Robot 6

‘Stop excusing yourself from living the life you want to live’

bendis“… if you truly want to do what you say you want to do get the fuck over yourself, get over this list of crap you have put in between you and a piece of paper, and just start writing.

there are millions of people in the world who are experts, certified PhD level experts, at setting themselves up to fail. if that’s who you want to be, that is absolutely fine. but you have to stop talking about it and be who you are.

but if you’re telling me that you have a voice, there is no one in the world other than you who is going to be able to make that voice heard. no one’s going to come over your house and sprinkle magic dust on you to make you the writer you want to be. you have to sit down and start writing.

stop excusing yourself from living the life you want to live.”

Brian Michael Bendis, responding on his blog to an aspiring creator
whose request for advice was couched within “seven excuses to fail as a writer

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21 Comments

Matt Halteman

May 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

“A writer writes.” – Billy Crystal in “Throw Momma From The Train”

that picture is a sneak peek at fast and furious 26.

Inspirational words if they were coming from anybody else.

I’d love to write. Don’t have the money to self-publish and can’t find any contacts in the regional Australian town I live in, nor even outside of the town in larger cities. Any contact I try outside of Australia is point blank ignored. I could be horrible, sure (probably am), but it’s not for lack of trying.

Not sure if being from Australia will affect this, but you may want to try Amazon’s self-publishing. It can’t be that expensive to publish to a Kindle.

When I started reading the quote and saw the picture I thought it was Vin Diesel for a minute

sorry but I call bs. its easy to spout that Chinese cookie bs when you’re sitting comfortably on the top. Writers write absolute truth but one in a million are given the opportunity to write for one of the big companies, they’re more worried about name recognition then anything else now a days, so what does a writer do Bend is just approach you with a manuscript in a convention or Starbucks? theres a lot more to it then being s good writer, nobody accepts unsolicited manuscripts and unless you know somebody no matter how talented you are if there’s nobody reading or willing t OK give it a shot nothing will happen. Look at Indy planet site and you will see more heart and storytelling abilities then in most books published by the big 2 and yet nothing. I’ve seen fantastic artists and grear writers getting all kinds of rejection letters and specially as a writer an artist can at least show how good he is in 2 seconds writers has no such luck.

This is really like a rich guy telling a poor guy how much he doesn’t need money,its aeasy to shout out from the top of the mountain forgetting how hard the climb is.

“sorry but I call bs. its easy to spout that Chinese cookie bs when you’re sitting comfortably on the top. Writers write absolute truth but one in a million are given the opportunity to write for one of the big companies, they’re more worried about name recognition then anything else now a days, so what does a writer do Bend is just approach you with a manuscript in a convention or Starbucks? theres a lot more to it then being s good writer, nobody accepts unsolicited manuscripts and unless you know somebody no matter how talented you are if there’s nobody reading or willing t OK give it a shot nothing will happen. Look at Indy planet site and you will see more heart and storytelling abilities then in most books published by the big 2 and yet nothing. I’ve seen fantastic artists and grear writers getting all kinds of rejection letters and specially as a writer an artist can at least show how good he is in 2 seconds writers has no such luck.

This is really like a rich guy telling a poor guy how much he doesn’t need money,its aeasy to shout out from the top of the mountain forgetting how hard the climb is.”

I’m hardly a fan of Bendis, but how do you think he got to the top? He wasn’t just handed the keys to the Marvel Universe, he cut his teeth doing his own independent comics, and I mean doing ALL of it—writing, art, lettering, the whole shebang.

Sure, maybe nothing will happen. Yes, there are a lot of people who try for years and never get anywhere. But if you want to be a writer, you don’t care about who isn’t getting there. You keep on trying. No crap the climb is hard. But if you really want something bad enough, you keep trying, even if you never achieve it.

Be realistic and don’t quit your day job, but realize that you’ll have to work twice as hard, maybe even ten times as hard, to get what you want. If that’s too hard for you, then clearly you just don’t want it bad enough. But that’s okay, because there’s always somebody else who does.

I’m going to go up to every abused kid and say “get over yourself” just like Brian Michael Bendis because that’s all you need to do right? Interventions always work right? Dr Phil never fails. Oh wait, that’s all claptrap. Childhood brainwashing isn’t as easy to get over as just “deciding” to do it. It takes work and effort and there’s no guarantee that you will. Not every burger at McDonalds makes it’s way into a happy meal. Most end up in the garbage. Mr Bendis is observing the “fair world” fallacy that “all you have to do is want it and that’s it” when in fact what you want is only half the story. The other half is up to reality. Are you in a place that will nurture your efforts or will you toil away in obscurity. Will the fact that you were raised by wolves and monsters negatively affect your ascent? Not according to Mr Bendis.

