Triple digits baby. One hundred epic episodes of Horrible Writing. Whoever would have thought this would have worked out like this. I've got some wonderful writer friends, author friends, joining me in this episode. So let's celebrate.
Welcome to Horrible Writing. The rawest, most candid, in your face writing show on the interwebs, because none of us have time to suck. Let's do this.
Hey everybody. Paul sating; your host for 100 episodes of Horrible Writing. I hope this finds you absolutely well. I'm a little jazzed.
Sure, it has nothing to do with the fact that it's 1:00 on a Friday, I'm done teaching, our boss released us early, it's sunny, and it's the summer in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm highly caffeinated. None of those things - it's one of those cases of causation doesn't mean correlation type of thing- yeah, that's what's happening here.
I'm jazzed. One: because I've been behind schedule on a million things because I have a million and two things going on, and I'm starting to get back in control of those things. Though three audiobooks are staring me at me in the face and I've got to get working on those.
That aside, I'm getting control of my writing life. And I'm getting support from the community for here and for The Stories We Tell, which is a relatively new occurrence and I'm diggin' it. I really appreciate the fact that I feel people are appreciating what I'm putting together out there. So, to all of those who go on over to Patreon - patreon.com/paulsating - and you patron me; thank you very much. You just don't know how much that helps and how much that means. And I seriously mean that.
To people like Tim Forbourgh, Sierra Pea, Melanie Brounoff, Alison Rich, Zane D., Paul Desmall; you all have come on recently, and I'm not even what sure which show it was for, but it doesn't matter. Maybe it's not one of the shows; maybe it's some of the fiction. Those things really, really, really mean the world to me. The support for this show has been wonderful. It started long ago, and it continues and is growing exponentially today - to this point.
It is the 2nd of August when I'm recording this. The episode will go public on the 19th, and it's been humbling and absolutely wonderful along this path. And that's what I want to do in this 100th episode is; I want to talk about that journey from where I was to where I am. And it's not just, "Hey, everybody, look at me!" It's all of us together.
I'm very big on community and people supporting each other. And with Horrible Writing, I resisted for the longest time in setting up a formal community for this show. S.L. Baron, you have heard her and her fiction on The Stories We Tell if you're listening to that - if you're not, please go support that by downloading; streaming. Flash fiction monthly contest that we have with tons of authors that contribute their talents. She's been in there from the beginning, but she's been here from the beginning. She was one of my very first listeners, and she was the first person to bug me about setting up a Horrible Writing Facebook group.
She really believed I needed one for the show, and I basically just denied her for a year-ish. Somewhere in that range. And then I realized that I can't be that selfish. And I believed in people. That when the work got too hard, that people would come through for me. And they did. I want to talk about that later. Because there's some special people I actually want to celebrate. And I want to give them their time; they're doing that focus.
Throughout this episode, I'm going to pause and let you hear from some of my past guests. I asked some of them to come on and just kind of share where they were when they came on, and where they are now and what they're doing. Because again, I believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. If we all work together instead of against each other, we all win. So I was honored that a number of them came back around and let us know about their updates. And I'm going to share those. I'm excited to share those with you throughout the episode. But let's start at the beginning.
In the beginning, "Good always . . . " I don't even remember the words. When I was a young boy, Mötley Crüe had an album called Shout at the Devil. And the intro opening to that album had this little clip of somebody with a very gorgeous, deep baritone voice talking about in the beginning, "Good always overpowered the evils of all man's sins. But in time, the nations grew weak, and our cities fell to slums as the evil stood strong." And then it went on and on. I literally just unlocked out of my brain. And I realized the power of story in other mediums; at that age, well before the internet. Well before the podcast because #imold.
And I'd already been writing. You all know this story. Second-grade writing contest. Fell in love with writing. It was something I knew I wanted to do, but storytelling always stood out to me; that it could be done in different mediums. Television's a no brainer. I didn't realize it could be done in radio. I didn't realize that musically you could tell stories. Mötley Crüe's that first example for me.
Years later, Queensryche did a concept album - I'd never heard of that - it was called Operation: Mindcrime. Then I found out about Pink Floyd that was done even earlier, but it just wasn't my jam then; until I got older and I appreciated the softer music.
