Sunday, January 31, 2016

What Is Real?

I was recently interviewed on a friend's blog (link is at the bottom), and one of the questions asked led to this awesome. So what is real? I know what you are thinking. Oh sh... he finally lost it! *grabs popcorn* This should be good! It's not that serious, or maybe it is. Let me consult the voices in my head. This week I want to ask the question "What is real?" I'm not questioning reality in a sick kind of torture scenario *puts waterboarding tools away*.

This week I want to discuss how to keep your writing grounded. There is a certain suspension of reality that takes place when you enter a fictional world as a writer or a reader. The difference is a writer can control where that reality begins and ends and the reader is along for the ride, even for the huge drops and loops of the roller coaster. The writer must make sure the coaster doesn't fly off its tracks unless it has wings, like a pega-coaster, and maybe give it a horn too. A UNI-PEGA-COASTER would totally not pull the reader out of that suspension.

The Rules

The writer makes the rules, but it is their job to ensure the rules make sense. This doesn't mean a 5 page block of exposition is needed to explain every little thing. The rules should be explained sparingly as the story moves, so it doesn't muck up the action. At the same time readers don't want to be left wondering what the crap is the Kool-Aid Guy doing busting through every wall including the 4th one? "Oh YEA!" Readers aren't going to know that the author spent 2 weeks coming up with the idea of a cartoon world similar to the Roger Rabbit movie, but in another dimension. They don't know that the hero created a device to bridge the gap between dimensions which makes it possible for the Kool-Aid Guy to be there. This might be a deal breaker for readers if the writer is unable to adequately explain it away.

This does not mean a writer can't have some crazy mechanized cat that coughs up tin foil balls. The writer need only decide what the rules are in the world they create. Are the mechanized cats alive? machines? alien technology? magically animated constructs? Once it is decided, the author MUST stick with the rules. Making it up as you go makes it harder for readers to accept. It is OK to make an exception to the rule, but make it clear. It is not OK to break every known rule in your world whenever it becomes inconvenient and then not explain why. This drives people crazy! I know. Been there. It's about a 5 minute drive depending on traffic.

Possibilities

The writer has created their realm. When the characters are dropped into the world they all have their own abilities and motivations. In order to stay grounded within the world I created there are 2 questions I find myself asking over and over again. The first, "Is this possible?" Using the laws that bind the world, can it physically be done? Can the plucky heroine with a gunshot wound in her leg jump the 10 foot gap when she normally can't jump 4 feet? No she can't, but maybe she can with rocket boots... I find it important to keep things grounded in the world you create. That means inventing new things and abilities so the characters can do extraordinary things. It's not so characters can do extraordinary things to patch a plot hole.

The second question I ask is "What motivates the characters involved?" If I can understand what my characters want then I can anticipate how they will react to upcoming situations. This goes double for the villain. They don't sit there and go MWAHAHAHA all day. No, they lay plans toward a goal just like everyone else. Their goals tend to be evil from a general perspective, but in real life the evil characters don't see themselves as evil most of the time. I try to emulate that by putting myself in their shoes. I might not react the same way, but I can at least understand.

Conclusion

Godzilla will eat your face. It's inevitable. There is one more question that I ask myself with regularity. "Does it matter?" Staying grounded within the world the writer created can make it feel more realistic, but is that always a good thing? Does the audience need to know the details of how a device allows the hero to breathe under water? Later when the hero uses the same device to play checkers, does it matter that it is capable of multiple tasks? These questions like everything else can be a useful tool to pull out of the author box when needed.

The Interview

http://jeweleleonard.com/2016/01/29/friday-five-with-brian-basham/ The Interview with ME! This interview helped to inspire today's blog post. You should go click on the link before the deathbots come. They only kill people who don't click the link, so DO IT already. I'm only trying to save your life.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3

Rated PG / 1 hr 35 min / Action - Adventure

What is it about?

