Hey, everyone. After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to quit writing.
For a full explanation of WHY, please watch the video below or click the link to see it on YouTube.
Or click here to see the video on YouTube.
Still feeling sick, so I’m going to rest up and return to The Walking Dave on Monday.
I feel like I should’ve rested yesterday rather than gone out walking because when it came time to do the Author Hangout last night, I was sick, grouchy, and my back hurt (from my crappy bed), so I felt like an asshole in the Hangout as it went later than planned and Sean kept rambling, making the show longer.
Usually, I’m up for these things to go for two hours or more. But last night, I just wanted to go sit on the couch, so apologies to those who came and got less than my best.
And apologies to Sean for being a dick to you.
I appreciate everyone who showed up to the Hangout and hope to make the next one more fun.
Also, thanks to everyone who has commented or emailed me regarding The Walking Dave podcast, I appreciate all the nice thoughts.
I’ll be answering questions in the podcast (though I may answer some in the comments, too, if they seem more pressing).
I’ll probably get back to walking tomorrow, or Saturday, depending how much better I feel. I’m taking antibiotics, so I’m hopeful it will be soon.
It’ll also be good to be ahead on the podcasts by a day or two so I can update them at night and you’ll have a new podcast each morning, rather than waiting for me to post in the middle of the day.
OK, time to end this post so I can get back to writing Crash. Even though I’m not walking, I AM still working.
I need to give this draft to Sean on the 31. And before you think, Man, Sean’s such a jerk, expecting Dave to work sick, remember … I’ve been working on this story since last August and have missed countless deadlines.
And in all honesty, I’ve been working on this story since I was 18, so, yeah, I need to just push it across the finish line and hope for the best.
The good news is that we’re NOT in a rush to publish the story. If it needs more time after Sean’s edits, and my next pass through, we’ll give it the proper time. But I’ll at least have finished the hardest part — getting the first draft done.
A quick note: tomorrow is the 100th episode of The Self Publishing Podcast, and we’ll be announcing what our Kickstarter is going to be at 2 PM EST, so be sure to catch that. I’ll post a link on Twitter, follow me @thedavidwwright and I’ll post it the minute the show goes live.
I’m sick today and the last two recordings I did, the audio was messed up, which meant I had to get off my ass and walk TODAY if I wanted a post up here.
So, thank you, accountability!
In this episode, I answered Heather’s question on what comic strips I liked and how they shaped my own characters.
I also talked about the first thing which I truly loved about comic strips which shapes the stories I tell today. I wonder if you’ll guess what it is.
And then I was joined by a special guest.
But my 6-year old son, E.
No, E is not his real name.
It’s his decoy name :)
A couple of housekeeping notes.
I’ll be doing an Author Hangout with Sean Platt tonight at 8PM, so head on over to the Collective Inkwell website for info on that.
It’s not a hangout with OTHER AUTHORS to talk about publishing. It’s a hangout for our Goners, to talk about our stuff and whatever else comes up.
Also, I’m trying to decide the best way to post these.
Before now, I just had episode numbers. Starting today, I’m adding a couple of things I talked about, so it’s easier for those who aren’t keeping track of numbers to know if they already listened to a particular episode.
I was wondering if you think I should do a different photo for each podcast too? I think seeing the same photo over and over can make the blog look ugly. Plus, it can be confusing to people seeing the same photo over and over (though the title helps a bit).
The biggest reason to use the same photo for the podcast posts is so people who have no interest in them, can easily decide to only click on posts with other photos, knowing that THOSE posts are non-podcast posts and something they can read.
I DO want to keep all of this on one blog, but I’d love to know what you think.
Thanks for listening (and reading),
Or right click and save
Thanks to everyone who commented yesterday on the first post.
In today’s episode (recorded last Thursday), I walked and talked about the story I’m working on, Crash. Don’t worry, no spoilers.
I also talked about the music I’m listening to while writing Crash and why I think we like the music we like most.
I talked about trying to get my son to listen to “cool” music.
I talked about the hardest part of walking.
I updated you on my bird nemesis, which turned out NOT to be a falcon.
I mentioned Trish McCallan’s purchase of a treadmill desk, and how I might get one.
I talked about a pancake dinner I’m supposed to go to.
I talked about Carl Sinclair’s thoughts on a beta copy of Z 2136, and one thing he didn’t like.
I talked a bit about beta readers in general, and why we’ve never used them before.
Listen below (15:13)
or right click and save the file below
So, a few weeks ago on The Self Publishing Roundtable, we were interviewing author Nathan Lowell and one of the things that came up was the podcast he does when he goes walking each day. And I thought, wow, that is the best idea ever!