But storytelling is incredibly addicting. I love it. I love every aspect of it. And that's why I started this. Because I have that passion. I still do, and I don't foresee me not ever. And I looked at the writing podcast landscape, and I saw a lot of writing podcasts which were about craft. Which, there is nothing wrong with that. But I didn't see anybody being open and honest from the beginning to the end. I didn't see anybody being open and honest about personal things; on writing podcasts.
Now I've done other things. And I'm okay with being open and honest. I'm comfortable with who I am as a person because I'm not a scum bag. I'm a pretty nice guy, but I can be an ass from time to time if you're not cool to other people. So I'm an interesting character, to say the least. And if there isn't something there that I want, I'm going to create it. I'm going to go take my space. Something that I've begged you all to think about doing; to take your space.
Believe in yourself. Nobody else is going to believe in you until you believe in you. And we all come from different places. We all have different things happen to us. We all have privileges in one respect or another, and we all have disadvantages in one respect or another. But there's one thing that's common to all of us. And some people just need to flip that switch. And that is the aspect of empowerment: self-empowerment.
Nobody's going to respect you. Nobody's going to give you opportunities. Nobody's going to believe in you until you do yourself. The things that always helped me with that was giving myself the allowance to fail. Being okay with failing, whatever that means. I don't really believe in failing. I don't. If I played sports, and I lost, I lost. If I'm playing a video game and I lose, I lost. Which I hate doing to my friends because they talk too much smack. If I don't finish first in something, eh, whatever.
But that doesn't mean that I don't take things seriously. I am addicted to this writing thing. I love it. I love creating. I love putting things out into the world. I love helping other authors get there too. Nobody is a competitor of mine. Nobody. You're going to hear from Andy Peloquin later in the show; writes fantasy. Not a competitor. Much more successful than me. Still not a competitor. I believe in helping him, and people helping each other because that's how we get ahead.
But if you don't believe in yourself, there's not much I can do for you. I can't give you this platform to help you launch if you don't believe in you. That you don't believe you have a right to be. And you do. People are going to doubt you. People are going to tell you that your writing sucks. That it's no good. That they've read better grocery lists. You have to make that choice. You have to decide to buy the lie or not. And I'm asking you to not buy that lie. I'm asking you to metaphorically shove that message back down that person's throat.
You have space regardless of what you're writing, who you are, or your skill level. But - and here comes part of the message that scares people away sometimes - you also have a responsibility. You have to do the hard work. You have to read a lot. You've got to go research a lot to figure out how these things work. Life doesn't get handed to anybody. It's only those who take the opportunities when they present themselves. And guess what? You don't get opportunities - that window; that door? - they don't open for you unless you're standing right there in the front of the line.
And how do you get to the front of the line? You work your ass off. And you get smart about how you can leverage the benefits that you do or the advantages that you have. If you are a popular podcaster because of a certain demographic supporting everything you do, you have a door that at some point will be open for you. But have you done the hard work to get there?
Do you not write every single day? You write whenever the muse strikes you. And lately, that's been a couple days a month; a couple hundred words at a time. When that door opens, and you're 15th in line, you have no one to blame but yourself. You have to sacrifice things. You have to define your priorities based on what your goals are, and you've got to work those priorities.
Empowerment through candor was the first message; I hope - the first clear message that this show ever served people. The first title, the first episode released - well, actually three of them. I launched three episodes at once - but released on the 5th of July 2017. So over two years ago. Called, "Be Epic." And that's really what being epic is about: is understanding that you've got to work your ass off. You are accountable to you. You can only blame you. And when you get knocked back down, it's up to you to pull yourself back up because nobody's going to do it for you.
And throughout the previous 99 episodes of the show, one of the underlying messages that's always been there through the stand-alone episodes or the author interviews, was that everybody falls down. Everybody trips and face plants. We get our noses bloodied. But the measure of a person is determined in that moment. Do they lay on the ground, pouting, kicking and screaming, unmoving? Or, do they reach out to a passerby and ask for a hand up? Or if there are no passersby, do they pull themselves back to their feet no matter how much of a struggle it is, and get back on their feet and start walking again?
Those of you who were here from the beginning - or you went back and enjoy the entire catalog because you're crazy like that, or even if you just go look at the show description; wherever you find this - you see what the tag is. That descriptor. No nothing writer to, hopefully, published author.
