One of my biggest leaps this year has been to stop planning so hard. Up until about a month ago, I was the type of person to pine over any idea that I had. I would fiendishly research, and I would hesitate to execute any plan. I would never show a work in progress, and I was stuck in a place that made me into a guy that only dreams.


It was great, I learned a lot. No sarcasm there. Seriously. I had a good time. I've learned so much about the publishing industry, the quest that independent creatives take, and the music business. But all of my research, planning, and setups for the perfect plans never made it to the most important part: execution.


Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five excellent ideas that weren't (and never will be) released. That's no one's fault but my own. I sat and stewed over how to make them amazing. I kept hesitating because I didn't want the projects to suck. Worst of all those things, I lacked courage. I wasn't confident enough in what I create to share it. I would get overwhelmed when the research was done, and I'd end up dropping the projects completely because of my fears. I was afraid of failing, I was afraid of being ignored, I was afraid of ridicule.


Today? I just don't care anymore. The last year, 2015, was the challenge that I needed. My van kept breaking down, my day job/work contracts were being threatened, things were changing and it altered my ability to do live performance. I had to change the game. I didn't just want to release my book series...I needed to release my book series. I needed that self expression. Like always, I needed to keep creating or I knew that I would go completely insane. With the things that I was familiar and comfortable with breaking down around me, it put me in a place that forced me to move past planning. No more time to overthink...only time to act.


In five months, which made up over seven hundred hours of work, I released my first book "Maggots in the Moonlight." Along that journey, I learned Adobe Photoshop/Adobe InDesign/several drawing techniques/book formatting/book legalities/distribution/stamp making/and way more. Being shoved out of my "I'll think about it" comfort zone made me grow.


I wouldn't want to do that again, I wouldn't want to stay up until four or five in the morning every day to go to work a few hours later. That part of the journey led to some "mental health moments" that I don't want to relive. But that doesn't mean that I'm not happy it happened. All of that was what made that lef of my journey so valuable. I didn't have time to be self-conscious. I didn't have time to be afraid. I just had to move. If the book didn't get released, that would only lead to me sitting in an apartment in San Diego CA trying to inhale as much cannabis as I could to quiet the voice in my head calling me a "coward" and a "failure" over and over again.


Maggots in the Moonlight was released in July of 2015. Since then, I've released another book, performed through northern Europe, and did all of the album artwork Edgar Allan Poe release that Clint Westwood and I made to celebrate our tour overseas. I let go of the daily fears that I was so happy to cling to, and life has been exponentially better since.


A few years ago, I would have deleted all of this...or torn out the page from my journal and thrown it in a fire. I would have justified it in my mind to say, "Don't share this with people, no one wants to hear your stupid stories about your nervous habits and your dumb life journey. Get on stage, play a song, and drink with your people. Shut up, Ando."


Now I'm here. I want people to hear this. I hope that you'll read this, and you'll understand that when you put your mind to something, and you let go of the things that hold you back in your head, you really can do almost anything. Believe me. If I can do it, you can do it too.


Check out Maggots in the Moonlight here.


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Ando Ehlers | 
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