Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Distractions Can Kill...Your Productivity

No, I'm not talking about texting and driving.  Although, that's not very safe.  I'm talking about how distractions can kill your writing.  This may seem like common sense and it is, but that doesn't stop us from getting distracted now, does it?  I mean, you are here reading this right now, aren't you?

Often being aware of the problem and the main culprits can go a long way to curbing the habit of not-writing:

Television - Obvious, right?  I know some who say they like the background noise, but that would only apply if what's on television is a truly awful show that was not in the least bit engaging.  If that's the case, why have it on in the first place?

Music - I like listening to music while I work, especially when it can help set the mood for whatever project I am working on.  Digging into the darker aspects of humanity with MINDFIELD, movie scores like Black Swan and Donnie Darko are perfect.  Exploring the limitless powers of Captain Atom, how about 2001: A Space Odyssey?  But for me, no matter what, it's got to be instrumental.  Once you throw lyrics in, that's a problem.  

Eating - Sure, we all need a snack break from time to time in order to recharge the batteries, but the constant flow from chair to fridge and back again keeps you from writing.  Even if you are "thinking" or "mulling things over."  Not writing is not writing. I'm not saying don't eat - just don't fool yourself into thinking that staring at your computer screen for twenty minutes while you down a bag of cheetos is writing. 

Checking Email - I know we all need to stay in contact with the outside world, but do you really need to check your email more than once every couple of hours?  If something is so vital, they'll call.  Or text. 

"Research" - I don't put the term in quotes to suggest that research is not a vital part of writing, it is.  But, it's not putting words on the page.  If you are in the middle of something, don't break the flow to research something online or in a book.  Go back and figure it out later.  If I'm in the middle of writing a comic script, breaking story down, working on dialogue, laying out the scene, the last thing I should do is spend fifteen minutes finding a reference image of the Vatican, which will only lead me to a movie trailer, funny or die video, twitter update, and checking my email.  What starts out as a one-minute search has a way of becoming a lost half-hour if not more.

Internet - Okay, so maybe I will just make it plain.  The Internet is like crack.  Once you start surfing and clicking, the possibilities are endless.  And, I mean endless. Not to mention often pointless.

Life itself - To the best of your ability, try to find a place to work free from the rest of your life.  Working in the kitchen, maybe you'll notice the dirty dishes piling up in the sink.  In your bedroom, what about all that laundry to do?  Do you have a desk?  Great.  You can pay the bills sitting in the top drawer, and balance your checkbook while you are at it.  SO, if these chores of life gnaw at you, try to get away from them altogether.  I've found libraries can be great for this, although their free wi-fi can sneak up and bite you in the ass. 

Remember, sometimes the hardest part of writing is simply locking yourself in the chair and punching those keys. 

Good luck. 

Captain Atom and Superman - Present and Beyond

If you read Captain Atom, you can obviously notice the connection to Doctor Manhattan in the character.  Not so much in the personality, but rather the powers he possesses.  And then of course, there are the little nods - the glass desert in Issue #3, the image of the giant Captain Atom in Issue #5.  

But, in developing the book, I found myself thinking about Superman quite a bit in determining how Captain Atom would be in this incarnation.  Guess you could say it was all priming me for Superman Beyond.  It all boiled down to making Captain Atom a polar opposite to Superman.  Nathaniel was an Air Force pilot, a human being dedicating his life to fighting for his nation.  In becoming Captain Atom though, his place in the world becomes much more alienated.  He's considered a threat - and his incredible powers are classified more as dangerous than wonderful.  Contrast that with Superman, who is an actual alien living among us humans on Earth.  We embrace Superman because he looks like one of us. His powers are seen as wondrous and appealing, and we come to see the best of ourselves in him - not only in terms of physical potential, but also moral fiber.  But isn't Captain Atom just as honorable?  Just as heroic?  Yes, he is.  Unfortunately, his powers only serve to isolate him more and more from humanity.  In the people's mind, he is the alien - An opinion that affects Captain Atom as he begins to see himself as being other than human.  It comes down to each character's place in the world.