When I started this show in the summer of 2017, I had no idea if I could publish or not. But I knew a couple things. I knew my work ethic is unrivaled by most people. When I sink my teeth into something - something is that damn important to me - I'm going to do it. I'm going to chase it. I'm gonna work and work and work. That's my belief. You don't get things. Things don't get handed to you. You have to work for them.
But I didn't know if I could publish. I knew nothing; literally nothing about the self-publishing space. I made those sacrifices, though. I educated myself. I consumed everything I had time to, while also being a father, a husband, a full-time employee, having four podcasts at the time. I don't have time. Nobody has time. Time is just an excuse. Time is a concept; concept that is concrete. We know how much time we have every single day. So I don't fall for that stuff about, "I don't have time." People have time; they just don't wanna prioritize it. And saying that they don't have time is a rationalization that allows them to continue to not sacrifice.
I didn't have time, and I didn't use to get up at 4:45 or even earlier nowadays. In 2017, to get this done, I would get up at 5:30 for a 7:30 workday. Work on some scripts, etc. etc. When I started seeing the promise, is when I started adjusting. I didn't see the promise right away. I didn't see the promise in any of this.
The beginning episodes of the show are a little brash. I was trying to go for an angle that wasn't really genuine. And thankfully one of the members of the Horrible Writing community named Dohai - he wrote the second season of Diary of a Madman podcast, and he's an aspiring author; he's working on some stuff - he test listened. And he told me, "Eh, it's not really you." And he knew. And that's why you'll see a definite change between those first couple episodes - the first handful of episodes - and what came later. What came later was the empathy; it wasn't all about brashness.
Now, yes, I haven't changed those show's intro and those show's outro, but that's because I've got too many other things going on and #priorities. But I figured the brashness wouldn't necessarily convey the message. And thankfully, he was cool enough to just kind of give me his personal take on that, and it helped me see the light.
So that's when I started being real about me, the fears, the anxiety, the self-destructive thoughts, the envy, all of that stuff. And in sharing those messages, that's when I was talking to Raul Vega - an audio dramatist- and he mentioned, "Hey, you should talk about ego sometime." And I said, "Hey, that's a great idea. Why don't you come on the show?"
I did not want this to be an interview show. I have too many other things going on to do all the logistics that are required to do an interview. It's about finding people; it's about researching them. It's about going back-and-forth and trying to find a topic that they could talk to. It's about scheduling stuff. It's about doing it. And oh, by the way, those interview episodes are four times as long as a regular one.
But then I started hearing from you. And you all really enjoy those. And you all love my little neat idea about including a horrible writing experience for each one of those. And that's the first point about this community that I wanted to address. That authors will come on, and actually share topically whatever topic they chose to talk about on the show, they shared in-depth. And then they took it to the next level and shared horrible writing experiences. For the longest time, authors were told, "You don't do that. That's a branding issue." But I don't believe that. And I believe being vulnerable makes you more human. And then you - the audience - get to hear these authors as more human.
I get to enjoy it when I'm talking to them and know that I'm not talking to a corporate icon on the other side of the mic; not talking to some branding machine. I'm talking to a human being who just happens to write stuff no matter how successful. And I think that's one of the biggest highlights that ever came out of this.
I don't do it as much now. There will be some coming in the future; some really cool people. But I don't focus so much on those, again, because I'm diving deeper into this writing journey. So let's take you over and away, before we talk about the writing journey and the evolution, to our first guest update.
I'm Tim Niederriter, and I'm the creator of The Pillar Universe, The Mangrove Suite and the rest of the Rain Protocol series, and many other books actually at this point. So that will be what we stick with for now because that's what I'm focusing on. So, I was on an episode of Horrible Writing back in 2018 - January 2018. And I talked about anxiety. And I've honestly have had some major struggles with anxiety. Since then, I'm still dealing with it. But I'm getting past it because the more I focused on just writing the stories, the easier it gets.
Focusing on what you're going to do with the book; that's a tricky thing. Focus on writing your stories; that's what I try to do. Anyway, that's the main change is I'm getting better at dealing with my anxiety but not as quickly as I'd like, honestly.
