How to Harness the Power of The 10 Year Cyclicality in Pop Culture

 

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Have you ever had an idea to create the next Harry Potter or Twilight except with an original tweak to the genre, but thought the market was too saturated with those kinds of stories, so it seeped away into the fog, eventually forgotten.

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What many people may not be aware of is the cyclical nature of pop culture.  As I ascend to my 34th year, I’m starting to see my friends marry and raise children.  It’s beautiful yes, but the same thing happens every time.  Parents raise their kids to be fans of their passions.  Do you love Star Wars?  Think back to this post when you find yourself taking a picture of your baby dress as Princess Leia for Reddit karma or Facebook Likes.

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Inevitably when the kid of a Star Wars fan grows up having light saber fights with his dad and having Star Wars movie marathons with mom, that kid will have 10-15 years before they have disposable income of their own and an interest in Star Wars…

…and there are millions of others if not more doing the same exact thing, as if training an army of fanatics.

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Now, on the bleak emotionless side, what you end up with is a 10 year cycle ebb and flow with the different generations playing a game of Telephone.  So a ghoulish, shape shifting vampire that turns into a bat, sleeps in a coffin, and is to be feared, transgenerationally becomes a glittery angst filled teenager because boy bands.

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On the bright side it’s nice that this ebb and flow exists.  My dad shared Andy Griffith with me as I grew up, and I still call him Pa’w. Be it reruns, adaptations or a whole new take, our desire to share our passions through generations could be the reason to breathe new life into that idea you once had but gave up on. Just give it time, but maybe spend that time researching and writing, so when the ebb starts to flow again you can come out swinging.

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Thanks for taking a look at the thoughts I have rolling around up there!

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @m0nkeyfire for more gems like this.

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Should I Quit My Job to Write Comics?

I was sitting at my keyboard trying to glean inspiration to write a captivating post when I deleted what must have been my third attempt at a first paragraph (it was titled “How To Give Your Characters Integrity” and it was meh.)

Nothing seemed to click so I took a step back and remembered the reason I started this blog.  To offer guidance to others in the pursuit of comic book self publication.  It led me to think about what questions I was asking when I first started and I immediately remembered typing into google the question you see in the title of this post.

I had been unhappy working a job in sales knowing there was this idea I was gaining passion for, being neglected in the background.  Most of the advice google came up with was against quitting, citing reasons that sounded more like excuses.

If you are considering leaving a regularly paying job to pursue self publishing then let me burst some bubbles.  Everything I read about why NOT to quit my job to write my own comic book is absolutely true.

I decided to take the plunge and quit my job anyway.  I moved to a new state and started using my savings to pursue this crazy idea that wouldn’t leave me alone.  The idea that maybe, just maybe, I can tell a story worth reading.

My days are filled with research.  Researching stick fighting for story authenticity, researching marketing to gather a following that will hopefully give my comic a chance, researching Kickstarter.  When i’m not researching I’m writing.  My story, My blog, ideas for my story and blog.  Not to mention being riddled with writer’s block, self doubt and anxiety over the fear of failure.
What it ultimately comes down to is do you have what it takes to weather the storm?

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If you don’t believe in yourself, then why bother trying?  It might seem like a depressing prompt to give up, but for me it showed that my only choice was to believe in myself. Once I realized “why bother” wasn’t an option I knew I was going to carry this comic book over the finish line battered and bruised if I must.

As terrible of a picture as I painted of this process, there is something special about throwing yourself into the achievement of a dream when you believe in yourself enough to succeed despite immeasurable odds….

…or maybe I’m just a masochist.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you found this helpful and that you liked this post enough to possibly share it with others.  Comment below and share with me the things you LOVE about self publishing!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @m0nkeyfire

 

 

How to Finish That Book You’ve Been Working On

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One of the biggest struggles I have found during the writing process is sticking with it.  It can be hard enough to balance a work load for paying the bills and spending time with friends and family without throwing in the monumental task of writing and self publishing a book.

If you have a story idea that is effortlessly pouring out of you, then consider yourself lucky.  Most of us on the other hand have to carefully craft our story.  It’s our baby and we want it to have every opportunity to become a success, but like a baby, you can’t just stand back and hope for the best.

A way I like to tackle my procrastination head-on is by trying to understand it.  Why am I procrastinating?  Is it hard to focus on creating the next conflict?  Maybe the fact that no one knows who you are is zapping the motivation to create a product in the first place.  Whatever your reason for procrastination is, once identified, you can start the process of eliminating that road block.  Related image

Personally, I found I had trouble getting my butt in the chair. There were just so many other things that needed my attention and I was in complete denial about what I was really doing by focusing on anything else.  I thought about what was keeping me from progressing and realized that I suck at holding myself accountable, like an employee I might be managing. So, I climbed out of that pool of denial and created a schedule for myself.  I figured out what days I would do what, and worked hard to get in the habit of keeping accountability a priority.