Po is living it up as the Dragon Warrior in the village. Every time there is a threat he runs through the village giving everyone a high five. This time the threat is to his stomach and the mission is to order breakfast. There is a dangerous threat to Po's dumpling eating record. It is another panda. This panda will break the record and tell Po "I AM YOUR FATHER". Now Po must train like he has never trained before. He must embrace his lazy pandaness to summon his chi. Then and only then he will be able to defend his dumpling eating championship against his evil father.

You will like it if...

You liked the previous Kung Fu Panda movies. Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogan, etc. is a star studded cast. If virtually every voice in this film sounds familiar it is because you have seen all of them in other films. The story is basically the same as every other Kung Fu Panda film. The fight scenes are just as interesting as the previous films with the addition of new animal characters. Light comedy is sprinkled into the script as with the previous iterations. There is just enough new stuff to feel like a new film even though the basic story is recycled. In all if you are a fan of the series there is no reason for you not to like this new one. It is more of the same without feeling like it is a tired old rehash of the same Kung Fu Panda.

Next Week

Hail, Caesar!, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or whichever film you vote for. Vote early, vote often, vote in the comments or Godzilla will pick the movie! As always the movie selection is subject to change based on what is showing here in theaters.

Upcoming to DVD on February 2

  • Our Brand Is Crisis
  • Bridge of Spies - Tom Hanks so you know it's like chocolate.
  • Suffragette - Let's get militant about women's rights YAY! This is also good.
  • The Last Witch Hunter - No. Stop it. Vin Diesel is a good actor, but why this film? It is bad.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Life Debt

There are a lot of things that are expected of artists. As I have gone through my journey I have met many amazing people that have been taken advantage of, abused, and kicked while they were down. Sometimes it feels like I have joined the WWE and for my first match I have to get my butt whooped by The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. At the same time I have met many people who feel like the world owes them everything. What do we owe our artists? What do the artists owe us in return? What city is Godzilla going to attack next?

Entitlement

It's easy for us all to think that owed things like more exposure, sales, recognition, but no one owes us anything. Full stop, get off the ride. OK so that isn't the end of all the fuzzy feelings. People are going to like what they like. The public in general might love or despise any piece of art that is put out for consumption. The worst thing is for everyone to completely ignore the art that is put forth. Not knowing what went wrong can make you want to lash out like a spurned Princess Uni-Kitty. You don't want to make her angry!

This isn't a failing of everyone that is ignoring the art. This is a failing of marketing. It's up to you to find your market. Sometimes it can be as frustrating as trying to find Nimo, Waldo, or Carmen Sandiego. Even after finding your market the promotions have to cater to them. If you don't make a compelling argument to advocate for your art, it is easier for others to ignore it. Shouting at your friends that the power of Christ compels them will not win them over to your side. Unconditional love from your friends and family does not include them being your employees tasked with helping you promote. Don't treat them like it is.

Compensation

The love of money is the root of all evil, or so the saying goes. There are all kinds of predatory entities out there that are preying on artists for their love of money. They want to drain everything from us and pick our bones clean. It is important as an artist that we all demand adequate compensation for our work. This is why I haven't applied to or signed up to blog for any aggregate websites. They offer wider exposure in return for your work, but what you really get is to work for them for free. Their wider exposure includes the audience you bring to their website which is really what they are after. This is one way they make money. They appropriate your audience and your content and give you the hope that the audiences of others who work for them will find you. The problem with this deal is that it is a closed loop that only leads back to your content on their website. That is not a good deal. That is like getting a Whammy in Press Your Luck. You're doing all the work for them and getting very little in return.

This is just one example of how companies try to take advantage of artists. They say that exposure is payment enough, but it isn't. Artists need to be compensated for their work. Period. That isn't to say that you can't guest blog for someone else. I actually prefer that to working for an aggregate site because you are exposed to a new audience and there is just as much incentive for the other blogger to promote the post. You also get a chance to promote what you want within. This is a much better deal. My point being that as artists we need to take a hard look at everything we get into because there is always someone else out there trying to take advantage. I like to arch my eyebrow when I take that hard look at things similar to The Rock. If you smell what I'm cookin'.

