See, here's the thing. Friendship is one of the coolest things in the world. Friends can and should become like family, and are even more important than family sometimes because you get to choose them, and you want to choose awesome people who make you feel good!
So choose wisely.
It's like Rock, Paper, Scissors but almost more important.
But surely there are some good points about zombies and friendship? I don't know. Here, let's list the good and bad points about zombie friendship.
They will try and bite your face off and eat your brains.
They will try and eat your other friends' brains.
They have no consideration about other zombies, and will actually fight other zombies to get what they want.
They always have to be first.
They only think about themselves.
They surround themselves with other people who want to bite your face off and eat your brains.
They make you feel nervous and worried about what they will do.
They will never give you a lift somewhere if your car has broken down.
They will lift you up and carry you to their favourite lunch spot (this sounds nice ... it isn't).
They work together with other friends towards a common goal (which is to eat YOU! Not good!).
They are often the ones to make the first move, so you don't have to chase them down to catch up with them. They will pretty much always chase you first (So they can eat YOU! Not good!).
They are reliable. Not many surprises with old mate Tombie, I mean zombie (Yep, you see them, they try and eat YOU! Not good!).
Okay, so even the good things are all things that mean they want to bite your face off and eat your brains.
Here's the thing. Friendship is a two-way street, and is about give and take, and is about wanting your friends to be happy. If all you worry about in a friendship is whether your friend is going to hurt you, or eat you, or stab you in the back (literally), that isn't a friendship for you.
Choose your friends wisely.
Choose people you want to be around and that you feel safe to be around. Not only will that make you feel better, but if there IS a zombie apocalypse, they're the type of people you want to be with.
Also, if there IS a zombie apocalypse, trust me, keep your DVDs and keep your real books. That way, when everyone else is running around all, 'Ohh, noooo, I can't watch my favourite show because the internet is dead, and I can't read because there's no electricity, and I can't sleep because someone is trying to eat me,' you'll be all, 'Well, hey, we can watch a DVD because there's still electricity, and we can read these wonderful books that don't need batteries or streaming, and we can sleep because I built a house that is zombie-proof and awesome!'
So there you go!
Balance is also important when you start getting super busy, whether that's at school, or work, or anything at all. If you let one thing take over your entire life, you can very quickly either burn out or get bored or get eaten because you are so focused you don't see the zombies coming.
Zombies don't have balance. They are totally focused on one thing, and while focus is massivel;y important, it is great to focus while you are in your work, but you need to be able to take a break and focus on other things as well.
As a writer, there are a few ways I get super busy. Sometimes it's when a deadline for a book is due, and I have to finish it to get it to the printer.
Sometimes, like right now, I am in the midst of 52 million school visits, heading out every day to talk to kids around Victoria.
Or sometimes it might be that life takes over.
When this happens, things get pushed aside. I may not write at all if I am doing lots of visits. I don't like this. Writing is a life-source for me, and when I don't write it kind of dries me up a little. Which makes me look like a zombie ... which is actually very handy because then they won't eat me so hey, dry away, face!
Anyway, what I find is that it is very important to try and find balance. You don't have to do huge things, just make sure that if you are caught up in work or assignments or whatever, that you take time for yourself as well.
Even if it's going for a loooooong walk, or heading out to the Ariana Grande concert, or even just dinner out or going shopping or playing an instrument to change things up, you need to get away fromn the thing that is dominating, otherwise it will, well, dominate!
Most of the great creators had other interestes as well. They may have played multiple musical instruments, or invented things, or been runners or skiers. It doesn't matter what it is, it is great to have other interests outside of your main one. Not only will this give you a break, but it can actually open up the door for new ideas and thoughts to come in. I have actually solved many probl;ems in stories while out on a walk, or just hanging out with friends. I thought of a brand new story idea the other night while at a Pete Murray concert, just from a line he sang in a song. or said before a song. I can't remember. It doesn't matter. I wrote down the idea and then went back to hanging out and relaxing, standing at the concert, swaying to the rhythm, trying not to hurt anyone by my dancing.
I succeeded ... mostly.
So look for balance. Look for things that make you a well-rounded person. Zombies aren't well rounded. They're kind of jagged and bony and scabby and gross.
Good luck, and remember, if at first you don't succeed, sky diving isn't for you (Thank you Stephen Wright for this one!).
And when I say goals, I don't mean goals from the Latin Go, meaning go, and Al, meaning that guy from down the street (as in you yell "GO, AL!" when he's being chased by a zombie).
Nope, By deadlines and goals, and in my case this last month it was a writing deadline and goal, I mean setting a timeframe to get something done.
