Category: Writing

Consumption Versus Creation: The Ongoing Battle

Consume Less, Create More

A couple months ago I was asked to do an interview for the Why Is That Important podcast to discuss Therapeutic Creativity. I had great time talking with hosts Joe Wenger and Andrew Martin about how creativity can be used as a means of personal therapy whether that creativity take the form of music, art, or even cooking. Do me a favor and check out their podcast and my interview.

During that interview, I briefly strayed off topic a bit to discuss an idea that had recently occurred to me: That we creative types are in a constant struggle between creation and consumption. What do I mean by that? Simply this: On any given day, I can choose to spend my time consuming other people’s creations or I can create my own for other people to consume. No one is capable of being in a state of constant creativity and productivity but surely I can do better than I often do. I like to think of this struggle between consumption and creation as a spectrum.
consumption vs creation
It is a strange reality where I can know and make plans for all of the creative pursuits that I say I care about and want to succeed at, but then can waste an embarrassing amount of hours playing video games (That dang Steam summer sale!) and not making progress towards my goals. I recently listened to an interview with author Rachel Amphlett on the MyKitaab podcast about her self-published books. In the interview Rachel talks about using project management spreadsheets to keep her on track. I’ve exchanged a couple emails with her and she was kind enough to share her spreadsheet template with me. What I saw surprised me….It was very very simple. There was no magic formula hidden inside. It was just a simple spreadsheet where you list what you want to do and you put a check mark in the month you intend to have it completed by. The key to her success in writing has very little to do with those spreadsheets I now realize. Oh sure, they keep her organized but the truth is that Rachel Amphlett and other highly prolific creative types like her are able to accomplish all they do through what everyone knows as self-discipline.

Developing the Discipline for Self-Discipline

That’s right. You just need to actively choose to do the work necessary to reach your creative goals. No special software, no self-help books, no amount of inspirational podcasts can instill in you the will to do more today than you did yesterday. You have to WANT it enough to do the work. I realize that I am not saying anything new here. The concept of self-discipline is an old one. What I hope to grasp personally,  is to understand how people can develop good habits that lead to multiple books being written each year, multiple albums released,  a continuous stream of finished video productions, or whatever the creative medium is. How do you become that person?

I don’t have the answer to that for myself, much less anyone else. What I do know is that I am trying to walk a little further away from the consumption side of the spectrum and closer to the creation side. We all need time to relax. We all need time for leisure activities. The key is finding a good balance that leads to the achievement of goals while also leaving space for family and friends, and just letting your brain reset occasionally.

God in a Box and Election Suicide

Hello friends,

I don’t often draw comics (and by not often I mean it has been years and previous efforts were  quite poor in the art department) but I decided to give it a go again this past week and create a couple new comics. I find the work relaxing and I think they turned out pretty well.

timothy yordy comic


Advice For Writers: Add Explosions

During the past several years I have rediscovered my love for writing fiction that first surfaced when I was a young fellow in grade school and wrote a story about throwing a teacher out of the window. A story that inspired a banner that the teacher made and hung over the blackboard for years that read “Creative but Positive.” I’m sure for many parents that visited that room for parent-teacher conferences, that banner seemed a bit odd for a 5th grade classroom. That was when it all began and it continued in spurts throughout my school years until one day I graduated and abruptly stopped writing.

Stopped until one day while attending Visible Music College I wrote a short story for a class and the professor took me to lunch later and told me that I should go to college for writing. This, as you can imagine was greatly encouraging, but I had no love of higher education and my writing went dormant for a long time again. However, in the ensuing years as I was writing songs for bands I was in or for my solo work, the need to write stories began to well up in me again. After several more years of neglecting to actually start writing the science fiction story that my brain had been crafting while I toiled away in a meaningless job that did not otherwise engage my brain, I finally forced myself to put pen to paper. Or 1’s and 0’s to the computer as the case was.