So, naturally, I stole it.
You see, I’ve been NEEDING to start a regular exercise habit for years. I’m 337 pounds, and not getting any lighter sitting at a desk 12 hours a day writing.
I used to love walking, but fell out of the habit several years ago.
And whenever I think I’ll get to it again, I never quite find the time.
So I thought, well, there’s two things that I DO make time for without fail — writing and my weekly podcast commitments (Self-Publishing Podcast and Better Off Undead.) So why not marry my need to exercise with a daily podcast that I do while out walking?
I’ve now been walking for two weeks. I did some test shows of varying bits of quality, and am going to go ahead and start by posting the below podcast I did last week as my official FIRST The Walking Dave podcast!
I’m hoping you like it enough that I continue to find an excuse to walk every weekday. But a big part of whether I continue to do the podcast is how you respond.
Let me know what you think, and — more importantly — let me know what you’d like me talk about. Got questions? Ask them here or shoot me an email and I’ll answer them in the podcast.
I’ll post another episode tomorrow, and meanwhile work on getting these up to iTunes.
I’m hella rusty. This took way too long. But, it’s a start in the right direction.
So, in addition to making time for walking, my other plan this year is to make time for my art. I miss drawing comics, and would love to make something that my 6-year old son can enjoy.
Thank you for reading (and listening),
PLAY THE PODCAST BELOW
or right click and save as here:
Before I start this post, first let me say, I like cats … at least in the abstract.
They’re cute, they don’t lick you all the time with their stupid germs like certain canines (and don’t even send me a letter about dogs or cats having clean tongues — they lick their butts, how clean can they be?), and they’re good companions who don’t (usually) demand much care or attention.
When it comes to pets, cats are probably the least needy pets to have.
But they can also be assholes. Big time assholes, like my cat, Charlie.
Here’s a list of assholish things that Charlie does.
1) He is always underfoot. Wherever I go, Charlie is waiting, right there, to rush right out in front of me. I used to think it was cool, like he’s waiting to join me on some adventure “Hey, let’s go, Daddy!”
Yes, I assume he thinks of me as his daddy.
But he doesn’t run in front of me, he runs right in my path!
When I step out of office, he springs forth, right under my feet, nearly tripping me.
When I come home holding 12 bags of groceries, there he is again, right under my feet, forcing me to pivot lest I step on him and squish him.
I’m not sure if he’s suicidal or trying to kill me. Either way, he’s an asshole.
2) He poops a lot. I’m not sure what the deal is, but this cat manages to poop way more than he seems to eat.
I wouldn’t mind so much if I wasn’t ALWAYS the one who had to clean it.
You see, when my wife got pregnant with our son, she informed me that she couldn’t clean the litter box because of germs in the cat’s poop which could kill the unborn baby.
But that was seven years ago, and I’m still cleaning it!
I guess you can never take enough precautions.
3) He tends to wait until we’re eating to poop. And to make matters worse, after EACH AND EVERY POOP, he runs around the house at a million miles an hour like he’s in some kind of race or just drank 15 Red Bulls.
What the hell is up with that?!
Does pooping feel THAT GOOD that he has to run laps?
4) He likes to wake people up. Sometimes in the middle of the night, he’ll just walk around the house meowing or knocking shit over, just to wake people up. This is especially annoying when he does it near my son’s room. Thankfully, he doesn’t do this a lot. Probably because he knows I’ll put him in the garage at night if he continued.
5) He gets hair E V E R Y W H E R E! Even though he’s a shorthaired cat, he somehow manages to shed some 20 cubic tons of orange hair on the couch every week.
6) He always sleeps on the couch! This bastard always climbs onto the couch. You push him off, he jumps right back up until he wears you down.
We even took to putting sheets over the couch, just to keep him from getting hair (or sometimes puking up hairballs) on the couch.
And you know what this asshole does?
He goes UNDER THE SHEETS!
7) He likes to vomit strategically. Charlie seems so concerned that some predator is going to steal his food that when you put food into his bowl, he chows it ALL DOWN and winds up puking like some kind of super model.
And while we have a huge expanse of the kitchen and laundry room with vinyl flooring, where do you think he pukes?
If you guessed carpet, you win!
And you get bonus points if you guessed on the carpet in high traffic areas like right in front of doorways!
And he doesn’t just puke once!
Oh no, Charlie likes to puke, walk, puke again, then walk some more, then puke again, leaving 10 little piles all over the house (only on the carpeted area, of course).
And God forbid there’s a shoe or something important on the floor (which happens a lot when you have a 6-year old). Charlie will puke near or on said item of importance.