Zombies do it. They want to eat your sweet, sweet brain.
Zombies do it. They want to eat your sweet, sweet brain like right now.
Okay, so here's what I had to do.
I had been inspired by a friend - funnily enough a guest poster on this blog a while ago, Miss M - to write a new novel about a certain lad named Pete McGee. I had already released three books in the series, and they were pretty much my all-time favourite books I have done.
I had thought the series finished. Done. As dead as someone getting one of those flatlines on the hospital beepy machine. But it turns out it wasn't. As I started thinking about a new story in the series, ideas kept flying at me like zombies on a leftover brain. I realised I had to write this story.
I had a goal.
But I kept pottering around, getting excited about ideas, but really just writing notes on it.
Then my writing group decided to do a novel in a month ... I had a deadline. Coincidence? I think not!
It was writing time. I started writing the new book, tentatively titled I don't know what to call this book.
I wrote 13,000 words ... it wasn't working.
I started again - 13,000 more words ... it wasn't working.
The deadline was looming.
Pressure was mounting.
And then it hit me. I had the answer. I realised why it wasn't working and I started again.
And I wrote.
But with not many days to go, I still wasn't done.
Previously, I had a record of around 5,000 words written in a day, and that was on an earlier Pete McGee book (Pete McGee: Dawn of the Zombie Knights).. With four days to go, I matched that record.
On the third last day, I was out and I wrote, by hand, around 2,000 words.
On the second last day I took those 2,000 words, and added another 5,000, over 7,000 for the day, a new record.
But on the last day, the day the deadline was up, the .day the goal was due, I still wasn't done.
So I sat, and I wrote, and over 10,000 words came out to finish the story!
It was massively exciting and a massive relief and a massive moment of pride that I had done it.
This was a first draft, so not all of it is perfect, and not all of it will stay the same, but on that last day I was so in the moment and focused and flowing that I became the story. I had moments where I was laughing, and moments where I couldn't even see the words on the screeen because I was crying so much. It was an incredible feeling, and one that was made possible because I set the deadline and I made the decision to stick to it.
So this is something I aim to do again, many times over, setting myself a challenge, a deadline, a goal, and then actually going after it. It's easy to set goals and let them drift by, to know what you want and need to do but to not do it.
But, as Derek Sivers says, "If knowledge was everything, we'd all be billionaires with six packs.
You won't always reach your deadlines and goals, but that's okay. Zombies don't always reach theirs, and that is a win for us!
So let's do it!
The main point is this - zombies are takers. They take brains and they take limbs and every now and then they take eyeballs. This is why, in the end, they lose.
And this is why, if you're just a taker, in the end you lose too.
Being a giver is a win for so many reasons, not just so that you can feel good (although that's a bonus!). The thing is, when you give to other people, and you might give time, money, advice, friendship, a listening ear (zombies are very happy to take this one. If you want to give to a zombie, a listening ear is the best thing to give. Not many people know this, but that's the reason why Van Gogh and Chopper Read chopped off their ears. It wasn't to make a statement. It was to give something to the zombies so they could escape and live for a little bit longer. True story).
One of the greatest things about the children's book community I live in is that it is a community of givers. It's a community where everyone wants everyone else to do well, so there is incredible support and incredible wells of experience and advice. I personally have sat down with some of the very, very top authors in Australia, and without even me even asking they show an interest in me and my work, and give advice, lessons they have learned, things they have done, things I should do. This not only fires me up to do all these things, and to learn from these legends, but it also makes me want to do the same for other people.
I am naturally a giver anyway, and love donating money to charities, but some of the best feelings I have had have come from being able to pass on knowledge to other people, and from being able to listen to friends and give them my time and attention and love.
And, don't get me wrong, it isn't always give or always take. Doing these things makes me feel good, no doubt, Gwen Stefani. But the focus is pretty much always on helping other people, on giving, and so the feelings of niceness are the bonus side serve of dairy-free ice-cream.
And I heard a really nice quote the other day, just to finish off. Here it is.
NO! That wasn;t it! I mean, that's a lvoely quote if you're a zombie and you hear it and you realise there are brains fresh for the eatin', but the quote I heard was this ... If you want to make yourself happy, make someone else happy.
Live to give. Make other people smile and feel good and help make other people grow and improve, and you can't help but feel good. It's win-win.
If you make a zombie feel good, it's win-lose. Or win-munch munch munch mmmmmm, tasty brains.
Don't do that.
DO have an awesome week!
This is not ideal.