So I've been writing books. I've been writing science-fiction mostly; that's The Pillar Universe series. But I plan to be moving forward as of this recording onto some fantasy, back to my first love kind of. The epic fantasy stuff that Paul’s probably talking about a lot now. I'm looking at releasing a series called Temple Theatre in the near future. That's kind of my focus in that regard. But because I write so many books I'm having a hard time judging when stuff will be coming out.
But thanks for paying attention - and search that stuff up. You’ll find it if it's out there. And if not, it will be out there soon. You can expect to see more Pillar Universe books, the Temple Theatre series within 2019. And if not late 2019, early 2020. So thanks, and have a good one folks!
By Episode 17, November 19, 2017, a few months after the show started, I had my book cover and my first editor. I wasn't playing around. I figured if I'm going to put myself out there to the world, showing up, "Hey look, I'm a no nothing, but I want to be a something in terms of writing," I need to walk the walk. I need to set the example. I need to model that behavior. And I feel like I did that throughout because I think that's very important. I know it's very important. From talking about when I got that; talking about “It's Okay To Be You” in Episode 25.
Going through Episode 33, which I think - I know - helped a lot of people. It was only a ten-minute episode. But it was called, “A 100-Word Day's Okay.” I measure every word count every day. Because - there are stats to back this up - when you track performance, there's more accountability. The performance levels are higher because you can see objectively how you're performing.
Now that doesn't mean that it's better, because you could hit a word count of 1,000 words a day and have crap, right? But that's not the point of tracking work counts. It's about accountability. Butt in seat time. If writing, if publishing, is important - if finishing that audio drama script is important - your butt gets put in the seat. That means less video game time, less movie time, less outside time. This is what happens. This is why very few people do these things. Because they don't have that discipline, that drive, and that dedication. But there has to be a balance. And that's what I wanted to hit with that episode; was that balance.
By Episode 39, I already had somebody like Chris Fox on the show. Absolutely amazing to me. Susan Kaye Quinn had already been on. Kate Kenyon had been on. I followed that up with Paul Bay. I had great guests all along, all throughout, and more to come. All the way to Episode 56-57, where I had Dave Chesson from Kindlepreneur and Joanna Penn - back to back episodes.
I talked about my pre-orders. I talked about being addicted to writing and needing more balance. I didn't hide any of these things from you. I didn't want to. I never did, and I never will. That's not the right way to do business; I don't think. Being honest and being real - empowerment through candor.
About your mindset: Episode 76 - talking about the power of "Can." Tell me how you can do something, stop telling me why you can't. Mindset's so, so incredibly important if you're going to push through this. You have to be able to push through it, but if that's what you want to do - if this is what you want to do - you have to find those sustainable mechanisms.
Let's pause here for another author update.
Hi, this is Jamie Killen. I'm the creator of Spines, Mirrors, and The Six Disappearances of Ella McCray. We talked about fear and horror and how to use that in your work. I don't think my thoughts on that have changed at all. But I do have some new projects.
So the biggest thing is that I have a novel coming out soon. It's called Red Hail. I'm in the editing phases. And there should be a release date pretty soon. The other thing that's coming up is the second season of Mirrors, which I'm expecting to be released probably in September. And following that, the second season of Six Disappearances. So, yeah, that's what's going on with me. Happy 100th episode!
And now here we are; the summer of 2019. I have three things published. And then both RIP and The Scales, which I've been talking about on the show for far too long, are ready. Both books are ready. The only thing holding those back from the world is I need to finish producing the audiobook for RIP, finish the audiobook for Chasing the Demon, finish the audiobook - fixing the audiobook - for Twelve Deaths of Christmas, and then I get back into the recording of the audiobook for The Scales.
That stuff's probably going to get moved around since Twelve Deaths of Christmas and Chasing the Demon have been out there for over a year now. So, it doesn't necessarily make sense for me to hold current works because of those audiobooks. I'll just go add those at a future time.
And it's really cool sitting here knowing that by the end of 2019 I'll have five things published. I'll have Crown of Thieves, a medieval fantasy audio drama for my patrons going on. That's going slow. And it has to go slow because the bill's got to get paid and audio drama doesn't pay the bills. So the audiobooks have to get done first. And I have done that. It's kind of one of those things, recurring themes, that has been a problem that I love sharing with you all because I hope - to not discourage you, but to arm you and prepare you.
