Dark AND Fun (A sort of Mad Max Review) #MondayBlogs

I recently watched Mad Max: Fury Road and holy fuck that was a fun movie. I expected to watch people drive through the desert in lunatic clothing screaming incoherent thoughts. Something like a remake of the California Love music video, you might say.

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Caaaalifornya Looo-ve.

What I did not expect was the damn fine movie that it was. The entire 2 hours were insane and dark and gritty and entertaining. More than once I had to laugh, not because anything particularly funny happen, but just at the fact of how much joy the set and rig designers must have had making this movie. There is one entire rig where the back side hold 4 guys drumming and the front has a guitarist suspended by bungee cords wailing away for the ENTIRE movie. What other movie could pull some shit like that off?

Now, stepping away from Mad Max, the movie reminded me of a Joss Whedon quote. I’m not much of a quote fanatic, but there are a few that stick with me and this is one of those: Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of god, tell a joke.

That very statement is what’s wrong with DC movies, Batman in particular. The Dark Knight Rises was so heavy and tried to hard to be important and grim and whatever else, that it forgot to be fun. That could be forgivable in some instances, but when your screenplay comes from a comic book? Nah, bruh, it has to be fun. It came from a goddamn cartoon.

Coincidentaly, this is one key aspect of story-telling that I think horror movies do well. How many scary movies have you watched that made you laugh out loud? More than one, I bet. Horror writers (The good ones anyway. Well, I’m assuming, I don’t care all that much for scary movies anymore) understand that if you are going to spend 90 minutes ruining someone’s (or everyone’s) life, you need to spruce it up with a couple jokes. Otherwise, your audience might actually kill themselves mid-movie.

Hell, Nightmare on Elm Street frightened the hell out of a good 3 people and Freddy Krueger still wound up being a singing, dancing, Ace Ventura with bad acne scars. Evil Dead? Scary as ten dammits before it became more funny than terrifying. And that’s the human response, right? We make jokes to get through a bad situation. How many times has the shit hit the fan and you’ve been like ‘well, at least I just bought this new shitproof shirt. Now it’s just my pants that are dirty.’? Okay, that might not be my strongest example, but you get the point.

Are we all going to die in a blaze of burning knives coated in cyanide with a witty retort on our lips? Probably not, but hey, they’re movies, they have to be a little liberal with ideas. But otherwise, that’s life. Bad shit happens and we make jokes to feel better. So, to me at least, when there is a story and bad things happen repeatedly with no lightening of the mood, it legitimately gets me down. A while back I came across a list: great movies you’ll never want to watch again. I read over the blurbs for each of the movies and never wanted to watch them in the first place. They all just sounded like a lot of awful things happening. I don’t give a damn how good the acting or screenplay is, I don’t want to watch a movie where a pregnant woman gets stabbed in the gut with scissors. (Yes, that was actually in a movie on the list. Maybe not exactly like that, but something close.)

Story-tellers, wordsmiths, scribes, best sellers, and hacks; no matter what you think of Whedon, remember those words and for god’s sake, tell a fucking joke already.

Knuckle Up Chump. Writing is a Deathmatch #MondayBlogs

I’ve said it before, I’ll probably say it a million more damn times. Writing ain’t easy. And when I say that, I don’t mean writing 80,000 words of coherent story. Don’t even get me started on the countless hours of editing. The soul crushingness of beta readers and further editing. Not to mention the sore throat from reading the entire novel out loud.

I suppose it could end there, but after you’ve written and edited a novel, you probably want to sell it, right? And when I say writing ain’t easy, I’m still not talking about the fight to craft the perfect fucking query letter. Is this concise? Does it convey the right tension? Do I include previous works? What if they didn’t sell well? Should I tell the agent about my overwhelming fear of praying mantises (Manti?)?

After that there’s the always smooth sailing of rejections. Form letter after form letter after slightly personalized form letter, the highlight of the rejection process. But hey, even J.K. Rowling got rejected, right? So you keep plugging ahead. Eventually move from agents to small presses. That shouldn’t be as strict and then you find one and discover that you should have been building yours social network months ago.

It goes on and on. The struggle for sales is real. What about this technique? How about this marketing service? There are probably a million different questions and ten million different answers. And every last one of them leads to work. How much work you put in can decide how successful you will be.