Life Debt

To get the exposure, attention, and success that we all deserve, we have to earn it. Every artist must share their brand of awesome. This is what every artist owes the world. We must strive to do our very best in all that we put out there for public consumption. If people like something they will continue to consume it and if they love it they may even tell their friends and family.

Every time someone purchases or peruses your art they are giving you the opportunity to dazzle them. It is up to you to make their eyes glaze over and minds explode. Take advantage of these opportunities by putting the very best product out there that you can. Elicit a reaction that they just have to talk about. Grab their attention and never let go. Rock the Casbah. Coo coo ca choo like the Walrus. Be the cat in an inspirational poster. Make the awesome that only you can make. You owe it to yourself and the world.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The 5th Wave

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 52 min / Action - Adventure - SciFi

What is it about?

Cassie Sullivan is a normal high school girl that likes to go to parties, has a crush on the cute football player, and draws tentacle hentai in her diary. Her life gets interrupted by a giant flying XBox that had been turned inside out. The guy from Ancient Aliens comes out to be the voice of reason while everyone else panics. Then the aliens use a giant EMP because they can't take Trump being on TV anymore. This is the first wave of attack. Each wave pushes humanity closer to the One Direction Apocalypse. Cassie gets separated from her brother because she promises to get his Care Bear. Now she has to weave her way through the 5th wave of aliens to save her brother from becoming a zombie slave and reuniting him with his precious Care Bear.

You will like it if...

You like predictable tween post apocalyptic B movies. Like with most of these films, they casted the film based on looks rather than acting ability. Of course one of the guys who is completely ripped has to take his shirt off in one scene, but unfortunately his level in acting hasn't risen above "block of wood". Chloƫ Grace Moretz in the lead role is a good choice, but she does this one thing with her face that makes it look like she is constipated. The rest of the tween cast is passable to awful. They try to build up Maika Monroe as Ringer, but her role is very minor in the film and you're left wanting more of her and less of everyone else. The story itself is an interesting concept, but the film version is completely predictable even if you haven't read the book. You can tell they limited the budget on this and special effects took a hit as a result. In some spots you can tell that the CGI wasn't completely fleshed out like it normally would be in a bigger budget film. Everything about The 5th Wave feels like a B movie. It will be cool for fans of the book to see it on the big screen, but there is no way this will live up to their expectations. The book must be better than what they put on screen here. I would suggest reading the book instead as it does seem like an interesting concept and I can see the makings of an intricate story. For fans who want to see the film I would suggest waiting for it on Netflix or Redbox.

Next Week

Kung Fu Panda 3, Jane Got A Gun, The Finest Hours, Fifty Shades Of Black, or whichever film you vote for. Vote early, vote often, vote in the comments or Godzilla will pick the movie! As always the movie selection is subject to change based on what is showing here in theaters.

Upcoming to DVD on January 26

  • Burnt - Haven't seen it yet!
  • Chi-Raq - Haven't seen it yet!
  • Goosebumps - Haven't seen it yet!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Writers Write

The other day there was a big kerfuffle on twitter about a Neil Gaiman tweet. His tweet was at its heart trying to promote the value of the Clarion workshop. People saw it as an attack on all writers who don't want to or aren't able to participate in it. I'm not here to argue his intentions which are most likely altruistic in nature. Gaiman is quite capable of defending himself. I want to address something else... that tumor on the side of your neck. I mean writing. Yes..  writing. Definitely writing. *side eyes tumor*

Tools

Workshops like the one put on by Clarion are tools. A pen, keyboard, computerbox, piece of chalk, notepad, thesaurus, grammar websites, and so on are all physical tools. Workshops, writer groups, beta readers, reader feedback, etc. are all tools as well. Anything you can use to help you write or help to improve your writing is a tool. So, yes if you are a serious writer then you want all the tools that will fit in your box. Now this doesn't mean that you aren't a real writer if you neglect a tool or can't use a specific tool because the Loch Ness Monster stole it.

