Category: writing

hieeee-atus

So, I took about a month off from most social media. After the complete failure of my book, I felt pretty bummed. It’s not so much that I expected to sell one million copies but when you can’t even get your friends and family to read a book they know is so special to you, it’s disheartening in the worst way.

And because I’m passive aggressive, I thought, “I’m just going to remove myself from the Internet for a while, see if I leave a hole of some sort. Maybe someone will miss me.” I needed someone to realize I was gone. And I needed it to make a difference for them. It was a sad (and lame-ass) attempt to feel like someone cared about my existence. But, um, no, no one did. I’m sure no one noticed I was gone.

It’s kind of amazing how much we can expose so much of ourselves online yet still be so invisible. In a sea of memes and selfies, it’s hard to find recognition. Especially if you aren’t very good-looking. If you’re not a shirtless dude or a girl who constantly hoists her boobs into every selfie she takes, not many people are going to give a flip about your book or song.

These days, people seem to care more about lip fillers than a fulfilled life. I can’t really blame them. I love a good cat GIF as much as the next animal lover but all these junk food-like distractions keep us from relating to each other. Although I want to laugh and be entertained and shut off my brain, I also crave connection. I want to know my struggles are not my own, that someone has already plowed through the path I’m going to have to travel on one day.

Maybe I wouldn’t take all of this so personally if I didn’t rely on it so much. If I had friends and fulfilling relationships, I wouldn’t need to lean on anonymous Internet accolades. But when I was younger, I was weird and the Internet was my only friend. Now that I’m older, I still leave people scratching their heads and the Internet is still the only one who seems to listen, to recognize, to give me some semblance of a mutual understanding.

I’ll never look better than I do right now. And my memoir was the best writing I’ve ever done. So, if people can’t get on board with my beard or the way I bared my soul in my book, I suppose there’s nothing I can do to win anyone over. And I’ll just have to be okay with that.

After the disappointment of my book, I contemplated whether or not I should ever write anything ever again. And there are many days when I feel I’m done with writing all together. But there are also other days when I still feel this strong urge to write. It’s not all about attention but about resolution as well. Even though I’m virtually unseen, I am still very much a human with complicated emotions and a thought process that could rival a hurricane. And with no friends to confide in, I must turn somewhere to organize the mess, to release some of the pressure, to try to make sense of the situation that’s been handed to me.

I started writing as a therapy tool. And then I thought I might possibly make a career out of it. But now that I see it will never happen, I’m falling back onto the therapy. And I think I’m really only doing that until something more effective comes along.

So, from hiatus to hi, I’m back (at least for now). But I want to shift my focus, to post more of what I want instead of what I think others might like. It’s almost kind of freeing because it’s not like most people are going to see any of this anyway. I tend to filter my writing with an audience in mind. But with the realization I have no audience, it’s time to get more real, to go deeper, to be bolder in the exploration of my disgusting existence. I want to examine the desolate husk I’ve become, not to find a solution as I’m far too gone for that, but to purge myself of the hatred and the agony, to be clean for when I come to the end of the line.

I’d better hurry. It won’t be long now.

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3 days left to get my book for FREE

freebook2My book Scab is now a number ONE bestseller for free Kindle books in the memoir and art categories. Only 3 days left to get your copy for FREE.

Download it here!

my book is FREE

My book Scab is a memoir of college and crisis. You can get the book for FREE today through Wednesday.

freebook

Here’s a few excerpts of reviews from my book’s Amazon page:

“Jackson’s style is crisp and clear. He has an uncanny talent for meshing pathos with humor in a way that is both deeply moving as well as just plain fun.”

“I love Brannon’s attitude about it all. As difficult as it was at times, his sense of humor, humility and outlook on life are uplifting.”

“By the end of this book, you will see the resilience of the human soul and psyche. No matter what depression may visit, a person springs back into life, even if unwilling at points, and goes on about his business. Brannon has done a tremendous job of conveying this concept, all with a candid, darkly humorous recollection.

“Scab took me on an emotional roller coaster of emotions that I didn’t want to end.”

“I think anyone whose ever moved away from the safety of home to pursue a dream will find something to relate to here. I honestly couldn’t put it down.”

Click here to read the synopsis, check out the full reviews, and grab your copy of the book so you can go deep inside my head. You will laugh. You will cry. And by the end of the book, you will feel triumphant.

