I’m Afraid

I’m afraid I’m not talented enough to succeed. I’m afraid that even though I put every fiber of my being into achieving my goal, it still won’t happen because I’m just not good enough.

I’m a writer. Out of all of my hobbies, writing is the one I have invested the greatest amount of true work hours into. Malcolm Gladwell said “… researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” That might also remind you of a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song aptly named “10,000 hours,” and for a very good reason, they are based on the same principle. To become an expert at anything according to Mr. Gladwell, you have to put 10,000 hours of practice into whatever it is. To writers, those hours can easily be translated and then subsequently measured by word counts.

So, let’s do some math! Well, I guess I’ll do some math and you just have to keep reading this. Good, I’m glad we had that talk. I am 8 days from being 26 years old and in the spirit of rounding up, let’s just say I’ve been alive for 26 years. I have been literate for 22 of those years. I have been writing stories for 10 of those years. On a weekly basis I average 800 written words, most of which are not publishable. That number includes weeks that I’ve written 20,000 words (that happened one time – it was a very good week) and others when I have written absolutely nothing.

4 x 800 = 3200 words a month

3200 x 12 = 38400 words a year

38400 x 10 years = 384000 words all time

For reference the book I just finished reading, Divergent, has 105,000 words. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is 76,944 words. Ulysses by James Joyce is 265,000 words. The longest novel ever recorded is Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard coming in at 1.2 million words. Granted, L. Ron Hubbard can sometimes be described as a  psychotic lunatic, but you have to give it to the dude, he wrote a whole hell of a lot of words. For even more reference, my debut novel Odessa Red (available on Amazon.com) is 45,093 words.

Now, this is not to say that the number of written words automatically equals the quality of your product. It’s just saying that as a writer, the designation I identify myself with the most, I am a relative novice. And in that light, here is the cold hard truth: I’m not good enough yet, but I’ve invested too much time and effort to stop now.

On a related note, I truly love writing and because of that love it doesn’t matter how many times I fail, I will never stop. But what you love and what you’re good at are two very different subjects. I know why I love writing. The idea that words in a particular order that did not exist previously can create entire worlds is absolutely amazing to me, and my ultimate goal is to create worlds that I love and that others can fall in love with as well.

I want that very badly, but I will never say that I want it badly enough that I will definitely succeed. I honestly don’t know if I will succeed, and I think that’s the point. I might not be good enough. I might not have the talent to describe the worlds in my dreams. But that has nothing to do with whether or not I will keep writing. I doubt myself often; mostly at night right before I fall asleep. I ask myself why I keep doing this. Why I try so hard. I read books and think that I’ll never be able to encapsulate a story like they did. But then I fall asleep, wake up, get out of bed, and do it all again. Because the elation brought on by success outweighs the misery of failure. Success hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t know if the previous statement is true or not, but I want it to be true so badly and not trying is a great way to never find out if it can be true.

Everyone has something like this in their lives. I love writing. Ask yourself what you love. I don’t know how you feel, but I know that I’m glad I’m afraid of what I love and I think you should be too. Fear drives me toward an unknown future and personally, I’d rather be afraid than be nothing at all.

New Book plus Movie and Music Updates

Oh hey.

I want to do a fun article but I’ve been a bit busy. Someone asked me the question “when do you have time to sleep?” last week and I was so happy. I love that question because it means I’m doing something right.

WMiT

So here is a quick update on all the stuff. Last week I kinda secret published a short book called What More is There about going to see my Grandparents in the summer when I was a child. Other than the movie I’m making (I’ll get to that later) it’s the most personally invested I’ve ever been in a project. The description is: A telling of my childhood summer trips to visit my Grandparents from my first person perspective written by my Grandmother and elaborated upon by me 20 years later so we can always have these stories.

I made it as cheap as I could and it’s a literal one or two hour read so that’s a thing.

As for the movie (Ian and the Bishop), I’d say we just passed the half-way point of editing it. We have two more scenes that need rough cuts, then we have to go back through for audio levels and color corrects, music additions etc. My current estimate for that to be completed is the end of October, but I’ve been wrong before. Don’t worry though; when it comes out I’ll be shoving it down your throats constantly.