What flowed out of that and is still flowing out of that is a science fiction story that has become far grander and more satisfying than I could have imagined before I started. It isn’t finished yet, not by a long shot. Starting a family, having a full-time job, occasionally still writing songs, publishing a non-fiction book and getting into board game design can definitely cut down on writing time. I am certain that the previous sentence may appear to many as someone making excuses for not finishing what I set out to do. If you have that perception, then you are absolutely correct. Because along with those perfectly legitimate and equally satisfying uses of my time there were plenty of lazy days full of watching television, playing video games, wasted time trying to be an internet marketer and whatever else the brain can come up with to do anything except be productive. If there is one thing I can hold onto as a shred of dignity as a writer it is that I have kept writing, kept developing that story that has been building in me for many years now. I may write sporadically, but I keep writing.

Sometimes writers get stuck however. Sometimes the story you are telling reaches a point where you are in the middle between Point A and Point B and you are not sure how to complete that journey. At least not in any compelling sort of way that makes the reader actually want to come along for the ride. I have discovered a rather useful writing device to help me through those times however: Add explosions. Do something so remarkably dramatic and unexpected that your story and your characters can’t help but be pulled along by it and get to Point B whether they wanted to or not. Your characters might be bleeding and full of scars by the end but get them there!

Some of the more seasoned writers, perhaps those who enjoyed that higher education path to writing,  who may be reading this will likely dismiss the previous paragraph as the advice of a novice to other novices to rely on cheap literary devices to advance a plot point. They might be right, but it makes for fun story telling and certainly more engaging to read. When chapter 1 of my sci-fi book started out rather slowly and with nothing to grab the reader’s attention I realized that I needed to start the book with a chapter that takes place earlier in time than what was presently chapter 1. The result was a new chapter that is easily one of my favorites in the book and is full of action, explosions, and space pirates. While working on a chapter far later in the book I realized with a sudden certainty that one of my favorite characters needed to die. It was unexpected, even to me, and it made the story better. Literal explosions may not fit every fiction theme, say a love story for example, but adding something unexpected that does fit your theme can be a great way of getting you through a rough spot in your story.

So my advice to my fellow aspiring writers that are stuck in the middle of their story: Add explosions. Blow some stuff up.

Society of Virtue Half-Off at Smashwords

Just wanted to give everyone a quick heads up that I am currently offering a coupon for 50% off of my book The Society of Virtue over at The coupon code is SSW50 and it’s valid until July 31st, 2012. So if you haven’t grabbed  a copy yet, now is the time to do it! I appreciate everyone’s support.

I’ve also been considering writing a follow up to the book since before I even published The Society of Virtue. I don’t want to do it just for the sake of putting out another book though and I want to make sure I have a really solid concept and vision of what the book will be before embarking on the journey of writing it. There are other books I’m working on however and as time and diligence permits, I will have those finished and published soon enough.

But all of that is beside the point. Go grab a copy of The Society of Virtue today for half off!

Buy it at Remember to enter the coupon code SSW50 at checkout.

Official Society of Virtue website

The Society of Virtue: Thirteen Character Virtues That Can Change Your Life

society of virtue thirteen character virtues that can change your lifeAs I alluded to in my previous post, I have some exciting news that I would like to share. A few weeks ago I finished up work on my first book! Its entitled The Society of Virtue: Thirteen Character Virtues That Can Change Your Life. I worked on it over the past couple of years in between other projects but when 2012 began I knew that it was time to make The Society of Virtue a priority and finally get it finished.

The book is inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s list of thirteen character virtues that he had devised and had intended to create a secret society based on. Franklin never did get the chance to create his secret society but his ideas live on. The Society of Virtue is an original work that pays tribute to Franklin’s ideas and carries on the spirit of them with improved personal character through adherence to thirteen virtues.

The Society of Virtue is currently available from all of the major online book retailers and will soon be available in some of the smaller ones as well. Here are links to purchase the book:

Buy it on Amazon

Buy it on Barnes & Noble

Buy it on iTunes
(currently only available in the iBooks app, not on their website)

Buy it on Diesel eBook Store

Buy it on Smashwords
(in a variety of eBook formats)

As a special bonus for people who buy The Society of Virtue I’ve included in the book a special password that will grant access to a members only area of The Society of Virtue website. Once there, readers can enjoy downloading a variety of special bonus content.