Thank you.

my book Scab is available now!

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After more than five years of writing, planning, editing, and worrying, I’m proud to announce that my book Scab is now available to purchase.

Synopsis:
When Brannon Jackson enters a reputable college, his dreams of becoming an artist quickly crumble. His dorm room is a dump. His roommate is a horny hipster. And one of his first professors is a tyrant packaged in pixie form. Things get worse when he inherits secondhand stink on the college bus, stumbles into a series of sexual situations, and nearly gets kicked out of his assigned housing.

Brannon’s priorities go from purchasing paints to preventing panic attacks as he attempts to navigate the complex and frightening word of human relations. Stunted by several social pitfalls, including public speaking, dating strangers, and escalating tension with his roommate, he soon discovers his college course load is the easy part. It’s the people placed in his path who aren’t providing passing marks.

Combining heartbreak and hilarity, this coming-of-age confessional composites a portrait of a young man’s attempt to become an artist and adult in an environment of hot weather, cold hearts, and an abundance of art school nudity.

Since I am a new author, I’ve set the price of my book at 99 cents for a limited time only. I want the reader to feel comfortable taking a chance on me and my book. If you purchase it and it’s not your cup of tea, you didn’t waste a whole lot of money.

And unlike the new 50 Shades book, you don’t have to feel ashamed about owning mine.

You can order the e-book version here.

If you don’t have an e-book reader, no problem! You can download the free Kindle reading app to your computer. Get it here.

If you prefer a physical copy, no worries. The paperback version will be added soon. I’ll keep you updated.

And I would appreciate it so much if you would help me spread the word. You can tweet my book’s availability if you’d like.

You can also share the link to my book on your social media:

h ttp://geni.us/3KsP

Just copy and paste the above link and make sure there are no spaces between the “h” and the “t” after you’ve pasted it.

Once you’ve finished, if you enjoyed the book, please take a minute to leave a review. It will help me tremendously.

Also, if you don’t mind, you can use the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post to spread the word on social media. Thank you so much! This has been a long time coming and it feels good to finally be able to share my book with the world.

kindle kick

I’ve been on a Kindle kick recently, perusing the site for free/super cheap books. I often go to the Kindle free best sellers lists and download interesting titles. Even the paid titles are extremely cheap, usually under 2 bucks. There’s also a great website/app called Wattpad where you can read free books. The writing is of a significantly lesser quality but I’ve still found some decent stories there. And let’s not forget the public library. Great resource for free books. I’ve been enjoying adding to my Kindle collection because it’s part research and part I’m poor.

The poor part comes in because I’ve been more bummed than usual these past few months. My hours keep getting cut at my job-which is contributing to the poor part-and I’m going to have to find another one soon. But there’s no other work out there right now. And there hasn’t been for ages. I’ve been looking. And also being on a diet has annoyed me because I can’t stuff my face to squash my pain like I used to.

So with nothing else to calm my cravings or distract me from my decreasing paycheck, I’ve been checking out of life by reading these free/cheap books. I think it’s a good, healthy distraction.

Going back to the Kindle freebies, one of the trends I’ve noticed is many authors will put up a free book but will use it as a hook to get you to buy their other books. Many of the books are the first parts to a trilogy or series. Sometimes that can be a turn off for me because I’m often not looking to get that invested. And what if I do like the book? I’m going to have to pay for the others but I don’t have the money for that so I just won’t even read the first one.

I’m not saying it’s a bad strategy at all or that there is anything bad about it. I’m just not financially stable enough to buy a 12-part zombie apocalypse epic. Plus, there’s too many good free books out there.

And that’s the other problem. Because I’ve been amassing so many free books, I wonder how I’m ever going to get them read.

Lastly, a lot of authors have been following the erotica trend thanks to the Fifty Shades phenomenon. And I’m just not into that. So the best sellers have been saturated with book covers of shirtless men embracing petite women and that means the selection has been kind of slim lately. But I guess that’s good because it’ll give me a chance to catch up on all the other books I’ve collected over the months.

And as I read, I’m researching. I’ve read some self-published books that read as well as one I can find in a bookstore. I’ve also read some that are obviously the work of an amateur. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re good. Despite the flaws, most of them are still good stories. And I think that’s because most people who want to write a book can tell a decent story. Yeah, that’s a generalization and of course not everyone with a novel in their head will flawlessly transfer it to the page but I’d like to think people who have no business writing books generally won’t. I know I’m not an athlete and I certainly have no desire to try out for the NBA.

