Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why I Don't Write Daily

They say:

In almost every interview with an author I've read they’re asked, “How many words do you write per day?” 

Stephen King claims to write somewhere around 6,000 words a day. 

Dedication is a great attribute. 

The problem with writing each day, however, is newer wordsmiths’ forgot about the world around them. They want to be like top earners, so they act as such, sitting at the keyboard all the time. People are forgetting to live without a screen or pen. 

Before Stephen King made it big he worked a normal job, and went out into the world discovering life. If you have an hour to kill, here's him talking about it with George RR Martin.

Today, authors use Google to see what trees look like. I'd rather touch the leaves and smell the maple sap for myself.

Writing is sincere when the author lived part of the story.

Ernest Hemingway, for example, wrote conversations he'd hear in public. Then he’d mold a story from the experience.

I'm not suggesting you murder someone to research serial killers. Probably. It's just counterproductive to write a letter to an inmate rather than trek over and meet the person behind the mayhem. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood. Anyone?

This idea is nothing new. Going outside is how Ralph Waldo Emerson came up with “Song of Nature” and many other masterpieces.  

Before I started writing Diaries of Karma, I talked to military personnel who had taken lives and read dozens of books on professional killers to understand my assassin. I minored in psychology to create my psychologist. I worked as a temp at a marketing agency for a year and went to business school for two years to mold out my ad agent. My narrator is a dead poet who lived by karma, so I met with people who believed in spirits and listened to their stories with an open mind. Plus, I researched all topics above for years before writing chapter one. The book isn’t published yet. But when people read it, they’ll definitely feel like my characters are real.

During my researching days, I didn't write much at all.

Why turn my passion into some mundane daily habit? People get bored of and quit habits. Habit writing may even cause writer's block, which could be why I've never struggled with it.

Say you forced yourself to write 600 words a day, but didn't leave the house except to go to work. 


You can't remember anything that happened, except while you ate a peanut butter and jelly on rye you saw pigeons surround what appeared to be a rat carcass. 

You wrote what you witnessed, but the result of your work felt flat. This is the point where I recommend stop writing and take up a hobby. 

Play tennis. After a few months, write a screenplay about a tennis player who falls in love with his coach. Add the pigeon/rat prompt and you'll be a writing machine.

I wrote a 52k word romance novel in two weeks using life lessons, outlines, and scribbled prompts. For those two weeks, I didn't leave the house, but I spent six months doing stuff.

Currently, I'm in Japan. A main character from a five-part fantasy saga I've got outlined happens to be Japanese. It's no coincidence.
(From the shrine in Kobe)

So, before you write your next sentence, I hope you will go outside and experience something new.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bald is Bold

For some reason there’s a stigma that comes with bald men: We all have low self-esteems about it.


Last Friday I was drinking with some bar buds and they made cracks, "You're bald," "You’d be better with women if you had hair," et cetera.

Gave 'em this kind of gaze:

My friends cackled as if they had me there or something. No worries, I dissed them too. It’s what guys do in groups for good fun. 

Point is, however, to make jabs at me my pals decided to go after something I genuinely don’t care about; because they have this misconception that all bald guys hate not having hair. For me it’s quite the opposite.

My journey started when I was twenty-six years old. I had complained to my brother about character defects of mine and added, “What’s next, I start losing my hair?”

I laughed. My brother didn’t join. Instead, he dramatically touched my shoulder, “Actually your hair is thinning in the back.”

The guy acted as if he’d just told me I had a fatal disease.

First I denied it was happening at all. Then more people made comments about my hairloss. For example, I saw a guy with a Mohawk and said to a friend, “I could grow one of those. Give myself a cool new image.”

“Not with what you’ve got going in the back,” he replied. “You should shave it off,” was his unsolicited advice.

I ignored him, thought he was just picking on me. No way I was losing my sacred hair. 


When I was seventeen my hair touched my shoulder blades and still would if I wanted it to do so. 

(Late '90s)

I got it cut short at twenty to look more professional. 

(early 2000s)

But I wore newsboy caps all the time and walked around in the rain without an umbrella. Plus, I smoked for fifteen years.

To my knowledge, there’s no scientific proof that any of those factors cause baldness, but there's far and wide speculation. Anyway, I took my hair for granted and started to pay the price without realizing what was going on.


When I did notice perhaps a little . . . tiny . . . minor . . . miniscule bit of thinning, I tried to save my hair, pleading for tips from family and friends on how to keep my precious where it was. 


My hair was so rad others would ask for treatment tips. 

Reflecting, it was actually too pretty for a guy as manly as myself.


Nonetheless, I tried to save my waves in demanding from my doctor prescriptions to save it. 

I then spent hundreds of dollars for two years on baldness prevention products. 

Even then, I denied that my hair was actually thinning.

(Early 2013: smoking a Cuban in Costa Rica)

At 30, I got a terrible haircut and yelled at the dude who mutilated my precious because he went shorter than I'd ever had it. But I still paid and tipped out of guilt for my attitude. I was truly upset because that was the first time I saw for myself what was happening to me.

