Ollin Morales – Writer and Problogger

[quote style=”boxed”]Focus on providing value. Forget about fame. If you provide value, then fame will come in and of itself. When that happens, the fame will mean something. And it’s better to be popular for something that’s meaningful, than to be popular for something that’s devoid of meaning.[/quote]

Ollin Morales is a fiction writer, freelance writer, ghostwriter and problogger. His blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles his journey as he writes his first novel. The 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 (in 2011 and 2012).

What are you working on right now?

Several things:

  • I’m working on the third draft of my first fiction novel.
  • I’m working as a freelance writer.
  • I’m also starting an eBook based on my blog, Courage 2 Create.

Where did the idea for Courage 2 Create come from?

In 2009, a series of unfortunate events brought me down to my knees. I literally had no energy to do anything else other than pursue my passion, and be my pure, unadulterated self.

It turns out that just being yourself and following your passion is about the bravest, most rebellious thing you can do in this day an age. Anyway, the idea for the blog basically came from my desire to be more accountable to my daily writing schedule. But since then, the blog has become so much more than that; it has really become a roadmap for writers and non-writers to start pursuing their passions.

Today, the blog is all about having the courage to create the kind of work you want, and the kind of life you want. It’s great! I love it.

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day looks like me sitting down and writing. I’m serious. Between blogging, freelancing and writing fiction, I don’t have much time to do anything else. So, on a typical day, I’m either writing, or writing about writing. It’s ridiculous. I should be sick of it by now, but I’m not. I love it too much!

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s actually pretty simple: I go with what moves me the most right now. There’s a natural, organic impulse we all have. If you are aligned with this “impulse” then the ideas you find are endless. And bringing those ideas to life is not very hard. The hard part is really letting go and trusting that you are a co-creator; you are not the only one bringing this idea to life. You are always working in tandem with a force bigger than you.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The new publishing reality for writers.

Personally, I love the idea that authors have more power to publish and distribute their own work. The elimination of gatekeepers is so empowering—and it’s also very democratic. We are returning to a time when it’s not the distributor that matters—what matters is if the work itself is good. If the work is good, it will rise to the top and become widely read. If it isn’t that good, it will fade away or be replaced by something else. This is really how it should be.

How many times have you read a published book and asked yourself: “How did this get published?” Well, soon, that’s not gonna happen anymore. It will be more likely that you will only come across work that is of great quality—work that has been vetted properly by millions of people worldwide. That’s good for the consumer and it’s good for the author.

It’s a brave new world we live in, and I’m excited about the trend.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I ever had was as a substitute teacher for elementary school children. What did I learn from it? I learned that I never want to be a substitute teacher ever again. They should use that job to torture terrorists. Seriously. If they did, terrorism would end in like, two seconds.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Absolutely nothing.

You know how I said that a series of unfortunate events lead me to my blog? Well, my blog is about the best thing that has ever happened to me—at least to my career—and I would never trade that for anything today. So, in retrospect, I can see that it all worked out as it was supposed to. You can’t see that while you’re “in it” though. So the best thing to do is not waste your time in regrets. See what you have right now (right in front of you) and make that work for you.

Be resourceful, and the world is yours.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Wait, what? I’m an entrepreneur? Well, I guess I am! In truth, I don’t see myself that way. I see myself as a writer who has a dream he’s trying to pursue.

The one thing I do over and over again is simply ask myself to return to that truth. I return to my nature impulse. The organic drive in me that moves me to write. Basically, I try to remind myself to be who I am, and to do what I love. Doing that (reminding myself of who I am) gets rid of confusion and indecision and procrastination.

I keep moving forward because I know I was born to do what I do. That’s the fire that drives me. I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not, and I try to avoid doing something I don’t absolutely love. I know. Sounds like an impossible task. But not only can you do it, you have to do it. If you’re not aligned with your purpose, you will be constantly thrown back into your purpose. If you’re not who you are, you will be constantly forced into being who you are.

As The Bhagavad-Gita says, your very nature will force you into fighting the very battle you have been avoiding. So stop avoiding it. Fight the battle. Be yourself. Follow your passion.

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest problem I encountered as an entrepreneur is not trusting my instincts. I overcome that problem by trusting my instincts. We really are more capable of solving our own problems than we think we are. The more I work, the more deeply I understand this simple truth.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Focus on providing value. Forget about fame. If you provide value, then fame will come in and of itself. When that happens, the fame will mean something. And it’s better to be popular for something that’s meaningful, than to be popular for something that’s devoid of meaning.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be, and how would you go about it?

The world is perfect at it is. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I once thought that I wanted everyone to realize this wisdom for themselves—and that this was the one thing I wanted to change in the world—but then I realized that everyone has their own journey, and things take time. So, again, I found that the world was perfect as it is.

Tell us a secret.

I think Jimmy Fallon is as funny as a coat hanger with nice hair.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

I have only one online tool that I love: Twitter. I love it because it’s simple, non-intrusive, and infinitely useful.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. You’ll never be creatively blocked again after reading this book. A warning to your readers: the exercises in this book are incredibly powerful, so only pick it up if you are ready to experience real, meaningful change—and positive progress.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

Carol Tice (@TiceWrites). In my opinion, she is one of the best bloggers in the world. Even if you don’t want to learn how to make a living writing, you should follow her blog just to see a true master at work.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman). She’s the go-to gal for everything going on in the publishing and writing worlds. She manages to be absolutely brilliant and incredibly useful in every post. That should be impossible. But Jane proves it isn’t.

Tammy McLeod (@T_McLeod). Tammy writes about creating more sustainable communities. Everyone should be more like Tammy (at least when it comes to environmental issues). Her blog’s a real treasure for anyone who cares about taking care of our earth and our bodies.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

The last time I laughed out loud was probably at a gathering with friends. My friends are some of the funniest people in the world (Okay, I guess I’m biased.)

Who is your hero?

My heroes are people like Cesar Chavez and Ted Kennedy. They’re people who made dynamic change happen slowly, and subtly—almost unnoticeably. The kind of change they made was more everlasting than the kind that makes a lot of noise and happens quickly. So, I admire their patience, their resilience, and their commitment to the cause. That type of “change-making” takes greater courage than anything else I can imagine.


Ollin Morales on Twitter: @OllinMorales
Ollin Morales’ blog: www.thecourage2create.com