The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And then the fun begins

Really enjoying the new coaching business. The idea is pretty simple: due to a perfect storm of economic and social issues affecting the writing and publishing industry, I've decided I'd be an idiot to trust my retirement (if I ever retire) to the science fiction field, where my roots are deepest. But the question was: what to do? The solution I came up with was to shift to being a "Gentleman Writer", an amateur writer, as I was when I was a kid. I think that under that circumstance, I will do my very best and most successful work--when I no longer give a damn about its financial success.

The question was: well, if I'm going to replace a good chunk of my income, what in the world do I do? I mean, I have fairly specialized skills: writing, being a daddy/husband, and kicking ass. What am I supposed to do with that? Well...I took another look. And realized that teaching, lecturing, and coaching have been a part of my life for decades. I have mailing lists with thousands of people on them, teaching writing and life balance.

But is it wrong to try to make money helping people in this way? To be honest, I had a voice in my head whispering weakness. But there was an answering voice, and it said, "you would gladly do this for free. In fact, you would PAY people to improve their own lives, if you could. It makes perfect sense for you to do this."

So I started. For the last years, I've been trying to figure out how to get back into teaching and doing seminars, but life has been INTENSE for the five years since we moved down to Southern California. I just couldn't get the leverage to find the resources and allies to do that. Researched for months and months. Then Victoria Whitlock mentioned something called "Coaching". Took me a while to follow up, but when I started researching it, it looked almost perfect for me. I actually already had the infrastructure in place to reach prospects, and the perfect way was to offer a totally free half-hour session. So far, it's been great. I need to get SKYPE so I can speak to people in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa--places I already have students. What an adventure. The trick is that I mustn't allow myself to be distracted. If Spielberg calls and wants to make LION'S BLOOD, I mustn't sacrifice the foundation I'm building to chase the dream. Because that would be chasing after Siddhis--distracting oneself from the life work in order to reap temporary benefits. No. If I do this right, it will absolutely increase the quality and success of my writing. But I have to be strong on this.


There's a movie that isn't on your radar. A totally inappropriate, wildly notorious film called "Kick Ass", about vigilante superheroes. Above is the Red Band trailer. The set-up is that a geeky high school kid wonders why no one has ever actually tried being a superhero. He puts on a costume, goes out and immediately gets wiped out. But by the time he gets out of the hospital, the contagion has spread: others are also trying to be superheroes. Including a foul-mouthed eleven year old human ginzu named "Hit Girl." And then, as the saying goes, the fun begins.

Supposedly, this is the ultimate audience film--you gotta see it in a group. The poster shows a guy in a superhero suit, with twin Kali sticks. The caption: "I can't jump over buildings. But I can kick your ass." Can't wait.


And no, I won't consider a career as a vigilante.


Slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. It can be hard for me, but I always do it, and having a beautiful baby boy looking forward to Santa is quite a motivation. Jason is helping me scrape barnacles off my heart, I kid you not. Sigh. Life is good.


Anonymous said...

Steve, 'Kick Ass' is based on an exceptional comic book series by Mark Millar (of 'Wanted' fame). You should definitely check it out.
I've known about the movie for some time now. The trailer looks promising and I'm hope Nick Cage (who stars as 'Big Daddy' in 'Kick Ass') can redeem his comic book fanboy status here after demolishing it with that Ghost Rider debacle.

Anonymous said...

Here is the official website for anyone interested (that doesn't already know about it, that is):

LaVeda H. Mason said...

Steve, congratulations on the coaching success!

I looked at the website; Anonymous; 'Kick Ass' looks like fun.

Although it doesn't look like they took Edna's advice from 'The Incredibles' ::grin::

Dave said...

Skype is great. You can have it installed and running in less than five minutes. I've also been using, which allows phone connecting for free.

doug said...

Of course, if you *were* considering a career as a vigilante, or if you'd already embarked upon said career, that's exactly what we'd expect you to say. We have our suspicions. It's cool, Steve, your secret is safe with us.

Anonymous said...

" Jason is helping me scrape barnacles off my heart, I kid you not."

Love does that, as I've been learning lately. Life's indeed good.

--Erich Schwarz

Steven Barnes said...

Erich? What's going on in your life, buddy? Drop me an email at, would you? Love to celebrate with you!

Steve Perry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Perry said...

If Spielberg calls, you aren't going to get distracted from coaching, eh?

We have a scatological word we like back home, it refers to the solid-waste product of male Bos Bovinae ruminants ...

You need me to tell you what that word is ... ?

Reluctant Lawyer said...

I saw an interesting comment in response to the Hit-Girl trailer. It basically said that it was unethical to have a 12 year old actress using such language and taking part in such a level of violence. Particularly considering the fact that she wouldn't be allowed to see the movie in the theater.


Travis said...

Is 'vigilante' ever really a career? I mean sure it's a great hobby but hard to find paying gigs...

Steven Barnes said...

I'd have to see "Kick Ass" to know whether or not it was unethical to have the girl doing these things. And she CAN see it...just needs her mommy or daddy to take her. A much bigger concern for me was movies where Brook Shields or Jody Foster played child sex toys. Much more disturbing.

Steven Barnes said...

I don't think I'm bullshitting. Not that I wouldn't work for Spielberg, and be delighted to do it. But I would maintain the Coaching business I'm building up (I believe). And here is why: it is inevitable that if my coaching business does well, fascinating and intoxicating opportunities in my writing career will present themselves. And I believe that if I chase after them, they will evaporate. If I chase after them to the detriment of the new business, then those opportunities will evaporate...and I'll be left with nothing. In other words, I would view a call from Stevie as evidence that I am going in the right direction, but stopping what I am doing to center and protect myself would be the PRECISE wrong thing to do...and the universe would laugh its ass off if I bought the goods.

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