Dating during the Zombie Apocalypse (from The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book).
Is there a writer in you that wants out, but is stuck? Would you like some encouragement to unblock your writing blocks? Perhaps my story may help. Perhaps not.
Here’s an extract of something I created – a fictional account of being invited onto the Oprah show to discuss a new dating book during the Zombie Apocalypse.
Confused? Read on…
Appearing on the Oprah Show during the Zombie Apocalypse
Before the zombie apocalypse, the Oprah show was the biggest programme on network TV and an interview to appear was the highest endorsement of popularity and success a person could receive. I was honoured to accept. Unfortunately, by this time, Oprah had been turned into a fully-fledged zombie.
In the early days of the Zombie Apocalypse she had done a ‘special’ on ‘humans who refuse to ‘put-down’ their zombie partners’. As she attempted to interview a few of the zombie guests, she was attacked and infected with the zombie virus. Soon after this, she became a zombie.
In spite of the zombie apocalypse, Oprah’s ratings had suffered no drop in figures. On the contrary, the studio executives felt that they would be able to reach out to the new and growing demographic of zombie viewers by allowing the newly zombiefied Oprah to continue to present her show. The studio executives were correct – her ratings increased to record highs and the Oprah Show went on to win many awards.
Of course, certain precautions had to be taken. Oprah was often chained to the wall with a harness and there were armed security guards always standing by to restrain her if she ever tried to attack the guests (again).
Appearing on the Oprah show was an unusual event. I was welcomed onto the set with a round of applause by the studio audience – many of whom, I later discovered had been helped by my book. Oprah greeted me warmly with her trademark snarls and excessive drooling. An interview with Oprah mostly involved me listening to a series of growls and guttural utterances from her and then a translator standing nearby – usually some young college kid – would ask me a question in English and I would answer…
The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book
This was an extract from my second zombie book: ‘The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book: The Undead Guide to Relationships in the Post-Apocalyptic Zombie World’. This extract taken from the beginning of the book, relates my invitation to appear on the Oprah show after she has been turned into a zombie to discuss my dating zombie book. It’s probably a little unusual.
In this article, I will discuss about my writing endeavours as a self-published fiction author. Before I go on, I thought I would include a quote from the genius Steve Jobs about finding your purpose:
Finding your purpose
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Finding what you enjoy, but then losing it
I wish I had heard this years earlier. It is an inspiring speech. Finding what you love to do in life is invaluable and is worth more than any fast car, jewellery or big house.
My whole life, I have enjoyed writing and story-telling. I started when I was junior school years and wrote my first book before age 10, which I still have. I read constantly. It was always something I wanted to do.
But then something happened when I went to secondary school. Suddenly, my creativity disappeared. I don’t know why. I also stopped reading books. School and relationships seemed to be the main focus. When I look back, I feel these were my wilderness years.
Writing blocks don’t last forever, but they can last long enough. Back in my twenties, I kept trying to get started again with writing, but I felt there was a kind of block and though I could churn a few paragraphs out, it would soon wither and would give up. That seemed to be the case for a few more years. Until I met a spiritual teacher who helped me to unblock my writing blocks.
Dorothea was a tai chi teacher. I saw an advert for her chi class in a local shop window. At the time I was interested in learning Tai chi and Qigong, so I decided to go along.
She was a lady in her 60s and a direct student of the spiritual master Irina Twedy. She was an exceptional teacher, but more than that, she took a special interest in me and provided me with other types of lessons and teachings. Without going too much into it, one of the things she helped me to do was learn to unblock my writing blocks.
How I was able to unblock my writing blocks
I received many lessons from her, but the final trigger that removed my writing block was reading a book called ‘The History of Love’, which she lent me among other books. This book was the last trigger that broke my block. Triggers don’t have to make sense. This book contains a story within the story, called the History of Love, which was written in so simple in style, that it made me think that I could do the same. So I did.
I can do it too
I thought to myself – why am I afraid to write? So what if my writing ability and skill is not so good. It doesn’t matter. I just felt that I could do something similar and I felt motivated to write my own love story. In a few days, I wrote a short zombie story about love. It must have been about 10,000 words. Then I showed it to my teacher, and she thought it was great. And since then, I have been able to keep writing. Unfortunately, I lost that story, as my old laptop died and I wasn’t able to extract the files off it.
I used to be a major zombie movie fan. I have seen so many of them, including lots of US low-budget movies. Sometimes I might find an old zombie movie video or DVD in a store and watch it, and then realise, ‘wait, I’ve already seen this one’. That’s happened on more than one occasion.
I feel, there are a lot of metaphors and hidden meanings behind zombies movies. I don’t watch them now so much. That interest has kind of passed. But, back then, I wrote one of the things, I always wanted to write – a zombie short story.
