REFLECTING on 2022, & FORWARD>>>!
Updated: Jan 1
Happy New Year, everybody!
I was going to share my future thoughts for 2023, but current events leave me wanting to be “real” and focus on what’s happening now. Many people are “façade walls,” never sharing anything but what they want the world to see, but that’s just fake. That’s why shallow people watch the Kardashians. All Flare, Zero Substance. I’m Not that. I want my fans to know the “real” me, and to know when I do “make it” that IT wasn’t just handed to me. This is an “Up and Down” post, but don’t be discouraged by it. That’s not the intention. That’s just Reality.
As I sit here, my momma spent New Years Eve in hospital with congestive heart failure, dropping oxygen levels, and a slew of other serious issues. Not the first time either…She’s a fighter, Never complaining; one of the bravest people I’ve ever known, and I’ve learned from watching her fortitude. But my heart sinks knowing that she is suffering.
Meantime, I am fighting off a nasty lung infection for the third time in 2022, sitting at home on antibiotics, drinking a ton of herbal tea, and watching back-to-back re-run episodes of Yellowstone.
This year is starting off remarkably similar to last year, Not in a good way:
I guess watching John Dutton’s struggles leaves me in a somewhat pensive mood.
We don’t have the Herculean level battles he has, but we certainly have been “through the ringer” over the years.
Don’t worry, this post ISN’T about Whining; I hate Whiners. Everybody has struggles. But being an artistic soul leaves me prone to deep philosophy and analytical thoughts anyway, so here’s some background. Some of you won't care, & that's fine too.
The last 7 yrs since we left Canal Flats, BC have been tough.
Who am I kidding? The past 20 years have been tough. (Don’t even ask about our years before that at Nortel!) We moved from a big city to a backwoods mountain town, where I had to “man up” and learn a whole new lifestyle, while also standing up to a Lot of rough and often racist Redneck mentalities. My amazing wife had her own brutal share of crap, standing up to Redneck males as she slaved beside me for TEN years in the local sawmill!
But we Did it. We were Tough!
We bought a house that was a lemon and through hard labour over the next 12 years (as we worked at the mill) turned it into something beautiful …only to be forced by health issues to hand the keys over to someone else to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We had just renovated and resided the entire house, and the paint was barely dry on my “dream” shop we rebuilt.
Adding insult to injury, with oil prices down (so fewer rich Albertans buying in the Valley) and the sawmill just shut down, we didn’t make a dime on the property after transforming it.
We Couldn’t stay there. The smoke from everyone’s wood-burning fireplaces was Literally killing my wife’s damaged lungs.
Coming back to Alberta was a rude awakening, as rising house prices meant we couldn’t even afford to return to Calgary, and have far greater debt today than we did 20 years ago! Honestly, That’s still an extremely sore spot for me.
The car accident that crippled me in 2007 still limits me immensely, but I fight hard every day.
The gas leak and wood mold at the sawmill that poisoned Denise 10 years back has permanently scarred her lungs, But she still fights hard every day.
Coming to Lethbridge to try real estate was essentially a “corner” I was backed into by my Disability Coordinator giving me an ultimatum. I was praying to God for guidance, and that was the only avenue that presented which I could even physically attempt at the time. I know NOW that I wasn’t ready then, but I had no choice.
I realized three years back that I needed to take a step back to heal. Thankfully, my wife supported me, not only in decision, but income. Her Disability pension is what has been carrying us, as I started a path of healing and relearning who I want to be going forward.
It’s been a lesson in humility and faith.
Well, Here we are entering 2023…and, with God by our side, WE REMAIN UNDAUNTED! Actually, against all odds, I’m cautiously EXCITED!
As long as Denise’s Disability coverage holds up, (which it absolutely should,) I can continue to pursue the dream of becoming a commercial writer and illustrator. The moment that income dries up I will be forced to return to a “regular” job to help pay the bills.
I need you all to understand that this is why I always seem so “driven” and serious these days to my friends. I KNOW there is a limited window of Time in which to make this goal happen, and I am Always keenly aware that the “rug can be pulled out from under us” at any time. It’s happened many times before. And I already battle losing far too much of my "productive" time to frustratingly crippling headaches, neck, rib & back pain issues.