Writers also don't want to bury themselves in tools. Too much information can hurt! Especially when a lot of the advice and hard "rules" can contradict themselves. It can be as frustrating as watching political parties slap box over a gum wrapper. You can't implement everything, so what can you do as a writer?

Try them all out. Keep what works, build a glorious bonfire with the rest. A bonfire so large that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man will bring graham crackers and chocolate to the party. Tools are meant to help you along in your journey. There is no need to cling to one bit of advice, rule, or writing implement that isn't helpful. Toss the ones you don't like out. Let Oscar the Grouch play with them.

WRITE!

Write like your fingers are possessed by demons who have something to say about the world switching over to an economy based on PEZ. Write and write then write some more. This is what writers do. They write. On paper, napkins, with a stick in the mud, using a laptop, in blood on the men's bathroom stall at Denny's... whatever method you can use to write, just do it already!

The best thing that you can do as a writer is to keep writing. That is why I am typing this right now on this blog. Sure I manage to share some small pieces of magic along the way, but this is my practice. Writing is just like any other mental or physical activity. The more you do it the better you get at it. I type faster, write faster, have more accuracy, and require less time to edit afterwards. All of this is possible because of a blood ritual that I'm not supposed to talk about... uh... and practice.

If you are worried about being a REAL writer then STOP. Write instead. Real writers write and then write some more. All you need to be a real writer are the tools that you have available and the time to put words down. No excuses, just words. Now as for that tumor...  seriously it's talking to me. Maybe I should stop taking hallucinogens.

Ride Along 2

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 41 min / Action - Comedy

What is it about?

The Brothers-In-Law are back! Kevin Hart and Ice Cube reunite as Batman and Robin to fight crime against the evildoers in Gotham. Kevin Hart is about to get married to Ice Cube's sister. Cube needs to go to an epic rap battle against Verne Troyer in Miami. Kevin Hart begs to go with him, but Cube doesn't believe he can rap. Hart tries to prove him wrong by starting his own interpretive dance troupe. Hart's fiance begs her brother to take Kevin to Miami with him. They arrive in Miami to find that their contact there works for a hardcore gummy bear that the contact stole money from. Now the gummy bear wants revenge.

You will like it if...

You like Kevin Hart movies. Kevin Hart is a tornado of hilariousness in this film. He completely dominates the entire movie. There are several other bit actors who have experience in comedies, but none of them get a chance to do anything interesting. Ice Cube plays the same character from the first film, but his character is only really given a small love interest side story. For most of the film he is shaking his head while Kevin Hart flails his arms about in ridiculousness. Olivia Munn gets to be said love interest, but her face could be a block of wood for all of the emotion she shows. The story in this one is a very predictable standard action story that has been done to death, even in comedies. Compared to the first Ride Along this one is funnier and crazier with Kevin Hart acting as the kindling, kerosene, gasoline, wood, and the spark to stoke the fire of this comedy. If you like Kevin Hart this is one of his better comedies. Go see it!

Next Week

The 5th Wave, Dirty Grandpa, or whichever film you vote for. Vote early, vote often, vote in the comments or Godzilla will pick the movie! As always the movie selection is subject to change based on what is showing here in theaters.

Upcoming to DVD on January 12

  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Everest - True story survival film about a group trying to climb Mt Everest. Quick Review: It was good like blankets warmed up in the clothes dryer.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Self-Pub Vs Trad-Pub

Oh yeah! Death match time! I hear a lot of things from a lot of different authors that I speak with. Some of those things are definitely not safe for work. Many of them talk about querying for agents and publishers while others talk about the horror stories of traditional publishing and the predatory practices they employ. I am over here wanting to talk about Legos and Godzilla. So what is the best option for you?