Combining two different things
In the Steve Jobs quote above taken from his 2005 Stanford Commencement address, he also talked about connecting the dots looking back, but not being able to do it forwards.
For example, when he dropped out of college, he decided to use his free time to drop in on classes that interested him instead. He dropped in on a calligraphy course – something which would seem to have no relevance to his life or career. Years later, this course came back to him when he was designing his Mac computer. He applied the skills about typography that he had learned to his new Mac design and as a result, the Mac would have multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts that made it stand out. Basically he combined two seemingly un-related things to create something great.
Zombies and Health
So I decided to do my own bizarre version of combining two unrelated things together – zombies and health.
By the time, I had unblocked my writing block, I was already qualified as a complementary health care therapist and had a big interest in health. But I still also had a fascination for the zombie genre. I generally liked most horror movies. It was kind of like two parts of me. The adolescent otaku meets the serious healthcare professional. Who is going to win?
A Zombie Health Book
So I decided to combine both of these interests together to create something unusual. I wrote my first full book: ‘The Ultimate Zombie Guide: The Undead Guide to Health and Fitness. I then learn how to self-publish it and released it on Amazon. It is around 20,000 words. Here it is:
It is basically a satirical piece about a new Exercise and Fitness Plan based on the Zombie lifestyle. It is set during a fictional Zombie Apocalypse. Click here for more information.
How it came about
At the time, I was writing, it, I was having to work some cr**py low income jobs just to pay the bills. This was depressing me a lot, but the writing of this book really saved me. Honestly, creativity can really help you mentally.
I got my wife to draw the pictures. One day, I simply asked her – ‘can you draw me some pictures of zombies doing exercise?’ She liked to draw but she is not a professionally trained artist. She said, ‘OK, I’ll give it a go’ and before we knew it, we had about 20 pictures to go with the book. Here is one of her better pictures, where I discuss how television is bad for our health during a zombie apocalypse:
Not all drawings were all as nice as this one above, but the more she drew, the better she became. I think the same went for my writing and I think it is the same for anyone who starts writing or creating something. Your first efforts are not great, but the more you do, the better you get. You just have to keep going.
The first book will not be the best – just get it out of the way
And so the book is not as professionally made as a traditionally published book. But so what? I did it out of love and self-expression. And that is all that is important in life.
If you are interested, here are some links to it on Amazon: The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book: The Undead Guide to Health and Fitness – UK, USA, CA, AUS and other international Amazon marketplaces.
But I didn’t stop there:
My next book
Once you’ve done one book, you may as well do another. The momentum will be there and you will have picked up skills that you can immediately put into practice again to re-enforce them. I felt motivated to write another book in the series.
A Zombie Dating Book
I felt that the next step would be to create a dating book set during the time of the zombie apocalypse. So I created The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book.
Dating is hard enough even during more stable times, but what about when the world is falling to pieces? The zombie dating book has lots of strategies to help you find your perfect partner as well as improve yourself. For more information, click here.
How can I write about dating if I don’t know anything about dating?
The same way a crime writer doesn’t really know first-hand about committing murder, but can still write about it. He or she has to research and then use their imagination to create something.
Mind you, it would be kind of interesting if they did decide to adopt the Method Acting method and try to kill some people just to make their writing more authentic.
Research and a public library
When I wrote the zombie exercise book, one of the things I did, was go to my local public library and borrow lots of books on health, fitness and nutrition. Then I extracted the relevant information and figured out how I could add a zombie slant to it.
As I have very limited experience with women, I did the same with my zombie dating book. I borrowed lots of books on dating and seduction from my local library and starting figuring out how to apply this information to dating in an apocalyptic zombie world.
In the end I came up with – ‘The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book: The Undead Guide to Relationships in the Post-Apocalyptic Zombie World’. Available on Amazon: US, UK, CA, AUS and other Amazon marketplaces.
You get better as you go along
The Ultimate Zombie Dating Book is much bigger – about 60,000 words. I feel that my writing had improved more than the exercise book and also my wife’s pictures overall were also of a better standard than her drawings for her first book.
It just goes to show that the more you do, the better you become. Here is one of her drawings below from the book where I discuss using social media for dating during the zombie apocalypse.
Social Media during the Zombie Apocalypse
Looking back, I suppose it would be useful to update some of the information in the book. For example, these days I’ve heard a lot about the dating app tinder and how it has revolutionised dating. At the time of writing, I’m not even sure if Tinder was in existence then. And certainly, I hadn’t heard of Ashley Madison back then. So I probably missed some things I could have included.
A third book in the trilogy?
I had plans for a third and final book in this ‘Ultimate Zombie’ series along the lines of ‘The Ultimate Zombie guide to Making Money’ I made all the notes and chapter summaries for the book, but it never materialised.
One of the reasons is that the Zombie Dating Book had been difficult to compete due to some challenging life-experiences I was going through at the time and I decided it would be the last ‘Ultimate Zombie Book’ I would ever write. I have since moved on to other things now.
