Stuff We Love: Courage 2 Create
We had the pleasure of chatting with Ollin Morales. He is a fiction writer and professional blogger. His blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles his journey as he writes his first fiction novel. His blog offers writing advice as well as strategies to deal with life’s tough challenges. His blog was named one of The Top Ten Blogs for Writers by WriteToDone two years in a row (2011, 2012).
Why did you decide to create your blog, Courage 2 Create?
A series of unfortunate events led me to creating Courage 2 Create in February
2010. With all I was going through, I literally had no more energy left to do anything other than pursue my passion: which was writing my first fiction novel. Writing the novel was literally the only thing that got me up in the morning and got me excited for the day. It’s what saved me—because the blog was all about me staying committed to that novel, and the drive behind the blog was all about how I was going to develop the necessary tools to overcome my life challenges in order to get that novel done.
The tools I shared on the blog ended up being helpful to a lot of people and so I kept the blog going. I realized that what I was learning was useful to others on the same path as me: people trying to pursue their passion amid all the challenges they were facing in life.
Have you found blogging to be an important part of the writing process for you?
Don’t get me wrong: in the long-term, having a blog is absolutely necessary for a writer. So that’s why I keep it up and keep it strong.
But blogging isn’t really helpful to the fiction writing process. I think a blog is helpful for developing a strong fan base and readership for your book, and that’s always important. But other than that, writing fiction is a whole other animal: a blog and book are two different monsters. (I’m even discovering this as I try to convert some of my blog’s main ideas into a cohesive eBook. It’s no easy task because the format and style of a blog vs. a book are really at odds with each other.)
In fact, I often think blogging takes too much time away from my fiction writing. This is why my blog has an expiration date: once my first novel is published, the blog will come to an end.
This helps keep my sanity. It also motivates me to write great blog posts for Courage 2 Create because I know I won’t be doing it for very long.
What have some of the benefits of blogging been for you?
It’s allowed me to develop a strong and loyal fan base from scratch, and it has also helped me give back and help my community in a meaningful way.
What have been your biggest challenges thus far?
I would say my current challenge is the biggest: shifting the way I see the world.
You see, for the past few years I’ve defined myself as the “overcoming adversity” guy. But things have started to change so much that this limiting definition doesn’t really fit me anymore. I’m starting to succeed in my writing career and things are starting to look up in my personal life.
It may sound crazy to you, but it is very challenging to start letting yourself accept good things in your life again when so much has gone terribly wrong for you in recent years.
But, I am telling you, it CAN be very challenging.
The first year of Courage 2 Create was about displaying grace under pressure,
during “The Fall” of your life—and it was about dealing with that fall by taking big risks and making bold choices that reflected your deepest self.
The second year of the Courage 2 Create was about being on that floor, after you’ve fallen, and not being able to get up; and it was about how one keeps themselves resilient in that state of inertia—during that dark, frozen winter of our lives.
Now, the third year of the blog is shaping up to be quite different than the first two: its about finally getting up off that floor and accepting a new phase of life that is all about positive growth, constructive change, and genuine, exciting possibility. It’s about waking up to the Spring of your life. A new you—and a new, fresh perspective.
Yes, it is thrilling when you start to see the world open up with greater possibilities, but it can be equally terrifying. The trick, I am finding, is not letting that fear overwhelm that sense of exhilaration so that you don’t “choke up” right before the curtain opens.
For me, personally, I really hope I can learn how to do that and not retreat in fear. But I don’t know if I will succeed in that.
And that’s part of what makes reading Courage 2 Create so exciting, you get to follow my journey and see whether I do, in fact, learn that lesson.
What is the status of your novel now?
I have someone reading a full second draft of it for the first time. I’m currently awaiting her feedback.
Do you have any new projects coming up?
Yes. I am working on an eBook inspired by the ideas and themes of Courage 2 Create. It will teach readers how to remove all their obstacles and get started on pursuing their passions. I hope to debut the eBook in early December.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to grow, mature, and master your craft. You’re going to make so many mistakes along the way. And yes, many of those mistakes will be embarrassing and humiliating.
But so what? How else are you going to learn if you don’t get bruised up a bit, every once in a while?
So, don’t stay “at home” all day. Go out and play. Get dirty, get some scars, get bruised up, get into some trouble. That’s how you develop your voice, your style, your themes. That’s how you figure out what drives you and what kind of writer you really are.
Be a little dangerous: don’t play it safe. Safe keeps you comfortable, it keeps you boring, it keeps you from discovering your true potential.
At least, when you are slightly dangerous, you can discover how far out you can actually go, and where your true limits are.
So go be a little dangerous—and find out who you really are.