8) He’s a creeper. Seriously, the cat will just plop down on a spot directly opposite you and just STARE AT YOU. For hours.
9) Poopy Paws. Now, this isn’t just something which applies to MY CAT, but to all cats in general.
After I had a child, a child who crawled on the floor and liked to put stuff in his mouth, I suddenly realized a VERY OBVIOUS FACT. Cats have poopy paws (my wife’s term, not mine).
Which means that because he does his business in a litter box, where he STANDS on the very place he is doing said business, it means that his paws are LOADED with fecal and urine particles!
And given that he walks all over EVERY FUCKING INCH of our house, and hops on the couch, he is tracking feces and cat urine EVERYWHERE!
I imagine that if you brought a black light to our house, it would light up like a Christmas tree.
I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty disgusting.
Obviously, he can’t do much about that, and that’s our thing to deal with, not his. We can’t expect him to suddenly stop going to the bathroom, though we have politely asked.
What amazes me is how many people I know, people I am friends with!, allow their cats to jump up on their kitchen counters, sit in their bathroom sinks, and sleep in their beds.
10) He likes to eat weird things … and then puke them up. Charlie CANNOT resist the lure of strings, lace, and those plastic garbage bag ties.
And then he gnaws on them like he’s flossing his teeth or something.
If left alone long enough with the item, he will keep on chewing it until he’s eaten it, and then puked it out in little piles all over the house!
My son used to bring home helium balloons from parties and leave them tied to a toy or something, so it wouldn’t float away. He’d leave the room, come back, and then his balloon would be floating, with bits of string all over the floor and the cat walking away smiling like the asshole he is.
If you think that’s bad, Charlie’s got nothing on our prior cat, Sweetie (who passed last year). She managed to sneak into our bedroom (cats are NEVER allowed in the bedrooms), and into our closet, and managed to eat my wife’s wedding veil!
TALK ABOUT ASSHOLES!
Despite all this, I do like him.
He does cute tricks (stands and walks for treats), and he gives a mean massage. He’ll jump on your back and knead your back and shoulders.
You just have to make sure to shower after the poopy paws massage.
So, there you have it, the Top 10 Ways My Cat is an Asshole.
Leave a comment below and share your own asshole pet stories!
(note: This is a rare cross post which I also put up at Collective Inkwell. Sorry for the duplicate posts if you subscribe to both blogs, but since this is a post regarding the future direction of this site, I wanted to post it here, too.)
If you’ve looked inside our book Z 2135, out in paperback today by the way, you may have noticed we’ve dedicated the title to another writer.
“To Austin Kleon for his book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, and the countless storytellers before us.”
Austin, in case you’re not familiar with him, found popularity with his Newspaper Blackout collection where he took pages from The New York Times and blacked out all but a few words to create poetry with oftentimes poignant effect. But it was his book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative that inspired me when I (Dave) needed it most.
As I wrote before, we got slammed by some reviewers on Z 2134, who called us everything from plagiarists to Satan’s spawn.
People were pissed because we were stupid enough to mash up The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, and 1984.
You’d think we made a Fifty Shades of Jesus book or something.
(Note to self: million dollar idea!)
As a creator (first a cartoonist, and then a writer), I’ve always prided myself on my creativity. Being called a “plagiarist” made my stomach turn.
Even though I’d only read the first half or so of The Hunger Games, and we only outright lifted the opening part where everyone scrambles like crazy to get the good shit, I still felt sick in my gut, and defensive, as if I were guilty. That all ideas should be New and Completely Original.
Forget that The Hunger Games was slammed for “ripping off” Battle Royale.
Forget that our other series, Yesterday’s Gone and WhiteSpace, both do things that I’ve not seen any other book or TV series do.
Forget that lots of people love our stuff.
In fact, there was a time I didn’t even want to write! I was in a dark place — hating everything I attempted to write.
AND THEN A GIFT…
Suddenly, I felt better.
Less like a BIG FAT PHONY.
Austin’s book talks about how so many artists (writers, musicians, painters, everyone) steal from those who came before them.
Of course steal is a provocative word, and I certainly never considered myself a thief of ideas!
But while reading the book, Austin made the case that we’re all inspired by the things we love.
For me, it’s comic books in my childhood, serialized TV shows I love like The Wire, Carnivale, Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad, and of course, Stephen King’s The Green Mile, the first serialized book that grabbed me hard and never let go.
All artists build on that which came before them.
The thing that separates art and theft is whether you bring your own ideas to the process. Whether you surpass the originals you’re inspired by (or at least come close, I suppose).