The first thing to consider when choosing which route to take is what your goals are. Do you only want to see your book on the shelf in a bookstore? Is having extra time to write more important? Is making money off of your writing the most important factor? Are you a control freak like me who will set fire to everything if someone messes with your word-baby? I'm going to compare Traditional and Self Publishing based on an author's motivations and needs.

Control

Self-Publishing is a control freak's dream. The author controls everything from the editing, book cover art, marketing plans, formatting, and everything else. You could put a My Little Pony flip book animation in the bottom left hand corner of the pages within your book if you so desire. You might want to get permission first so you won't get sued.

With a traditional publisher most contracts will say that you have "input" on what edits are made or what the cover looks like which seems like a good idea. In practice that usually means the author gets to complain about the publisher's choices and the publisher pushes on without changing much if anything. Other things you have little to no say in include formatting, price, release date, print run, royalty payout schedule, and so on. Some of these things might be included in your contract or they might not. For anyone going the traditional route I cannot emphasize enough that you should read through your contract and hire a lawyer who is familiar with the process to look over it as well. Otherwise you could find yourself at the local B&N sitting on a snare drum in clown pants with no shirt and a large pink bow tie, all because it is in your contract.

Time

With Self-Publishing you control everything, so you have to spend time on everything. Unless you are hiring out for everything you need, you will be doing some of the ground work yourself. Time becomes a very precious commodity. I'm sure more experienced author-publishers have found ways to streamline the process, but I have found that everything that needs to be done will drastically reduce the amount of free time you have. I can attest that hiring out for some of the work will help reduce the amount of time required, but it still feels like I need a time machine to get everything done.

The time spent querying agents and publishers could take multiple manuscripts with multiple rewrites before finally getting past the gatekeepers. An author has to pay the tithe to the corporate overlords before they will allow the author the privilege of being able to sell out on their work. WRA! Still think of the amount of time saved when a publisher takes over editing, cover design, and everything else. You may have to wait for it to be published for a year or two or it is quite possible that the publisher will sit on it and the novel may never see the light of day. On the bright side instead of running around looking for people who work on editing, cover art, formatting, kitten sweater knitting, and fez wearing, you can work on writing the next great adventure into the forest of mushrooms. I'm sure I'm missing something here as I have no direct experience here, so if you have dealt with traditional publishers before I would love to hear any other things that may take significant time with this route.

Money

When self publishing all the risk and money is paid up front. I've posted about the cost of self publishing previously, but this isn't just about the cost. It is also about the royalties that you receive. For most self publishing avenues those royalties can be as much as 70%. The actual payouts depend on how popular your work is, how effective your marketing campaign is, and how much you price your work.

With a traditional publisher things get a bit more convoluted as to how the money portion of things is handled. Typically an author will earn 15% royalties on their work. Because traditional publishers price their books at potentially over 10 times more than most self published books the actual amount gained in royalties could be more. For instance, a $20 hardcover would earn a $3 royalty for every one sold compared to a $4.50 self published ebook would earn a $3.15 royalty. The payouts in terms of actual royalty amounts per book purchased could be very similar, but most likely, with all things being equal, the cheaper book is going to sell more copies than the expensive one. I haven't even begun to cover the other costs of traditional publishing.

Traditional publishers have to pay for the editing, formatting, cover art, and other miscellaneous baubles that are added to your work. Publishers take a portion of all royalties to pay for these services. They don't assume the risk themselves. They also get to decide the prices of those services. The biggest risk for them comes in the form of advances. It is very rare that they give out advances that make sense for the author. For a first time author with no track record it is rare that they will give an advance at all unless it is for a celebrity. If you have a successful product or have a massive following already then you can negotiate from a position of power. With these costs an author is unlikely to see a royalty unless the book "earns out". That happens when your portion of the royalty (not including their percentage of the royalty) pays for the publisher's cost in full (including the advance). Many times the only money the author will earn will come in the form of an advance. The structure of royalty payout might differ based on the contract.

