The Decisions I Make

Approximately eighty percent of the decisions I make are poor ones, half of which are based purely on selfish intentions. I’d say this is slightly below average, though without further data I cannot confirm this statement. Point being, I am not always the best person, neither to myself nor to those around me. If you are one of the poor individuals caught in the web of my mistakes, I am truly sorry, but I am right there with you brushing the sticky stringy substance from my face fervently, hoping no spider is holding onto dear life with the intention of injecting it’s venom into my tender eyeball.

I’ve spent a lot of time with myself over the years and though I do not swim in a pool of self-hatred, I do splash in the puddle a bit. It’s nearly impossible not to. I can only hope that even the stoutest of hero’s – of which I am not – doubts his intentions in all the goodness he attempts. I am really good at doubting my thoughts in an act of kindness but slow to brush aside the most obvious of awful feelings. Probably the opposite for said hero.

The only good thing in all this is that my acute self-observation is integral to writing flawed characters. In all honesty, flawed characters are generally the most interesting ones. Even the wisest, such as Gandalf the Grey, are not as interesting without their imperfections – quick to anger – or their weaknesses – his love for hobbits.

At this point you must be wondering, “What is your point?”

To which I would quickly respond, “I don’t know. What did I say again?” Then after reading what I had written I would come up with something like, “Make your flaws your characters, or don’t, you have no reason to believe anything I say.”

Then you would walk out of the Internet shaking your head, muttering something about “a waste of time” or “why do I keep coming here?”

To which I have no good response but still I’d cry out, “please come back.”

Keep Reading

Well I think we all can agree this is the best possible blog post I can make. With that sad truth, here’s some other stuff to dilute it:

I Can Tell You About Pain by Converge – It’s been five years since they made any new music and the second track “Eve” may just be one of my favorites ever. Already love this little EP and joyous about the prospect of a new album. If you like fast and or heavy music just go ahead.

The Forest for the Trees by Betsey Lerner – After about 50 pages I can say this is turning out to be one of those essential writing books. Writing from the perspective of an editor, Lerner sets out what it takes to be a writer and who a writer is right off that bat. Nailing many feelings and dilemmas you may encounter, drawing you towards her insight.  Looking forward to diving more into this one.

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7 Reasons I’m Not Productive

Oh hello there. I haven’t posted anything here in a while? Really? Well don’t worry I’ve been hard at work not writing much else as well. That means a good ole list of things that keep me from being productive is in order.

1. Vacation

There weren’t any. Also it smelled like a diarrhea dumpster.

Mountains, I want to see mountains. Well writing in the mountains is like moving mountains apparently. Read a ton though, literally a ton. Not really actually. But I did more on vacation than I have since I got back. How does that work? You’d think I’d at least be just as productive at home but I guess not. I shouldn’t have played so many video games with my brother (by the laws of marriage). Actually that brings me to the next one.

2. Dark Souls III

Laughed way too much at this.

“Just gotta get to the next bonfire then I’ll get some writing done. Gahh! Where the hell did that thing come from? Well now I gotta get my souls back.” Some version of this was said over and over again through the course of last week. I haven’t been so enveloped in a game since the last Zelda. Okay so that wasn’t that long ago but before that I barely played any games. Thanks brother in law. But seriously it’s such a fantastic game.

3. Toddler

If you have children and are a stay at home parent then you understand – if you don’t then skip ahead.

4. The God of Laziness Possessing My Body

I can’t remember it’s name, I could look it up but I probably won’t. Maybe I shou

5. Not a Job

Well unless you count my spouses job. That combined with number three is the majority of my time. I’d really like writing to be my full time career but if I have to keep going back to this stupid list then that isn’t going to happen. This is the start of me getting back at it though. Just you see – unless you are blind or dead. I feel like you could still see if you are dead.

6. Corpse Closet

Actually I could use some help with this if you have the time.

7. Got No Rhythm

I know this is a terrible reason why not to be productive but it’s hard to keep yourself on target when everything feels off. When you dig in and get a consistent productive time set up everyday it’s easy to fall in to the beat of writing.  When that rhythm is gone, it feels like you ain’t got the funk.

