3. The Results Of 2014 & The Biggest Time Waste Of Them All

It’s coming to that time in the year where we get reflective and sad and stuff. 

We think about all of the opportunities we’ve missed and the few that we went for. 

At the start of the year I wrote a to-do list for the year - things I wanted to do. 

Here’s how it went:

 

1. Write A Book Of Short Stories.

DONE.

Will be out on the 15th ;)

When I look back at the hard work I put into this book it scares me, because now I’ve set a bar for myself that I’m going to need to reach with everything I do.

I'm so dam proud of the stories in this book. It's almost like a gateway into my soul. With every story you get a glimpse into my history, my thought processes, my worries, my dreams. 

It's fucking terrifying actually. 

I can’t wait for you to read it.

 

2. Write & Direct A Short Film.

DONE. 

With the guys at Enigmatic Productions we made Macho Dan. We made it for a 24hour film competition and we came first. WE WON DAMMIT!!! It’s a crazy little film with a terrifying elbow drop. I hope you like it.

 

3. Finish My Animated Short Film.

NOT DONE. 

This is an animated film project that I'm working on. It's based on one of the short stories in Underdog Stories. The animation is 90% complete. I need about an extra £1000 to finish it all off - to record the narration, to pay for the audio track, for the grading, etc, and to enter the film into festivals.

I haven’t got that kind of money to feed into this project yet so I feel like I'm going to have to put it on the back burner for a while. 

I might look at crowdfunding this at some point in the new year.

 

4. Get Love & Other Chairs seen.

DONE. 

We got our film Love & Other Chairs into several festivals, even won the Grand Prix award at the In Short Film Festival in London. The film poster is now rammed with laurels. Just the way it should be.

I’d say we nailed this goal.

 

5. Start A Podcast.

DONE. 

To say I love podcasts would be an understatement. I adore them. I’d be scared to find out how many hours of podcast I’ve stuffed into my ears. I’ve wanted to start my own for a long time, and I did.

The Storyteller's Podcast

I got to talk to 10 of my favourite storytellers about my favourite subject.

In 2015, it's due for a relaunch - new format, new artwork, new microphone ;), and even a new co-host. 

We’re currently in the planning stages, but here’s what we’re thinking. Three shows a week. Discussions, interviews, etc, with storytellers of all varieties. It's going to be bigger, better, and more frequent.

 

6. Move To London.

DONE. 

This wasn’t just a goal of 2014 for me. It was goal for my life. It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a tiny toddler. I don’t know why, but I’ve always had he urge to be in London. 

I’ve only been here for a couple of months, but it’s already been one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

Before, in Derby, I felt trapped by circumstance, but here, I’m in awe at the opportunity. 

 

-1. The Biggest Waste Of My Time In 2014. 

Applying To Funding Schemes.

Wow, what a time-suck. 

I'm done with them. 

I can't tell you how many application packages I've put together, how much time I've spent agonising over the perfect logline, or the most appealing director's statement in 250 words or less, etc.

And it's based on the availability bias — the belief that IT COULD BE YOU (when it really probably won’t be).

This is the same reason people buy lottery tickets. They overlook the odds and think 'what if?'. 

It's much better to focus your time on making stuff. 

Rather than spending all your time on the what-if. Do something certain: write a book, make a film, start a business, etc. 

I guess I better start thinking about what's next ...

 

2. Hanging On With A Daily Ritual

Sometimes it feels like I'm hanging from a metal bar. My fingers are cold and tired. I'm high up. I’m on the skyline. The people below me are ants. 

Man my fingers are tired.

I could fall at any minute.

Balancing it all — the day job, the family life, the bills, and the passion projects.

Sometimes I feel so tired I just want to lie in bed all day with my head under the covers. In a fabric cocoon. 

I have a daily ritual. 

When I stick to it, I feel great. It feels like I’m hustling, like I’m in control.

When I fail to stick to it, I start to slip.


I wouldn’t recommend my specific daily ritual to everyone, but I think it’s important to have some sort of clear routine. Something that you can do wherever you are in the world and at whatever time.
 


1.) 10 Ideas — I’ve talked about this before. I robbed it from James Altucher. Sometimes it’s easy, most times not. To dig into your cranium and scoop out the good stuff. I’d like to say it gets easier everyday, but I’d be lying.
 

2.) 750 Words — This accounts for 95% of my sanity and 99% of the work I’ve produced over the last four years. It’s where I let my brain play. I can make all the mistakes I want. I can run free, naked, on a nude beach made only for me. I would hate for people to see my writings on there, because you’d all see my nude bits having out — cold, small, and unimpressive.


3.) Read Something — I get through about a book a week. Occasionally two. And sometimes, when I’m listening to audiobooks (if that counts) I get through three. I never used to read this much, but it’s where I find most of my inspiration. 

Stephen King says “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 

'nuff said.



4.) Kiss My Girlfriend — I should say, kiss your girlfriend. I don’t want people getting ideas. 

Sometimes when it all feels like too much, like I might fall and die at any point, I kiss my girlfriend.

I mean seriously kiss. Distraction free, honest, authentic, smooching. Just one of those a day can keep me hanging on.

It reminds me of that Alt-J line. "She makes the sound, the sound she makes, to calm me down."

The daily practice keeps me going, keeps me fresh, keeps me in control, but I do worry, because I know that one day it won’t be enough.

Eventually, I’ll slip. 

1. Street Marketers ... the methods.

The Shouter

The bald man shouted at me so hard I could feel his breath on my face. Which was weird, because I was stood at the other end of the street.

“Free taster at Bodeans,” he bellowed. “It’s tasty, it’s incredible, and it’s free."

He was so focused on shouting and getting the message out that he didn’t seem to notice the pedestrians wincing with every word that exploded from his mouth.