I haven't mentioned the differences in promotion as of yet because there aren't many. It's like comparing a pink elephant with a slightly faded pink elephant. Most traditional publishers are going to expect the author to handle most of the promotion for their work. They will help with getting the book on the shelves of bookstores, submit it to some of their preferred reviewers, and maybe even schedule some personal appearances and signings. The extra visibility will hopefully result in more sales, but these tactics are becoming less effective. Traditional publishers have been very slow to adjust their tactics. That leaves the author to shoulder the brunt of the promotional responsibility.

Final Thoughts

Neither of these paths are easy. They both require hard work, sweat, tears, and a blood pact with Cthulu. Choosing which path to pursue can be tough. Like the Templar said to Indiana Jones, "You must choose wisely." If you choose the traditional route, especially as a first time author, there are a ton of hoops to jump through. You may not be able to publish everything you write this way. They have large brutes guarding their gates who are as intimidating as Dora the Explorer. Self Publishing will always be your friend, but they require more attention. Financially it only makes sense for authors to sign with traditional publishers if they give an advance that they most likely won't earn out. Unfortunately those kinds of deals are only given to their superstar authors, celebrities, and authors with a proven track record of sales. There are other factors to look into when signing with a traditional publisher like reversion rights, royalty payment schedule, Godzilla clauses, etc. The bottom line is that authors should pick the option that best fits their wants and needs.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Revenant

Rated R / 2 hr 36 min / Adventure - Drama - Thriller

What is it about?

Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his son are guides for a group of furries doing naughty things in the woods. Some militant Native Americans want to build a casino on the land, so they attack. The group escapes, but the Native American Chief's favorite Care Bear was stolen. He will not rest until it is back in his hands. They steal the fur costumes to sell to a French gang for My Little Pony toys. They have a thing for My Little Pony, so what? Sometime during the chase Smokey the Bear mauls Hugh Glass and then reminds him that only he can prevent forest fires. John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) doesn't want to play nurse, so he buries Hugh Glass alive. Glass turns into a zombie and vows to have some brain eating revenge.

You will like it if...

You like long and drawn out revenge movies. DiCaprio and Hardy are two of the top actors starring in movies today, and the both dominate the screen when given the chance. DiCaprio gets the starring role while Hardy plays an excellent villain. The story behind the script intertwines the multitude of stories within very well. On the surface everything seems to come together to make a great film. There is always a catch though. The issues with this film all have to do with pacing and dialogue. The director serves this film up with a steaming pile of gravitas covering everything. There are so many pauses for emphasis that the film could have been cut down to be a half hour TV show, but it is over 5 times that length. Because The Revenant is so stuffed full of the gravity of everything there is no room for comic relief or witty banter. The closest you get is an unnecessary 5 minute scene of a Native American and Leonardo DiCaprio trying to catch fake snow in their mouths. I would suggest reading the book over watching the movie at this point even though I haven't read the book as of yet. I would expect that the book would be much better and perhaps some of the pacing problems aren't as bad as they are in the film. If you must see The Revenant I can only recommend waiting for it on Redbox/Netflix.

Next Week

Ride Along 2, 13 Hours, or whichever film you vote for. Vote early, vote often, vote in the comments or Godzilla will pick the movie! As always the movie selection is subject to change based on what is showing here in theaters.

Upcoming to DVD on January 12

  • Sinister 2
  • The Martian - I didn't review it because I reviewed Sicario that week which was also very very good! Quick Review: Matt Damon eats his own poop and everyone cheers. Watch it, it's good!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Finish What You Start

Welcome to the monkey dance that will be 2016 on my blog! I want to talk about one of the most important concepts of being a writer. You have to finish what you start. For the longest time I used to put project on top of project on top of project in a leaning tower of ideas, paper, and files on the computerbox. All of which consumed my time until the next great idea would pop into my head. There is nothing wrong with having a hobby, but I was searching for a direction. I was searching for the subject of my life's work.