 

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An Alien Object

Have you ever assumed a stranger was going in for a hug, and by instinct you went for it only realizing afterward they had no intention of embracing you, then you couldn’t stop thinking about the event years later? Yea that hasn’t happened to me multiple times either. But if it did, it would be a good summary of my life. That doesn’t sound stupid. Why would you say that?

Humans built the pyramids you know. I know it sounds ridiculous but they probably used the help of dinosaurs or something. The alien thing is ridiculous though; unless you mean Stargate (the movie not the TV show) then it’s pretty cool. It’s weird to think that aliens would even give us the time of day. If aliens really did come down to interact with people I think they’d only use it as documentation of how civilizations are not to behave. They’d probably just shape shift into humans and document all of the ridiculous things they saw for research and education

I imagine them presenting a slideshow of x-rays of all the things people shoved up their butts in their human studies class. Both the presenters and audience struck with total confusion on the information displayed on their screen.

“Why would that guy shove a bottle up his butt?” a school child alien thing would ask.

“Probably to give the butt doctors something to do.” The teacher alien would reply, answering as logically as it possibly could.

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“No” the teacher would sigh, “It really doesn’t, but neither does sticking a bottle up your butt.”

The good little alien children would all nod in agreement.

 

People are weird. Not me, it’s the rest of you that’s the problem. This post is sure to lose one or two of my three readers. Rand will probably like it though.

Fun Things

here’s a review of a book:

On Writing by Stephen King

King is easily one of the most successful authors of all time, both in print and on the big screen. To be a writer and not know his process would be irresponsible, unless your goal isn’t to be a competent writer. Oh it is? Well read this book you fool! Of course there are a ton of good books on writing and I’d still stick with Modern Library Writers Workshop, as a starting point, but this is definitely essential.

Even with non-fiction, king’s writing is highly entertaining and rarely do you feel he is over descriptive. Though he himself would probably say he is prone to give too much information. That being said, this is a longer book than it needs to be.

The first third of it is a sequence of events that make up his life story, it’s a great read but not necessarily completely relevant to writing. I could see others argue that I am wrong but I think if his stories were put in the context of talking about writing then they would feel more relevant. Instead they just seem like a biographical summary of a writer, which is great, but not exactly what I was looking for. Then about page one hundred it gets meaty. Basically from that point until the chapter about his accident he tells you how to do everything. This was the inspiration and information I really needed.

Then one of the last chapters he diverts again, with reason of course, but it still seems a bit long for the books intention. None the less it’s a powerful and personal chapter and I appreciate the rawness King puts on the pages. It ends on an extremely high note where he lays out an introduction to a story, showing both the first draft and sequentially his edits of that draft. Then if you are curious what he read around the time of writing this book he closes with a list of literature he enjoyed. All in all a great read and incredibly useful.

 

And a great new album and it’s space themed:

Planetary is a new album by Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner, James McalisterPlanetarium by Sufjan Stevens and some other guys – I am sure the gentlemen who aren’t Mr. Stevens are extremely talented and contributed much to this wonderful album but man this is some supremely wonder Sufjan music. It’s dreamy and chill, with it’s electronic beeps, boops, and elongated synths. Playing this non stop today.

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The Dangers of Unwriting

It will hurt.
I will do it.

Though I am still keeping up with writing quite a bit, it’s hard not to feel like I am not writing enough every day. Maybe it’s just that I am writing more in less time, meaning I am not increasing the amount of time I devote to working. I know it’s good that I even keep at it everyday but I want more. Could be worse though. I could have unwritten some work.

UNWRITING

I would say that most writers don’t even know about the dangers of unwriting or even it’s existence. But you and me, we aren’t most writers, we know differently. At any moment something you put in ink just dissipates off the page and returns back to your brain an incomplete mess, just as it began. Those of us that know about this horrendous aberration don’t have to worry. It’s really the unexpecting and unknowing amateur writers whom are majorly affected by this.