I turned around and went the other way.

 

The Whisperer

A young asian girl holding a stack of flyers down by her side.

As I pass I see her mouth move but I don’t hear anything. She seems too timid to hold a flyer out to me.

I might like whatever it is she's promoting, but I never find out what it is.

And that's that.

 

The Pouncer

The pouncers are the ones in the shops. The ones who stare at you. They keep their eyes locked until your eyes meet theirs.

“Hi,” they say, seemingly polite.

“Hi,” you say. Big mistake. You’ve engaged them. Now they pounce. 

Cut to forty minutes later and you’re trying something on, being given the price list, thinking of ways to get the hell out of there.

The three methods of promoting stuff.

I don’t particularly like any of them.

When it comes to my work, books, films, whatever, I have no idea how to do it. 

I don’t want to shout, whisper, or pounce. 

How does one spread the word when they hate word-spreading?

Luke xoxo

P.S. Go pre-order my book

 

I Finished My Book!

It's a funny feeling finishing a book. 

One part satisfaction and three parts 'thank fuck that's over'. 

Because Arting is hard. Like Stephen King said, sometimes it feels like "all you're managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

Occasionally ... and I mean very occasionally, it pours out like the first pee of the day - full of colour and character.

The Underdog Stories has been something I've worked on and off with for two years. Some of the stories came out in one gushing word-storm and others took six months plus. Those are the ones that you have to let ruminate in your brain. You have to let them age a little. You can't just whop them out at any dinner party, you have to save them for that special anniversary birthday christmas.

I feel like this book represents my learning curve as a writer. I've grown so much. I can't wait for you to read it. 

The book itself will be out this christmas, but you can pre-order it now here.

ORRRRR ....

if you'd rather wait and have the Paperback or the Audiobook, they should both be available at the end of January next year. Sign up to the mailing list and I'll let you know when they're ready.

The Indie Author Movement 2014

It feels like a movement.

Doesn't it?

It feels like somethings happening.

It feels like self-publishing has taken a step up. The editing is tighter. The books are bigger. The covers are prettier. 

It feels like we're at level 2, or 3. I don't know what level we're on, but we're heading in the right direction.

The Sterling & Stone guys, Johnny, Sean, & Dave, are building a readership so loyal they'd sell their kidneys or even their kid's knees to get a hold of the latest releases.

David Gaughran, the techno-wizard he is, is busy tinkering away with the Amazon algorithms working out the magicks. He's popping out algorithm alchemy left right and centre.

Joanna Penn, the business person of self-publishing is giving it to us straight with her lessons learned from her previous life as a business IT consultant.

Hugh Howey is wool, and by that I mean he's kicking ass. He's also giving us the numbers we all needed at AuthorEarnings.com.

Chuck Wendig is showing how a hybrid author (half man half beard) can pull together a tribe through the sheer power of having an authentic voice, albeit one full of naughty words. 

 

 

Creating Tone With Mustapha Kseibati

Mustapha is a young whippersnapper writer/director with a lot of promise. He’s been turning heads with his 80’s infused comedies for the past few years. He was even selected as a Screen International Star Of Tomorrow.

He recently wrote and directed short film Mohammed with the jacker of phones and faces, Mr Kayvan Novak.

When I first started this podcast, Mustapha was one of the first guys I messaged. I’ve wanted to talk to him about his craft ever since meeting him at the start of the year.

In the show we talk about:

   * Working With Kayvan Novak (K-Man) The Phonejacker

   * Making Mohammed

   * Finding Out What Sort Of Films You Should Be Making

   * Creating Tone

   * Telling Important Stories


Boom!

Interstellar Artois In My Mouth

 

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was part of the first UK audience to watch the film.

I don’t know if it was because we got to watch the film on 70mm film.

I don’t know if it was because it was the first time I’d been to the cinema in six months. 

But …

There was some kinda magic happening in Chris Nolan’s Interstellar film. 

There were some thin plot points and some pseudo-science magicks happening, but you know what? I don’t care.

The film took me on a (long) trip into space and beyond. wink wink.

I’m not a big Nolan fanboy or anything, but he sure can captcha the magic. He can create a good lingerer.

The lingerers are the ones that stick to you mind for days, weeks, months afterwards.

They’re the ones you keep replaying in your mind over and over.

They’re also incredibly saddening, because you know you’re never going to be able to see it for the first time again.

Did you see it? What did you think? 

Becoming An Idea Machine: Develop Your Idea Muscle & Erect Your Resonance Antenna

James Altucher — Business Person, Investor, Writer, Blogger, Speaker, etc ... is one of my favourite people. His cool-person rating is off the charts. I'd love to meet him. A quick ‘hello and thanks for the insights’.

One such insight is his idea about becoming an idea machine.

James argues that there is such a thing as an idea muscle, and as with any muscle you’re not using, it will atrophy. There are stories of people who've been bed-bound for 3/4 weeks and requiring physiotherapy to help them walk again, because they're leg muscles had already begun to waste away. The same thing happens to the idea muscle.

So we need to bulk it up.

How To Be A Writer

Wake up early. Before the sun rises. Before anybody else. Make coffee. Not just any coffee. The coffee that’s made free of moulds and toxins and add that special grass-fed butter. Smell the coffee before you taste it. Breathe it in through your nostrils. Exhale. Now go to the bathroom and splash your face with cold water. Wipe the sleep from your eyes. Look at yourself in the mirror and repeat the words ‘I am a writer’...

Business For Authors With Joanna Penn

It's important for any creative to treat their art like a business if they want to make a living from it. Like Jim Henson used to say 'make art and money dance'.

That's right. So let's get our dancing shoes on and go listen to my interview with author, businessperson, professional speaker, and all round cool person Joanna Penn.