Also, if we hang out with non-zombie-type people, we still want to hang out with like-minded people. This is because if we hang out with people who are only looking out for themselves, when the zombies attack, those suckers be pushing you out front like an entree, main and dessert!
The problem then becomes, if you know that they are going to try and push you to the zombies so that they can survive, you start thinking the same way! If you want to survive, you gotta push someone else first, and now you're acting like them and that's bad!
You want to hang out with people that support and inspire and uplift you. You want to hang out with people who make you feel amazing, and make you happy. You want to hang yout with people that won't try and eat your face off or try to give you to someone who will eat your face off. Even in non-apocalyptic times this is important!
For me, as soon as I am in a room with authors or illustrators, I know that I have found my tribe. I know they are people I want to hang around with. I went to a conference the other week, with a few hundred authors and illustrators and publishers, and it was SOOOO amazing. Just creative people wanting to learn and get better and who were super excited about doing something they totally lvoe doing. It gets me buzzing and excited and I always feel like writing something when I leave a group like that.
I have other people too, other amazing people that I love dearly who aren't necessarily authors or illustrators, but who have this energy that lifts me up and makes me feel amazing, and who, after I spend time with them, I leave feeling lighter and happier than before I caught up with them.
These are the people you want to hang out with.
These are the people that are going to make you want to be a better person.
There's a theory that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So you have a choice to make. Do you want to hang out with people who are negative or who drag you down or who make you feel less than you could be or who want to eat you, or do you want to hang around with people who lift you up and make you feel Both amazing and inspired.
It seems like a pretty easy choice - it isn't always an easy thing to carry out, but it has to be done. For you to fully be the most amazing person you can be, your tribe is important, and you need to be abl;e to ease out the people who are dragging you down. Don't cut them off necessarily, just spend less time with them.
And spend more time with the awesome, amazing, legendary, champion people. They're the good ones.
See, zombies hate water. So it's weird that just keep swimming could apply to them. But it does. Because just keep swimming means just keep going, just keep searching, don't dwell on what's happened, don't be resentful, just keep swimming and you will find what you're looking for.
It may not be in the place you expect it to be, but you'll find it still.
Zombies "just keep swimming" when they never give up if they're trying to suck on someone's brain and that someone is trying to chop the zombie's head off with a butter knife. BUt zombies also "just keep swimming" when they finish one brain snack, or miss out on one brain snack, and they search again. They want more, always looking to be more, improve, develop.
This is something we can totally learn from. When we go after something that is really attractive to us, something that we believe will make us better people, bring us incredible joy, we gotta just keep swimming, just keep working at ways to get that thing. And if one way doesn't work, well, maybe you gotta swim in another direction. Maybe you gotta swim against the current sometimes, really pushing hard, working hard, maybe you have to go around even when what you want is right in front of you, so close you can almost touch it, taste it, but that current keeps pushing back at you.
Find a way.
And if it turns out that you just keep swimming, and just keep swimming, but you don't reach your goal, or if you reach it and it doesn't give you what you expect ... don't be resentful. You're allowed to be upset, of course, that's natural, but then you have to look at the wonderful things you had or the wonderful things you learned or the wonderful memories, and use those, take them with you, and just keep swimming.
Because there are more wonderful things up ahead, or off to the side, and you'll find them if you just keep swimming ... or, if you're a zombie, just keep shuffling ... or, if you're a non-brain-dead human, just keep trying and searching and learning and growing and loving.
It's the only way.
The reason I am excited is because it's a public holiday ... no, that's not it either. I'm a writer. Every day is a public holiday! This is awesome because I am able to hang out with awesome people and have coffees and lunches and play golf after I have done my writing for the day.
No, I am actually excited because my new book, How to Catch the Easter Bunny is out and doing really well! I am excited about that, but that's not really it. The main reason I am excited is because I have just scored myself a new tattoo ... it is a saying ... Be water, my friend. This is a saying by Bruce Lee, who, after zombies, is my ultimate hero and inspiration.
So this saying is really important to me. Last week the very cool Miss M wrote about going with the flow, and she even mentioned this quote. Being like water is very important in a zombie apcalypse. You have to be able to adapt to your surroundings. You have to be able to change plans and use what is happening to your advantage. You have to dive into a river because zombies don't like water so you will be safe for a while ... as long as you can swim ... and there are no sharks ... or whirpools ... or jellyfish ... or scuba divers that are mean.
Being like water means knowing when to attack and when to hold back, when to flow, and when to crash, but it also means you have to keep moving. If water doesn't move it becomes stinky and gross. If you don't move in a zombie apocalypse, you also become stinky and gross ... because the zombies will eventually find you and bite you and then you will be a zombie and they are stinky and gross! If you don't move in life, if you don't grow and change and learn and improve, if you just stay the same, the world passes you by. You lose time. You become stale and stagnant and left behind.