Ego is a huge problem. Something I think a lot of us struggle with. But something you need to struggle with to overcome. To learn how to armor yourself and become stronger in the face of it. Because it can be destructive to an author. Not just, "Hey, my writing sucks," but the stuff like comparisonitis. I hate it, and I try to avoid it, but I'm human, and I do it.
As a matter fact, on my other computer monitor - while we're recording - I have the Apple podcast page for the show up. So I have the dates and the episode titles in front of me. And I see the ratings and reviews. Well, I can see the ratings. The reviews are a little hidden. But the show's got all five stars. But it's only got 15 of them. This is Episode 100. And I can go look at other writing podcasts that give less content, and less focus, and see how many they have. And it's discouraging. And then I have to stop - and I literally went through this just now because my recording got interrupted by my little Chihuahua protecting the house - and I need to stop.
And as much as I tell you, "Hey, look, do these things," please always remember that on the other side of this microphone I'm struggling just like you. That's where this advice comes from. If you don't have anything out there yet, into the void, you might not experience this yet. But I want you to keep this in mind because it's common. When you put a creative thing out there, you're going to go through these.
Your ego will take shots. It's going to feel beaten up, trampled on, and you're going to ask yourself why. Why do you even bother? I do that all the time. Too much. And I'm still working on it. But I also have a responsibility to you to ensure that at least, if nothing else, at least I arm you with that information for you to consider for yourself. What am I going to do?
It's hard when you don't get reviews for your stuff. It's hard when you try to give things away, and you still don't get reviews. It's hard when you do get them, and they aren't complimentary. These are all the things I already knew coming into this. Because, again, I had years of podcasting. And I got a listen to what people who get a product for free felt like they could complain about. And so my skin got thickened long before I did this writing thing. If you haven't, it's something you need to prepare for. It's something you have to consider. It's a reality. It's going to happen.
Even silence is horrible. There's nothing worse than putting a creative thing out there in the world and getting silence. If somebody gives you a two-star with a moronic comment, at least you can go, "Ah, they're just a jerk." But if you put something out there, and you get nothing in return, that's tough folks. That is very tough. It hurts.
I've learned how to develop my ego. I've learned where to put my focus and my joy in these 100 episodes. I've learned that I just love creating. I love putting things out there. And no longer does it matter about reviews and sales and all those things. I just like creating. Yes, my goal hasn't changed at all. I still want to make my living off of creative pursuits. But I'm not going to throw that out a balance - another thing we've hit on over these 100 episodes.
Establishing those goals. Working towards those. But also remembering there's a lot in life that you can't control. It's not about what happens to you; it's how you react to it. And I'm doing this for the love of doing it. Of telling stories I want to tell.
Beyond that, there aren't many low lights for 100 episodes, which I'm grateful for. One of them being I can't be as engaged as I want to be with people on social media or anybody who writes into the show. I try my best, but just too much going on. That ego. That imbalance. That I can take on all this stuff that I still struggle with to this day. You'll see that as you continue down your own path. You'll have more and more ideas. More and more things you want to do, and you have to know how to deny them. If you ever figure that secret out, let me know, please, because I sure haven't got it.
All right, with that being said, let's go over to another author update.
So I am JV Torres. I am the writer and creator of The Rise of King of Asilas. And I want to talk about some of the things that have happened since appearing on the Horrible Writing program. I was in Episode 69 with the theme being "low expectations."
Since appearing on that show, a number of things have happened. I wrote a screenplay, a 10-minute screenplay, for a film based on The Rise of King Asilas. It's a film that I'm working on with John Doby and John Doby Entertainment. John Doby - who also appears on the show, he plays a character on the show; he is a seasoned actor and director - and I went up to Jersey earlier in the Spring to film this short piece for the show. So it's based on The Rise of King Asilas, but it also has its own little story in there. It's a short, short film. But as I'm learning, its a major, major undertaking to film something.
So working with actors is something that I've gotten to do since being on the program. And I've got to meet some really, really good people who are in the industry. And I'm learning a lot about the film industry being around them. And I have much, much higher expectations now. Not just for my own personal projects, but for King Asilas. So we're up in the game with King Asilas.
We have a really a small team now that I'm working with over the summer to improve the quality of the show. Taking on - learning new programs. We're going to be working with pro-tools and kind of upping the game, really, on a pro-level as much as possible to produce a much higher quality drama show. And Season 3 should really sound a lot clearer and a lot more - I think more pro-quality - is what we're aiming for. So the expectation there is a lot higher, and we're really, really excited about that. So that's one of the things that we're doing.