A friend sent me something to the extent of this: Only 5% of people start a book. Of them, only 5% finish the first draft. Of those only 5% have the tenacity to stick through edits. 5% through queries and so it goes. On and on. So do you have what it takes to be in the 5% of the 5% of the 5% of the 5% or whatever? Yes, good. Write a novel and sell some goddamn books. If the answer is no, that’s not a bad thing. Maybe you just really enjoy writing books.

To be honest, I’m at a bit of an impasse. I started writing books because I love it. I started selling books because I’m a narcissist who needs constant approval. Now, I’ve got 4 novels out there that, quite frankly, aren’t selling worth a damn. Recently, I’ve signed up with a book marketing badass (C.D. Taylor) and she has given me a ton of instruction (Read: Work) to market myself. If I follow every bit of direction I’ve been giving, I will surely sell more books, but I will also not have any time to write any more books if I follow all of the instructions. Selling books means a lot to me, but so does writing them. I’ve got a decision to make about how hard I’m willing to work to be successful. So do you. Life is all about finding a balance, my friends. Sometimes that comes natural and sometimes you have to work for it, but whatever you do, never assume writing is easy and know that it doesn’t stop as soon as you get words on the page.

Whiskey & Wasted Words Episode #1

Hey all, Prose Bro Chris Smith and I have started our very own podcast. And I’m so excited I want to share it with y’all. So I think I’m going to embed it.

Right here:

And if that’s not good enough, here a link to just download the whole damn she-bang: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0Jh39f9rE17SW8yOFdOcnU0SHc

There are probably a million people I need to thank, but I’m blanking right now. For sure these two though:

We owe thanks to @EveyJacob on Twitter for sending in the icebreaker question and my friend Chris Suggs for donating some great music for our theme. You can find more of his works at  http://mortarstn.bandcamp.com/

SO tune in and listen to Chris and I babble about music and writing and why we are completely unqualified to give advice.

#13WeeksOfHorror Black Cats

“Do it, ya fuckin’ pussy.”

“Yeah, come on already.”

“Dooo it. Dooo it. Dooo it.”

The crowd of kids gathered close around. Well, close enough to see the show and still avoid any gore if things went bad.

Tom stood in the middle of the circle of anxious kids. He gripped a sheet of mini-explosives in one hand, polished steel Zippo in the other. He didn’t smoke, but always carried the lighter. Not a pyro, per se, Tom like to have options. And if any of those options included setting something on fire, so be it.

Even still, this stunt was above his usual level of stupidity.

He flipped the lighter open with his thumb, flipped it back with his index finger. The steady clack of the lid relaxed him. These weren’t cherry bombs or M-80s for Christ sake, just a few firecrackers. But still…

Why did I take this stupid bet again?

Toward the back of the group a pair of blueish, blue eyes watched Tom’s every move. He wished he could come up with a better name for those eyes, but Tom was neither poet nor romantic. Tom was a daredevil. Years of excellent stories revealed themselves in scars along his body like a road map to glory. Pain is but a moment, right? He’d heard that somewhere.

“Yeeaaarrghh,” Tom shouted as he thrust both arms in the air.

The crowed took a cumulative step closer. Two dozen phones held out at the ready, a generation of electronic third eyes ready to capture the moment. Tom flicked the lid back and struck the wheel. Flame danced on the tip of the lighter. Those eyes, those blues eyes grew wide as he touched the fire to the wick of the Black Cats. He thought it was a look of nervous excitement. That’s when he noticed how they glistened. They shone with all the sorrow of the blue flame that blew this bridge to pieces.

Too late to turn back now. The whole school would see the videos.

She never cried for him, just hung her head and walked away as he exploded his way to a glory more lonely. But at least he would always have the last look of those blueish blue eyes to keep him company, even when the flash of local fame dissolved like the smoke in the aftermath.

When depression acts as a writer’s block

I can’t write.

No, that’s not just an honest observation of my abilities as a wordsmith. What I mean to say is: right this very moment I am having difficulty forming words or the energy to deal with them.

When creative people are emotional or depressed, they make their masterpieces; forever that’s been the most common trope I’ve heard about artists. People go into their dark places and draw from within and puke up a mixture of last night’s whiskey and artistic brilliance.

For me, that’s not the case. Right now, I’m having a hard fucking time. Two full time jobs mean 90 hour workweeks. 90 hour weeks mean I don’t sleep and I miss my family. I’m not digging for sympathy, just laying things out. Now, one of my jobs is over night at a hotel. The hotel is small and six hours of my night are spent doing nothing. Last night, I played Need for Speed for five hours. That should mean premium writing time, right? Hell, at my usual wordcount per hour, I should have two novels done this month.