“I’m going to go up to every abused kid and say “get over yourself” just like Brian Michael Bendis because that’s all you need to do right?”

Because not being a famous writer is exactly the same as being abused as a child?

In Response to Percival

May 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

I think the point that Mack was trying to make is that this douche monkey wasn’t saying this when he wasn’t at the top. There is a huge difference between some rich, privileged asshole who had advantages most other people in the world don’t not only growing up but throughout his career screaming “stop making excuses” and a guy who worked his way up to the top actually from nothing. The second guy? Not a douche monkey. The second guy would have answered the question with a dab of humility, talking about the hard work he put in and the people who helped him along the way to achieve his goals and dreams. Because no one- and I mean no frickin one- does it by themselves. Maybe this DM (douche monkey) cut his teeth in independent comics, but he surely didn’t do ALL the work alone. He had help and he got some lucky breaks, like everyone at the top. Anyone who claims they got to the top with no help from anyone and through their own determination alone is a bald faced liar.

That’s not to say that perhaps the advice to stop making excuse to fail isn’t valid in some instances, but there is by no means enough information to make that judgement here. It was incredibly irresponsible, not to mention ignorant, to do so. Coupled with the self-satisfying, narcissistic and smug tone of this letter, that advice was just nauseating, really.

I never respond to the diarrhea that spouts off on comment threads, because it’s a waste of time, but this thread hit me in the right place. I’m an artist and designer, and most people haven’t heard of me, but that is not my goal. My goal is to continue creating art and putting myself out there. I’m working my ass off and it’s paid off. What Bendis is talking about is doing what you love to do because that’s what you love to do and not waiting for the right moment or the perfect circumstances to act on.

He worked his ass off to be where he is now and say what you will about him as a writer but he’s doing what he loves NOW, but what came before was hours upon hours of work that went unnoticed and led to many headaches and moments of disillusion. When you keep at it eventually you see the light at the tunnel. You reach success. Most people deem fame as success. But success is relative. For Bendis it’s being an architect of the Marvel universe, for someone else it’s seeing their music used in a project they believe in, for me it’s creating artwork I love and seeing people purchase it and hang it on their wall. Last year I got to work with Stan Lee (one of my heroes) and I’m currently working on a Star Wars project. My level of success might be laughable to some of you but that’s okay. You have nothing better to do but reject someone’s advice simply because you can’t muster up the balls to challenge yourself and work for what you love. This is falling on blind eyes, I know, but to the few that read this, don’t give up. Keep doing what you’re doing and strive to be better. Seek a mentor and just keep doing what you love everyday. It’s not talent that solely gets you in the door, it’s passion and when people see true passion and hard work, they see something special. So this isn’t Bendis at the top looking down. It’s Bendis remembering being at the bottom and telling you what your mindset must be to get to the top.

The butt hurt on here is truly astounding. You don’t have to like Bendis for quote to be true, it just is. And if you listen to a few interviews he was far from a “privileged asshole” and worked hard like all the rest, and refused to let his situation stay the same. Now he’s at the top, and the thing that got him there is not giving into excuses. And all the people writing essays on how Bendis is a dick for making it so simple, will clearly never get anywhere as you are so focused on making excuses, it’s an art form. If you want it bad enough, you’ll get it. If you want to write essays in comment sections, you can do that too.

There are a lot of excuses for not doing anything and sure, you have to have talent as well as attitude, but what Bendis said boils down to one thing:

Write.

Maybe you will suck. EVERYBODY sucks at everything when they start, but eventually if you work hard at it, you could discover you have talent. If you don’t actually sit down and do something, there’s no way of knowing if you suck because you never tried. And when I say try, I don’t mean write half a page and then throw your hands up because you don’t know the format. There’s no excuse for that. GOOGLE the format. There are hundreds of comic scripts on the internet. Here’s a page that spells it out that was the second hit on google when I went there and typed in “comic book writing script” http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/2012/02/how-to-write-a-comic-book-script/ It tells you how to write a script, and also gives pointers on what to focus on.

You could read that entire thing, learn the format (if you really care), and then it still won’t matter if you don’t sit down and write something.

Don’t worry about who will read it, or who will draw it. There are a lot of artists out there who want to draw something. If they won’t do it for free, pay them $10 a page. If you can’t do that, draw stick figures so you can convey your idea. XKCD and Order of the Stick are two examples of stick figure comics that flourish because of their writing.

So just write something.

Does the script format kill your creative juices? Write your story down long hand, then once you have it done and it’s brilliant, adapt it to that format. Having a hard time coming up with story structure? STEAL ONE. I taught my daughter story structure by breaking down Goldilocks into three acts with a twist at the end of the first two. For example:

Act 1: The bears leave and goldilocks happens upon their house.
Twist: She decides to break in.
Act 2: She eats their stuff and breaks a bunch of stuff.
Twist: She’s such a glutton, she falls asleep in the house she’s robbing and the bears come home.
Act 3: The bears catch her, and she flees unharmed.