I hope that you will consider buying a copy of The Society of Virtue. Not simply because I want it to be successful from a sales point of view, but also because I believe there can be real benefit to in the lives of those who choose to follow through with the pursuit of the virtues.


Where Desire Meets Ambition

I’m just a few weeks late with my New Year post but I’m sure you’ll forgive that compared to the six months that have gone by since I posted anything new on here.

My last post way back in July mentioned that I was going to be moving and that move finally happened in late September. It’s amazing how long it can take to find a house and then you’ve essentially got another month’s worth of waiting while all of the other paperwork is taken care of. But we finally did move in September and the ensuing months have been kind of crazy with getting settled in and then leading into the holidays after that.

Life is getting back to normal though and that’s where today’s post finds me. I generally come up with some kind of theme for my life for every new year. Sometimes I post that theme publicly and sometimes not. Most times I don’t know what that theme means until something happens through the course of the year that makes it plain to see. 2012 is a little different though. I knew what my theme for the year was going to be back in November some time.

Unlike previous years, it’s not some vague nebulous concept that could be fulfilled in any number of ways. No, this year’s theme is direct and challenging to myself. This year’s theme is The Year of Accomplishment. What that means to me is finishing up writing projects that have been hanging around for awhile. It means recording a new music album for the first time in over five years.

I debated for awhile whether or not to publicly share this year’s theme for myself because it’s very goal oriented and relies on my working very hard to achieve those goals. But in the end I decided that not sharing it would make it easier on myself to not follow through. Of course, random life events or God’s intervention might completely derail these plans but I’ve found that most often in life if I don’t accomplish something it’s because I didn’t really put the effort into it that it needed.

As 2012 unfolds I hope to be able to share many completed creative projects with you. There’s at least one that I will be sharing on here in the next couple weeks. I was working hard to start the year off right by finishing up a writing project and that’s part of why this post didn’t happen sooner. Stay tuned.

I am a Musician and a Writer

I am a Musician and a Writer. It’s who I am.

I work in retail management. It’s what I do for a living but it is not who I am.

This is an important distinction that I need to keep clear in my mind at all times.

For the sake of the well being of my family I pursue career advancement whether at my current employer or at another company. This is only because my current employer doesn’t pay me very much. I have no choice, I must try and seek greater financial gain for the sake of the long term security of my family.

With that in mind, during the past couple years I have applied to countless job openings and only once have I even been called for an interview. I know that the job climate is tough but I didn’t know it was that tough to even get an interview. This makes me thankful that I am employed at all.

I came to a realization tonight though. That all of that wasted time and energy directed towards trying to get a better job has gotten me nothing. Meanwhile I put very little time in to my writing and music. I’m not a great writer but I’m a decent one and will writing ever make me money? I don’t know but a sure way to not make money writing is to not write. Likewise, I’m not a great musician, but I’m a decent one and will music ever make me money? I don’t know but not making music is a sure way to not make money at it.

I used to have a friend that felt that my focus with my creative pursuits had too much of an aim at making money with them. This friend didn’t have a family to take care of though. I don’t choose to focus on money with my creative work because I love money so much. I focus on the financial aspects of what I am doing because unless I treat my music and writing as a business that needs to be grown and nurtured, then it will whither and die and all that I will have left is half written books that no one will ever read and dozens of songs that no one will ever hear.

I will write. I will make music. I will not give in to the “do nothing and be happy” mentality that seems to permeate society. There is a fire in me that will not burn out. At times I’ve maybe had to shelter that fire from the storms of life to ensure that it continues to burn, but it has never gone out.

Stuck in the Middle

It’s been awhile since I’ve made a post about my creative writing pursuits and there’s a reason for that: I’m stuck. It’s a very real problem that a lot of writers face when writing a novel. You start with a great idea for a story and maybe even have a killer ending in mind but perhaps the middle is just a vague mush but that little detail is ignored by the excited writer brain that wants to jump into a new story idea.

