Open Season

Writing Set Up

Travel is bad for art. Wine is bad for art. Staying up late is bad for art.

What my art needs is a plastic chair and a uniform schedule.

My dream is to turn my hobbies into professional pursuits, which has the dual effect of 1) earning money and 2) spending more time doing what I enjoy and less time “working”. It’s a snowy peak I’m aiming for. But other creators have made it – they’re busy making it this very minute – and all I have to do is follow their boot prints.

The good new for regular guys like me is, whatever your wildest dream is, somebody’s already achieved it.

Billionaire? Civil Rights Giant? Lead Vocalist? Restaurant Owner?

Oh baby it’s all been done a million times. You just have to find the right blueprint is all.

You just have to bounce around a few different cities, a few different careers, and a few different relationships first. You have to watch the first third of your life slide by. Or however long it is, to realize that nobody’s gonna bring the holy grail to your doorstep. Nobody’s gonna push your ass up the ladder because nobody feels bad for you.

It’s not that we’re jerks, we’re just too busy feeling bad for ourselves.

When you realize that it’s all your fault, then magically the prison door falls off it’s hinges. Now you can take your blueprint and spread it across the table like a treasure map. Draw a line from A to B and walk it like a mile-high tightrope. You owe it to the kid you used to be.

Writing a Novel

Working at Dojo Bali in Canggu

This picture won’t make any Top-Ten Instagram lists.

The lighting is bad. The subject is unclear. I’m drinking shitty insta-coffee (no designer mocha) and I haven’t stopped sweating in 72 hours.

There’s one main reason that I’m here in Bali: I’m here because I heard somebody say, “the best way to be a starving artist is to lower your monthly bills.”

My only goal for 2017 is to finish my novels. I’m currently writing a fantasy series that will consist of either 3 or 4 novels.

My story doesn’t have any Elves or Dwarves, but it does have strange cultures, magic, sorcery, sword-fighting, ships, hallucinogenic drugs, talking animals, murder, mystery, slavery, inns at the end of the world, heroes and villains and enigmatic mentors. My story has a cast of protagonists, like Harry Potter, and a world map for reference, like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

My plan is to self-publish my series on Amazon. The books will be available as print books, and mostly as ebooks that you can read on your phone. They’ll be affordable – maybe $1.99 a piece. Novel#1 should be finished in February; I’ll be sending the final draft off to the editor at the end of January. But I won’t release #1 until the whole series is finished. My goal is a summer release – June or July of 2017.

So here’s to the new year. 2017 you’re nothing special. You don’t have badass symmetry to your name like 2000 or 2020 or even 2012. But if you’re the year that I become an author – and I really think you are – then you’ll always be the year I love.

Fear is the Mind-Killer

Dune by Frank Herbert

I found my “2017 New Year Credo” hiding in an old science fiction novel. It startled me last week like a stray cat on my doorstep, and now I’ve decided to take it in and make it mine.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

-From the novel Dune by Frank Herbert

Every time I publish something into the universe, I score a victory in the creative arena. Fear is the six-armed ogre who obliterates me by freezing me into inaction.

If I say, “I’ll create tomorrow,” then I lose. If I say, “I’ll improve my skills before I publish,” then I lose. Choosing not to enter the contest is the most popular way to lose. But I know what I’m capable of. And I know that all of my scary excuses are really just white bedsheets with eye holes cut in ’em.

There’s only one way to win in the creative arena. It’s time-tested, it’s simple, and it’s solid as a cinder block: Call it good. Publish it. Move on to the next.