But the point is the majority of the books I’ve read have been mostly enjoyable. At the very least, I haven’t come across a book I haven’t been able to finish.

Each time I find a flaw or feel wonky about a portion of the story, I try to compare it to my own work, to ask myself if I’m making those same kinds of errors. And sometimes reading these books helps my confidence. I think I can write as well as some of these authors. And then I read others and it inspires me to write as well as they do. It pushes me to want to improve my work so I can match their quality.

On the other hand, sometimes I worry that some of these bad writer habits might slip into my work. What if I subconsciously let my writing slack because I feel I’m as good as they are. If this author can get great reviews with average writing, maybe I can too?

But there’s more to selling a book than the quality of writing. There’s the subject and how you market and a whole lot of good luck. Of course, excellent writing will always be the best way to sell a book. Marketing and topic trends always change but engaging writing is the most consistent form of advertising. And I need to remember that. I also need to remember that I want it to be good for myself. Even if no one else reads it, I’ll know I did my best and put what I believe to be a quality product out there. I hope that will be satisfaction enough. And if others can connect to it, that’ll be a bonus fuzzy feeling.

bubble

I wanted to get out of the house to do some quality writing. Sometimes, there’s too many distractions at home. It’s too easy to space out and go two hours deep into Buzzfeed or Cracked. And it’s just so comfortable at home. It’s easy to be lazy when my bed is unmade and my cat is lying there, purring. It feels like the most right thing to do just to slip in the sheets and take a lengthy nap.

I felt the call of a coffee shop. I know it’s kind of douchey to go to a coffee shop and write but I can’t help it. They give good vibes. The atmosphere is chill and the music is mellow and it’s not as rowdy as a regular restaurant.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any available places to write in my town. There are no coffee shops or even sit-down restaurants. I have to travel at least 45 minutes away to find a place to go. I don’t like using that much gas if not necessary and plus it takes a lot of effort to go far away. To justify the lengthy ride, I usually try to stay gone all day and being gone for long periods of time tires me. But with recently decreased gas prices and an inflated level of pain pulsing through my head, it felt worth it to make that trek.

I drove to a cafe-bakery but waited until lunch time in hopes it wouldn’t be busy inside. As much as I like to get out of the house sometimes, my anxiety makes it difficult for me to be in public.

So, I stepped inside and it wasn’t too crowded. I picked up some soup and after I found a seemingly secluded place to sit, I set up my iPad for writing. Not five minutes later, a college-age girl clad in a thick hoodie and sweat pants plunked down at the table across from me.

The anxiety spiked a bit but it wasn’t too bad. “I can handle this,” I told myself. I focused on my soup and tried to relax. A few minutes later, another girl sat with the sweatpants girl. Anxiety spiked again. I turned back to my soup and tried to forget about the thoughts that sprouted from my brain.

“They are going to judge me. They are going to make fun of me. What if they Snapchat a picture of me and include some snarky comment like, ‘Look at this fat loser sitting by himself slurping soup. Lame! LULZ.'”

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southern fried zombies

Did anyone watch Town of the Living Dead on the SyFy Channel? If not, it was a docu-series about a film crew in Jasper, AL who were struggling to make a full-length zombie movie.

I was excited to watch this show because 1)zombies and 2)I actually chased a girl to Jasper and that’s where I had my first kiss. So I have a special attachment to that city.

The show chronicled this group of amateurs as they struggled to put together scenes with no money, no special makeup effects, and no idea what they were doing. It was funny and endearing. It almost felt like I knew these people because I recognized their accents and southern colloquialisms.

Usually I cringe at southern representation on television because the shows always make the people seem like uneducated hicks. Maybe I’m in the minority on this one but I never felt the cast of the show were put in a bad light or made to look like white trash. Sure, they were country but that was a part of the charm.

But instead of showing these people farting in each other’s mouths or filling up the bed of a truck with water and using it as a redneck hot tub like you’d find on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Town of the Living Dead actually showed people with aspirations beyond drinking beer and mud riding. They were creative and passionate about their project.