This brings me to Superman Beyond, where that notion of having a place in the world is a central theme.  In our timeline, Superman is firmly grounded on Earth.  It is his home.  He has family and friends and loved ones.  His existence as Clark Kent keeps him connected to humanity.  But can the same be said twenty years down the road?  When those personal connections are dead and gone, what will keep Superman in touch with humanity?  Where does he fit in, if anywhere?  Look at the costume he wears, which highlights his Kryptonian heritage.  

 Is this the beginning of Kal-El pulling away from Earth altogether?

Friday, January 27, 2012

LairCast Podcast

Hey everyone!

Here's a link to a podcast interview I did with the great folks at LairCast!  We talked about a lot of great stuff, including Captain Atom and Soulfire.  And, it was my first chance to talk about Superman Beyond and GI Combat!  Check it out:

LairCast featuring JT Krul

Monday, January 23, 2012

Superman Beyond!

Hey Everyone.  So at long last I can finally announce that I will be writing Superman Beyond, starting in April.  Working with Howard Porter and Livesay.  It's my first time writing the Man of Steel and couldn't be more excited for it.  Here's a peak at the cover for #1!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's an Artist to Do?

Last time around, I talked about breaking into comic writing and got a lot of responses from artists about the same topic.  So, let me say just a few words about breaking into comics as an artist.  Now, the disclaimer should be obvious.  I am a writer, not an artist.  That being said, over the years I have seen thousands of aspiring artists brave the convention floors across the country, looking to crack into the industry.  I've also witnessed countless portfolio reviews and encounters with editors on the subject. 

Here are a few nuggets to consider:

Forget the pinups.  There are so many artists who present portfolios of only pinups and splashes, and the first response is ALWAYS the same.  "Where is the sequential art?"  Editors want to see your storytelling.  Anyone can draw a pinup piece (granted some a hell of a lot better than others), but it's still a pinup.  To get work in this business, you need to have sequential samples to show.  Your first job…maybe your first twenty jobs will be interior work.

Put your best foot forward.  When organizing your portfolio, put the newest (and hopefully) the best stuff up front.  You only get one chance at that first impression - so make it count.

Now, that's not to say that a rejection initially is the end of the road.  It's not.  It's the beginning.  When an editor gives you criticism.  Accept it without offense - do not get defensive about it.  Remember, they are not trying to crush your dreams or dash your hopes.  They are giving you useful feedback on things to work on.  Listen and take it all in - and apply it in your future work.  Editors want to work with people who listen to notes and can adjust and adapt accordingly.  Many (if not most) artists were rejected time and again as they honed their craft and developed to the point of being ready for professional work.  It's not a sprint.  It's a marathon.  You've got to practice and work at it.

Work on what you hate.  If there is something that you feel you don't draw well or don't enjoy, take some time and focus on that specific area.  If cityscapes are not your thing and you show a portfolio with no cityscapes, guess what?  They'll ask for cityscapes.  Editors need to know you are versatile. Backgrounds, cities, animals, vehicles, anatomy, faces, hands and feet.  You need to work on it all.  There are no shortcuts.  I remember an exercise the very talented Micah Gunnell told me about from his days at the Kubert School.  It was all about hands.  He positioned his free hand in different poses again and again and simply sketched them out. Think of it as a challenge - confront yourself with your biggest obstacle and overcome it.

Let's talk about conventions and interacting with editors.  Be professional and confident, but not obnoxious.  I've seen way too many artists present themselves in a sheepish manner that works against them.  Now, we are all introverts to a certain extent, so the notion of putting ourselves out there in a boastful fashion goes against our very being.  But, you have to be positive.  You can be humble and gracious, without being dismissive of yourself or your talent.  I've actually seen artists present their portfolio with the opening words -"I know this isn't very good, but would you mind taking a look."  It's so counter-productive.  Now, there's also a danger on the other side - cocky attitudes can be even more damaging.  Don't be a diva.