Thankfully there is a cure in the unlikely event that we might be infected by unwriting. All you have to do is get a few words on a page and bingo, unwritings effects should be shortly reversed. After that, all you need to do is keep putting your ideas onto paper and you will quickly build up your immunity, but make sure you don’t stop or you will open yourself up to another bout of unwriting.

There of course is always that voice whispering in your ear that unwriting is an entirely false concept and in no way exists. This of course is true. I made it all up to trick you into writing. Clever me, or stupid you more likely, either way this blog has been largely successful.

 

Hope you enjoyed my latest batch of nonsense for the day. If you didn’t and this isn’t your first time reading my blog well then you should have learned by now. It’s your fault really.

Here is some more things I am enjoying:

Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire – Probably my favorite ongoing comic right now.  It is basically the best love letter series to DC’s Multiverse since Watchmen.  If you enjoy superheroes or any of Lemire’s other work you will like this.  Also the art by Dean Ormston is fantastic.

U Talkin’ U2 To Me? – Do you like U2?  It doesn’t really matter because most U2 fans probably won’t like this podcast but if you like the weirdness of Adam Scott Aukerman then this is for you.  They just put out an episode for the first time in 2 years and its great.  So get on board with this fun and incredibly dumb podcast.

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Second Draft Drudge

So lately I have been working on some second drafts. My brain feels like mush. Its not that it’s excruciatingly difficult, it’s just similar to that. Never has writing felt so forced for me. I guess this makes sense since I am editing a piece, not really writing something completely new. But it still doesn’t feel quite right, like I am working a muscle that just won’t budge, not that its injured or anything, it just can’t quite handle the weight. Also it ranges, I’d say writing first drafts goes quite smoothly but working on these second drafts doesn’t drag only about a third of the time. Meaning that it does feel fluid at times.

I read some advice of successful writers who emphasized cutting down on your first draft for your second. I think it was Stephen King who originated the cut 10% rule. At least one of them said to completely rewrite in your second draft. I, of course, have elected to do neither of these verbatim. It’s not that I don’t edit, I do, nor do I not rewrite my first draft. I just have to add details in to my stories smooth out transitions and bring body to some of the clunky sections. Also, some of my first drafts are too complicated to leave out details. I wouldn’t say that I write my first drafts bare-bones, but I don’t throw tons of detail on the page like most writers; which is fine with me, I can add that later. But this seems to be contrary to the process of most writers so its entirely possible that this is purely a phase of writing and editing, and with more knowledge and skill it will fade away.

The point being, writing a second draft is mentally straining. But, just do it, and do it any way you can. As long as you feel its at all improving upon your initial idea, then you are doing something right. And I am certain my second drafts are an improvement upon their predecessors. If anything, the few weeks or months you waited to write this second draft, is enough time to dramatically improve your writing skills.

JUST KEEP GOING

If you ever feel like you are not getting better at something, just look at something old you made. I am not sure if this will brighten your day, or just make you cringe uncomfortably as boredom and confusion repel you from your abomination.

I checked out something I worked on for a bit last year when I wasn’t writing consistently and man was it rough. The whole first paragraph was unbearably awful but even in the thousand words I managed there was noticeable improvement. I even laughed at a couple parts near the end. I had managed to find things I liked about it.

It’s a story I have been hoping to re-attempt lately so it will be interesting to see how much it will change and improve. You won’t see this. You won’t ever see it; I think I would become physically ill if someone read that first paragraph. So would the person reading it.

So don’t focus on how hard a time you are having at the moment but focus on how much you are improving. Change is tough, especially when it’s a good transformation. Be happy that your brain hurts. It’s growing stronger. But don’t let it grow too strong, you don’t want it to think it doesn’t need you any longer.

 

This post is entirely too serious. Who wrote this?

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Boring Blog Post

by Tom Gauld via Twitter, love this guys work

 

I have to be honest; I don’t have much to talk about. Feeling a bit burnt out today. The good news is because I wrote a bunch today. In fact I finished a rough draft of a short story in two days. I would say my average word count per day is increasing steadily. Confidence is growing. About to level up…..OR GO SUPER!