On the music front, Adam and I are in the middle of creating a full length Jolly Good record that has a name that we’re not telling people yet. I think it’s going to have 11 tracks if it all works out, and that should be done first quarter 2014.

Other writing stuff: I’m in the beginning stages of a new book – the working title of said book is “The Nightshade Express.” Also I’m working on the first draft of the next short film, which has a working title of “The Worst of Us.”

Plus I might try to fit in a web series called Apartment B2 and a web musical based on the new Jolly Good record, but who knows man. I change my mind on a pretty constant basis.

About Georgia Bound

Updates have been sparse due to the fact that I just finished principal filming and I’m soon to be editing a short film plus I’m writing a book with a release timeline of Spring 2014 – but I thought I’d give the blog at least a little something today.

Georgia Bound (Click for PDF) is a feature length film script I wrote in the summer of 2009 and edited with the help of my friend/editor Abigail Storiale – until I had a final product in 2011. Since then I’ve written two books and a short film that is coming out this fall plus a number of other things that no one will ever see and some things that people will see if they choose too.

The synopsis for the script is: In an effort to save his relationship, recent high school graduate Jim must venture south of the Mason-Dixon with the help of his new acquaintance, a mentally unstable taxi cab driver.

The script follows this kid who is desperate but is about to find out how far he would really go to save the only thing in his life that gives him happiness. It’s a coming of age tale and really worked out well as the first thing I had ever written because the premise isn’t a new one and the story is simple.

Through writing this I learned some film fundamentals – that every page of a script is about a minute of film time – there are certain points of almost every movie ever made that you should hit including establishing your major characters and then playing around with their personalities and eventually the all if lost moment followed by some sort of redemption. The all is lost moment is my favorite because once you know about it you’ll see it in everything. It’s basically the moment about 20-30 minutes before the end of the movie where all hope seems lost and you think there is no way for these main characters who hopefully by this time in the story you are rooting for will pull this one off – but then miraculously they find a way! Most movies are like this for a reason – a large portion of the population loves the formula. So for my first go at a movie script, I used it to teach myself that exact formula.

At the time I wrote it because I just wondered if I could write a movie script. Prior to sitting in my basement for two months that summer I had never written anything of creative worth – so this was a total shot in the dark. Now it serves at a spec script, meaning that it will hopefully someday prove to someone with a bunch of money that I can write a movie. If you find the time I invite you to give it a read – I’m very proud of it, and not because I think it’s amazing (I don’t think that) but because I think that I had an idea one day and then worked on it until I liked it – which is the most important part in my opinion for anything you choose to do in life.

Have a good one,

Ryan

Chapter 1

The usual cycle of my writing projects is that I’ll be smack dab in the middle of one when I need to start another. The “Ian and the Bishop” short film movie cast and crew are three weeks from rehearsals and then quickly after that we start shooting. There is a bunch more to do and not a whole lot of time to do it…so what do I do with some of my free time? Write something else completely different.

It drives me insane while being the only thing that genuinely keeps me sane simultaneously. I wrote the first scene of Ian and the Bishop a month before Odessa Red was finished. I wrote Odessa Red’s first chapter half way through putting together TLDNR. It’s a vicious cycle  – which by the way would be a sweet band name. So in my usual fashion I started writing something else. So far I’ve gotten good feedback besides my editor telling me I suck at the English language, which I totally do, but I like the premise so I might stick with it after the film wraps. Who knows. It doesn’t even have a working title yet – if you think of one, let me know.  I’ve written 2 chapters and you’re about to read the first. It has errors galore and according to Abigail “misplaced modifiers everywhere” whatever that witchcraft means, but the core of the first chapter is there. So, let me know what you think.

CLICK THIS FIRST PAGE TO OPEN THE PDF DUDES

HB2

Jurassic Park 4D: The Adventures of Zeb and Teddy

On a whim I started to write/produce an audio book with my friend Marc Gibson – cause I thought it would be fun and I needed a productive distraction from that movie I’m making this summer. We were talking about what would actually happen if Jurassic Park ended up being a real place. Then because there are two of us we decided two fictional characters should go through this scenario.  It’s in the future – Jurassic Park is opening of at Universal Studios and these two nerdy dudes who love this movie to death get the chance to be on the first ride along with the original cast…and then everything goes wrong.