One of the more tricky areas of networking is finding that fine line between persistent and annoying.  You want to stay in regular contact with the people you meet, but do not want to become a pest.  That's where new samples work great.  It's the perfect excuse to reach out to people, show them something new, and stay fresh in their mind.  

I want to stress again about being professional.  Don't dress like a slob.  A suit isn't necessary, but be presentable.  The same goes for your portfolio.  Have your work in a nice folder and if possible bring photocopies of your samples to leave behind with your contact information on it.  Sketches drawn on blue-lined paper, colored with crayons, and ripped from a spiral notebook are not the way to go.  It makes it seem like you scribbled something down at the bar the night before as a dare - rather than a serious professional endeavor.  Have contact info that uses your real name.  Save the email address of BigBalls69@gmail.com for your personal life. 

One more tidbit - have an idea of how long a page of art takes you.  Deadlines are a part of this business.  They want to see the best work you can produce in a matter of days, not months.  You could present an unbelievable double spread that blows them away, but if it took 300 hours to complete, it's kind of pointless.

Again, these are just a few of my notes on the matter because I was asked.  Talk to artists.  They know a lot more than me. 

That is all for now.

Good luck.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

How to Break Into Comics? An Answer.

First off, let me stress that this is nothing more than answer, not necessarily the answer.  There is no perfect way to get into comic writing, to get that first job.  It's not like other careers where you can take certain courses, earn a degree, and head for a job fair or look in the classifieds.  Comic book companies are NEVER looking for new writers, but are ALWAYS looking for new writers.  This is without a doubt the question I get asked the most (maybe tied with "What was it like to work with Michael Turner?"  Short answer - Awesome!).

So, this is only my response.  My own personal opinion on how I would go about things if I were trying to break into comics today.  Let's start with the harsh truth.  Nobody is going to look at unpublished material.  Sorry, but that's a fact.  You got that epic 12-part Batman arc already scripted?  Too bad.  Got a great idea for Spider-Man?  Forget it.  Penned the first 25 issues of your legendary opus that has yet to be produced?  Save it.  While editors and companies are all too happy to thumb through sample portfolios for artists, the road is much narrower for writers.  All they want is published work.  No scripts. No samples.  Only finished, published work. 

So, that's what you need to do. Create an idea and see it through to fruition.  Most likely this means a printed comic.  Web comics have certainly jumped in profile and awareness and more people are willing to look at such endeavors, but most still want that printed, published work.  It's your calling card in the business, albeit a potentially expensive one, considering the time and effort and funds necessary to produce a comic book.  But, there it is.  That's your play here.  At least, that's what I would do. 

Now, there are exceptions to every rule.  For example, Kyle Higgins actually got noticed for a short film he wrote and directed that caught Marvel's eye.  It’s called THE LEAGUE, and is actually available on iTunes if you want to check it out.  But I digress. 

To catch an editor's eye, you need to be able to give them something and that means a comic book.  Create your own property and develop a comic book for it. Don't worry about having the entire 100 issue run mapped out.  Focus on the best idea you got swirling around in your head.  The idea that will work the best as a comic book and the one that will let you showcase your talents the most.  You will be pouring a lot…and I mean A LOT of blood, sweat, and tears (actual physical tears) into this thing, so make sure it's an idea you believe in.  Think it through.

Got it? Good. 

Now you can overcome the next hurdle.  An Artist.  If you have the funding, go nuts.  Find the best artists that money can buy - illustrators, colorists, letterers - the whole gang.  But if you are like most of us, life is the very definition of a "fixed income."  In that case, find an artist in the exact same boat as you.  Someone hungry to get noticed, to get into the business, but hasn’t been able to crack that nut.  You can find them in a host of areas.  Your local comic book shop.  Art departments in nearby colleges.  Artistic online communities like Deviant Art.  Regional and local comic conventions.  It's almost like putting together a garage band, only you're interested in making kickass comics instead of music. 