All right that was incredibly nerdy and ridiculous. So lets just move on. Enjoy this super boring post. Most of which is my review for Bird by Bird, which I just finished. Going to dive into Stephen King’s On Writing next.


Review:  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

 

Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this book and found myself ready to write after each session of reading. I enjoyed her style in the context this book but I would guess that it would be a bit stark in a novel for me.

 

She made me laugh and made some emotional connections to my psyche but not everything she does works. For example, I found her talking about growing up writing to be somewhat discouraging and to be quite unrelatable. Which I would imagine is the opposite of her intention. Sometimes I found her writing anxieties to be over the top and quite exaggerated. For me, being at all concerned about an avid reader knowing who you are is completely vain. Its possible that I misunderstood her concern in the context of that story but from how I read it, that’s how it sounded.

 

That being said, I completely appreciated her honesty and there were many times where I felt like she was writing for me specifically. Overall she is an incredibly talented writer and I can only hope that most of this book rubs off on me. Definitely recommend.

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7 Reasons to Quit

If you have a blog and don’t make a numbered list of things, well, you don’t really blog do you? There are not many things that I’d consider myself fully qualified as an expert in, but quitting is pretty easy for me. So here is my expertly selected and distinguished 7 reasons to quit.  Also, these are numbered but only in the order in which they entered my thoughts. If you don’t agree with them, well that makes sense.

 

  1. It Makes You Miserable

You sit down at your desk, roll the deck back on your trusty old typewriter, put paper in the compartment thingy, and decide you’d rather hang yourself. Okay I don’t know how to work a typewriter but you get the gist. Getting some words out makes you want to kill yourself. Sounds like you hate it to me.

Now just to clarify, I am not talking about creative anxiety. Everyone who writes or arts or whatever feels uninspired, lethargic, and just not into it like they know they should. Get that doubt BS out of your head, that’s not the same thing as being miserable. Even if writing causes you great anxiety, most likely you will be miserable if you don’t do it. So do it, or don’t, depending on whether it makes you incredibly miserable, or uncomfortably anxious. This is your life now. I have given it back to you after secretly stealing it from you when you entered this blog-realm. Lucky you.

 

  1. You are So Poor You Can’t Even Afford the Materials

So I had always heard that JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was so poor that she wrote sections of the Sorcerers Stone on napkins since she couldn’t afford paper. Unfortunately she dispelled this myth, but she did write the names of the Hogwarts Houses on the back of a sick bag. She was pretty damn poor regardless, and yet she still could get a notepad and pen.

So don’t give me that excuse unless you can’t even afford a ten-cent package of ramen noodles. If your occupation costs more money, go max out some credit cards or something. Or don’t and give up and quit. That’s the whole point of this blog post, to convince you to stop doing what you are doing, especially if you are a writer.

 

  1. You are Hitler

Pretty self-explanatory, if you are Hitler or just the writing avatar of him, then stop doing it immediately, also turn your self into the authorities. But seriously, it is so easy to take money for yourself and ignore the results of your actions, or make excuses. You know when you are doing something evil and no matter how much you deceive yourself with your good intentions, contributing to evil is the same as being it.

Also let the record show that Hitler was the worst and had the worst intentions. I feel it’s strange to have to make sure I fully reject every aspect of him upon his mention, but alas this is the Internet age.

 

  1. You Want To Be Mocked for Failing To Accomplish Anything

Way to just give up you imbecile.

 

  1. You are Not Me and Also a Writer

Widely regarded as the most important reason to quit. Clearly I am really good at writing and will never quit. Unless you want to be my editor or agent or something you should just get out of the writing game all together. Also I know where you live.