But no, I haven’t written a single goddamn word. I’m having a hard time editing the words I have written. And no, it’s not because I’m half-asleep at four in the morning. I just don’t have the concentration to write. My problems and sorrows and whatever the hell else are floating around in my brain and I don’t have the energy to worry about anyone else’s. For me, writing isn’t hard under normal circumstances. Rarely do I struggle to tell a story, but right now I’m coming up empty. I’ve got two half-finished novels, one short story, and one comic script that all desperately need attention and I can barely hold my shit together well enough to write this blog post.

What makes everything worse, as my friend Danielle Shipley pointed out, writing is fun and being too tired to write adds to the stress that caused me to not write in the first place. It’s one hell of a vicious cycle.  Before, I didn’t have time, but could still manage to squeeze out words at a pretty steady rate. Right now, I have all the time in the world and instead of doing anything remotely productive with my ‘career’ I’m plopped in front of a TV debating what gear settings would be best on my Nissan GTR and thinking about how maybe writing just wasn’t my thing. All of this because I’ve got other things on my mind.

I don’t know where I’m going with this. Just thinking out loud, I suppose. Maybe I just wanted to see who else out there is the same. What about you guys? Do you struggle with words when you struggle with other things? Or is stress and depression a proving ground for perfect prose? I’m off now, to do some editing and hopefully get my groove back.

#TeaserTenth for February

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#TeaserTenth is a monthly meme for writers, both published and unpublished. It’s a great opportunity to meet other writers, as well as readers, by sharing a sampling (10 lines or less) of the stories we are working on, or have already published.

Feel free to join! (click the badge above for details.)

This week, I’ve decided to share lines from one of my works in progress. This is taken from a random spot in the book. (unedited.)

Enjoy!

Here’s something a little more intimate than I’m used to. These lines are from my current work in progress, tentatively titled GAMBIT.

“I love you,” Sam gasps between kisses.

A moan escapes Fox’s lips as Sam digs his fingers into her back. He drags her closer to his body. If he holds her close enough, they synchronize. Two hearts beat as one. Two chests rise and fall in tandem. Two beings become one. Sam kisses deeper, feels the love of Fox under his skin.

In his mind, this moment could last forever. Sam imagines doing this on the beach, sun setting into the ocean. Hell, for this, this feeling, this moment, Sam would drive to the ends of the Earth. A hundred lives could never make Sam feel as real as he is right this moment.

A sound somewhere between a Wookiee and a cat caught in radiator fan is the only warning to the slimy, dirty, rotted fist that connects with Sam’s right ear.

THE INDUSTRY IS CHANGING!

The industry is changing, the industry is changing, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THE INDUSTRY IS CHANGING. And I’ll just throw in the usual disclaimer that I’m no industry expert, I’m barely even a part of this industry that I’m about to rant about, BUT, I am a writer—both traditionally and self-published—and I’m a reader.

This all started when a friend read one of my unpublished manuscripts and suggested I should self-publish it because the genre is weird and will make it hard to market to an agent or publisher. I thought about self-pubbing, but my eventual goal is to get an agent and I wasn’t sure if self-pub would be the truest route to that end. Then today, a different friend sent me a link to this article on Anne R. Allen’s blog about how self-publishing isn’t as clear of a route to an agent as it used to be.

All this information has got me thinking, and bitching about ‘the industry’. Publishing has gone through a whole slew of shit in the last decade. It’s gone from, ‘you aren’t on the big five, no one has ever heard of you’ to ‘HOLY SHIT THIS SELF-PUBLISHING ON KINDLE THING IS GOING TO MAKE EVERYONE FAMOUS’ to ‘MY GOD, THERE ARE 17 BILLION SHITTY, FREE BOOKS ON KINDLE WHY CAN’T I FIND A GOOD ONE?’ to ‘Kindle Unlimited is making books free and cutting into indie author profits how we will carry on?’ and so on. In short, the industry is changing.

I think if the publishing industry is smart, they will take a look at the music industry, because everything is changing. Technology is changing the world, for everything. I think the music industry has handled this change particularly shitty, and books can easily fall into the same hole. The biggest problem is free. Everyone wants everything for free and they want it now.

