Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing My Ass Off!

Writing to pay bills has always been a fear of mine. "What if I become a hack, churning out the next book just to pay the light bill? What would happen to my artistic integrity?" I didn't see how anyone could give an honest effort while cranking out three or four books a year. Now, even though I have a full-time job, this economy has so decimated my savings that I have had to up my writing output to keep food on the table. This terrified me at first. All my fears of becoming a hack resurfaced. "How could I feed my family with my writing and not compromise myself?"

I remembered Stephen King's output in the eighties. I read then that he wrote 2,000 words a day. I write around 850 words a day. That's not exactly balls to the wall. I have more ideas for stories in my head than I could ever possibly write this year or next. So, I am not at a lost for inspiration. I am not struggling to come up with the next book and churning out whatever I can just to make a quick buck. That would suck, for both you as a reader and me as a writer. I'd rather starve.

Every book I have written in the last year has been one that has been on my mind for at least two years prior to me putting pen to page and some had been sitting unfinished for ten years or more. The stories I'm coming up with now will probably not get written for a year or two at the least. I write as much as I possibly can without taking too much time from my family or risking divorce or insanity.

What I have found is that necessity not only breeds creativity, but it spawns the motivation to actually give life to the ideas languishing in one's mind. An overdue power bill is a great impetus to get off one's ass and write. I cannot imagine how much longer Sacrifice might have remained unfinished had I not needed to pay the rent or when or if I would have ever finished Amber Alert or written SKINZZ. Would I have even begun my collaborations with Andre Duza or J.F. Gonzalez had I not been unemployed from March to September? Probably not.

Writing three or four books a year while working full-time, training fighters, and raising three kids and a wife ain't easy. Don't get me wrong. My point is that it does not necessarily lead to a decrease in the quality of one's work as an artist. Some authors, like Brian Keene, have done some of their best work since they became full-time writers. If I had more time to write, and didn't need the money, I'd probably write a helluva lot less and many of the books my readers now enjoy would not even exist. Hell, I wrote The Resurrectionist under a time crunch and finished the last 17,000 words in one weekend and I would go so far as to say that it is one of my best books with one of the best endings I've ever written. So, more time is not necessary for better quality when it comes to art. And it appears that my fears of becoming a hack have (so far) been for nothing.

Despite my enormous output the last two years, I still have more ideas than time to write them. My novel about a former Ugandan child soldier being chased through Death Valley by subhuman cannibals remains uncompleted. My novel about an interracial couple involved in a cruel BDS&M game is only half complete. My zombie(ish) novel has yet to be written. There's a collaboration I've been meaning to start with one of your favorite extreme horror authors that I have not gotten around to yet. The sequel to Population Zero is still bouncing from brain cell to brain cell, but has yet to make it onto the page. I've got a novella to write for Sinister Grin Press next year that is still just a pile of notes. I am trying hard to finish Prey Drive by January and I just came up with an idea for a screenplay. That's seven or eight projects right there that will carry me through 2013. So no dearth of ideas here.

What's funny in all of this, is that even writing three or four books a year, I feel like I'm not writing enough. I keep remembering Stephen King's 2,000 words a day and thinking: "Damn. I'm a fucking slacker." I need to get my ass in gear! So, I'm setting a goal for myself of 8,000 words a week until Prey drive is complete. That's the goal. Now, if I can just get my slave-driver of a muse to back off and let me concentrate on one project before filling my head with new ideas, I should make it. Wish me luck!


Dewaine said...

Good luck, Wrath. Your blog and writing continue to be a great motivator...

CaskStrength said...

Hey Wrath,

Love your books, would love to help out by buying more of them.

Just wish more ebook versions of your Deadite Press releases were available...I know it's not your fault, but us Nook and Kindle readers are getting left out in the dark!

Wrath said...

Thanks and I am working on those ebooks.

Maurice Broaddus said...

Your level of productivity is going to make me feel guilty for all of MY slacking...

Hunter Shea said...

Dude, just keep writing. I agree that necessity is a great motivator. Plus, when times are tough, getting away and writing is amazing stress relief. It's working for you because your stuff is the shit!

Pointless said...

Honestly I'm really enjoying you working your ass off :) Picked Pure Hate, which I'm almost done and loving every second of it. Going to have to read it twice since I've now had it for 4 hours and only 61 pages left. And have my shiny new copy of Like Porno and Sacrifice coming soon. All I can say is thank the infernal Lords that you have so many things coming out! I'm with CaskStrength on the ebooks too as I'm far from being able to financial keep up with all of your stuff and there is a few that would be great to have as ebooks, until the day I can buy a physical copy. I love your stuff and makes me happy knowing that what little money I have to spend is going to a great writer. Hack or not you will always have my meager support!!

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

As long as you keep enjoying what you are doing then that's great, cause I'm gonna keep buying up everything you put out. Everything you've done has been something new and inventive, and all have been triple A titles.

Jack Staynes

Marion I. Lipshutz said...

So if you are a humanist, why are you posing on your blog photo in clothing associated with the religion of ancient Egypt - a very d anti-humanistic place with dictatorial rulers who were slave owners? This (mostly secular) Jewish feminist was just wondering . . .

Wrath said...

Hello Marion,

Please forgive my straightforwardness. I know no other way.

Why am I wearing an Egyptian costume? Hmm? Because who gives a fuck? How about because it's sexy?

I am not one of those reactionary extremists who ascribes symbolic meaning to everything and walks some sort of politically correct tightrope. How about we avoid wearing dresses inspired by the toga because the Ancient Romans held slaves, tortured and executed their own citizens for sport, and conquered and enslaved nations? How about we eschew the wearing of boots because their militaristic appearance, which might bring to mind images of Nazism? A stretch? Okay, well how about we avoid wearing jewelry because of the millions of Africans who are murdered in wars over gold, silver, and the diamond trade? Ooooh! And how about we avoid wearing clothing all together since so much of it is manufactured using child labor or by workers laboring in unsafe conditions for subsistence wages? It gets silly rather quickly. I'll just stick with "Because who gives a fuck."

iceclimbr said...

Hey man, just discovered your blog through another website..can't wait to check out your writing. Sounds sick!

Anonymous said...

this economy is sucking BIGTIME for all of us.i am happy with any book you are able to get around to finishing and getting far as your comment about not wanting to be a hack goes,
when looking at everything you've previously written (i have most of your books and keep looking for more)
i do not see how anyone would ever dare to call you a hack some day.
if some asshole would do this then
do the easy thing, log-on to the hell correspondence website and banish them to hell (untie and pull the string) i.e. the hell girl anime it couldn't hurt.
you are definitely one of my fave authors , and thanks for doing what you do.
also , all the complainers and whiners, nitpickers,can all foad.
whiney ass bitches!!!