 

  1. There is a Bomb Strapped to You or Your Favorite Being and If You Write Another Word (or Whatever It Is You Do) It Will Go Off

I assume its probably strapped to your large love-able husky if not yourself. It would be a horrible waste to let such a dumb thing as your dreams end its joyous upbeat life. Just look into those beautiful glacier blue eyes and remember all the wonderful times you had together. That time Waldo pooped in your bed and rolled in it, spreading all across your recently cleaned apartment. Or that time he brought you that dead armadillo. He just stood there happily, wagging his tail like he had done so good, and dropped the rotting shell of the animal on your doormat. Poor Waldo, he will be missed, unless you stop writing right now.

 

  1. You’ve Found Yourself at the Bottom of this List and You Can Not Take Anymore and Want to End It All

 

 

Well that’s definitely all the reasons to quit writing or any other worthwhile activity. If you need anymore numbered headlines to tell you how the world works, maybe I’ll write an updated post eventually. Until then just use these fully researched points as a reference for your decision.

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Impermanence

From “The Fade Out” written by Ed Brubacker with art by Sean Phillips

Most of things I write are total garbage. That’s okay; people seem to make good money writing total garbage, but still, I would prefer to write something halfway decent. In order to get there though, I have to remember that most of what I write will be a dumpster fire that requires sifting through smoldering words to find something I don’t hate. So just write away, write with no confidence in what you are doing because it’s so incredibly disposable and impermanent, the things that aren’t is what you will eventually leave yourself with.

Nothing is really final until its published or shared with the general public. Let things sit in purgatory for as long a period as you like. Craft those things till they are something either worthy of putting your name on or work that exemplify your incredibly flawed self. Nothing is worse than things that aren’t true. But its better to get those imperfect lies out of your head and onto paper so that you can get to the truth.

 

One of my favorite things in books, movies, or plays, or any storytelling venture is good dialogue. Writing dialogue is abysmally hard for me; it’s bizarre how difficult this is. Slogging through a conversation I am writing is painstakingly slow and I never feel remotely satisfied with what I have put down on paper. That being said, I continue to get through it in my first drafts, and often when I go back and read it I find some parts I don’t despise.

That’s another thing I have realized about writing, with time comes change. I will read back only a day after writing something and enjoy the part I hated writing, and lose interest in the writing I felt initially confident in. I have no Idea how to handle these revelations in my next draft but I definitely want to be able to rid myself of writing I enjoyed making that serves no purpose to the context of the story. Everything is one hundred percent disposable. That initial idea that started your story? Disposable. Your favorite character? Disposable. Your planet? Totally disposable. Make sure you keep some clean underwear though, that’s not disposable.


Here’s a great video of Kurt Vonnegut talking about short stories.  Watch every video of him you can find, he was a brilliant human being and writer.  Also read every word he wrote.  I’m still working on that one. 

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Remember to Write a Title

Really want to keep this blog updated but it’s a bit too easy to get distracted or discouraged from it, which doesn’t make any sense since it’s mostly me reading it. Did get an uptick in visitors but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why, also you is me so that doesn’t even make sense. Anyway, just ignore my nonsensical ranting or enjoy it, that’s really the only options. If anyone magically reads this and has any ideas or questions please feel free to post them. I know you at least have criticisms so tell me something.

Of course this is all hypothetical on the basis of you as a reader existing at all.   I wonder if there is a way to prove that or is this tree screaming in the woods kind of thing. If trees could scream that would just be terrifying. Imagine you are just walking in the woods minding your own selfish business when a rotten squirrel rips a pecan from a tree and the thing just yells in agony right into your ear. Or maybe they would just do it for fun to mess with hikers.

I’m getting off topic. Wait I don’t have a topic. I guess I could just spend more time talking about myself. Though really, I don’t want to hear it. I have a bit less than a year left in my twenties and other than marrying someone awesome and have a super cute kid I haven’t done anything with my life. Who the hell wants to hear about that depressing BS?

Really got to get myself onto a more positive and productive streak than I have. Past two days have been better. Was a bit sick and I got to say that totally brings down my productivity level and mental health. Another thing I need to keep doing is making sure I write on days that I work. It’s easy to get tired after a long day and just want to relax instead of pushing myself. But I don’t want to be that person. Lounging around watching TV isn’t going to get me where I want. Though the new Master of None season is out today so I got to make some time for that for sure.

