So it seems that “mega-author” John Scalzi is having trouble getting writing in–because of President Trump, and recent bad weather (which did not directly impact where he lives.)
Author Brian Niemeier already commented on this development far better than I can, and his post triggered Scalzi so much that he publicly called out Brian (and linked to his post, which likely resulted in a nice traffic boost.) Scalzi also even spent time replying to comments on that tweet, showing just how much he doesn’t care….
I just have a few comments, on the topic of author productivity. Even setting aside the unspoken promise that authors make to readers when they start a series, productivity is an important attribute for authors to have–most of us, at least. See, we don’t have a massive Tor contract to sit on, so we have to constantly work to promote ourselves and write more.
I’ve long heard from writers that it is important to write every day, and ever since I decided that I wanted this to be my career, I’ve done my darndest to write as much as I could. I didn’t keep careful track of word counts, but I’ve written at least one book (over 120,000 words each) in each of the last several years. This I did while studying for my Master’s degree, writing my 45,000 word thesis, which I have recently published, and move from New York to Israel, where I spent my first 5+ months in a work/Hebrew study program that gave me limited time to write. It was during then that I managed to get all of my editing, and other preparations for my first book, A Greater Duty, ready for publication.
My daily wordcount has dropped of late, as I’m still getting used to living on my own, working on trying to get better at marketing, short fiction, and am preparing for when I will be drafting to the Israel Defense Force in just over two months for a year and a half of service. However, I still make sure to do at least some writing every day, and it’s always on my mind, no matter what else is going on in my personal life or worldwide.
Going back to my incoming draft date, I am well aware that my writing time will be vastly limited, most so in my first few months while in training. That said, there are still no excuses for me not to do what I can. To that end, I am making preparation to make it as easy as possible to write what I can during that time. Most likely, it’ll just be short fiction, hopefully on a regular basis, that ties in to the universe in which A Greater Duty, and its upcoming sequel, A Looming Shadow, takes place in. Oh, I also will be releasing one book (for which the writing and editing are already done), and hope to have another ready for release at the end of my service. Only time will tell how successful I will be at hitting these goals, but even if I fall short, I will nevertheless have done what I could. There are no valid excuses for whining that you can’t write. Any writer worth their salt should have no trouble getting stuff done. A bad day or two is understandable, but to seriously claim that for months one was unable to get work done–when under contract, which means that you are not simply responsible for yourself, but the company paying you–is inexcusable. Was Scalzi telling the truth about precisely why his productivity has dropped? I don’t know. This could be virtue signaling to cover up for his crumbling under the pressure of a massive contract, as some have suggested. It doesn’t matter.
There are no good excuses for prolonged periods of “no being able to get words out,” in my humble opinion. Were I comfortably making a living off my writing now, I can say with absolute certainty that my productivity would be through the roof, both because I love what I do, and because it’s a key to success as an indie writer. I honestly don’t understand writers who somehow can’t get their work done, and I’d love for someone to offer an explanation.
That said, I’m going to get back to work on a short story that’s been giving me some trouble, and I hope you’re all getting writing done as well.
You can help me get closer to that goal by picking up my debut novel, A Greater Duty, over on Amazon, and signing up for my mailing list ensures that you will get new, free short fiction (hopefully) on a monthly basis.