Basically, look for the best artist you can find, whose style matches your idea, and one that has the same drive and work ethic that you have.  Pay attention to that second one.  I have heard many a story of writers who partnered up with aspiring artists only to wait eight months for 2 pages of art.  Don't get me wrong - good art takes time and you'll most likely be working with someone who has a day job like you.  Someone with passion, but also bills to pay, because let's face it - you sure as hell can’t afford to pay anything for the pages.  Essentially, you go into the project 50/50.  You write it for free; they draw it for free.  And, you both hope to reap the benefits down the line. 

In a perfect world, under the best of circumstances, your project becomes the next little engine that could, defying the odds and making it into stores across the country and turning into the next Walking Dead.  And, I hope that is the case, especially if it's good book because I love nothing more than great comics to read.  At the very least, your effort will produce a viable, published comic that can get into the hands of editors and publishers in order to further your career.  Obviously, there is a lot that goes into publishing (and distributing) your comic book, but that would be a much longer discussion. 

The bottom line is that reaching this goal, publishing your own book will put you leaps and bounds ahead of so many people who "want to write," but don’t actually get around to doing any actual writing.  Not only will you have a physical manifestation of your work to share and sell to people, but the published work will show potential editors that you have the drive and determination to see things through.  The writing in your work reveals talent.  The finished book itself reveals tenacity.  Both of which are key to breaking into this business. 

Again, in my opinion. 

Good luck.


Captain Atom #5 - Out This Week!

Just a friendly reminder that the latest Captain Atom...Issue #5 hits stores this Wednesday. 

The time has come for Captain Atom to cross paths with the strange creature that's been brewing and evolving in the shadows.  What is it?  Where did it come from?  And what possible connection could it have to Captain Atom himself?  The answers are coming!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

G.I. Combat

Okay, finally something I can talk about - a little.  Starting in May, I'll be working with Ariel Olivetti on The War That Time Forgot in the pages of G.I. Combat as part of DC's Second Wave:

DC's Second Wave

And, if you aren't familiar with the title, this image should tease just enough:

Yep.  After spending years writing dragons in the pages of Soulfire, I'm taking a crack at dinosaurs!  It's going to be a crazy fun!  Can't wait for you to see it!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Yesterday, I talked about the full-script format.  Today, let's look at the other main method.  Plot Style. 

When writing in plot style, you don't include panel breakdowns.  Instead, you simply provide an overall description for the page, setting the scene in a more general sense.  This method really does boil down to being a letter to the artist.  Sometimes, it's almost a prose style, a few sentences or a paragraph or two effectively "telling the story" of the scene.  Some people who use this method only describe the scene and wait until the art is finished before writing the dialogue, but I actually include the dialogue in the original script.  For me, it helps with my storytelling and pacing, and let's me make sure that the artist is aware of any vital moments on the page - be it action, an expression, or a line of dialogue.

Here is an example from Captain Atom #3.  You'll see again that I use the word "maybe" as I convey a specific visual idea for the page:


Back to the desert battle.  Thus commences a verbal standoff.  The FLASH is not thrilled about seeing CAPTAIN ATOM.  They are still in super speed mode as they talk. 

If you can, let's try to show the briefest of movement of the SOLDIERS in battle.  CAPTAIN ATOM and FLASH are moving at great speeds indeed, but time isn't stopping, only slowing down considerably.  They seem to be interacting with the world almost stopped around them. 

Maybe we use a machine gun as the point of reference, seeing the chamber click open and kick out the shell casing, followed by the actual bullet slowly emerging from the end of the barrel.  We'll see this is successive panels either with our heroes as they talk, or off to the side…like a counter of imagery.  I think a visual cue will add to the effect. 

While not outright attacking him, the FLASH is uneasy about CAPTAIN ATOM. CAPTAIN ATOM tries to diffuse the situation, with limited success.

Captain Atom:                        Where exactly should I be?