Each episode will be  6-15 minutes long and it is available for free listens on SoundCloud (below)  Take a listen – it’s gonna be lots of fun!

More Things to Say When You Get Injured

When you get injured in any way you are always asked the question, “How did that happen?” After the 20th time you get the question it starts to become taxing to say the same thing over and over again…so….you start to make things up. A lot of people have the default made up answer of, “I fought a bear…and you should see the bear.”

Vicious creatures.

Sometimes I add on, “You can’t see the bear though, because due to my undying respect for animals I gave him a proper burial.” Then I watch as laughs turn to groans and it’s awesome (for me.)

But I think there needs to be way more answer options to have in our arsenals when we are injured and get that question. You can’t say you fought a bear every time, because then even THAT will get boring. So I decided to sit down and think of some more things to say…and here they are:

  • I was vaulted into the future and took part in a robot vs. human’s war where a giant mechanic version of Osama Bin Laden fell on me after I stabbed him in the face with an ice pick.
  • I was racing Koala bears in South America when all of a sudden poachers stormed in and I got this wound from hacking and slashing my own bull knife that was given to me by the local chieftain after I saved his daughter from a forest fire.
  • Cage Match with Carrot Top
  • A school of midgets attacked me from all sides like a pack of tiny awkward werewolves.
  • I burnt myself with coffee…that was brewed on the god damn sun…it was Sun coffee.
  • Oh this? Got this on my trip to the arctic – My partner fell through the ice and I pulled her to safety and to save her from hypothermia I wrapped my body around her like a man cocoon.
  • I Twittered way too hard last night.
  • Freak Violin accident
  • I high-fived the hulk.
  • Got caught up in an Ugg fire. I was burning all of the Uggs. Now I have this scar. Totally worth it.
  • I saw a woman with her feet up on the passenger dashboard of a car across the highway so I jumped the divider and then one thing lead to another and now I need all of the surgeries.
  • I broke up a fight between Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. It was boss.
  • Reinjured it while in Retail Physical Therapy
  • Some dude was all like, “You can’t put shrapnel in the microwave!” and then I was all like, “WANNA BET BRO?!” so yeah, no more face.
  • She broke my heart man…and then my leg.
  • Remember when I died for like 3 minutes? Completely Unresponsive. Brain dead, really. Yeah, well I guess I was in heaven for a bit and randomly met up with Macho Man Randy Savage. The dude dropped a bow on me. It was great.
  • I didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since this world has been turning. Either way though, smoke inhalation is a real bitch.
  • Entered a boxing match against a bull with red shorts on.
  • Flash Gordon scissor kicked me.
  • I was Tubthumping.
  • I was on the red carpet when Joan Rivers called Adele fat and me and Ryan Seacrest were the first to try and break up the fight…Adele has a mean haymaker.
  • How many bullets where inside 50 cent? Well whatever, it was a bunch more than that. While on an erupting volcano.
  • Tom Cruise electrocuted me.
  • I was on this juice cleanse diet and my insides drowned themselves.
  • I was singing a cover of La Roux’s “Bulletproof” on the street and then some vagrant was all like, “Wanna bet?!”
  • Yeah, turns out I’m The Last Airbender.
  • Got this one when I rode that Eagle to the world fair in 1930. Also I’m immortal, so, not a big deal.
  • Battle Royale: Me vs. M. Night Shama-lama-dingdong. The twist ending was me pushing him off a cliff into a dark abyss.
  • Got shot out of a cannon at clown school
  • An onslaught of Corgis happened. I don’t want to talk about it!
  • I was reading YouTube comments where Atheists and Christians were ripping into each other and then I proceeded to slam my face into the keyboard.
  • I played Baskiceball with the Erickson brothers. It was a total blood bath.
  • I hopped aboard the murder train.
  • I had to get down on Friday.
  • Bit too hard into my 8 candy necklaces.
  • The door knob shocked me while I was standing in water and using a blender to chop up old hard drives and stray pieces of glass.
  • Gravity is a bitch.
  • I French fried when I should have pizza’d.
  • …it was that stupid blue shell again.
  • This? You don’t even wanna know…oh you do? Well…okay. So I was looking towards the sky as a shooting star threw itself across my vision like cotton on a breezy day – I looked around me and saw a long stretch of rope. Picked that shit up, tied a few knots, and starting whipping it around my head. As it got faster and faster the star got further and further away – and at just the right time I hurled the rope as fast as my arms would let me – and it flew across the horizon, out of this world, light years away until it wrapped tightly around that beast of a star. Before the rope pulled tight I wrapped it around my waist – and then WOOSH I went flying up into the sky – just before I hit the top of the atmosphere I took one last breath and waved goodbye to the Earth. The Star was headed out of our solar system, it had seen all it needed to see and picked up a passenger in the meantime so it decided to move on – I passed Mars and ate it like a candy bar, I dodged asteroids while fixing my belt, I rode the storm on Jupiter like Pecos Bill in the Tall Tales, I river danced across the rings of Saturn, held my laughing back on Uranus, took a picture of Neptune to send to Poseidon (we have fun), and softly pet Pluto for old time sake.  For years and years we traveled, boldly going where no man riding a star had gone before. Met an Extra Terrestrial, who when he found out we called them that he that said, “I mean, I might have gained a little weight over this past cosmological decade, but not enough to call me extra.” Then he cried. It was sweet. Then an immense amount of time passed, but I did not age at all. Until one day while sitting on a planet light years away from home I looked up to the star and said, “You know what. I know when I go back no one I knew will be alive…hell, the earth might not even be there. But I think the end of my story is me knowing what happened to where I came from, because without that land to stand on I could have never caught a star.” The star looked down upon me, obviously disappointed, but she understood. When we finally got back to Earth it was a little rustier than before and the O-Zone was all but gone – but it still had that green and blue I missed so much. The star set me down where my home used to be; now a field of a plant I did not recognize. As I waved good bye to the star I turned to see what was ahead of me. I had ridden around the universe – to the edge of it and back – but I didn’t do the one thing I had always wanted to do. Have an adventure on a land I called my home. Oh, also there was some time travel involved somewhere…not a big deal…and I tripped over a rock and scraped my knee. Wanna grab me that ointment? Cool, thanks.