My 24 initial books are already WRITTEN. However, it takes 2-3 months to ILLUSTRATE each one. (I know, I’ve told you this before.) If I aggressively allotted 2 months per book, without taking any breaks, that equates to 6 books a year: 24/6=4 years to do them all. That’s a Long stretch.
If I get picked up by a traditional publisher (I’m self-publishing right now, and there is NO money in that,) then time is not an issue, as a publisher would pay me and then I would have a steady income that allows me to continue.
It’s a BIG “if,” but THAT’s the end Goal.
So this year I’m going to begin focusing more on MARKETING.
-I’ll be more active in chasing Publishers/Agents.
-I plan to research adapting my books to sell on Amazon as well, simply because their internet traffic/customer base is 1000 times greater than Blurb’s website!
-I’ll be looking at ways to increase my visibility on Social Media (prob. Instagram, and potential applications of Print-on-Demand sites and Etsy.) I can’t afford to pay someone, so I do all that myself.
-We’re planning on making me more visible IN PERSON too. Denise is going to help me create some costume ensembles, & I intend to begin dressing up as Captain CHOO and selling books at local craft fairs. That should be FUN! I Love Acting!
-With all the bouncing around between cities/provinces the last few years it has been very hard to forge deep long-term relationships and connections. Now that we have once again put down roots by buying a house in Taber, I want to start building that Social Network, hopefully making key connections and perhaps eventually becoming a local icon.
All these Marketing pursuits I mentioned are “side” activities.
The Lion’s share of the focus this year will still be in CREATING the product.
Books don’t draw themselves, and you need a product before you can Sell it.
It’s a Year full of Ambitious Goals:
That said, I realize, especially after last year’s events that things can happen to throw a huge wrench into the gears of our well-intentioned plans. Who knows what this year will bring.
I hope you can understand when Critical matters interrupt the “work.” Some things, like being there for family and friends when it counts, "carry far more weight" for us.
SIDENOTE: Some people think I’m crazy to pursue this ideal:
There are always “Nay-Sayers,” the Cultural or Education Snobs who, based on their own upbringing, think that this could not possibly amount to a “real” job of value.
Good for them.
In my personal experience, those people are the same ones who have given up on their own dreams and resigned themselves to some mundane job they hate, a trade for financial security. They’re “boxed in” by their own limiting mindset. And you simply can't convince those people to dream. But you can WASTE a great deal of energy trying!
Actually, I get it. I’ve shared the same mindset far too much in the past.
I’ve had to fight those nagging doubts often…
But THIS is BIGGER.
I believe God has His hand on this endeavour.
It’s a venture with MEANINGFUL Significance, beyond just making money. These books teach good Morals, real “being Present” communication skills, and essential values that are quickly being lost in our modern world.
These days, increasingly illiterate children LIVE on smart devices that auto-correct them, they’ve never learned how to even speak properly with each other, and they get their dismal Moral lessons watching some tainted streaming show. It’s downright Scary realizing some of those kids will be shaping the future of humanity.
If anything I do equips them to have a better chance in life then that’s worth it.
There is no guarantee that doing these books will provide an easier life for us.
They probably WONT.
I may not even be alive to the see the ultimate repercussions!
But I Do KNOW that some of the most Memorable people in all of Human history became famous AFTER they died! And only then did the true significance of their contribution become recognized.
But, meantime, THEY BELIEVED, and kept going.
To me, that kind of Legacy is worth pursuing and, as long as God keeps providing, I’m sticking with it.
I know THAT was a Lot of heavy subject matter, but hopefully now you understand me better and can appreciate my motivations more.
My friends, I truly wish you all the very Best in this coming 2023!
I wish you good health. And even if you don’t receive that, I pray for your deep Peace and Contentment, and closeness to your Loved ones, no matter what the winds of 2023 bring. May you have the strength, energy and time to press forward in the pursuit of your dreams.
Many Blessings, 😊
Dave Chouhan, AKA Captain CHOO💖