Every idea I had was a great idea, but not every great idea will produce fruit. Ideas don't produce fruit, plants do, you silly person. I completed very little of what I set out to do. That includes a lot of writing projects that I began but never finished. After several years of doing this I have realized that none of it matters if you do not finish anything. So what is it that prevents you from finishing your work in progress? Kids? Spouse? Godzilla?

Fear Of Judgement

This will hit anyone that makes any kind of art made for others to enjoy. Some people will like it, some won't. Some people will be outspoken about how much they despise you and your work. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I have had many people hate me for reasons that make little to no sense. They have a reason, but sometimes it doesn't make sense in their own mind either.

I'll give you an example. One time long ago I was part of a gaming community. The community's main form of communication at the time was IRC (I know, I'm ancient). One of the main channels was explicitly for pick up games. The majority of the community would switch between two main IRC servers periodically because one of the owners of the IRC server would piss off one of the leaders in the gaming community. It was all very high school. After one of these switches, I registered the pick up game channel to hold it for the person who had that channel on the other server. They didn't want it back, but they did want OPs (kinda like moderator control). I set that up for them and we were cool.

A couple of months after this another of my friends banned me from other channels we hung out in. No explanation, no discussion, just banned. I tried to reach out to him, but he wouldn't talk to me at all. Several months later I found out that he hated me for registering the pick up game channel. He thought I had "stolen" it from the person who ran it previously. No matter what I told him or others, I could not sway his opinion of me. He hated me with a passion and everyone else was like "wtf mate?" *Australian accent optional*

My point being that no matter what you do some people are going to find a reason to hate you, so why worry about their judgement? They could love everything you do and then turn on you in a second with knives flying through the air at your balloons. There is nothing anyone can do about this. It is completely out of your control and it shouldn't prevent you from putting your awesome out there for others to enjoy. Opinions are like onions, they make me cry when I cut them. What? That's not how that saying goes?

I Have No Time!

Priorities! There are always other things going on. Other things that will pull at your attention. Things that are filled with pretty and awesome and sparkly goodness. Everyone has responsibilities that tug at them for attention. Family, pets, TV shows, parties, etc.. There are so many things that can chip away at that calendar preventing you from working on the projects that you are trying to finish.

The truth is that if you really want to do something then you will MAKE TIME for it. Really examine your schedule and what you spend your time doing. There are gaps within that could be filled with your current work in progress. Gaps where you were watching a TV show or movie that you had the time for. Gaps where you spent an hour on Facebook or social media that you had time for. Gaps where you played Tic-Tac-Toe with Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe (I hear he's a great conversationalist) that you had time for. Then you tell yourself that you don't have time. Make time.

The New Exciting Shiny!

Staying focused on the task at hand can be a difficult task. As difficult as brushing an alligator's teeth. Have you ever tried to brush an alligator's teeth? New and exciting things are always pushing for your attention including new ideas for a new work in progress. I get new story ideas almost daily. I will never get the chance to write every idea that I have for a story. I would have to gain the ability to write a book every couple of days. This is why you shouldn't drop one good idea for another.

Stay focused on the task at hand. If you keep switching between tasks then in the end you spend a lot of time to get nothing in return. It's like trying to travel to distant places by running on a treadmill. If you're putting blood sweat and tears into something for months only to abandon it on a whim to start another project then you are wasting your time. Don't waste your time on something today you are going to abandon tomorrow.

Conclusion

Suck it up buttercup. Pull up your socks and adjust your uh... something that rhymes with socks. Take your tired lame excuses and set fire to them. Don't let your distractions whip you, whip your distractions while wearing a thong in a sexytimes way. Stay focused and finish what you started or Garfield will hunt you down and tell you all the ways in which he hates Mondays.