Follow Your Dreams

So many people say that. It’s almost always the answer to the question, “How do I succeed?” along with “Work hard every day” and “Never give up.” Etc etc

I absolutely hate vague direction. Follow Your Dreams, as a mindset, is vague. Following your dreams has a very simple check list – and if you are planning on having your dreams come true (cause who in the hell doesn’t want that) then you should follow it. So…here it is:

  1. Do you actually want it? Cause you seem to be bitching out here and there. You have some other things to do. Work/School is really busy right now. Sleeping is really great. Listen, I get it. Your dreams aren’t all that important – OH WAIT YES THEY ARE, THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT YOU. How about you make time for them? You will always and forever be your first obstacle.
  2. Use that time wisely. You can be good at something without practice, but you’re never going to be great without it. You are looking for perfection and if your reply to the thought of perfection is, “Being 100% perfect isn’t possible” then you are never going to see your dreams come true. Your answer, every time should be, “I WILL be perfect, and if I’m not perfect yet, I will work every day and every night towards perfection.”
  3. Step 3 is the most important step of them all. You have made time for your dreams. You have practiced and practiced and honed your craft – you’re not as great as you can be because there is always room to get better, though you’re pretty god damn impressive. But there are obstacles other than you. Naysayers. Doubters. Haters. Misanthropes. Objects that claim to be immovable and people that claim to be Impenetrable. When it comes to situations like those I subscribe to one phrase and one phrase only: Screw em. Step 3 is Screw em. Over and over. Everything time those objects or people are all up in your grill. Screw. Em.
  4. Step 4 is almost as important as Step 3. Enjoying the fruits of your labor. That fruit tastes delicious. The amount of time you choose to enjoy yourself is up to you – I usually choose the shortest amount of time. For me the greatest amount of fun and pride comes from the buildup to enjoyment – when I reach the peak I get a good look, breath in the fresh air, and then start to head back down to do it all over again. The best part about fulfilling your dreams is that it can happen over and over again – as many times as you let it.