Austin’s thoughts on creative theft lifted me out of my funk, but so did his thoughts on creativity, the love he pours into his art, and the fact that he’s also a writer who draws.
I felt like I was connected with a kindred soul, someone who wasn’t just publishing his art, he was also discussing the process, and sharing it on his website.
This lit a fire in me, a fire which will drive my personal site’s direction throughout this year.
I like to think that we answered haters and critics with Z 2135.
Who knows how the series will be remembered, as just another rip-off or something more, but I do believe that without Austin’s influence, I might not have had the stamina to march forward, and co-write Z 2135 with Sean.
Thank you, Austin, not just for lifting me out of a deep, dark depression, but for reminding me what it means to be a writer, and an artist.
And thank you to Sean, my writing partner, and creative compass.
Get Austin Kleon’s remarkable book here (it’s a short and easy read that will stay with you for a lifetime):
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
So, it’s that time of year again where people look at all the shit they’re doing, beat up on themselves, and proudly declare, “THIS YEAR WILL BE DIFFERENT!”
I’ve never been a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, because let’s face it, I’m used to lying to myself. What’s one more broken promise to lose weight?
And then there’s the whole belief I have:
…not for the better, anyway.
Yes, there are exceptions. But I think if you look at most people, they DO NOT change much over time.
The assholes you knew in high school? Most of them are still assholes.
Those friends who party so recklessly they make Ron Wood look like a pussy? Yeah, they’re still at it, liver or lungs be damned.
And that fat guy who swore he’d swear off sugary crap, and exercise every day because THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT?
Yeah, I’m still right here, fatter than ever.
Well, not fatter than ever. At one point I did weigh nearly 400 pounds, thanks to a steady diet of Coke and Pepsi for the better part of a decade.
Now I’m down to a svelte 332.
Which, if I’m not mistaken, is about the same weight I was last year I said I’d go on a diet.
And for those of you looking to email me saying “Don’t use the word diet, it’s a lifestyle change” please don’t. I’m just using the vernacular that most people associate with losing weight and getting in shape.
So as the new year approached, author and guy with way too much enthusiasm, Jay Chastain decided to challenge me to “Lose it All!”
He even made a video. (NSFW as he curses a lot)
So I said yeah, sure, what the hell?
Can you tell I’m super excited and motivated?
I WANT to be enthusiastic and all “Rah-rah” but I know me. And enthusiasm has always led to exhaustion and giving up.
So, how will this time be different?
I honestly don’t know.
I’ll be posting updates here rather than my old diet blog. While the old diet blog was nice to have, it was also easier to ignore because it wasn’t on my main site. Using my main site means being more accountable. If I fail here, I fail in front of a lot more people.
We’re still working out details on the LOSE IT ALL CHALLENGE, so I’ll update you when I know more, like what the reward or punishment will be, etc…
For those of you who don’t come here for weight loss stuff, don’t worry, the updates will be once a week or so, max. And I’ll try and make the posts fun for you.
The rest of the time I’ll be blogging about other stuff … which I’ll talk about in tomorrow’s blog post.
As always, thank you for reading and Happy New Year!
I’ve played a few great games this year. From Dishonored to Far Cry 3 to Tomb Raider to GTA V, this has been a great year to be a gamer. But none of those games stacks up to my most recent purchase: Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
I’m not sure how, as I certainly didn’t encourage it, but my son has recently caught the Lego bug. I’ll write a separate post on that at some point, but let’s just say, the boy LOVES Legos. There’s roughly nine million Lego pieces littering our floor at any moment.
Warning: wear shoes if you come to our house.
A couple of years ago, I bought the Indiana Jones Lego game for Sean’s son on a deep discount. Sean told me that his son already had the game, so rather than return it (as my son wasn’t old enough for video games yet), I held onto it.
Recently, I decided to crack the game open and show it to my Lego-obsessed six year old.
The Indiana Jones games (the first and its sequel) are very well written (with some of the funniest lines I’ve seen in a kid’s game), and the animation is cute, so I enjoyed them … at first.
But there’s also a lot wrong with the games. And I do mean a lot.
The AI is among the worst I’ve ever seen in a game. I could write another whole post on that! The levels can also be very difficult for a child, meaning I had to help a lot. And … though I hate to admit this publicly … I had to actually turn to Youtube walkthrough videos more than once to figure out WHAT THE HELL TO DO on some of the levels!
Thankfully, my son hasn’t (yet) realized how shameful it is that Dad can’t figure out a Lego game.