That’s what happened to me. I’m now somewhere around the middle of writing my first novel and I’ve only got vague ideas of a few different scenes in it. This problem happens to a lot of writers but I think it’s probably worse for first time writers who unlike top tier published writers don’t have the time to work at their writing endeavors on a daily basis. So bigger gaps between writing progress can quickly drop you out of the writing mindset.

The other issue for aspiring writers that goes along with a larger time frame for trying to write a novel is that the brain is given too much time to reconsider what has already been written. Through the chapters I’ve already written I have a lot of re-write ideas in mind to improve upon them. Which is great except for the fact that if I continually go back and re-write what I’ve already done then I will never get the entirety of the novel finished. I haven’t allowed myself to start doing that but the flip side of that is that everything I write going forward has to be filtered through what has already been written and what I likely change about what has already been written.

And so that is where I find myself. Two of my main characters are traveling on a road together towards some vague destination where something that I haven’t figured out yet will probably take place.

I think that also gets into another aspect of writing skills: World building. Creating the world in which the characters live. I find that I can easily write an action filled scene in a book but when the action is at a low point, I really struggle to describe the world around my characters in any kind of interesting way.

So there you have it, my little writing update. I wrote this post in hopes that getting all of this stuff out of my head and onto the screen would help open up some road blocks in my head. I guess I’ll find out how well it worked.

The Office Comic

Six years ago my friend Matt and I started a web comic called The Office Comic. Over the course of two years and about 150 strips we had a lot of fun with it and got a lot better at it as time went by.

After it ended I let the website go offline and the domain name fall into the nefarious hands of the guys from Water. They seem to have finally relented in their fight against us and let the domain name go. So the other day I picked it up and have decided to put the archives of the comic up for the world to enjoy once more.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and one of the things that I appreciated most about doing a webcomic was that thanks to Matt’s artistic abilities I was able to experience writing in a medium that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to do.

Exactly six years after The Office Comic began, on January 25th I will begin publishing the archives in the same way that they were originally published, following a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule. Go to to experience it in all it’s lost glory.

Remembering the Important Role of Public Libraries

The following article appeared in the September 30th edition of the Lebanon Daily News.


Pennsylvania’s budget impasse left many libraries without state funding. Frequently, local news programs have featured one library or another telling a sad story about how they have been forced to cut back.

Thanks to Benjamin Franklin, we can take pride that Pennsylvania was the birthplace of public libraries. In the mid-1700s, when Franklin created the first public library, he did so with the intent of making books available to low- income people in his community. As a result, the common person in Philadel phia had access to a depth of knowledge previously only available to the rich and the powerful. Those without access to a good education could take personal re sponsibility for educating themselves and their children.

In recent times we have seen public libraries largely abandoned, and I be lieve that there are two main reasons for that.

The first is the Internet. The vast amounts of information readily available to anyone with a connection to the Inter net has caused many to use it as their sole source of knowledge outside of formal settings. I love Google’s Book Search feature. The ability to search thousands of books, especially ones con temporary to any historical time period, is a resource that local libraries cannot hope to match.

Many people, however, cannot afford an Internet connection and rely on free access at their local library.

The other reason is the public school system. Its creation has removed much of the sense of personal responsibility in regard to education. Many people, kno wingly or not, view schools and colleges as the only means of learning. When ed ucation is handed to you, in fact mandat ed to you, then you have no sense of appreciation for the education you re ceive.

Schools have their place, but how much money should taxpayers provide to educate others’ children? Shouldn’t each set of parents bear the responsibili ty for their own children? It is simply a matter of whether we want to take per sonal responsibility for our education.

My hope is that we as a society can be a little more like the people of Frank lin’s day and see and appreciate the great gift we have been given in public libraries. Politicians are fond of telling us how poorly our children are doing in their schools and telling us we need more funding for those schools.

I would suggest though, that that funding would be better spent on public libraries where people can rediscover a sense of responsibility and joy in learn ing new things.