In response to expensive shit–$20 for an album, $30 for a book, $25 for a movie—people have started stealing shit. Piracy is a big deal and it’s not going away. Now, I’m not here to bitch about internet pirates. Honestly, I don’t know exactly how I feel about piracy. BUT people are taking shit because #1: everyone is broke and #2 they feel ripped off by ‘the industry’. Books are especially shitty in this case because they are charging $13 for an ebook. If you are going to charge $30 for a hardcover, at least the reader is getting a sexy book that looks nice on the shelf. Paying for ebooks feels like paying for air. You can’t see it so it’s hard to justify. Piracy is a big deal.

The next big thing is bundling. Bundling is HUGE and publishing has been stupid slow to react. You know why it’s huge? Because people USE e-whatever. They listen to music on their phone. They read books on their phone. They have sex ON THEIR PHONE. Okay, I’m not sure how that last one relates, but I said it anyway. People love the ease of electronic copies, but since they are paying for air, it’s hard to justify.

Easy way around that? You guessed it, fucking bundling. You bundle an ebook and physical copy. People read the ebook because it’s convenient, and then they put the physical copy on their shelf to show that they paid for something. Same with music. You know how I listen to music? On a record player because I’m kind of a hipster like that. You know what I won’t pay? $12 for an album on my phone. You know what I will pay $24 for? That same album on vinyl with a free digital copy. Best of both worlds.

The next factor in this whole mess is streaming services. Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, and now Kindle Unlimited. These services are a godsend for people who devour media. I personally love Spotify, I have converted many friends to its wonders. I pay for my subscription. TV watchers feel the same of Netflix (a service I also pay for), and readers probably feel same of Kindle Unlimited. As far as I know, artists hate these streaming services. Taylor Swift had all her music pulled off Spotify because art shouldn’t be free or some shit like that. I still haven’t figured out why she took her music off, though.

I’ve seen multiple articles about how Kindle Unlimited has murdered indie author salaries. The way artists get paid is changing. What absolutely sucks about is this: the biggest people it’s hurting are the indie artists. Whether it’s on Spotify or not, Taylor Swift is a multi-millionaire. Whether Fifty Shades of Gray is part of Kindle Unlimited or not, EL James has a boatload of money. Through whatever mix of money, marketing, and luck, those people have established their fame.

Do you think it matters to Cutthroat Shamrock if their music is free? Your fucking right it matters because in your mind you just said, ‘Who the fuck is Cutthroat Shamrock?’. Do you think it matters to me if people get my book on Kindle Unlimited and I get a few cents instead of a dollar? It can, yeah. I’m not a career author, but I’d like to be. Do you know how I can be a career author? Getting more people to PAY for my work. That matters to me, probably not to you so much. BUT if you like my writing and want to see more of it, I need time. Writing takes time, books take time. There’s an old saying something that includes time and money…*snaps fingers* what was it? Oh yeah, “He who doesn’t have a fucking dime, doesn’t have time to waste on art because food and gas and diapers are expensive and shit”.

So, the industry is changing. Do I have answers? Not really, other than the bundling thing. But we as artists all need to adapt, we need to get ready for the changing market. We need to get more creative. You know something I’ve seen in music for a while, but have only just now seen in books? Pay what you please media. I’ve seen more than one high-profile musician say ‘want it free? Take it. Enjoy it? Pay whatever you feel it’s worth.’ I can’t remember who, but I saw that same approach with a book the other day. Creative marketing is a big deal. The few super successful authors will always be successful and the rest of us are going to have to figure out how to change to keep up.

The last thing I have to say is a repeat: Art shouldn’t be free. I mostly agree with this. There is a lot of work involved in creating a book. I have put lots of time and effort and energy into each and every one of my books. Whether I make a million dollars or three cents, I will continue writing. It’s something I can’t shake. How many other authors can say the same? How many talented authors write for a living? Lots. If we don’t pay for their art, they will quit creating it. They won’t have a choice, we all need paid. So if you want to pirate a book, go for it. And in a decade when all your favorite authors quit writing books because everyone stole all their work, you don’t get to be angry.

When the Main Character has to Die

The other night I was browsing noir titles on Netflix and came across a Colin Farrell movie I’d never heard of called DEAD MAN DOWN. There wasn’t shit else on and I didn’t feel like paying to rent a movie so I watched it. To be honest, it wasn’t bad. I enjoyed it for the most part.

