I figured after more than 3 years of doing this you all deserved to know a little bit more about the author of this blog. So here’s a brief bio of my life which I plan to keep tucked away on my About Page and which I will updating as time goes on.
This Is A True Confession Of A Man Who Lost His Mind:
A Brief Biography
Daniel Chavez, better known by his pen name Ollin Morales, was born in Bellflower, California on September 28, 1985. He grew up in Norwalk, California. His parents were both immigrants from Mexico who later became American citizens.
As a kid, Ollin spent most of his summers reading books from his local public library and writing short stories—mostly horror and mystery stories inspired by authors like Edgar Allen Poe.
Determined to break the stereotype that young Latino men only ended up in gangs or in prison, Ollin made it one of his life goals tp excell academically in High School.
During his sophomore year, Ollin, with the support of his family, ended up having to stage a one-man protest against his public school for unjustly removing him from his Honors classes. (Ollin explained this incident, in detail, in the post The Arc of Your Story.) Eventually, Ollin was placed back in his Honors classes when the administration realized it had made a big mistake.
During his High School years, Ollin also acted in several community theater plays. The positive experience he had in theater made him decide that he wanted to be an actor when he grew up.
In Spring 2003, he graduated from High School as Salutatorian and was accepted into Stanford University.
In fall 2003, Ollin moved to Stanford, located next to Palo Alto, California. He lived there for the next four years while he studied there.
At Stanford, Ollin considered several different majors before he landed on Drama as his major, which would explain why he ended up taking classes in anthropology, archeology, history, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Chicano studies. (It was only later that he would realize that this eclectic list of classes was the perfect source material for his novel.)
Despite Ollin’s focus in acting, he took classes in every arena of the theater he could, including directing and playwriting. (Later he would realize that his experience in acting and directing classes taught him more about writing than a simple writing class would have.)
It was during his freshmen year of college that Ollin first met his writing mentor, Cherrie Moraga. Cherrie was (and still is) a prominent Chicana (Mexican-American) poet, essayist, playwright, and artist-in-residence at The Stanford Drama Department.
For the next four years, Cherrie would teach Ollin everything he would come to know about storytelling. Cherrie ended up being the most influential teacher in Ollin’s life, helping him reconnect with his Mexican indigenous roots and teaching him how to write with authenticity and specificity. (She was also the first one to encourage Ollin to continue to be vulnerable in his writing—a unique feature that she considered was his strength.)
During his sophomore year in college, Ollin became a Chappell Louggee Grant Scholar. He used this grant to help him study Mexican Indigenous performance practices in Mexico City, as well as the Mexican-American theater art form, Chicano Teatro, in San Jose, California.
In San Jose, Ollin took an intensive Chicano Teatro workshop with veterans of the Chicano Teatro style of acting. These veterans were present when the Chicano Teatro form was first utilized during The Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. (His experience in Mexico City and in San Jose California would later provide great inspiration for Ollin’s novel.)
The name that would later become Ollin’s pen name was first given to a fictional character in a one-man play he wrote entitled Backwardz. Backwardz was a one-man show that examined the Mexican-American experience in the United States. The one-man show was written and performed by Ollin as part of his senior project. The show featured Ollin playing seven different Latino characters including a frustrated college student named “Ollin.” (But it wasn’t until much later that Ollin borrowed the name from this fictional character and began using it as his own pen name.)
Ollin’s one man show, and his work in the Stanford Drama Department, garnered him two awards from the university: The Sharifa Omade Edoga Prize for work that addresses issues of race and ethnicity, and The Luis Sudler Prize.
Post College Years
During the summer after he graduated, Ollin worked as a member of the ensemble cast for The Stanford Summer Theater.
While he was working as an actor that summer, he moved into a graduate house that was relatively secluded from the rest of the campus. The experience of living in this graduate housing (whose location made it seem as if it existed in the middle of nowhere) was in sharp contrast to Ollin’s experience in undergraduate housing. It was while living in this secluded graduate housing scene that Ollin got the idea for his novel. But he didn’t have any time to work on the novel at the time, so he simply put the idea “on the shelf” until later. (The novel stayed “on the shelf” for the next two years.)
After his work with The Stanford Summer Theater was over, Ollin moved back to Norwalk, California.
Now that he was back home, Ollin submitted his one-man show to several play festival competitions, with hopes of touring the one-man show all across the country. However, the play was not accepted to any play festivals, and because he lacked the funding, and because he found the one-man show format thoroughly exhausting, tedious, and trying, Ollin had to abandon the project. (However, many of the core themes in his one-man show would later reemerge with greater force and clarity in his novel.)
Ollin decided to focus, instead, on developing his acting career.
But after he tried, unenthusiastically, to get some acting gigs, Ollin began to realize that he no longer wanted to act. He knew he wanted to do something else, but he wasn’t sure what it was.
While he tried to figure it out, he took up several different jobs: working as a theater instructor, a substitute teacher, and an English Tutor.
Courage 2 Create Years
Then, at the end 2009, everything changed. Several incredibly difficult challenges arose that prompted Ollin to make big changes in his life.
(The details of what happened are explained, in greater detail, in Ollin’s first guest post for the popular writer’s blog, Write To Done: Why You’re 1/4th of a Writer and How To Make You Whole Again. Ollin would later refer to this moment in his life as “The Courage Moment.”)
It was during this challenging time that Ollin first encountered the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book completely changed his life, and made him realize that although he loved acting, writing was his true calling.
With the help of The Artists’ Way, Ollin cured his writer’s block and began to write the novel he had been planning to write all along, but had so far avoided.
Inspired by a recommendation from his sister, Ollin began the blog, Courage 2 Create, on February 26, 2010.
But before Ollin knew it, his blog took on a life of its own: it became not just a blog about writing his first novel, but a blog about how to overcome life’s big challenges. The blog developed a strong following of thoughtful, passionate, and talented readers who also were chasing after a dream and trying to create a better life for themselves. These readers gave thoughtful feedback and asked meaningful questions of Ollin, and this is what finally pushed Ollin to write about much deeper and more nuanced subject matters that are rarely addressed on a typical “writing blog.”
The blog grew and grew and went on to become one of The Top Ten Blogs for Writers (2010-2011). (It was also given the same honor the following year: 2011-2012.)
During the first year of the blog, Ollin made several drastic changes in his life that he believes improved the quality of his life and his writing: he began a regular exercise routine; he began a regular meditation routine; he began journaling regularly; he started to go to a therapist regularly; and he also became more open and willing to reach out to friends and family for emotional support.
After successfully overcoming the challenges he faced in 2010, Ollin realized that he had inadvertently uncovered a unique, holistic approach to writing. This approach is now the backbone of Courage 2 Create and is the core message the blog tries to deliver to its readers on a weekly basis.
(Ollin hopes to make this holistic approach to writing the main feature of an eBook he’s currently working on, tentatively titled: The Courage To Live Your Life As Its Meant To Be: How To Remove All Your Obstacles and Start Following Your Passion Already.)
Today, along with the eBook, Ollin is working hard on the third draft of his novel. He’s still keeping the details of the novel secret, but he has revealed that the book is inspired by Mexican-American history, mythology, and culture. (For more, please read: What Are You Writing About?)
Meanwhile, Ollin continues to provide advice on writing and life on his blog, Courage 2 Create (a.k.a The C2C).
Finally, today, along with everything else, Ollin works as a Talent Scout for The MiTu Network, a YouTube lifestyle network.
To follow the Courage 2 Create and find out what happens to Ollin and his novel, you can subscribe by inserting your e-mail into the subscription box in the top right corner of the sidebar! Subscription is completely free! Thank you for subscribing!