You and I both need to come to the conclusion that life is too short to suck at anything we do. Being mediocre is a decision. We CAN choose otherwise.

Blog about that Book I wrote

Odessa Red Available on Paperback and and Kindle 

Before I get into this long diatribe about my own work because I love talking about myself I’ll just say if you read the book/are going to read it THANK YOU. I love you. Straight up. Make sure to share a link to it and/or review it! If you have any questions about it I would love to answer them on this blog or on Twitter @RyanBrady13 or in real life.

I’m going to be doing a giveaway after people have had a chance to read it – I have the actual pair of shoes (new, bought specifically for this purpose) that Grant’s shoes are based on. I’m going to randomly choose someone who asks me a cool question about the book/has a favorite quote and give the shoes away – and if the winner wants me to ruin the shoes by signing them I’ll be more than happy to.

——————–

My new book Odessa Red started as a free write I did in June 2011. The first chapter that exists now is about 80% of what it was the first day I wrote it. On that day I had one image in my head I wanted to convey on paper which was one guy in the middle of a street with a knife in his hand and police helicopters shining down on him. At the time I had no idea what this guy’s name was or why he just killed a bunch of people. All I knew is that he was a good guy.

This my first shot at Fiction and for very good reason. It’s so much easier to write my normal thoughts down and then mold them into an essay or a short anecdote. Writing fiction is creating an entire world which brings along intricacies such as time and physical placement and back story and emotional involvement etc. All things I never had to think about.

This book was more for me than it was for anyone else. You can tell by the end of the book I’m a better writer, which makes sense because it took me a year and a half to write 45,000 words and make them somewhat decent. (For reference a good day for a normal novelist is 4000 words, not saying they always do so, but that’s what a good day constitutes)

Writing Fiction is an extremely lonely process. My Editor Abigail is one of my best friends which made it easier so I had someone to talk about this world that was constantly being expanded inside my head. We tried to talk about it alone though because when you talk about a book that’s not a real thing at a bar in front of your other friends and you’re not a world renowned author it just gets annoying for everyone else. If you’re not living it every day it’s tough to get excited about it.

It’s for that very reason that the book is how it is and I am feeling the way I feel now. Odessa Red does not have a proper ending. It is a cliffhanger that will most likely frustrate a few readers, but that’s how it has to be. I’m very clear at the end of the book – if people like it enough I’ll keep writing it but for now I will just enjoy this moment.

This moment is a big one for me. It’s the first time other people will be able to be fully inside my head for a short period of time. I wrote an essay book in the middle of last year that was a little bit like that but not quite. The amount of time and effort I put into my last book as opposed to this one is astonishing. That’s why I HOPE everyone likes it but I don’t NEED them to like it. I got it to a place that I was very proud of and that’s what mattered to me the most. That’s also why it has a cliffhanger ending – I knew if I kept writing it the quality control would go downhill because basically…I got bored. Doing the same thing for a year and a half is tough for me and without Abigail pushing it would have never happened.

Which reminds me: Thank yous are in order. Alex Meeske had a big part in editing the first quarter of the book, and Adam Carner did a great job on the front cover with very little guidance from me. Much thanks to both of them.

I can’t say enough about Abigail so I won’t. It’s very simple: without her I would have never finished this book which has turned out to be the most proud of anything I’ve ever done. Somewhere near the middle of the process I told her, “As my editor I want these characters to be as much yours are they are mine” which absolutely happened. She rewrote a good portion of the scene that I think is the emotional center of the entire book (When Grant confronts Syd about the concept of hope on top of the police station)  – I can do a lot of things well, but deep emotional turns are not one of them and she helped quite a bit to make it real.

This moment is amazing but scary. When you release a book it’s not yours anymore. It becomes the intellectual property of anyone who reads it and grows with them. My current estimate for people who will read this book (seriously) is about 30 – which is fine by me. As long as it’s more than two I’ll be just fine.