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Yeah, this might not suck. This is a poster for Dead Man Down. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the item promoted, the publisher of the item promoted or the graphic artist. Further details: This is a poster for Dead Man Down (film). The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the item promoted, the publisher of the item promoted or the graphic artist.jpg

The movie tells the story of a man infiltrating a crime syndicate to get revenge for them having his family killed two years prior. Cool. This is the part where I mention how much I love revenge stories. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason revenge stories will always be near and dear to my heart.

Here is my only problem with DEAD MAN DOWN: (Spoiler alert, I’m about to tell you the ending so if you think you might one day watch this movie, stop reading now.) The whole movie is fairly dark and somber. A story about revenge, it damn well better be. BUT, at the very end of the movie, the main character walks into a house full of bad guys, with his guns and brass balls on full display. He kills every last one of them without getting so much as a scratch, saves the new love interest, and rides off with her into the sunset.

First, that is a WAY sunnier ending than I was hoping for. I’m not saying the main character always needs to die, but sometimes it just fits. Second, I absolutely hate that the formula for most payback flicks goes like this: Guy’s wife/family get killed, guy devises plan for retribution, guy meets lonely girl along his path to resolution, guy has hot sex with lonely girl, guy finishes killing bad guys, guy and lonely girl live somber ever after.

I hate that so hard. I think about these things, you know? I put myself in the character’s shoes. If I were this character, I wouldn’t stop until the bad guys paid. I wouldn’t sleep, I wouldn’t get drunk (can’t focus on the plan if you’re hammered), I wouldn’t have sex with some random girl until every last person was dead. Maybe I’m a psychopath for that, but I like to think it means I care.

This brings me back to my point about the main character not ALWAYS needing to bite the bullet, literally. And yeah, I mean literally as in literally, like, you know, it really happens. Whatever. Anyway, revenge stories are the perfect kind of story for our ‘hero’ to end up in a coffin.

Here’s an example: The Crow. One of my favorite movies of all time. My oldest son is named after the character. In the story, Eric Draven comes back from the dead to get revenge against the people who killed him and his girlfriend. He kills them, all of them. (Without finding love along the way) And you know what happens when he’s finished? He goes back to his grave. Fucking perfect. He got what he set out to do, his spirit was set free or what the hell ever you want to say.

These characters, who often start out as normal Joes, go on these rampages and kill. I think we can all imagine that killing humans probably takes a big chunk away from a person. Bad guys or not, if you go on a first degree murder spree you are probably going to lose a little bit of yourself. Or maybe a lot of yourself. Possibly even all of yourself, until you are nothing left but a husk filled with rage and violence. And I’m not even saying that is a bad thing.

At some point in most of the stories, a sagely older fella says something to the extent of, “You can still turn back,” or, “Do you think finishing this will bring them back?” or, “You are afraid there will be nothing left after you kill the last one of them”. It happens pretty much without fail in these stories. I guess we need this reminder that killing is bad, mmkay? But I think that character is right, what is left? Where are you supposed to go from there? Can you walk this path and go back to being a normal human again? I doubt it.

So balls up and let the ‘good guy’ die. He kills that last of the villains by setting off a bomb from within the building. He bursts into the gangster’s mansion gun a’blazin’ and takes a few bullets on his way to the top. Whatever.

That’s all of got. Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite revenge story (book, movie, whatever) or just to tell me why I’m dumb. Have a good one, everybody.

What meeting a band taught me about writing #MondayBlogs

On Wednesday my wife and I went to a concert together. It was our first ever concert after being together for over ten years. The band was Vintage Trouble and they fucking ruled. Seriously, these guys are all amazing musicians.  If you don’t know them, look ‘em up. I’ll wait here. You know what, fuck it, I’ll just embed a video for you to listen to while you skim these words. Ready, go:

 

Great fucking song, isn’t it? So, after the show, we went up to grab a vinyl (yes, I listen to vinyl, what else would I listen to?) and get it signed by the band. We get up to the band, who were all super cool, and first up is Ty Taylor, the lead singer. He shakes my hand and I tell him they fucking killed tonight or something. First thing he says is, ‘Do you play?’ Yeah, I’ve got a scraggly beard and long hair, maybe that’s why he asked? Maybe I look as poor as only an artist can be? I dunno.

