passages:

  • “Even if you begin without talent, you can become great if you imitate a good model and put forth enormous effort.”
  • “Emulate the best behaviors of those around you.”
  • “In military affairs, a man must always strive to outstrip others.” <— I’m applying this to fiction writing.
  • “In the stories of the elder warriors, it is said that on the battlefield, if one wills himself to outstrip warriors of accomplishment, and day and night hopes to strike down a powerful enemy, he will grow indefatigable and fierce of heart and manifest courage. One should use this principle in everyday affairs, too.”
  • “It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain what you have seen and heard others attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think you will be inferior, then you are well on your way.”

And the following quotes are from The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior’s Way. I highly recommend this book, as it’s without question the greatest book I’ve ever received (after the Bible, which you already know about).

  • “Getting your body and mind right can affect your whole life.”
  • “Think you are handsome and beautiful. If you have a negative outlook about yourself, you’ll definitely fail.”
  • “The more chi you put into your life, the more you’ll get out of it.”
  • “Nothing is difficult or easy in itself. We make it difficult or easy with our attitude. If you don’t want to do it, then nothing is easy.”
  • “Strong body, strong mind. Weak body, weak mind.”
  • “You create your own life. You make it heaven or hell. Destiny is not something that happens to you. You make your own destiny.”
  • “A foolish person wishes for good things to happen to them, but fortune, success, and happiness rarely just fall in your lap. You must grasp your life and sharpen it.”
  • “Confidence is the most important key to success in all areas of your life. Believe in yourself. Trust in yourself. If you lack self-confidence, you can’t get the job done. You will find it difficult to succeed in any endeavor. Face your day today with the confidence that you can handle any task, solve any problem, overcome any obstacle!”

Inspired, I hope? Then read this: Find true happiness: announce your dreams to the world today, and get busy chasing your own dreams. And don’t forget to share this with that friend on their own journey. Or who wants to get moving on their own journey.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

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Filed under Eastern philosophy, Faith in the world, Motivation, Stories about my life

If you liked “American Sniper,” you’ll LOVE…

Hey guys!

Sorry for the interruption, but I just wanted to let you know that “Sold Out” just made a list of five indie books similar to the movie/book “American Sniper!

Check out the post here! If you Liked “American Sniper”, You’ll LOVE…

It made my day to see this, and with luck, “Sold Out” will continue to get more attention in the weeks and months ahead.

I say this because somehow the book has stayed in the Top 20 on Amazon in the political thriller genre for the past three months. And, I say “somehow” because I’ve run no ads, seen no other posts about it, and had no email alerts on my name and book title.

So, the book has been selling like crazy based on word of mouth alone, best I can tell. It’s been selling so well that I’ve become really nervous about upcoming increased attention from magazines and reviewers, and thus have decided to have it re-edited. Again. (I’m halfway done with this and should have it done by the end of February.)

One final quick note. Based upon this explosion in sales of “Sold Out,” and its follow-up Mexican Heat (Nick Woods, No. 2),” I’ll be sharing some pretty big news with you guys in the next few days.

Until then, go check out the article above! And if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, consider dropping them a comment that thanks them for mentioning it, and tells all those who see the article that “Sold Out” is worth a read.

Thanks!

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

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Filed under Stories about my life

“American Sniper,” the Movie

WARNING: SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS

Do not continue reading if you haven’t seen the movie…

Now, with those warnings out of the way, let’s begin. I’m really wanting to discuss this movie with some of you all, so let’s open the bar and have a good conversation…

I’m dying to know your all’s thoughts about the movie…

I finally saw it tonight and I’m really torn about how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it’s a good movie. Maybe even a great one, if you haven’t read the book first. (In fact, almost all of my problems result from me having read the book first, I think.)

But I left the movie pretty torn about it. And one of the things I was most frustrated about was how complete it was. What I mean is that the movie, while mostly based on truth, turns Chris Kyle’s four tours into more a test of endurance in search of this phantom, super-talented enemy sniper. On the one hand, using this device gives the movie some suspense and a thrill to it. You pull for Chris Kyle. You understand why he has to go back.

