How To Not Die While Going After Your Biggest Dream: 5 Easy Tips!

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1. You Aren’t Done Until You’re Dead.
For the last 2 months, I’ve been in my own personal Lord of The Rings journey.
Hear me out:

  • If Frodo and Sam left the Shire and walked to Mordor getting tans and drinking margaritas, nobody would give a fuck about their story. And while I’m sure they would have had a great time, their victory wouldn’t be as big either.
  • But instead, Frodo and Sam have to deal with dragons flying at them, giant spiders attacking them, monsters running at them with battle axes and a naked bald hunched over slimy guy trying to steal their shit.

They keep pushing through ALL of this.
Even though they think they might die at any moment.
Even when it seems too big and too crazy to continue.
But all those obstacles and all those true tests make the victory even sweeter.

When you think you can’t go anymore,
when you think you are going to lay down in the middle of the road and wait for it to be over,
drag yourself up and keep going.
You can handle it.
As long as there is still breath in your body and the bastards haven’t killed you yet,
you are winning.

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2.  Find Your Allies.
One thing I discovered out on the road is that the majority of people out there in the world have had some kind of wild dream.
When you come across these people and you’re in the middle of trying to figure out your wild dream…it sparks something in them, and they will be kickass allies in helping your journey.
We found Allies in every town we found ourselves in.
We did that really scary thing every single day:
We asked.
We talked to complete strangers and told them what we needed and what we were looking for.
We got rides, awesome locations, free coffee and donuts, hugs, homemade dinners, and a borrowed sedan from a Mayor’s office (you can’t make this up).
There’s too many things to even list all the sweet things that people did.
And we were grateful for every single one.
Without our Allies – people that were previously strangers the day before, who became our friends and rescuers…we would have been screwed.
Shout out to Team Revolver and Team Revolver Graphic Design (Michelle and Shawna).
To all of you who are reading this, and you know who you are, we are allies for life, and any wild dream you need… I’ve got a car, a spare bed and a warm meal for you any day of the week.

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3. Fuel Up By Being Inspired By Others Doing Their Dream.
Remember this: You are not on this path alone.
There are other crazy motherfuckers out there that are also going for their biggest dreams.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Every person you look up to – every hero you have had…
has travelled this road you are on right now.

There would be moments waking up in dingy motels or moments I’d feel lost and I couldn’t push forward anymore where I would grab my phone, throw in my earbuds, and listen to friends like Kim Boekbinder, Jaye Bartell, Emilie Autumn and Kai Altair, to just escape for a moment and know that all of them are out there right now on the path to their dreams. I would read inspiring blogs and thought provoking articles by my friends like Gala Darling and Molly Crabapple to name a few.
You are not alone. Keep repeating it.
Hurl your body into the wild unknown of your dream knowing that others are right there with you.

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4.  Still Look For The Stars Even When You Are Lying In The Gutter.
Rock that attitude of gratitude.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Oscar Wilde:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Even in the scariest and worst moments
look up to one thing that you can hold on to…
just one positive thing.
And I promise more will come.
You can always just roll around with me in the gutter with me for a little while – I’m always there.

5. When You Have Been Beaten Down and Turned Over Sideways By Your Dream, Refer to Rule #1.

Never give up, motherfuckers.
We’ve got this.
Sending you all my love with 2 broken toes and battle scars from my dreams.
If you think someone in your world could use this today, please share.

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How To Tuesday: How To Be An Animal

To be an animal is to be……
wild
uncensored
unhinged
raw
fearless

When she texted that she was two blocks away from my apartment, I was none of these things.

Yet, fifteen minutes later, I was writhing on my Victorian couch to the music she created.
It was captured for all on her iPhone.

And I was an animal.
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How do I get into my animal state?

By knowing that I am not promised any of my days.
By knowing that even if I’m lucky enough to live to be 90 something, this will all go by in the blink of an eye.
By knowing that what I have is this moment.

So let’s get animal.

And when I closed my eyes and calmed the eff down, it was the music that transported me to that state.
It’s my favorite way to escape.

And she’s one of my favorite people to escape to…..  Kim Boekbinder “The Impossible Girl”.
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She’s taught me to be fierce, to be fearless, to push forth in my dreams with wild abandon.

She’s an example of all of that.

She rallied up 18 friends to film….her own version of Warhol’s Factory: a daring and darling creative bunch of artstars.  These were the people I moved to New York City to know in my wildest dreams….

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Armed with her iPhone and a Metrocard, she ran from apartment to apartment throughout New York City. She made plans with some and surprised others. She got clips from friends in Australia, in New Orleans, and in San Francisco and then she put us all together.

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I haven’t danced in front of a camera held by a friend since I was 12 and was lip synching to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Berlin. And here I was, in my Brooklyn apartment, at 1am, with Kim and her iPhone.

I was kind of terrified.

Suppose I looked dumb? Suppose I looked completely awkward?
I did. I assure you. I was cardboard stiff for the first five minutes. 
But then that whole “fuck it” thing came in to play. Who cares? I’m happy to just be a part of it. I’m happy I get to do this. I shook off my nerves by breaking into laughter with Kim. And then Niney made an appearance in the video to see what the hell we were lying on the floor laughing about….(psst…3:04).

Dancing around with wild abandon in my living room made me feel high. It brought me out of a funk.