I am glad, I just did it and didn’t care what others thought. I didn’t expect any fame or recognition and did hardly any promotion. These are not typical zombie books and so they will never get any kind of following nor would they appeal to the typical zombie-fanatic audience.
On the other hand, even though I wrote these books, I felt I should keep it secret from people around me.
For example, I worked in a somewhat sensitive hospice work-environment in a semi-managerial position. I really felt that things like zombies are not appropriate in an environment where people are dying especially where so many of the medical professionals are so serious. So I kept this side of it to myself. I no longer work in that environment, so I feel a lot more freer to express this now.
Actually, I don’t think it necessarily the case, that zombies are so inappropriate. Sure they are about death, but it is still a fiction genre. In fact, there was one patient I used to see quite a lot and chat to on the respite ward before he passed. He too was a huge zombie movie fan and even made recommendations of things to watch that I had not heard of.
But still, I kept this side of myself secret, which is a way of denying myself. Also for a long time, I wondered if perhaps I should avoid talking about my fiction writing in this new website. I feared that it may seem inappropriate as it does not relate to health and fitness or may dilute my message. Perhaps it was better to create a separate anonymous website? However, I had already tried that approach and had created a second website, but I never had to interest to put any work into it, so it never took off.
Show who you are
I decided to hell with this thinking. It is about being open and showing that I am a normal person with normal unusual hobbies and interests along with my professional side. Also I truly believe that creativity and writing has a great healing power, mentally, emotionally, and even physically.
So I think we should just express ourselves more and not hide what we are or do. These books for me are about self-expression. I wanted to create something and get it out there. I had to learn a lot of skills to do so, which helped me with the writing of my health-related books. And in this way it was worth it.
Do you want to be a writer? Just write
It’s a common dream. So many people want to write a book. It is a worthy goal, a kind of expression of your unique life. So many people want to do it, but few manage it. Why?
Because, its hard work – that’s true. It is a special kind of hell, writing and then writing some more. Although the real hell comes when you edit and then there’s the feedback. If you ask for it, it won’t be great. You’ll have to change lots. That’s probably why, I never ask for feedback.
But that’s not what really stops people writing their own book. What really stops them are the internal mental blocks within. Here are some factors that you need to consider to unblock your writing blocks.
1. You hate what you write.
You write a couple of decent paragraphs. But then after that, it doesn’t flow. You feel what you write isn’t so good and doubt what you already wrote. So you delete it. In fact everything you write seems rubbish – that’s just perfectionism, but really, it doesn’t matter.
Just tell yourself: ‘It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be finished’. That is what I tell myself, every time I write especially if I feel myself getting fussy over what I create.
2. You try to write for someone else
One idea of writing is to write the kind of book you would like to read yourself. If you write something because you think it is more likely to be popular with people, then you will really struggle to complete it (unless perhaps it is for a loved one). You’ve got to write for your own pleasure.
3. You think about becoming famous for your writing
Just let this one go. No one really cares even if you are famous. The only good thing about becoming famous is that you get more money to play with, but that’s it.
4. You don’t have time
This can be a major hindrance if you have a demanding job, or family commitments. But it is possible. I wrote my books by stopping in a coffee shop for an hour at least 2 or 3 times a week after work. It was tiring, but little-by-little, I completed it. It took me a year to finish one of my newer books, which I have sent off to a traditional publisher for consideration (this one isn’t a zombie book). I may get rejections, but at least I tried. And that is all that matters.
Simply write a little whenever you can. It will get done eventually.
5. If you can’t get traditionally published, it’s not worth it
That’s fine, if you really believe it, but it’s not necessarily true. Some succesful writers have self published. Off the top of my head, James Altucher self published his books, and they are very successful commercially.
One of my favourite British authors – Dr Vernon Coleman, actually made his own self publishing company because traditional publishing companies wouldn’t take his books anymore even though people liked reading them.
Mind you, he did write some really controversial books such as ‘ How to Stop your Doctor Killing You’, ‘Vaccinations are Dangerous and Don’t Work’ and ‘Gordon is a Moron’ (about one of the UK’s recent Prime Ministers – Gordon Brown’).
6. I’m not good/educated/skilled enough
Yes, you are. Chuck Bukowski, didn’t have any formal training and worked in a post office for 20 years, unknown to everyone. He wrote poetry and short stories in his spare time. Eventually he wrote Factotum and Post Office and became famous late in life. The books he wrote are really great raw pieces of fiction based on his life. And only he could have written those books. If an alcoholic gambler can do it, then there’s hope for us all.
There’s this great scene in his book Factotum, where is is feeling especially sorry for himself after failing to get a job as a reporter and catching a bad case of crabs off his unfaithful girlfriend:
“I walked along scratching. I couldn’t be a reporter. I couldn’t be a writer. I couldn’t find a good woman, all I could do was walk along and scratch like a monkey.”