(Late 2013)

January 19, 2014, I turned 31 and went clothes shopping. There I was, in the changing room, with mirrors on all three walls and finally got a good look at the back of my head. Indeed, I had begun to form what’s known as a balding crown. And I was much like the Naked King, because it became obvious to everyone except me.

So I went to the nearest clipper joint. 

My intention was to get my hair short enough so to make the thinning appear unnoticeable. 

Only no matter how short the poor stylist trimmed my dead cells, it was clear I was still losing stuff up top. 

Told her, “Shave it all off.”
Never seen someone so terrified. “Are you sure, sir?”
“It’ll grow back if I don’t like bald, right?”
“Um, I think so,” she replied not so reassuringly.
“It’s only hair. Do it.”

You know what, my head’s never looked so good. I was meant to be bald. It’s now difficult to wear newsboy caps, for which I once never went without, because I enjoy showing off what I’ve got.



Yet for some reason people think it’s negative that I don’t have a head of flourishing hair. If I wear a hat, friends of mine assume it’s because I want to hide the fact that I’m bald. Most notably, someone asked, “Did you wear that cap the other day because you’re embarrassed about, you know, being bald?”

“No, it’s because I’m freaking cold up there sometimes.”

My brother made a wish—he’d trade hairstyles if it were possible because he views baldness as a problem.

“But, I love being bald.”

Shaving's also fun now. I went all out and bought a special badger brush and a Heavy Duty Double Bladed Safety Razor for guys like me who are serious about what they use to shave.

These days, instead of people asking me how I got my hair to look so good, they say, “Bald looks amazing on you.”

Plus, there are studies that say men lose their hair because they have tons of testosterone, which leads to longevity during intercourse. Meaning statistically, as a bald man, I last longer in the sack than your average guy with radiant hair. 

Sorry folks, but what’s there to have a low self-esteem about in this case?

Want to talk about how women feel about bald men, as my friends did the other day? 

Survey says women generally find bald guys attractive. 


Talking the Mister Clean style shave, not Crown and Glory. 

Word on the street is a lack of confidence is a turnoff, not a cleanly shaven head.

There’s a lot about my looks I’d change if possible. 

Being bald isn’t one of them. 

Personally, I’m stoked to be in the same club as bros like 
Patrick Stewart

Vin Diesel
Bruce Willis
Jason Statham , and basically the entire male cast of Breaking Bad

 To top it off, one of my greatest mentors happens to be bald. For this reason, I correlate baldness as a positive trait.

Future reference to my bar buds, et al: If you’re going to tease me about something, bald bashing is only confusing—as there’s nothing wrong with having a shaved head. 

Remember to remember,
BAM's Readers

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Biased Publishers

What do you think about journals and magazines that only accept writing from certain types of people?

Example, "ATTN: Minorities, we're seeking writing from you and you alone. That means African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, a-sexual persons, and women."

That wasn't even an exaggeration. I've seen calls exactly like it.

These are essentially calls for submissions that alienate straight white men. Publishers are saying anyone but "them" should submit their stories, poems, art et cetera. I've even seen editors admit that they're sick of seeing submissions from "straight white men." What if the same editor said this about straight black men?

One could argue:

 Mary Ann Evans had to hide her identity and write under the pen name George Eliot to share her stories. 

You know what comes to mind:

Here's an example of a biased call for submission I was emailed recently:

I could pull the Jew card with some of these places, sure.


Here's the deal though, I want my stories to see the light of day based on the merit of my storytelling capability, dedication, and hard work. Not for the color of my skin, religion, or where I stick my private part to be the deciding factor of my successes.

Yet, I also don't judge people for using an edge to get their words out there. Every writer who sends their story somewhere is doing more than most people in their shoes. I've met more individuals than I can remember who told me they write, however, never send the story anywhere.


There have been others who told me they'd love to write, yet never did.


The worst are the ones who are terrific storytellers and don't make an effort to jot those magical thoughts of theirs down somewhere. Perhaps no one ever told them:

Despite this qualm of mine with the industry, if there's say a girl scout somewhere who identifies with a journal that only accepts writing for and from girl scouts like her, I don't judge that child, rather I'm excited for her when her incredible story she worked on for hours and days gets published.


Those that do, deserve respect.

In the grand scheme, there are a lot of white male writers who don't want their work associated with publishers like all-women journals (just for example sake). They're sexist and unethical. This aside, shouldn't writing have to do with, well, the words?

My main concern: The more we divide ourselves the more walls will be built, and from that more intolerance will spawn. 

Shakespeare said my point best:

Food for thought: Wouldn't it be ridiculous to hear about your friend who was at a job interview and the hiring manager said: "We're only hiring GLBTs and Latinos currently, sorry."

P.s. If you're a writer, artist, or suicidal poet and you would like to submit your creativity to places but don't have resources, check out these amazing places that want to help:

CRWROPPS - Be aware, they send several emails at a time
Freedom with Writing - They also email job listings for writers and editors
Authorspublish.com - Great people
Calls for Submissions