Flash:            On lockdown or something.  Safely tucked away. 

Captain Atom:                        Am I a threat?

Flash:            Ask New York.  What was that volcano all about?

Captain Atom:                        I didn't cause the volcano.  I went to stop it.

Flash:            You sure about that?  The way the League talks, they're not so sure.  You're unstable.

Captain Atom:            Unstable.

Captain Atom:            Interesting choice of words coming from somebody whose molecules are vibrating at the speed of sound.  Who are you?

Flash:            They call me the Flash.

Flash:            Stumbled upon this little dispute and thought I'd take the toys away from the kids.

Captain Atom:            Contrary to popular opinion.  I'm no threat.  I came here to help as well.

Flash:            I'd feel a lot better if you had a Geiger counter around your neck.  No offense. 

Captain Atom:            I'm not leaking radiation.  If I was, I'd go into containment voluntarily.  I'm no stranger to laboratories.

From Captain Atom #3, art by Freddie Williams and Jose Villarrubia
Here's another example from Captain Atom #3 - the scene of the Flash reacting to the nuclear explosion.  Again, the description is rather brief, allowing for Freddie to have a wide-open field with regard to the layout and breakdown: 


BOOM!  The nuclear warhead begins to explode.  It's the first few seconds of the explosion.  Brilliant, blinding light. Then, just starting to drift into the sky - a mushroom cloud in the making.  (Check out this video: http://www.maniacworld.com/Tsar-Nuclear-Explosion.html ) .

Reactions by the FLASH, his face illuminated by the brilliance of the blast.

Captain Atom (caption):          In that microsecond, the situation goes supercritical. 

Captain Atom (caption):          I'm too late.

Flash:  My god.

Flash:  What did he do?

From Captain Atom #3.  Art by Freddie Williams and Jose Villarrubia
Pretty awesome stuff, huh?  I absolutely love this issue of Captain Atom.  Freddie's art has never been better, and the way Jose Villarrubia uses the colors to play the heroes off one another is great - the vibrant blues and purples of Captain Atom and the bright and bold reds and yellows of the Flash.  Brilliant. 

You'll notice that I even included references for the nuclear explosion.  Never underestimate the power of references or visual aids.  Whether it's an image, a scene from a movie, or whatnot - if it will help you convey the effect of the scene to the artist, go for it.  Now, that's not to say that you should do this for every page or every panel, but if you are doing the research for something already, don't make your artist waste time hunting online.  Give them all the tools they'll need.

Part of what makes the plot style work for Captain Atom is my close working relationship with Freddie.  We regularly discuss the book, the story, and the scope and theme of the book.  In fact, for issue #1, we essentially talked through the entire issue page by page, and then I went and simply typed up what we said as if it was a transcript of sorts.

I very much prefer the full script method overall, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it on Captain Atom if I felt the need to, but so far it's been working well on that particular project. 

At the end of the day, making comics is an extremely collaborative experience, working with a host of people (artists, colorists, letterers, editors, etc.) so communication is key.  Your script is the foundation of that communication.  Be clear.  Be concise.  And, avoid typos - they just get in the wry.

I meant, "way." 

See what I mean.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I just got back from the Amazing Arizona Con this past weekend, which was…amazing.  In it's second year, it's turning into a nice regional show.  Not the craziness of a mega con like San Diego or New York, but a great chance to spend some time with fans and friends.

Over the weekend, I talked with a lot of people about comic writing, and even took part in a panel on the subject.  Without fail, the topic always comes up regarding format - specifically full script vs. plot style.  I've written both ways over my career, and thought I'd talk a little about that.  Today, let's take a look at the full script.

Full script format involves breaking down a page in terms of the individual panels.  Here is an excerpt from my script for Soulfire #3 as well as the corresponding finished page:

PAGES 8 & 9 (Double Spread)

Panel One.
Large Panel.  Maybe a wide panel across the entire double spread.  We are now inside the cave again.  It's the same cavern that ONYX first made her connection to the shadow magic.  She has turned it into some kind of darkened throne room - creepy and wet.  Tall atrium ceiling of rock.  Very rough and foreboding.  Other STEHORU WOMAN are in the shadows - waiting to tend to their queen. 

