Writing was my way of heading into the thick of the action

Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Don Simkovich sitting in front of laptop outdoors.
Selfie by Don Simkovich

I was in early grade school when the NBC Nightly News splashed videos and images of the Vietnam War across the television screen. My parents were typically busy upstairs while I watched in our basement’s family room.

What intrigued me was how journalists could cover fights in the jungle and even American POWs being marched through the streets of Hanoi. A desire to help struck me along with marveling over this unusual role of relaying information.

My mother showed me another way of being in the action as a reporter. She wrote for our town’s newspaper and we were eating…


Why I’ll commit to driving an hour to my son’s house

Man with child on shoulders in front of cityscape.
Man with child on shoulders in front of cityscape.
Photo by City of Gold Coast on Unsplash

I’m trying to work quickly this morning so that I can drive an hour to see my son and his son — in other words, my other grandson.

This is the first time that I’ll be driving from Pasadena and down the freeway into Orange County to see them.

I still have a hard time using that term because I’m such a young grandfather.

I have four grandchildren, though.

My 14-year-old granddaughter and her almost six-year-old brother already live with me. I say it’s the result of getting married by my late 20s and adopting kids of different ages.

I…


Develop a content creation strategy on Medium that supports your goals

Woman looking at computer screen chewing on pencil.
Woman looking at computer screen chewing on pencil.
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

You’re writing to earn money and that means to do one or more of the following:

  • pay some bills
  • save for vacation
  • create a part-time income
  • make a full-time living

And you’ve selected Medium as a platform where you want to write, publish, build an audience and gain an income. In order to build an income, not every article you write should be geared toward being the “big one” that goes viral and fills your bank account.

Develop a strategy of article lengths and topics to pique interest and gain new followers and readers.

Let’s say you’re writing another novel…


Persevere through interruptions and awkward sentences to create meaning

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

By 4 p.m. I figured I’d be editing chapter eleven of the next Det. Tom Stone novel I was working on. I also had a client blog post and billing to follow up on.

But the morning started with an interruption through email from people involved in a conflict in our church. I spent an hour answering and then dealt with my resulting emotions.

As I thought about my to-do list, a feeling hit me that I was trying to scale a mountain and I’d never reach the top. It’s been an all-to-familiar feeling during years of raising a family.


Look ahead to what you can do and not back to what you didn’t do

Woman looking up.
Woman looking up.
Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

Different factors play into our peace of mind and general well-being. One of those is looking ahead with promise and not looking back with regret.

This is Sunday morning and I’ve just enjoyed a time of quiet by reading a chapter in my Bible, sipping coffee and patting my dog. But the house will erupt soon, just like it did yesterday and like it does on most days.

My to-do list will get threatened once again and that will threaten to shake me on the inside.

I know at this moment that something key happens — I can groan and…


You yank and yank until the engine putters to life

Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash

After being dormant for the last several months, I’ve written a couple of new articles and now I’ve had some views of not just the new ones, but also a few that I’ve written previously.

Writing online makes me think of how I cut grass using my old lawnmower.

From late March through mid-October in So Cal the grass grew regularly, so I’d pull out the lawnmower once a week, mow my little patch of grass in the backyard and then push it back into the garage.

During the “winter” months in Pasadena, the grass didn’t grow as steadily so…


Absorbing fiction or creative non-fiction has key benefits

Photo by Érik González Guerrero on Unsplash

In any given day, I’m writing a client blog post or related project, articles, or working on my next novel. I type out thousands of words while juggling family and other responsibilities.

Writing to satisfy clients and build an audience in the quest of earning a part-time or full-time income can be draining. It becomes a mental grind. I like structure and always have the goal of writing by about 8:30 a.m., but I’ve also tried to be reading a novel by 8 p.m. or shortly after.

After reading, my wife and I have been typically unwinding by watching old…


A crime story novel excerpt on the innocent caught in the line of fire

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

We’re including excerpts from the Tom Stone Detective series. Enjoy the following excerpt from Book 1 Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas, Chapter 5.

A chapter 2 excerpt is here.

Stone is visiting a boy at a foster care group home when he gets a worried call from Mary Ann Bostovich, a neighbor worried about illicit activity at a home on the street.

One ring was all it took and she answered. “Hello?”

“Mrs. Bostovich? Detective Stone. What’s happening?” He started the car and pulled out of the driveway and into the nearly empty street.

“I went for a quick…


The days are like a speeding train and getting on is tough

Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

I’ve only written several articles on Medium so far this year, but it’s not for a lack of ideas. It’s because I juggle so many related and unrelated tasks in every day. The noise is constant.

My days are usually swirling with noise from my wife, two adult children and two grandchildren living with me. There are periods of yelling and commotion as they get ready for school and head out the door.

Settling from that takes time or a different strategy like heading to a coffee shop.

A friend of mine gave me an office to use rent-free, but…


I still can’t grasp my title, but my granddaughter’s at a crucial age and I’m also her dad

Finger painted hands with heart symbol.
Finger painted hands with heart symbol.
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

She just graduated eighth grade after a year of studying in near-isolation. The good news is that she let go of some friends who were quite toxic. She developed a friendship with a high school freshman who, unfortunately, moved out of her crowded apartment and moved to live with relatives in Texas.

But she made it through the year even though she’s not academically inclined and now she’s ready for ninth grade. We’re enrolling her in an independent home school organization that our adult children were enrolled in.

Last night was Friday night and we celebrated by watching Cruella on…

Don Simkovich, MA

Don is co-author of the Tom Stone Detective novels on Amazon and writes content for businesses. Visit www.donsimkovich.com / https://socalcontentwriting.com

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