One cast member, John, was the writer and director of the zombie movie. I related to him the most. He was a creative guy who dreamed of making a film but was stuck in a small town with very little artistic opportunities. While he worked on the film in his spare time, he earned money by working at RadioShack. Here I am, also a writer and also stuck in my own retail hell. I feel ya, brother.

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writer by night

I think my body is just more aligned with nighttime.

I have so much trouble waking up in the morning. Knowing I have to get up and go to work doesn’t help but I still find it difficult to get going even on my days off. And it’s not for a lack of sleep. I get enough. But it just feels so good to be in bed.

I often hit the snooze button way too many times. One of the reasons why I do that is because I’m often dreaming when my alarm goes off and I hit the snooze because I want to finish the dream. But I usually nose dive into a different dream, which is then interrupted by the snooze, which I want to return to, which usually sends me spiraling into another situation. And the cycle continues.

I can’t think, can’t get creative during morning hours. It’s only when I’ve settled into the day can I settle in front of the computer and write. But that’s usually by 8:00 or 9:00pm. And that only allows me a few hours to get any work done.

I always tell myself I’m going to write as soon as I get home from work. And then I sit down in front of my computer and check Facebook, etc., eat dinner, then take a nap. I wake up and check all my social media again. Then I watch television and before I know it, it’s time for bed.

But when I know work isn’t looming on the horizon, I can sit down without worrying about going to bed early and I can pump out some decent material. If I could, I would write all night. That’s when all my gears are greased and ready for productivity. I could write until the morning meets my muse.

But the world isn’t made for night owls like myself. Sure, I could take a night shift position at some job but that also wouldn’t do me any good. I’d be able to sleep in late but those precious dark hours that could be spent writing would be spent working. I like my setup right now. My hours are decent enough to allow me enough time to get some quality writing done. I just don’t always take that opportunity and instead piddle away the time until right before bed. That’s usually when inspiration strikes. But it’s usually put out before I can produce anything good.

I wrote all the drafts for my book once the sun went down. I write most of my blog entries when the moon is out. I just feel I work better that way. When I can even force myself to work.

While I was writing my book, I still had ideas I wanted to express here but didn’t have the time so I wrote small blurbs and saved them as drafts. I’m now 25 drafts deep and I want to clean away this clutter. So the next several entries probably won’t be polished. As much as I would like to articulate my thoughts the way I used to, something has changed with either me or my writing or possibly both but I’ve got too much on my mind to focus on any one thing these days. So I’m going to start quickly rolling out these drafts just to get them off my mind. Rapid fire frustrations and quick vignettes of regret.

book notes #14

I kind of don’t know what to do with myself right now.

Late Sunday night, I finished the fourth-ish draft of my book, which made it ready for test readers. It was such a great feeling to finally be at the stage where I can share it with others.

Because the book is a memoir, I wanted to share it with people who know me really well and those who don’t know me so well. It feels a bit more fair. The ones who know me really well might keep interested just because they know me and knowing me might propel them forward. But the ones who don’t know me are a bit more neutral and I hope they’ll keep reading not because they just know me but because the story is interesting. We shall see.

Now that I’m waiting to hear back from the test readers, I don’t know how to spend my nights. I’ve spent the last seven months working on the book when I get home from my job and that’s all that I’ve been focusing on. I suppose now I can start writing more here. I do feel kind of disconnected from this place. I suppose I always have been since the death of OD. I haven’t been able to get into a groove here like I did there. Plus, life distractions have kept me from writing with regularity.

I guess now I can come home from work and be lazy without having to feel guilty, like I’m procrastinating on my life homework.

I do have a lot of Netflix to catch up on.

life homework

When I was a child, I came home from school and went straight to my room and did my homework. It just made sense to get it out of the way so I could watch Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers uninterrupted.

As I got older, the Internet took precedence over algebraic equations. There was just so many other interesting things to do and the fact that I hated math didn’t help my procrastination. When I was in a chat room or downloading music on Napster, I always told myself those word problems were waiting. It was like getting your teeth cleaned or taxes done, an activity you know is necessary but one you put off for as long as possible. It always stayed in the back of my mind and I always felt guilty for not getting it done right away but that didn’t stop me from waiting until the last minute.

When I graduated from college, I felt free from the burden of homework. I could get a job, put in my 8 hours and then go home and be lazy without the worry of another deadline weighing me down.

But that was before I decided to write a book.

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