Sign in

Writer. Observer. Humorist.

These are the books I read during the Year of COVID

Photo by JD X on Unsplash

I enjoy reading. It’s not only part of my life, it’s part of my life’s work; as a writer and content developer, reading and learning and growing is an essential part of what I do on a daily basis.

Because of that, I tend to set a hefty reading goal each year. Normally, I don’t set a numeric goal because I don’t want my reading to simply become a numbers chase. I usually pick a theme that drives my selections and helps me with my personal growth.

Since my word for last year was “Expertise,” I chose books that would…

Tired of the yelling and screaming on social media? Here’s the answer.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

We all grew up with teachers who warned us about our “indoor” voice and “outdoor” voice. The indoor voice was measured, soft, respectful of the room and the people occupying it. The outdoor was unrestrained, boisterous, unconcerned with volume or content. Both voices existed within each of us; the challenge was learning to use which voice when.

It should’ve been self-explanatory, of course — the clues were right there in the name. “Indoor” voices belonged indoors, be that school, or home, or church. “Outdoor” voices belonged outdoors, on…

Perspective from a 19 year veteran of marriage.

Christmas 2016. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wetzel.

Today marks mine and Rachel’s 19th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated the way most couples do: we woke up, forgot it was our anniversary, and then remembered halfway through breakfast.

That’s okay though, because we quickly moved on to other, far more traditional anniversary celebrations: an appointment with my oncologist, an appointment with a cardiologist, and a few precious moments outside on our patio talking about the day.

Most people celebrate 19 as their Bronze Anniversary; ours is the Cancer.

But such is life, and such is the life we’ve carved out together. We’ve seen some things, Rachel and I…

Some thoughts on a diagnosis I never expected to receive

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

I’ve tried to write this blog for a couple of days now, but I can’t seem to find the through-line. As a professional writer, I know that the point of any communication — written, spoken, non-verbal or otherwise — is to help the audience not only receive the message but be changed by it.

I’m not sure how telling people I have cancer is going to change anyone. And yet here I am, blogging about it.

Almost three months ago, as I lay in bed talking over the day’s schedule with my wife, the phone rang. It was my doctor…

The Key to Finding Your Purpose May Be Finding One Word

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about your verb, the word that best describes what you do?

I know. We live in a world that’s perilously obsessed with our actions, but the more I think about it, the more our verbs matter. I’ve spent the last few years tinkering with my purpose statement, and I can’t quite land on a version I like, mainly because I don’t like my verb.

I started out with a purpose statement that was a nightmare: “I exist to help visionaries discover, refine, and share their unique message with the world.” Like a lot of purpose statements…

A Poem About Parenting

We are old now, you and I
Much older than we were when we first stood at the altar
And promised each other for better or worse.

Those young faces…

A Lesson from My Son on America’s Greatest Sickness

Photo by Doriane POITOUX on Unsplash

A few weeks ago, I kept a two year old promise to my son and I took him to an indoor gun range.

He first asked me about going to shoot when he was eight, and after checking out the rules of the range, I told him that he would have to wait until he was ten before we could go. But I promised him if he would be patient, I would take him.

He said he’d wait.

So when his tenth birthday rolled around, he brought my promise up.

“I’m ten now, dad,” he said. “Can we go shoot guns?”

So we picked a Saturday, filled out the waivers, and off to the…

Are you so good people look right past you?

Photo by Ingridi Alves Photograph on Unsplash

Several years ago, a dear friend of mine sent me a book in the mail. I wasn’t expecting it, and he didn’t tell me he was sending it, so I was intrigued when a mysterious package landed on my front step.

I ripped open the medium-sized envelope, and out fell his gift, entitled, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Written by Cal Newport, the premise of the book was simple: skill trumps passion when it comes to doing work you love.

I devoured the book, in part because I needed to know if Newport’s thesis held weight. I was pushing…

Or, why that unfinished novel isn’t such a drag after all

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

You have an unpublished or unfinished novel that you beat yourself up over.

At least, I’m guessing that’s true of you.

Otherwise, why would you click on this article?

For fun, let’s say that my guess is accurate. You’re a writer, and you’ve got a massive masterpiece that hasn’t seen the light of day, or has only been shared with one or two trusted friends. You have this dream of finishing your magnum opus, but can’t quite find your way to the end.

Or maybe you have half of a novel completed. It’s a good idea, and you believe in…

No one knows you better than you

I recently wrapped up the process for creating the cover to my debut novel. My publisher’s designer sent me a couple of different variations, and after a little back and forth on different ideas, I chose the cover for my very first traditionally published book.

It was interesting.

I say that because, at the end of the day, the decision for what my cover looked like belonged entirely to me. I’m not sure how it goes with big publishers, but the front of my book looks exactly like I want it to.

It looks like this:

The cover for my debut middle-grade novel.

I’ve shown it to…

Jason Brooks

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store