Collin Kelly

text & art

Writes everyday. Draws sometimes. Kills dragons when needed.

on twitter @cpkelly  

GRIND, or WHAT IT TAKES TO LEVEL UP

grind | ɡraɪnd / v.  

  1. The act of reducing to powder, or of sharpening, by friction.

  2. A word used in any MMO representing the repetitive actions taken in order to make the character stronger. 

grind | ɡraɪnd / n.  

  1. Hustle. 

Nothing worth doing is ever easy. Someone said that once. Probably Gandhi. Maybe Gandalf. Tell that to youth, they know it's true. They're full of it, energy that is, boundless optimism. Or at least, the good ones are - there's a whole different strata who plug their ears and demand immediate accolades, but they learn soon enough. 

I play in two different table top role playing games. I shiver to dive into a robust console rpg. It's not the escapism - it's the thrill of accomplishment. I infiltrated the Stag Lord's fortress, and put an arrow in the man's chest. I shattered the mind of Pavel Chevok, and kicked him out of an airlock. I died for my faith. These moments mean nothing. But each of them took time, planning, strategy. They took genuine effort, and thus they mean everything. 

In every game, you reach a boss you can't beat. A situation you can't overcome, an enemy out of your weight class. You have no choice.

You have to grind. 

This year, we wrote three feature films. One of those scripts almost broke us; the other is the best thing we've written in years. The last we were actually paid to write,  a first in Exclamation!BOLD's career. We had four issues of HACKTIVIST drop. We went to four conventions, shook hundreds of hands, and - most importantly in my mind - met dozens of people just like us, young and hungry, all pushing to make it to that next level. 

The next level. All this year, for the past three in fact, I've been a Freelancer. A sellpen. I've done coverage, written copy, written some animation - if it needed words, I had them. There is no hustle like the hustle of a freelancer. And yet what do you do when your hustle can't put food on your table? When your life freezes up because your hustle can pay the bills, but nothing else. When the panic sets in at night. When the work suffers. 

For three years, I woke up when I wanted. I exercised when I wanted, worked when I wanted, wore pants when I wanted (which was as little as possible). It was amazing. It was indulgent. 

It was easy.   

Now, I wake up before the sun and produce pages. I work for the LA Film School, 9 hours helping young people figure our how to start their own journeys. Every day, I'm talking to kids who have passion, but they're nervous, they're scared. 

Shit kid, so am I.  I'm afraid someone will get to adapt my favorite book before I get the chance. I'm afraid that I'll miss a chance to help someone who needs it. 

But I'm not afraid of failure. 2014 proved to me that I'm surrounded by people who have my back in all things, a massive support structure of people who believe in me, and who I believe in. I have a job that will keep the lights on. A girl I'm wild about. Two cats who are - admittedly - little assholes. And I'm - honest to god - on my way to Knighthood. 

2014 was the year of Grind. I had to upend my life, break things I took for granted, and accept that to make it to that next level, I'd have to sharpen my edges. 

2015 sees those edges sharp. That next level? I just hit it.

 And I'm thrilled to see what happens next. 

photo (19).JPG


The Hardening Fire

I have a career. I love it. I'm utterly passionate about it. It's called "writing", and it thrills me every moment of the day. It even pays me money (occasionally), which is rad. But I'm not 21 anymore; in two weeks, I'll be 30, which by all accounts makes me an adult. And as an adult, I need certain things in my life, and those things cost more than Lady Writing cares to provide. 

This is fine. I dare you to find a similarly aged writer who has no day job - I haven't had one for almost 3 years, and it's been awesome. But that is going to change. 

Good. 

At this exact moment, I have 10 projects in various stages of development. Four features, three comics, two animated shows and one live action, all in various parts of their lives. I love each of them almost as much as I love my cats. Some you know. Some you'll know soon. Some might get viking funerals, who can say? 

But I'm done waiting for a golden ticket. I want to go back to the time when I was writing for the love of it, not because student loans are breathing down my neck. 

How do I know that this balance is possible? Because Jackson Lanzing has been doing it for years, and putting us all to shame with his talent and ability. Because I have a girl who loves me no matter how much I whine. Because my mom raised a pretty good kid, who doesn't buckle under pressure. 

Next week, Jaqueson and I will be at New York Comic Con. It is going to be, hands down, the most insane convention of our lives. We're going to shake everyone's hand; we're going to sign all the Hacktivists; we're going to sell the shit out of every fantastic Boom! book they put in front of us. And when night rolls around, oh goodness, how we'll dance. 

And then on Monday the 13th, I'm starting work at the LA Film School. 

I'll be a class one Admissions Representative, and I'll be proud to shuck and jive for one of the best film schools in the city. And when I'm done for the day?

Watch out, Writing. There ain't no more time to be casual. 

We're about to get real serious. 

I took this picture on top of a mountain that I hiked up. Because Nature is rad. Just like Life. 

I took this picture on top of a mountain that I hiked up. Because Nature is rad. Just like Life. 





a collection of musings from around the internet, pertaining to our brave hero