So always look at ways you can keep moving, learning, growing, adapting, being like water.
And drink at least a litre of water a day too. That's important. Just make sure it isn't the stinky gross water. That tastes pretty bad and probably has frogs in it.
Okay, that's it for this week!
Be water, stay awesome, have an amazing Easter, and stay safe!
You see, zombies go with the flow and don’t let rubbish stand in their way. They don’t let minor setbacks hold them back from what they want. Even if the minor setback is something like broken limbs.
As a teacher I see lots of events that exemplify going with the flow. There are timetable changes, wild weather conditions, new tasks with fast-approaching dead lines, and then there are the amazing children that navigate through it all. They may think, “Why didn’t Miss M tell us about the timetable change this morning?” but instead of throwing chairs or making a fuss, they smile and go with the flow. They have trust and faith that everything will be ok!
Adults need to be more like this too. They get so caught up with stressors and worries and rarely go with the flow. That is why I am never growing up. Going with the flow is MUCH more fun. I’m sure if AdamWallace wasn’t MIAZ (Missing In A Zombie), he would agree.
Going with the flow is about trusting that things are, overall, going to be fine. Zombies can do it, kids can do it, and adults can do it too. Be water, my friend.
So that’s all I have for you. I’ve been your guest writer and it’s been really fun. Maybe AdamWallace will go MIAZ again next holidays!
It's like that in life too, I reckon. It's like, when I decided I wanted to write, things that were around before suddenly actually make me sit up and take notice. Like all those Google ads and posts and groups on Facebook, and ads, and ... oh, that's just the internet's ultra-know-it-all-marketing-and-possibly-invading-your-private-life stuff.
But it does happen. You meet people who can give you opportunities. You hear things, and read things, and it's like the world is giving you the opportunity to get to where you want to be.
But here's the kicker, and it ain't a horse. Or a karate expert. It's you (NOTE: If you're a horse or a karate expert, it's still you!).
These opportunities come up ALL the time for EVERYONE! Don't listen to people who complain that they never get a chance to do anything, or complain that other people get so many opportunities. It's not true. The thing is, so many people don't SEE the opportunities, or if they see them, they don't see them for what they are. Or they DO see them for what they are but they don't do anything about it!
And so what was an opportunity becomes just another thing that happened that day.
Kicker number two is that if you do see an opportunity, and you do take advantage of it, you have to be ready. You have to have been putting in the work so that you are at a level that you feel confident getting out there and putting your best foot forward. If you do that, that first opportunity will lead to another ... and another ... and suddenly it is a massive snowball racing down the hill getting bigger and bigger and OH MY GOD THAT SNOWBALL WILL CRUSH US ALL!
(NOTE: It's not a real snowball. You'll be okay).
So keep alert and realise that opportunities and ideas are there, waiting for you to see it.
Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and really look.
What is it? Well, I'll tell you, but first, a story. Nah, I'm just kidding, I'll tell you what it is. Seriously, I will. It's ... oh, do you remember that time we broke that window with the pineapple? Oh man, that was so funny!
Okay! I'll tell you! Back off, man! Settle down! Show some ... PATIENCE! Yes, that's the topic for today, because zombies have great patience. And I don't mean they have great patients because they bite people's faces off, although this is true. I mean they have great patience, and because of that they have great resilience and persistence and pusistence .
See, if a zombie is chasing after someone to nibble, munch and chew on their brain, and they're an old-school zombie, they don't have great speed. Generally, the person is going to be faster. But zombies have patience. They know it's the long haul that's important. They keep chasing. They stay patient. If things go their way and they get a brain straight away, awesome! If not, they just keep going, shuffling on, knowing their time will come, that there will be more and maybe better opportunities, that the brain holder will get tired or stumble or be so scared they'll do something stupid and then it's brain munchin' time!
They're patient. And if they are patient, they create a patient ... and lunch.
How does this relate to you? Well, I'll tell you, but first, hey, do you remember that time we laughed so hard that you fell off your chair and broke your arm? That was so funny.
Be patient. Keep working and improving and making whatever you do so good they can't ignore you. Everything is such a rush these days, we all want everything now, everything has to be at our fingertips. Yeah, well some zombies don't even have fingertips! Did you ever think about that?
Okay, on that note, I'm outta here. There are some strange sounds outside and the sky was orange this morning, which was kind of weird and apocalyptic.
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