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Odessa Red: Chapter 1 PREVIEW

10/23/12 UPDATE – Full Book Now Available on Kindle and Paperback

Hello friends! This month I will be publishing my first novel titled Odessa Red. Kinda psyched about it. The final edits are not yet finished but we (My Editor Abigail and I) are in the final stages of what has been almost a two year process of making this book a reality. Below as a special thingy are the Book Summary and the First Chapter. Hope you beautiful bear riding shark punching champions of the underworld enjoy it.

Book Summary: Loner high school student Grant Nichols finds himself in the middle of an Odessa, Texas street with a knife in his hand, a pile of unidentifiable bodies behind him, and enough policemen with cowboy hats pointing guns in his direction to cause at least a little bit of concern. As Grant chooses to run, he brings the reader up to date through flash backs as to why he might not be as bad as the people with guns think he is, how his dream girl might not be so dreamy, and why he is not nearly the biggest problem the town of Odessa will be facing in the near future.

Chapter 1 – September 3 – 9pm

Time Flies When You’re a Felon

A lot can happen when once upon a time is nothing but the present. You feel like the world has turned you upside down and shaken your pockets clean only to find out your pockets being full was a cruel joke in the first place. You were never meant to feel joy – at least that’s how it feels at this point – because I’ll tell you one thing for sure, as normal as you once hoped to be, you can’t be normal after something like this.

Normalcy or death. Your choice.

Oh and quick quiz: when you are standing in the middle of the quietest street in America holding a bloodied knife with police spot lights shining down on you, what would you do? Tell them the truth? That might work, minus the fact that the truth sounds like the misconstrued lies of a psychopath. Other than that, it’s a good plan.

Normal is no longer an option. You know how people say that right before they have a near death experience they see their lives flash before their eyes? Well, that’s not true. It can’t be. You don’t have that kind of time. It’s a millisecond, if that, and in that moment however many years your stupid fleshy being has been rotting on this earth will not supersede the fact that you are about to die. Your life’s events will not play out again for you like an endless movie.

It is one moment. One moment of your life flashes for that short period of time and stays with you forever. It might not even be a good moment, or one that seemed important to you when you didn’t have to worry about being deceased soon. It’s whatever your brain chooses, and who is to say that your brain has ever made a good decision?

Mine was her. Most cliché thought I’ve ever had, and it saddened me. Not because the last thing I could think of was a girl, but because my stupid brain picked a girl over roller coasters and whiskey.

My new white Chuck Taylor shoes were stained, and it was red no less. That will never come out. I couldn’t remember just then whether I could bleach shoes. My focus is terrible.

“Put it down! Now!” screamed the man with a cowboy hat and gun. If I didn’t know any better I would say Dirty Harry was yelling at me. Although if that were the case I’m almost certain I would have been dead already. Clint Eastwood wouldn’t have taken this kind of guff from nobody.

The lights were so bright. There were two of them. Overkill much, Odessa? I knew for sure there were pretty horrific problems in my general vicinity that were much more important than some stupid kid with a blood soaked knife and a plain white tee which by the way, was also ruined.

The things you think while looking down a gun barrel can consume you as they seemed to do in this very situation. For example: helicopters are too loud for their own good.

“So what now?” I asked myself audibly, thinking the dozen bloody pulps behind me would answer. They didn’t. So lame.

I thought about shouting back and telling the nice people with pistols what was really happening, but for some reason I was betting against them saying, “Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense! Also, those horribly maimed beings behind you? Yeah, we’re fine with those! On your way sir!”

I dropped the knife to the ground. It splashed; worsening the soak my shoes has already grown accustomed to. My hair was in my face, scratching my nose. I wanted to move it so badly but I thought against it. That would suck if the last thing I ever did was stop my nose from itching. “Here lies Grant, he sure was an itchy guy!” No thanks.

I felt like I had two options, which was untrue, but simplification is sometimes best in the face of unholy turmoil.

I could put my hands on my head, drop to my knees, get carted away by the cowboy police, and wait for the interrogation to end. At the end of said interrogation they would tell me I’m too crazy for trial, lock me in a blue padded room, and that girl would only be able to talk to me through a phone behind a pane of glass. That is, if she or any of us really are still alive by then.

Or I could run.

Hands down, easiest decision I’ve ever had to make.