So by the time this airs, as I'm being told it's August - so, The Ordo is a screenplay, the short film we're doing is titled The Ordo, and it's based on King Asilas. And it should be out by August. There, or around, if not before.
Also, my first novel - the novel of the first installment of the King Asilas drama sage - it should be out in August as well. I'm just kind of finishing up that right now as I'm recording this. And well be spending the next couple of months refining it and putting it out there over the summer. So by the time this airs in August, it should be out or very close to being out. And available on Amazon probably. That's what we're aiming for.
I've really enjoyed being on the Horrible Writing program. I get to hear other people in the business, and I like to hear other - especially other people in the podcasting world. I got to collaborate since speaking, since making an appearance on the show. I've got to collaborate with other podcasters - other audio drama creators - and that has been really, really fun. And just kind of sharing other ideas and being part of that whole community has also opened up a lot of different opportunities for me. And got to meet some really, really fine individuals and creators. And that whole community really is special, and I'm just glad to be part of it.
So thank you, Paul. Thank you for letting me into your world. And thank you for letting me share mine with you and with your listeners. And together, I mean, we just keep plugging away. And I strongly support everything you do and always will - you know, unless you punch me in the face or something. All bets are off. I'm just kidding.
I love what you're doing, Paul, and hopefully, we can work together again. And as it turns out, you appeared on the show as a character and I really, really appreciate that. You're an awesome person, and I'm glad you were able to do that. Hopefully, you'll make another appearance in Season 3 which I'll be working on over the summer when this airs in August. Yeah, there's a lot of things going on. A very jammed pack summer. Thank you, Paul. Take care. I'm out.
What about the highlights? Well, the highlights are easy. The highlights are getting those books published; goal - bucket list achieved. I wanted to published a book before I died. I did it three times in 2018. Hopefully, if I can get these audiobooks done, I'll do it twice in 2019 while refining my processes to make this quicker for me. Even if that means some changes in the way I do podcasting. That's not meant to be ominous or anything along those lines. I've got things I've got to think about if I want to publish more.
But it's that. It's the author interviews. It's getting a chance to have conversations with everybody who's ever been on this show because they give. They give of their time, and their personal story to me and to you to make your journey a little easier. And to be the mechanism between what takes their lesson from their mouth to your ear, that means a lot to me. And I'm so humbled to have been part of that.
But then, you know, also getting those emails. You know, the opportunities aside, the chances to do writing stuff that I never would've had before is great. It really is. But the emails that I get from people about this show - I'm sure there are people get more from their listeners than I do, but again I'm not about craft. And I'm not going to give platitudes and just send you meaningless messages about, you know, how awesome everything is. Because things aren't awesome. This doesn't happen by miracle. The only thing that gets us to our goals is us. We do need help. We do need other people. We do need networks.
But it has to come down to us executing. And I understand that being very real with a lot of people is very difficult for them. They don't want to hear these things. They don't want to hear that, "You know, if you fail, it's because of you. You set your goals too high. You weren't realistic. You didn't set goals at all. You kind of just stumbled your way through. You didn't work hard enough. You didn't treat people well." All of those things.
People don't want to hear that. So I don't expect a whole lot of messages to come through. When I do get them, it is some of the most awesome stuff in the world. To know that people from around the world are hearing this show and it's touching them.
I have somebody from Australia even write last week and thanked me for the encouragement through this, and that really made a difference in their writing life. I don't know what that person will end up ultimately doing. I did ask them to check in from time to time. If they reach their goals, I want to hear about it because I want to celebrate with them. And I want to do it on the show. It's that important to me. It's that important to be real. Let's never lose sight of being real and to celebrate when folks do that.
Cheyenne Bramwell is a poet, also an aspiring author. But most of you know her from her poetry. She was on this show. She's here in this episode. And when she went and published her book of poetry collection this summer, in July, it was almost proud uncle moment. it really was. Somebody in the Horrible Writing family reaching a new goal. A new level.
And I do consider this a family. Which we'll talk about a little later after we hear from another author.