On the other, it’s not true, and war is never about such a test. (Or rarely, at best.) War at the individual ground level is about disappointment, boredom, sacrifice, pain, sweat, hurry-up-and-wait, and life-altering meaningless broken up by soul-exploding violence, which marks and scars you forever.

“American Sniper,” the movie, gets much of this right, but it sells Chris Kyle’s life short. The greater story is that, in reality, Chris Kyle went back for four tours without any of this fake meaning or suspense. It was nothing on Kyle’s part but pure sacrifice and service, over-and-over and over-and-over. Four times.

Granted, such a movie wouldn’t set box-office records, so perhaps I should just shut up. After all, the current version with its suspenseful angle is certainly telling his story in probably the largest (and broadest) way possible.

But in my mind, Chris Kyle’s story is far greater because I’m confident he learned the truth about war and its soul-ripping meaninglessness on his first tour, and he STILL went back three more times. Not to hunt some phantom sniper mentioned in only a single paragraph of the book, who Kyle never even shot, but to answer that bitch named “Duty.”

Chris Kyle knew the price of real war, and he paid it. In spades. He nearly sacrificed his marriage. He missed much of his kids’ early days. And he endured “three gunshot wounds, two helicopter crashes, six IED attacks, and numerous surgeries.”

He didn’t do that to kill some phantom sniper that was killing dozens of Marines and soldiers. He didn’t do that to set some sniper record for most kills.

He did it because he was one in ten million. Maybe one in one hundred million. And that’s the bigger story in my opinion.

Even more crazy is that the most lethal sniper in American history almost certainly would have served more tours if hadn’t departed the SEALs to save his marriage…

Chris Kyle was special, and his real life was much greater than even the incredible image portrayed in the movie.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What are your thoughts? Am I off-base and being too critical? What did you think of the movie?

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

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Filed under Marine Corps, Movie thoughts

Some motivation for you to feed off of

I figure as everyone goes into the weekend, it might be good to get a jolt of motivation to feed off of.

This video has helped me so many times in the past ten years. Too many times to count, I nearly quit with my company, and with my dream to become a great author, and when those doubts would assail me — or fear would cause me to freeze — I’d watch this video. (No joke. I know this makes me a big dork, but you can ask prior employees or my wife.)

So, as you go into your weekend, maybe it’ll help you reach your full potential to help you be the best that you can be, as well. And with that said, here’s the video. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m a full-time, action-fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

2 Comments

Filed under Faith in the world, Motivation

An administrative note on my blogs

Okay, guys. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been struggling of late with my focus for this author blog of mine. My numerous competing passions have been pulling at me, and it’s probably shown.

Sometimes, my posts have been inspirational. Sometimes, they’ve been military/foriegn policy in nature. Sometimes, they’ve had something to do with Eastern Philosophy or living in the moment.

SO, to cut down on this lack of focus, I’ve made a decision to restart an old blog and start a new one.

Now, there will be three options for you to choose from.

1) On this current site (stanrmitchell.com) that you are already subscribed to, I will continue to post about things that motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh. My efforts are paying off, and I intend to inspire, drag, or shame as many of you as possible into your own dreams. So, if you need the motivation or inspiration, or just want to keep up with me as I continue to pursue my author career with everything that I have, there’s no need to do anything. Please, stick around. I love having each and every one of you.

2). If you care about military matters, I am relaunching Marine Watch, a blog on American foreign policy, national security, and all things Marine Corps. If this is something you’re interested in, please go there and subscribe.

3) Finally, I’m launching a new blog on one of my other lifelong passions: martial arts and Eastern Philosophy. My search for the way will be about martial arts, physical fitness, and ESPECIALLY everything that goes with Eastern philosophy — mindfulness, living in the moment, and eastern philosophy. You can read about why I’m launching the site here, so if you’re interested, please subscribe for email alerts and join me there.

I hope having more specific blogs will lead to greater focus and community for each of the sites. Thanks for everyone’s patience, support, and friendship. I hope to catch you all at one of the sites — or even multiple ones.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

About me: I’m an action fiction author with books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior infantry Marine with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate you, inspire you, or make you laugh.

15 Comments

Filed under Eastern philosophy, Faith in the world, Fighting and training, Marine Corps, National security, Stories about my life