It’s been a while since I’ve written something for HorrorTree. Almost nine months, actually. That’s so long that some of you have impregnated/been impregnated and given birth, or watched your lady giving birth holding a video camera in one hand and a beer in the other (at least I think that’s how it works). Ya’ll got families now, and I haven’t written a new post. Or much of anything for that matter.
But I’m not dead either.
And I’m not ready to die.
A lot of shit has happened since my last post all the way back in… fucking November. Holy shit that’s a long time. Since then, I’ve signed a contract for a novel co-written with my good friend an all-around baddass, Ken MacGregor, and we’ve plunged halfway into a sequel. I sold my first story at pro-rates, and done a couple stints on the ever amazing Wicked Library podcast.
And most importantly, in what feels like a really long time coming, in a few weeks my first ever solo release, Squidfucked, will squirt itself into the marketplace through the Monsterection imprint of Strangehouse Books.
I also quit my job and moved from Dayton, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a long overdue and exciting change. My new gig is nothing writing related, but it’s a great opportunity. I’ve got a lot of flexibility, have a strong hand in controlling my own destiny, which to me is worth more than a guaranteed 40+ hours a week. And ultimately, as the smoke of it all clears, I should have more time to write.
However, my routine is completely totaled, just fucked right in the face, and I feel like I’m starting all over again, only with a lot more pressure this time because I’ve got invitations and obligations to fulfill. I’ve seen some success since I started and I want to build on that and continue it and my expectations for myself are high, but I’m not fucking doing anything about it.
You should never slow down because once you do it’ll be too easy to stay slowed down. Like quitting smoking, you sneak a cigarette here and there and next thing you know you’re right back on the cancer train. For writers it’s a day off, or a week off and then the next thing you know you don’t know what the fuck happened. Try and avoid it at all costs. I wish I would’ve, but I didn’t and here I am, writing this blog, trying to beat some sense into myself to turn the goddamn internet off, close the books, put my ass in the seat and fulfill promises I’ve already made to myself, friends, other writers, and publishers.
Before I left, I got to go out for a few beers with an old creative writing professor from my college days who I’m now proud to call a friend. His name is Brady Allen and if you’ve ready any of my posts over the years, his name should be familiar. He and another former classmate, who’s doing some good work of his own, Christopher Calhoun, met up with me before I left.
We shot the shit as writers do, talking good books, good markets, good stories, good movies. When it came to what we were currently working on, there was kind of a lull. Christopher has been going gangbusters, but me and Brady have kind of been on the decline for whatever reasons.
Brady helped me out a ton though, with one painfully simple concept and I’m going to eat it up, use it, and give it right back to all of you. Especially those of you struggling for whatever reason.
I know that Stephen King says 2,000 words a day. Michael Crichton says 10,000 a day, and that some of your facebook friends have done more in a day than you have in a month. Don’t get discouraged. Brady Allen gave me an excellent answer to all of this. Are you ready?
Fifteen minutes a day. Write. No Facebook, no phone, no bullshit. Just fifteen minutes a day. That’s the goal.
I looked at him like he was nuts and he already knew what my question/criticism was going to be and had the perfect answer.
“It’s just my goal,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I won’t fucking smash it and write for six hours when I get the chance, but I set something small and achievable and even if it is only those fifteen minutes, they do add up. I feel good about accomplishing my goal, and I feel great when I exceed it, which I’ve put myself in a position to do often.”
When I first started, I went bananas writing with every free second, Christ, I did weekly posts for this very website for MONTHS. Holy god. But I was also a lot younger, at a much different place in life, wasn’t even working full time. Maybe I’ll get back there, and maybe I won’t, but I can get back to some level of regular productivity and Brady Allen, once again, even when he didn’t have to, showed me the light. I should’ve bought his beers that night haha. But if I ever buy his drinks, I gotta make sure it’s some hipster shit.
I’m finishing this around 10pm on September 1. [Editor’s Note: I have no excuse for not getting this posted sooner.] I’ve been in my new city and new job for almost a month now. I guess you could say I’m settled. I’ve got to get my shit together and get this shit going again, so it might as well be today.
No excuses. No bullshit.
If you’ve been in a rough spot because of the promise of a beautiful summer, work, real life, tragedy, your kids being around more/getting back to school, or depression or a transition, or whatever it’s been, I challenge you to shoot for 15 minutes a day and don’t start tomorrow.
For those like myself who were once insanely prolific and tapered off, or those trying to take the first slash at this overwhelming beast. I’m sharing with you the best piece of advice I’ve gotten in a long, long time. Just promise me you won’t start tomorrow.
Never let it die.
Keep reading, keep writing, and keep it real,