We finished the first Indiana game in a matter of a week or so, and then went onto the second. And then I saw that there was a new Lego game with a ton of characters from the Marvel comics universe, Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
The reviews were positive, aside from some gripes about the stupid AI and some of the more complex puzzles or level design. But, on the whole, it seemed infinitely more fun than Indiana Freakin’ Jones! (Confession: I never got the whole Indiana Jones thing. The movies were good and all, but I was never a big fan. Certainly not enough to want to play games as him.)
I lived on a diet of The Amazing Spider-Man, The Uncanny X-Men, The New Mutants, The Avengers, The Defenders, and a whole mess of other titles from the time I turned 7 through my teens.
I would’ve kept reading them if they hadn’t gotten so damned expensive, and had I not been banned from comics by my parents due to failing subjects at school. While I haven’t read Marvel comics in years, they’re very much a part of my DNA and I have many fond memories of the comics, and even pretending my Star Wars figures were actually super heroes (as there weren’t many cool super hero action figures when I was a kid).
Until now, my son’s only exposure to Marvel comics (or any super heroes, really) has been the occasional toy someone would give him as a gift. But he’s not old enough to be reading the adult versions of the comics which I so enjoyed as a child/teen. Nor do I want him watching the older kid cartoons yet.
So, I’ve been patiently waiting for the appropriate time to introduce him to these characters I loved so much. Or, in this case, child-friendly versions of those characters.
And he LOVES the game. More than I thought he would, actually. I was afraid he’d want to go back and finish Indiana Jones 2. But since starting the Marvel game this week, we haven’t looked back.
There’s something special about sharing something I loved so much with my son.
Not only is he getting a kick out of these outrageous and funny, awesome characters, but I love Lego’s take on familiar traits. Whether it’s Spider-Man being all angst-ridden, or Wolverine being, well, Wolverine, it’s awesome to see a game created with such affection for the source material.
There’s a TON of Marvel heroes and villains in the game, and there’s a LOT to do in the game. It’s not some cheap five hour game. This looks like it might go on for at least 20 hours or more.
One of the coolest things, though, is how each time a new hero or villain is introduced, my son is impressed when he sees me recognizing these characters.
“You know him, Daddy? Really?”
And as I tell him about the character, he looks at me like I’m the smartest guy he’s ever met! He’s probably the first person to be impressed by my knowledge of the Marvel Universe (as limited as it is since the 90s).
Even though the game is marred by crappy AI (heroes that just stand there when you’re not controlling them, or worse, walking into dangerous fire), it’s still a blast to play!
And it’s the first game I’ve truly played with my son.
While there’s been technically better games this year (like those mentioned above), Lego Marvel Super Heroes has given me something none of those other games could — a bonding experience with my son over something we both love.
So that’s why Lego Marvel Super Heroes gets my nod as the best game this year.
And if you thought video games were expensive, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
Tonight we took the training wheels off my son’s bike, and I couldn’t be more nervous.
My wife, in attempts to encourage him to learn to ride without the training wheels, told him he could ride faster without training wheels.
For my son, who LOVES to run as fast as humanly possible, it was like throwing gas on a fire.
Meanwhile, my first instinct was to rush out and buy him elbow and knee pads… and maybe see if someone can repave our roads with that soft foamy surface they use in some playgrounds.
I’m a worrier. I get that from my mom. But I don’t want to be the overprotective father who keeps his son from ever getting hurt, from learning to take chances. I see other kids who do all kinds of things I’m scared to hell to let my son do. His cousin, for instance (only a year older) rides BMX bikes. He’s going to be a stunt double someday.
I want my son to have that kind of self-confidence, and not be a worrier. Nothing is worse for a boy growing up ( trust me, I know from personal experience ) than to be a worrier. On the one hand, my mom’s overprotective nature probably saved me from dying in some freak bike off the roof type mishap, but there has to be some happy medium where you can let your kids do some things even though they might get hurt.
So, I unscrewed the training wheels, trying not to freak out and picture my son with bruises, broken bones, and whatever else can go wrong falling from a bike.
My wife and I ran beside him, holding on, as he attempted to balance. But man, he was having a hard time balancing and remembering to pedal forward.
So, after a trip up the block and back, it was getting dark, and my fat ass was getting winded trying to keep up, so we decided to head inside for the night.
He didn’t want to go in, though. He wanted to keep riding.
I, though, was all too eager to get him back inside and off the road.
So, tomorrow, we’ll head back out while he learns to ride, and I learn to let go.
Thank you for reading,
(P.S. I’m thinking about trying with one training wheel at first, or maybe with a lighter bike? This beast ways almost as much as him? Any suggestions from those of you who have been through this? Please leave a comment below.)