 

Either way, with a line at my back and the quick wit of cement, I could only say, ‘Uh…not in a long time’. Which is true. I haven’t played guitar in over two years. He gave me a shocked kind of look and said, ‘Man, don’t you miss it?’ as if he couldn’t imagine going without playing. And I bet he can’t. I imagine he lives for the music he creates. I told him I do miss it and stepped on down the line to get the Nalle Colt, the guitarist’s signature.

 

What I wanted to tell him was that I quit guitar because I found writing. I love music. It’s a huge part of my life and there’s always music playing around me. Playing guitar was a whole hell of a lot of fun and I would pick it back up if I had the time, but there’s just something I get from writing that I don’t from music. A sense of freeness and accomplishment or whatever you want to call it. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the same feeling Ty gets while making music and that why he can’t live without it. I gave up guitar because I didn’t HAVE the time; I write novels because I MAKE the time.

 

Maybe he was just making conversation in the three seconds he gets per person during signings. Maybe he assumed I look like a musician. Or maybe creative types can see that little bit of something in each other. No matter what brought up the question, it made me think about why I write and reminded me that great stories are something I can never live without. I thank Ty and Vintage Trouble for that just as much as I do for the great show.

Embrace the Grind #MondayBlogs

So I saw a maxim scribbled across an athletic shirt that caught my attention. Now, generally speaking, I absolutely hate athletic shirts with silly slogans on them. Every time I see a forty year old dude wearing Oakleys like he’s fucking Kenny Powers with his stomach hanging out of the bottom of his Under Armour shirt that declares ‘Clutch Performer’ I have an urge to ask him when, exactly, he performs under pressure. Probably a knee jerk dickhead reaction on my part, but hey, it’s how I feel.  Back on task, I saw a shirt and the motto read, ‘Embrace the grind’. Holy shit, I want one of those, but not for all that athletic shit. Ten thousand practice free throws a day is not my kind of grind.

But you know what is my kind of grind? Yeah, you guessed it, wordsmithing. If you aren’t a writer and think that writing a novel is as easy as dropping your ass in front of your laptop/word processor/typewriter/stone tablet and kicking out a hundred thousand or so words, you’re right. Well, sort of. Let’s just say you have made it through the entire process of finishing a complete novel. Counting beta reads and editing and all that jazz. Congrats, you’re a novelist. What’s next? Sit down and write your follow up masterpiece, right?

Wrong. Fucking wrong.

If you want to make any money off your novel you need to write a query letter and synopsis and research what agent would be the best fit for your hundred and sixty thousand word epic about a corn kernel’s journey through the small intestines of an aging biker. Then you get picked by an agent or publisher, you’re done right? Not quite Mr. Jumpy Pants. Drop some lead right in the seat of your Levi’s because there’s marketing to be done. Interviews, blog tours, and all kinds of other ‘hey, I wrote a book’ kind of posturing. Oh yeah, while you were writing your book however many months ago, you probably should have been blogging about what the fuck ever people blog about to build an audience. Yeah, audiences buy books. Sold books continue writing ‘careers’ and yes, I use the word career loosely.

So, that second book you were going to start, you remember the one right? Yeah, you had that kick ass idea for a story about a werewolf that changes form every time someone squeaks a squeaky toy titled ‘Like an Lichan’. It’s time to get started on that bad boy. NO, WAIT I SAY. Your publisher loved your breakout hit Colon Kernel and now they’ve requested a sequel. They wan’t to know if you can have them the first draft in two months.

Okay, so that whole scenario is a bit blown up, it’s true. But not by much. Sustaining a writing career (There’s that fucking word again. I don’t mean that you make a living off your writing, I just mean the act of your writing and everything around it) takes a lot of work. There is always a deadline (self imposed or outside imposed) and there is always pressure to perform. This book has to be better than the last one. I need to sell more copies. I need to diversify my bibliography. I need to actually find time to read other people’s books. I promised x,y, and z beta reads this month that I need to do. I need to blog. I need to market. I need to sit in a corner and cry for all my hard work that’s gotten no recognition.

Whatever.

You are always being pulled in a million different directions and at time it feels like too much to handle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shit you don’t think about. That’s exactly the time you need to embrace the grind. This is why you do this. This is what you wanted, right? It’s what I wanted. I want fans to read my books and beg for more. I want to write more to give them. I want to share what I have to say, that’s why I started sharing my writing in the first place. So I say it again embrace the grind. That’s fucking right.

We’ve all got shit to do and shit we want to do. If writing is the thing you want to do, then you know what you’ve got to do. That’s right. Embrace the mother fucking grind.