Time for a change

Thu, Nov 26, 2015

So for the past few weeks I’ve been doing the new author thing. Built a website, got on Twitter, made a Facebook page, posted updates, and all that other shit. These were the things I needed to do (or so the web tells me) in order to become an author. I have to ‘become a brand’. Everything that I say and do should be to forward that brand. And I did it. I followed all the things that it said I should do, and I’ve been querying agents for the past few weeks for my debut novel. I’ve written and rewritten my synopsis, query, etc to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward. I’ve read hundreds of blog posts and articles detailing exactly what you should be doing.

Guess what? I hate it.

I’m probably not alone. I bet every writer hates doing that kind of stuff. Well, not every writer, there are likely people out there who fucking love it. Anyway what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think I’m unique at all, or a special snowflake for writing this post. I’ll get to that later. Back to hating all the crap you’re supposed to do to be an author. Now I’m not saying these things are bad, or wrong, or that people shouldn’t do them. On the contrary. I think these things are awesome and helpful and everything that you need to do to get picked up by an agent or publisher, and become a successful author. What I am saying is that, for me, it feels like I’ve been phoning it in. Nothing I’ve done (until starting this post) has felt organic or natural.

I started thinking a few days ago about the people who inspire me more than anyone else. We all have favorite authors, bands, artists, and all that, but I was thinking about the people who really make me want to create art. All in all I came up with three people who inspire the shit out of me more than any others: Bo Burnham, Donald Glover, and Chuck Wendig. As an author, it’s probably dumb that only one other author made that list. It’s dumber when I confess that I’ve never read anything written by Wendig (I have two of his novels on my kindle and swear I’ll read them soon, but his writing isn’t what inspires me about him).

So I had a think about what it was that really inspired me about those three people in particular:

Bo Burnham - Bo is a character and a human all rolled up into one. His shows are at once a carefully thought out act and a window into his heart and mind. He seamlessly switches between silly jokes, funny songs, meta discussion on his art form, and heart wrenching honesty. Bo is so self-aware that when you sit through his sets and see how everything he does it part of his soul being bared, you can’t help but fall in love with him.

Donald Glover - Donald for me is the epitome of ‘doing it for myself’. The writer/actor/rapper/singer doesn’t really fit into the mold of others in his industry at his age, and he seems to float around and gravitate toward the project that most interests him at the time. His debut album is so honest it hurts, and I often find myself listening to his monologues and getting misty eyed. He is just the most honest and relatable guy.

Chuck Wendig - The reason I included Chuck here is that he doesn’t give a shit. He says what he wants, writes what he wants, isn’t afraid to be wrong, and isn’t afraid of ‘ruining his brand’ by speaking his mind. Chuck is everything that I want to be, and is such an open guy who grows with his audience.

Sure, you could say that Wendig not caring about his brand is his brand, but to be honest the same thing could be said about any of the guys on this list. Hell I’m yet to watch a Burnham show that doesn’t have him making fun of his own stage persona, while admitting that it’s all an act. His anti-act is his act. That’s kind of the point of all these guys. Glover, in his Gambino albums, raps about how the things he raps about are stupid, but they make him happy so who cares – and isn’t life pretty much just stupid shit?

The thing about these guys that unifies them is their honesty. They know who they are, and they use that not only to drive them but it powers their creativity. And, to me, that is what makes me keep coming back to them and following their careers. That is what I want to be. And that is what led me to write this post.

From this day forth I’m going to be as open and honest as possible. I want the love of the art to drive me, and not the desire to be rich, famous, etc. Of course if I can make a career out of this writing thing I’ll be over the fucking moon, but only insofar as that it will give me more time to write. I want to share my creations with you guys, and that means that from now I’ll be doing things a little differently.

First of all, I’m going to self publish by novel, Pulse. I’ve thought long and hard about the pros and cons of both ways of doing things, but when it comes right down to it I just want people to be able to read it. Nothing makes me happier than reading people’s responses to the things I put my characters through, be them negative or positive. That means more to me than having a ‘brand image’ of being an author.

Secondly, I’m going to be open. I’m going to blog more, but it won’t always be about my writing. It will be whatever I feel passionate about that the time. I’m going to make mistakes along the way. I’m going to fuck up, say stupid shit, contradict myself, and probably change my mind. That’s fine. I’m human. It’s allowed. So call me on my bullshit! Anything that helps me grow as a person is always good in my book (hahaha, book, hahaha, I’m so funny).

Anyway let me end this rant now, because it’s getting to be too long already. I’m going to finish up the cover for Pulse and then release that shit as soon as possible for you guys. All I ask in return is that you’re honest with me. If you hate something, let me know. If you love something, let me know (and other people too, cause I’m a whore for that attention as evidenced by this post).

If you’ve made it this far, thanks. I’ll be updating my blog, Twitter, and Facebook, but this time I’ll be trying to keep it more honest and less ‘media friendly’. I hope you all enjoy this journey as much as I will.

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