ONYX sits atop a throne that is nothing but a rock formation that resembles a chair.  She is looking upon a squad of SETHORU MEN, standing tall before her.  About 20 in all.  These are the best specimens of her people.  And she has a plan for them.

1. Onyx:            While the masses construct a kingdom outside worthy enough to be the House of Sethoru, inside we must begin the transformation. 

Panel Two.
ONYX gets to her feet, standing before the SETHORU MEN standing at attention. 

2. Onyx:            The time has come to finish the journey. 

Panel Three.
ONYX spreads her arms wide, calling upon the shadow magic.  The SETHORU are looking to their feet as the ground beneath them begins to rumble and shake, things are coming to the surface.

3. Onyx:            We lost our way to the Rahtumi because we lost sight of our heritage.

4. Onyx:            We turned away from our true source of power - our shadow magic.   

Panel Four.
The SETHORU MEN flail about in horror and panic as they are suddenly attacked by a swarm of DARK BEETLES - very similar to what ONYX went through in issue #1. 

5. Onyx:                        We must reclaim that bond.  Return to our roots. 

6. Sethoru Men:            No!   Ahhhh! 

Panel Five.
Angle on ONYX as she watches with pleasure as the SETHORU men are buried underneath a sea of DARK BEETLES.

7. Onyx:                          Accept who we are.

Panel Six.
Close on ONYX.  Very pleased.  Ready to see the fruits of her labor.

Panel Seven.
Angle on the pile of DARK BEETLES as hands begin to emerge.   They are discolored like ONYX's skin is now. This is a bit like the birth of Uruk-hai Orcs in LORD OF THE RINGS.  The SETHORU MEN are being reborn in a new image - now part of the shadow magic.

8. Onyx:                        For this is more than a new kingdom - A new era.   

Double Spread - pages 8 & 9 from Soulfire #3.  Art by Jason Fabok and John Starr.
Whether it's plot or full script style, your script is essentially a letter to your artists, in which you try to convey the necessary information for the story, while allowing enough room for the artist to do what they do best.  If I have a specific image or angle or element in mind, I might include it in the script, but I love the words "maybe" and "perhaps."  It lets the artist know that they have the ability to deviate from the script or idea if they have a better idea.   Obviously, the more you talk with your artist, the easier the scripting is because you'll both have an idea of what’s in store, even before the script is written.

You'll notice that I break down the panels for the page, but try to leave the overall size and placement open.  This allows the artist to design the layout for the page in terms of storytelling.  The panels are my way of conveying the elements of the scene, but if the artist has another idea, he or she can explore that. For this page, I had seven panels, but Jason Fabok decided to trim it to six panels to give each image more space.  It all works, and still expresses everything in the script. 

Next time, I'll offer an example of writing plot style. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Soulfire #6 and Amazing Arizona Con!

Hey all.  Don't forget to grab a copy of Soulfire #6 in stores tomorrow!

Plus, come by the Amazing Arizona Con this coming weekend (January 6th-8th) and I'll sign it (and any other book you'd like).

Captain Atom #8 Cover by Mike Choi
Captain Atom #7 Cover by Mike Choi

For me, Captain Atom is the story about a man losing himself in the almost limitless powers he comes to possess.  Through the opening arc, we've been exploring the different facets of those powers - what incredible things he's been able to do with them, but also the extent to which those powers are distancing him from his world and his own sense of humanity.  Whether it was the ability to absorb energy, manipulate and transform matter at the molecular level, or the side effect of being a human antenna, picking up any and all transmission signals swirling about him. 