It also helps to set a clear path.  If you’re lost in a forest, would you feel more comfortable wandering around trying to find help, or would having a trail to direct you on your way to find help be better?  Sitting down and figuring out what tasks to finish and what the subsequent steps will be can be the trail out of the woods you need to boost confidence and make the job of working for yourself a bit more organized and efficient.

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So, if you are like I was, with a handful of unfinished ideas, seize the moment and take the leap to start taking yourself and your writing more seriously. The only thing worse than trying and failing, is never having tried in the first place.  So GET TO WORK!   Future you will be forever grateful for the effort you put it now.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope this was helpful.  If you liked what you learned then please help a guy out by sharing it with those creative people in your life that need a little motivational nudge.

Follow me on Twitter @m0nkeyfire to come along with me on my journey to publish my first comic book ever about B.U.D. a Bionic Utility Device with Artificial intelligence that wakes up amidst a zombie outbreak.  Exciting, right!?

So, you want to be a writer? Let’s Begin…

STEP 1)  Are you sure?

Be it a comic book, novel, short story or any other written word medium, writing is a time sucking, perfection obsessing, never ending labor of love.  So consider just how much time, effort and money you are willing to put in to being successful, because you’ll need to double that just to keep your head above water.

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What’s that?  You still want to be a writer?  Well OK then, you crazy bastard.  Moving on!

 

STEP 2) It’s time to figure out what to write about.

I myself am a fan of the Superhero and Zombie genres so I decided to mash those potatoes up and drizzle it with some of  my brain gravy. Maybe you want to write a story about you and your friends coming of age.  Maybe you want to write science fiction and have characters exploring the stars and odd planets with giant sentient xenophobic potatoes for them to meet.  It doesn’t really matter.  A good rule of thumb for your idea is to tell a story you would want to read.  With nearly 8 billion people on this planet, Chances are there will be other people just as weird as you who will be into it too.

Things to consider:  Learn all about this universe bubbling to existence within your head.  What is this place like and what kinds of things do people in this universe of yours have to encounter day to day?  You’ll probably have characters too, so what are they all about?  The more familiar you are with your characters’ history and their surroundings, the easier it will be to come up with realistic behaviors and character development events within your story.  After you have the Time/Place/People figured out, it’s time for the fun stuff.  What kind of journey will your characters go on?  Who will they meet?  What events happen to push them and the story to it’s inevitable end?  I like to figure out a general timeline of events before I start writing, but there’s an upside to writing as you go.  Especially for your 1st rough draft.  Turn your inner critic off and let your fingers fly.  You can always fine tune it later.

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STEP 3)  Alright, So you’ve come up with the perfect story to tell.

Heroic characters battling personal (perhaps even real) demons and whatnot. You’ve even sat your butt in a chair long enough to bang out a beginning middle and end for your 1st rough draft, albeit at the expense of your butt cheeks going numb. It’s  now time to wake that critic up and put it to work.  For your 2nd draft, ignore punctuation and grammar (if you can) and focus on the story.  Does it flow well?  Are there slow spots that could use some excitement?  Maybe you notice a character acting in a way that is, well… out of character.  Check for story continuity and possible improvements and changes to make your story shine.  It’s the second draft that you should start handing out to those you trust to give you honest feed back.  Think of it like having a team of beta testers.  Letting people read your story for the first time can be nerve-racking, but it’s important to let people who are unfamiliar with your story take a look.  Most likely they’ll notice something you didn’t and you can incorporate their advice into the 3rd draft.  

The 3rd draft is usually the last.  Find those spelling errors and fill in those plot holes pointed out by your beta testers (or have a professional editor do it for you) and BOOM!  Congratulations!  You have yourself a finished story.

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Now, depending on what you are writing, the next step can vary wildly.  I’ll try to bust my potatoes to get some more articles up to cover the subsequent steps for your perusal, but if I haven’t covered something you are curious about, let me know.  I’m here to feed your need to dive head first into the challenge of becoming a writer.

  • Still have questions regarding the writing process?  Reach out to me!  I’ll share any insight I can, so find me on twitter @m0nkeyfire
  • Future topics will include marketing, publishing, finding an artist and more!  Have an idea for a “How To Comic” blog topic?  Send it to me at m0nkeyfire@aol.com and I’ll research the crap out of it.