Unblock your Writing Blocks
These are just some examples of blocks that stop us. There are no doubt more, and some that may be unique to you. All I can say is removing blocks can be pretty difficult, but it can be done. You can unblock your writing blocks.
And if you need some more encouragement, some bloggers who read this article, may not be aware that they have already written the equivalent of a book simply through their blogging. Some bloggers who have been writing for months or years may have written thousands of words. Well put it all together and what do you have – a book. It is a reflection of your life. And if you can do a blog, then you can make a book. My Zombie exercise book was 20,000 words. That really isn’t a lot of words to write. If you did 1000 words a day (the average size of a blog post), for a month, you’ll have the first draft of your book done in a month.
Then you just need to spend the next 3-6 months editing it.
It’s kind of the same way that Chuck Bukowski wrote poetry for years and short stories which proved to be a way of developing his skill for when he wrote his first full-length novel. In this way, writing blog articles is perfect practice for eventually working on longer pieces of work like a book.
Writing a book or long article requires focus. You cannot distract yourself between too many different things. A book also goes on for a longer period of time, so you have to be disciplined. One of my reasons for disabling my comments on my blogs is that I want to focus all my energy on writing content. It is kind of selfish, I suppose, but I feel it is necessary for the time being. For others, this step would not be so helpful.
Should you take advice on writing from a failed writer?
Probably not. It is worth mentioning that I’m not commercially successful. I’ve sold a handful of books – enough to buy me a few lattes. Nothing outstanding. My writing is probably childish, strange and possibly at times immature and certainly grammatically flawed. For example, I purposely start my sentences with conjunctions like ‘and’ and ‘but’ even though I was taught a school never to do so. It gives me a perverse sense of satisfaction to do so.
Can I call myself a writer? Well depends on your definition. If a writer means someone who is commercially successful, then I think that’s a dumb definition.
Apply some perspective
Was Steven King a writer before he became famous with Carrie? Sure he was, I suppose, you could call him a failed writer – but a writer nonetheless. So, I call myself a writer even though very few people read what I write. I call myself a writer because I write. If you want to be cruel, you could call me a failed writer. But I’m not dead yet, so who knows what the future will bring?
Do what you enjoy
And so what? I enjoy it. So I keep doing it. And I encourage you to do the same if you are in any way interested in writing. Because if I can write a love story between a man and a zombie who then gets married to her through an online marriage ceremony, then I think you could write something better. (By the way, that’s the plot of the short story at the end of my zombie dating book).
A Zombie Action-Story set in Japan
And if you think there’s anything in my zombie writing, I have one final idea for a zombie book before I give up that genre for good. It’s a more traditional action-love story set in Japan during a zombie apocalypse. It’s still in note form with one chapter written up and the rest mapped out.
Unfortunately, there is no momentum to work on it and it may be one of those story ideas that disappears, kind of like the Ultimate Zombie Guide to Making Money idea. If I get ever get a hundred likes to this article, I’ll finish it.
It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be finished
Perhaps you have some ideas of stories that are in you wanting to get out, but are stuck behind those internal blocks? My advice is don’t over-think it. Just start doing it. It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be finished.
We all have a story to tell. Our lives give us our stories. Those stories are there inside waiting for you to release it. Just figure out how to let go of any blocks and it will flow. And it will feel cathartic.
If you want some inspiration, buy my zombie books. I recommend the dating one. it is available in Print and eBook version. And here is one final picture and extract from my Zombie Exercise book to finish:
I had a very stressful job in the city at a big investment firm. The salary was very high with many perks but I had to work long hours (sometimes all night) and was continually pressured by my boss every day. I suffered insomnia, drank wine and beer excessively and my blood pressure was very high. Eventually the daily meetings and deadlines became too much for me and I started having panic attacks. It was then that I started the Zombie Exercise and Diet Plan. It was a hard choice at first, but I decided to give it a go.
The first thing I did was to hunt down and eat my boss. Then I ate some of my annoying co-workers. It was amazing; my stress immediately disappeared and for the first time I could think clearly about my life goals. I decided to quit my job and set up my own business as a full-time Zombie Fitness and Diet Coach. A lot of my clients are corporate city workers and the best thing is that I probably earn more money now doing something that I love.
Jim Porter, Zombie Fitness and Diet Coach
I hope that you have enjoyed this work and also that in some way, you may be inspired to create your own project or book.
Finally, I made a website to go along to with these Ultimate Zombie books. I guess it is a kind of joke advertisement. I add an extra paragraph to it every now and again, but it is still somewhat undeveloped. Here is the link to the Ultimate Zombie Website.
Buy on Amazon
To buy the Ultimate Zombie Exercise or Dating Book (Print or Kindle Version), links are below:
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