Starting in issue 7 we'll be exploring a much larger part of his new life - his future.  As you can tell by the covers, Captain Atom will be coming face-to-face with himself, as we start to tackle the question I got the most after he cured Mikey's cancer in Issue #2.  If he can do that, why doesn't he cure everybody?  Cure the world?  End hungry?  Turn the world and the universe into one big paradise?  Where are the limits of what he can do and what he will do?

In many ways, the second arc is really a continuation of everything we've done so far.  Megala, Ranita, the rat creature, Mikey, the Flash, and even the volcano - it's all part of a big story we set out to tell from day one.  These covers by Mike Choi are only the tip of the iceberg.  I SOOOO wish I could show you some of Freddie's new interior pages.  They are amazing.  I am extremely lucky to be working with him.  The same goes for Jose Villarrubia and his spectacular colors. 

Telling the story of Nathaniel Adam and his evolution into Captain Atom is quickly becoming a favorite story of mine at DC Comics.  And considering the list of characters I've already been able to write for them (Green Arrow, Arsenal, Teen Titans, Batman), that is saying something.  I really hope everyone checks it out.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Getting Started

The one big resolution I had for the coming New Year was to get this blog up and running, so I guess you could say I am off to a good start in 2012.  Resolutions are a tricky thing.  I used to make them and break them like so many others.  Year after year, the same thing would happen - the total decay of best intentions.  Why?  Did I strive for too much?  Set completely unrealistic expectations?  Was the list too long?  Too daunting to achieve because it would have called for a seismic shift in my entire lifestyle?  In the end, I came to believe that vagueness was the biggest culprit.  Write more.  Spend more time with the family. Watch less television.  Exercise more.  Eat right.  Volunteer.  All good resolutions, right?  But what does each of those really mean?  How can you gauge them?

I'll focus on the first one…write more…since I get a lot of questions at conventions, signings, and on twitter about being a writer, and trying to answer any such question in a limited time (especially in 140 characters or less) is difficult.  It goes to what I hear many writers respond with when asked about writing.  If you want to be a writer, write a lot.  Sounds simple enough to follow, but what does that really mean?

Writing is hard because, like anything worth doing, it takes discipline.  There is no easy way around it.  You have to plant your butt in front of the computer (or typewriter, or pad of paper, or stone tablet, etc.) and just do it.  Try to avoid all the things that get in the way of writing - television, Internet, phone, and even food. Pick a dedicated time and place if you can.  Set a schedule.  When I still had other jobs, nighttime was the only real choice for me.  And as much as I love it, there were times when all I wanted to do at the end of the long day was zone out in front of the television, play a video game, or have a drink.  I'd set a benchmark goal for myself.  3 hours.  3,000 words.  10 pages of script.  Or if I had a deadline, there was no goal, no choice.  The work had to get done, plain and simple. Deadlines can be a writer's best friend.   Did I always hit my goal?  Absolutely not.  Did I spend the next day beating myself up?  You bet.  And, it took me awhile to realize the next day was the best thing for my failure the night before.  It was another chance to get it right.  To hit my mark.  Get the job done. Make progress. 

I grew up in a family of golf lovers.  My grandfather, father, and older brother all played it.  I did too, but it's not the easiest sport to enjoy.  A good golf swing has a list of things to remember - head down, follow through, keep your eye on the ball, and so on.  Miss any one of these, and you were sure to hit what my father called a "worm burner."  The ball would sputter across the ground for twenty feet or so, never taking flight.  In my time, I hit many a "worm burner."  Frustration was a regular emotion for me on the course.  But, sometimes I did it right.  I connected, heard that strong crack in the air, and watched my little white ball sail down the fairway, bouncing along the grass, inching closer and closer to the pin.  Each time I stepped up to the ball was another opportunity.  I had the chance to get it right.  Just like every time I sat down at my computer, I had the chance to write.

Keep at it.  No matter what. 

I am not sure what this blog will ultimately be.  Sometimes, I'll talk more about writing.  I'll share artwork and information for upcoming projects.  Hell, I'll probably talk about great hockey games and maybe the occasional new beer I discover. 

Read, enjoy, share, respond.