If you need it simpler, the 3 pigs might as well be called the 3 acts.

Ok, so now you’re down to: I don’t have a pen, or my computer doesn’t work. If you’re down on your luck, go to church and borrow a pencil in the pews and write your three acts on the back of one of those donation forms. I used to draw on them as a kid and nobody gets pissed as long as you drop a dollar in the collection tray. Don’t like church? Walk into kinkos and reach into their recycle bin with all the messed up copies and then write/draw on the back.

Once you have the three acts, break them down to pages. For a 23 page book, I like 6/12/5 for the act break down. Erik Larson recommends writing a cliff-hanger on every other page (to make the reader have to turn to the next page). I think that’s awesome, and works great if you’re that good. If you’re not, just try to make your twists strong at the end of each act. Can’t think of a twist? STEAL ONE. Goldilocks decides to break and enter. The Wolf is in grandma’s bed. Soylent Green is people. Cameron Diaz goes for the nice guy. The princess is a were-Ogre. The haunted house is being run by a sophisticated group who sacrifices them in a ritual to the old gods. Motherfucking Kaizer Soze.

If you still can’t figure out how to make time, or put pen to paper, or come up with stories, maybe you’re just not a writer. When I write, it’s because I feel like I have to get the idea out and onto paper/tablet/whatever. If you don’t feel similarly compelled, it’s possible you just want to write because that’s the only way you feel you can get into comics if you’re not good enough at drawing. That’s not a unique experience either, but you may never find the drive to do the replacement for a thing you love.

Well, I’ll say this, for everyone with excuses, I’ve been writing since high school, putting together short films, and live sketch shows with friends for decades now, and just maxed out a credit card or two on my first feature. I’ve made exactly no money (aside from a couple of sketches sold to a now defunct website) but I’ve done it, and I’ve loved it.

That’s the thing. You have to write if you want to write, but it is a long shot to actually make money at it, even if you are good.

You want to write comicbooks, Darkhorse has an open submissionpolicy, and like Marvel’s old Open Submission policy, you have a snow balls chance of getting published, just like with any publisher. But you have less than that if you don’t write and don’t submit.

You can start your own fiction online, if that is easier for you, tell a friend, and connect with another friend, and post links to your stuff in these message boards, who knows, you might get a lot of comments about how your stuff sucks, or someone might say they are good, but you’ll never know and you’ll never build it into an internet famous site for original fiction if you don’t start.

We currently live in a golden age of content. Anyone, for minimal cost can create if they have the talent. That means there is a lot more competition out there, but if you are writing just for money and fame, it’s a waste of time for you to write anyway.

There are countless paths to publication and production if you just look for them, but you have to be the one to look for them. No one knows you live in Australia on the internet, and no one cares where you live if you are a good writer. Write first, and then complain about how no one understands your voice.

That said, The original question posed to Bendis might have been more about the technical aspects of writing for comic books, for which he could have suggested various books or guides to inform the writer about the specifications and formatting expected in an original plot, but I think Bendis still makes a valid point. If you want to write, write, if you want to write in a specific field, go online and look up the proper format, and who is accepting submissions.

In my pre internet youth, I was pounding down doors trying to find a way in, and while I never got that big break, I certainly tried very hard, and got close a couple times. If I were a young man today, with the internet at my disposal to gain guidence and understanding, why I’ld probably still have gotten close, and tried hard, and never gotten that big break, but I would only have my own meger talent to blame, not a lack of opportunity or resources.

He’s absolutely right. Get over whatever hangups you have about writing, and find the time. Once you find the time, find the will. Force yourself to write, even if it’s absolute crap. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Talent is a muscle, like anything else. If you don’t exercise it, it atrophies and withers away…if you truly want to write…write. It really is that simple.

You may never be as big as Bendis, or any of the other authors out there. Then again, you may be bigger. There’s no way of knowing unless you actually DO IT!!!

Truth sometimes is painful.

Some people don’t get it. What he is saying is that if you don’t try you won’t succeed. He isn’t saying success is a guarantee. But in my book it’s worse to have never tried, than it is to try and fail. Nobody is going to swoop down and rescue us from obscurity. We have to do it ourselves, we have to try.

Plus these days there are a freaking ton of ways for writers to get out there. Publish your own book, hire your own artist, sell it on Kindle or Nook. Put it on the web, peddle it yourself. You are taking a risk and you it fail. But at least you went all out and tried.

That’s what he means IMHO

If you write something truly great, it will find an audience, as long as you’re willing to go the extra mile in getting it out there.

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