What would it do for you?

Because I want to dare you……

Do you want to be an animal?

Kim says: “Post a video of yourself as a “video response” in the comments on the youtube page here. If I get enough responses I’ll make a whole second music video with you in it!

I’ll choose three of you at random to get signed CDs and love letters from me (shipped anywhere in the Galaxy.)

Shoot with iPhone, or camera, or laptop – whatever you’ve got! I used the ‘Cinepro’ iPhone app on the ‘Detroit’ filter setting. But do whatever is easiest and fun, film yourself, your friends, your pets, your shadow, whatever comes out when you listen to the song – I wanna see it!”

You can download Animal for free here.

Or get the whole album for just 5 bucks here.

I’m excited to see your video responses. Maybe it will get me over my fear of doing video completely and push me to do a vlog for you next week. If at least 20 people enter, I’ll list winners next Tuesday with a vlog. CHALLENGE.

Being an Animal…

RAWR.
Vv

How To Tuesday: Six Tips to Smash Writer’s Block

In the next 48 hours, my book proposal will be finished.

Every single thing that I experience I look to for possible inspiration. A possible chapter. A mini-story within a chapter.  I have had to move on a deadline, scrawling thousands of words on a page by the day.  And all the while, I need to keep it inspired.

This is what I did to not go crazy…crayon

1.  Danger Tip #1:  Trust in the Rainbow of Creativity in a Crayon Box.
To get your mind in a creative space, take 15 minutes to sit and color. Crack open the crayon box, and start coloring something simple and repetitive like manadalas. It will help your mind relax and help you let go while doing something creative. As you make the colors fill a blank page, you will automatically clear your mind of all the day-in/day-out stuff. This is a great exercise to free up all the creative thoughts to come bubbling to the surface.

I also like to color before brainstorming sessions with friends. Pass the crayons around and quietly color together for 15 minutes, then brainstorm about your projects and ideas as a group. Genius ideas will appear.

Photo of Coco Rocha by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello

Photo of Coco Rocha by Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello

Danger Tip #2:  Just Add Water.
We are constantly bombarded by information, conversation and images.  I seek solace in a bath or shower….sometimes it’s the only place I can be alone and let my subconscious wander. It’s a place to turn inward and explore, rather than being focused on all the external stuff in life going on. If I feel myself getting stuck while writing, I’ll take a 20 minute bath and reset. It never fails.

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Danger Tip #3: Surprise Attack- Set Your Alarm 2 Hours Earlier.
I have read that setting an alarm 2 hours before your normal wake-up time will help you remember your dreams. Waking up at an earlier time will most likely interrupt REM sleep and catch your mind in the middle of a dream.

I love that space in-between waking life and dreaming life for inspiration.

So why not use it for writing? I did this last week and hammered out a chapter in under an hour in a half sleep state. As H.G. Wells’ said in his advice for writers:  “Try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.”

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Danger Tip #4:  Let A Book Be Your Oracle. 
Close your eyes, grab a book off your bookshelf, open it up and point your finger somewhere on the page, then open your eyes. Let whatever sentence you point to inspire your imagination for a new story. Put on a 15 minute timer and speed write a short story with that oracle sentence as your first or last line of the story. Let it be horrible/good/bad/whatever. No one will ever read it if you don’t want them to.

After the exercise is finished, I guarantee you that you will be able to uncover a gem in something you wrote.

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Danger Tip #5: Pump Off The Volume.

I didn’t pay the $2 for the special headset on the airplane to watch the in-flight movie. I did that on purpose….so I could get work done instead. But something unexpected happened. Life of Pi was on, and while I was writing, I would glance up randomly and catch pieces of this very visual film that I didn’t know the plot for. Just seeing pieces of images flash across the screen without volume set my imagination rolling.  I wrote a 2 page piece with a new story based on a facial expression in a silent exchange that I saw in that film that has nothing to do with a boy and a tiger.

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The Spider Tree Artist in Australia

Danger Tip #6: Feast Your Eyes On This…Get Thee to an Art Happening, Art Gallery or Museum.
I’m an extremely visual person. Pictures and art evoke stories in my brain.   I seek out art – through festivals and galleries.  (Hint for New York Readers:  Go see artist Molly Crabapple’s Upcoming Shell Game Exhibit. She will get your imagination working.)

In Australia, during the Harvest Festival, I came across the work of the artist in the above photo. A tree was surrounded by tons of spider web dream catchers hanging from its branches. There was an aisle down the center which led you to the base of the tree where there was a single seat. Under an Australian moon, I sat in this single seat under a tree and was inspired to write the first poem I’ve written in years. I jotted it down in my journal in five minutes, inspired by the art around me.

The Sage under the Spider Tree
whispered her wisdom to me.
The Spiders they crawled
weaving their web
They spun their silken fibers
inside my head.
It was time, they said.
It was time.
So they gifted to me a spun web crown
and in a cocoon they lowered me down
And now I’m
eight
legs
long
in a Spider Kingdom
where I belong.

For those of you who read this diary and are writers – please introduce yourself in the comments and tell me if you’ve used these tips or if you have others to share. Also – if you have a book out or a blog online – please give a link so all of us in the Danger community can check out your work. Looking forward to connecting with you!

WRITE ON!
Veronica Varlow