Monday, January 16, 2012

On Writers and Plumbers

I had a rotten week.  Last week actually stunk, too.  Both were related to writing and publishing, but I don't want to get into the details here.  The result is I didn't feel like writing or marketing or talking about them. (Still don't, actually.)

So what am I doing about it?  I'm writing and marketing and talking about them. 

I'm in this as a career, and if you've read this blog before, you know I use the plumber analogy.  Plumbers don't refuse to fix your sink because they "aren't feeling inspired."  They don't sit around the house depressed that "the wrench has left them."  Some, I'm sure continue on by inertia, but I'm betting others (and probably many of the working force) face times like this by remembering why they are doing what they do, whether because they need the money or because people are depending on them or the boss will be angry or because they know that they enjoyed this job before and will again.

In those dry days and weeks, when I don't wake up full of excitement to get on the computer, I approach writing and marketing the same way.  I have a basic schedule to help promote inertia.  I remind myself there are readers and publishers out there who like my work and want to see more. I market because I know my publishers are depending on me to promote my books.  I teach classes and publish my 30-Minute Marketer newsletter because I know there are new writers who want to hone their craft and I have knowledge that will help.  I do it because I am my own boss, and I will feel worse about myself if I let my mood stop me from writing because then I not only let myself sulk, but I failed to accomplish anything toward my personal goals.

Most of all, I write when I don't want to because I know I will enjoy it.  Even in a bad mood, my stories turn out fine because the characters are talking, are living out the story.  It's not about me.  And when I do get out of my funk (and I always do), I'll have that much more story under my belt to work with or continue from.  And I will love it and myself again.

So here I am, at the tail end of two lousy weeks where I've wondered, "Why bother?  Does anyone even care--and why should I?"  But if I look at my list, I see that just this week, I

* Met with 4 committees of the CWG and came up with game plans for 2012
* Published the 30-Minute Marketer
* Wrote 4500 words in The Old Man in the Void, plus revised several chapters.
* Started my podcaster contact list (35 names so far.  Are you a podcaster who interviews authors?  Contact me and I'll put you on my list.)
* Taught my Worldbuilding 101 Class through Lesson Four.  (Worldbuilding 201 starts Jan 30!)
* Updated my publicity package.
* Updated a couple of social network profiles
* Updated the Zombie Death Extreme website (need the ftp info from the publisher before publishing it)
* Did the first round of line edits on Live and Let Fly.
* Wrote this blog.

I must admit that even looking at this list, I don't feel especially good about last week, but I do know I feel better than if I'd let my mood keep me from doing anything.


Fr Jim Tucker said...

My grandfather was a plumber. I know from working with him and his workers that plumbers would be in big trouble if they started daydreaming.

Yet daydreaming is a valid part of fiction writing.

On the other hand, one can learn something about tenacity in writing from plumbers. When I was a daydreaming kid, told to sweep grandpa's garage, I would lazily dust the broom over the concrete surface, not knowing or caring whether I did anything productive with it. My grandpa would come along and show me that "you have to get mad at it," meaning, put a little vigor in the action. He demonstrated by taking the broom and attacking the floor with it.

Kudos, grandpa. I learned something about writing from a dedicated plumber.

Fr. Jim Tucker

anarchist said...


Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

I recently put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly dark fantasy.

I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

If so, please email me: Let me know what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy.

You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:

I'm also happy to do interviews, guest posts, or giveaways. Just let me know what you'd prefer.


Karina Fabian said...

Fr. Jim,

Daydreaming is indeed part of the writing process, similar to staring at the backed up drain and thinking about the causes, if that's not extending the analogy too far. However, when you spend all your time dreaming and not doing anything about it, that can lead to trouble. And sometimes, daydreaming doesn't help, and you just need to write. It's the equivalent of applying Drano to a clogged drain.

And now that analogy has gone where none have gone before.

Anarchist, thanks for pointing that out. I changed some things on the website, and the contact image got lost. I'll fix that this weekend. Alas, I don't read dark fiction. I creep out way too easily.

However, I have two suggestions for you: One, go to, which is where I have a list of review sites. Bet you'll find some reviewers there. Also, my friend, Tim Marquiz, is calling for submissions for a dark fantasy/horror anthology; check it out at

anarchist said...

No problem. Thanks anyway.

Tribeca Plumber said...

Very Well written post ! I just read it and you have some really great ideas! I know you'll accomplish your organizing goals this year,