 

Anyways, here are some more things getting my inspiration juices flowing:

 

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamont has presented a gem of a book for writers. She doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is while pouring out all her struggles to write. Though I didn’t grow up a writer like her, it’s easy to find some connection to her life and stories. Only a third the way through and I’d already recommend it.

 

Seven Days in May – Crafted by the master Rod Serling, better known for the Twilight Zone. This movie is a writer’s movie. It moves purely by dialogue, story, and perfect character acting. Kirk Douglass, Ava Gardner, and Burt Lancaster are the big names performing in this one. It feels disturbingly relevant to our current political climate though. So be warned. I highly recommend it.

 

Star Wars Minute – Ever wanted to listen to grown men talk about all the Star Wars movies minute by minute? Actually it’s a ton of fun and a bit eye opening. They also have a rather large arrangement of guest commentators that are mostly great. I listen to a lot of podcasts FYI.

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Write Then Write Then Write

 

Via Francesco Francavilla

Writing is hard. Well writing isn’t that hard, just starting to write is hard. So far, it hasn’t become and easier to get going. Once I get going it usually tends to progress smoothly and mostly feel right, but getting there is like pulling teeth. It feels like some strange holy process that you have to be in the perfect mindset and setting to begin. This is completely false. Just write damn you! Seriously, get going; write tired, write hungry, write depressed, write distracted if possible. You need to write and you won’t feel right unless you do it. Not sure if anyone is getting this but this is what I have to tell myself everyday. I say this after having a good week and a half of struggling to write. I have already written more today than I did the past week, which is fine, we all have periods of doubt and struggle. Move on and do what you need to do. Work to get better but always remember that with every word, stroke of your pen, or even a brush you are artistically progressing.

It helps knowing that even professional, well-accomplished writers still have a hard time keeping themselves accountable. Learning to work through self-doubt is one of the hardest things about the creative mind. Just know this, you will be less happy doing nothing, than you will be doing just a little that takes every bit of effort. Just spending fifteen minutes writing is progress, but chances are that once you get started you won’t want to stop. But if you all you can do is write a wretched paragraph, don’t get discouraged, count it as a success. Every awful word you write or type is worth the time, it doesn’t have to seem like it at the time but trust me, you will feel better writing something you hate than writing nothing at all. So ignore that self-doubt BS and just write what you can.

I feel like this is incredibly repetitive but this is one of those things I need beaten into me more than anything. As someone who has had a hard time finding that one thing they know they are supposed to do, I need this to keep me going. And I am sure that many others need this kind of perspective, whether it’s writing, music, art, or just getting through school or a project. We need it beating into us to just take things one wobbly step at a time and that’s what I am doing. That’s what this blog is about. It’s about me, and anyone feeling the struggle of their calling to just keep at it. So lets do that and not forget that its not easy, it’s the hardest thing to do. Giving up is easy. So just go out there and keep failing until you can finally succeed.


Well this post is entirely too serious. Here are some things making me feel good or inspired lately. Or just things I like. It’s my blog I can do what I want.

Kid Cudi – Yea I know, super vulgar and whatever.  Also sooo 2009.  I don’t care been inspiring me lately.  Dude makes great stuff all the while dealing with depression.  Pursuit of Happiness/ Simple As/ Cudi Zone/ Up Up & Away are the best tracks not in that order.

TESD – Podcast that is also super vulgar.  I still don’t care, its just nice to relate to some hilarious middle aged guys.  The main guys are from Comic Book Men and Impractical Jokers.

Haruki Murakami – Been really into this guys writing lately and never really feel disappointed by a book.   Also just found out he started writing around my same age.  If you like or don’t mind bizarre surrealist situations, science fiction, sexuality, cats, whisky, noir, or just fantastic writing then I can’t recommend Murakami enough.  Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is my personal favorite  but really any of his other popular novels are great.

I’ll probably post about things inspiring or keeping going on each posts, if this is a bad/good idea feel free to let me know.  Or don’t, more likely you don’t care or read this on accident.

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