Hey all, I'm Andy Peloquin, author of the Hero of Darkness, and the new Heirs of Destiny series. Since I've been on the Horrible Writing podcast, I have continued to write like a madman. Well, not as quite as insanely as I was writing when I was talking with Paul on the Horrible Writing podcast.
I put out a 200,000-word book in about six weeks. Again, lots of hours spent writing. Pretty much following the same strategy I did before. But giving this series a little bit more time to breathe; let each scene come naturally. And I think it's turned out a whole lot better than I had originally planned. And definitely as good as I had hoped. So stay tuned for that series to air in 2019 - September. September is when the series starts coming out. Military, epic fantasy, sort of Rainbow Six; set in a fantasy world. You're going to love it.
Over these 100 episodes, I've learned about people processes and products. To steal from Marcus Lemonis, my man crush, who, if you don't know who he is - MSNBC I believe has his show The Profit. Not spelled like a religious prophet, like the word profit monetarily - and he talks about that. When he goes into a business, he looks at the people, the process, and the product. And as a disciple of Marcus's, that's something I do as well. And I have done, I've learned to do - applying it to writing in our 100 episodes together.
The product - the books - man have I grown. You haven't seen The Scales yet, but The Scales is a book that will actually be my newest release by the time you hear this or a few months after you hear this probably because of the audiobook. But it's also the oldest of the stories that I've published. And that's because I would do it as a side project. Because again, I can't focus one thing at a time. And yes, I'm being self-deprecating.
But seeing how much the writing - my writing - has grown from Chasing the Demon . . . When I read that now, which I did for the audiobook, I'm not happy with myself. But we all do that. Water under the bridge. Move on. Next step forward.
And I grew. I saw that growth in Twelve Deaths of Christmas. I saw that growth in RIP. And then when The Scales came around, I was actually very pleased. Structurally, there are things I will do differently so I can have a more entertaining story. But through my own growth - learning, listening to people, and implementing recommendations - I've seen where my storytelling could improve. And trust me, this is a lifelong thing. As long as I'm writing, there will always be things I can improve.
But at least now I have something I can focus on and leap from for the future. And also look back with a sense of pride. Say, "Hey, you've come a long way; be happy about that." Don't beat yourself up about how "poor" you think your earlier stuff was now - or is now. Just take a moment to celebrate where you are now and where you're going.
I'm working on a contemporary fantasy series because I want to make Crown of Thieves epic-sized. But I also need to publish, and I need to start making some money from publishing. So I will be working on Crown of Thieves, but because of how big I want to make it, I don't want to cheat future audiences or the story by streamlining it.
So I adjusted, and I'm going to be doing a contemporary fantasy series in between - after essentially The Scales comes out, there will be a book for the third season of Subject Found. And then it's all guns-a-blazing for this contemporary fantasy. But writing that, I finished that book already - it's August 2nd today like I said - I started on the 5th of July, which is weird, now that I think about it. I started that series that I'm really excited about, and I've gotten - I've received such positive feedback - better than I've ever felt and I feel like this is the magical moment.
Based on early readership - if you're a patron of this show, you already got chapter one; the draft. But I started it on the 5th of July - the two year anniversary of this show. And I finished it at the end of July. Three and a half weeks to write a 60,000 plus word book. I'm in my groove.
My product is improving each and every time, and that's my aim. To improve each and every time. I don't put that pressure on myself to write the perfect novel. Because there's no such thing as the perfect novel and it could always be better. Even the greatest novel ever could always be better. I'm not going to do that to myself. And I'm going to ask that you don't do that to yourself as well.
Let's follow up with one more author update.
Hey, Horrible Writing! Happy 100th episode. This is Marty Chester, and I write romantic fiction as M.K. Chester. I'm in Episode 51 of Horrible Writing, "Spurred to Write Beyond MS and Military Life." I still have MS, which I'm glad to say is under control. And I'm still in the military life; this time as a proud M.O.M. - Mom of Marine.
I'm also still writing. And since my episode, I've published a contemporary romance titled Ten Days and co-authored a dystopian new-age tale titled Ice Haven. Ice Haven was released last May as part of a box set, and my co-author Kim Cresswell and I are getting ready to re-release it as a first in series, individual title. Co-authoring has been a great learning experience for me, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with Kim as we turn out this exciting series.
Separate from that, I'm working on re-touring in the old urban fantasy series I wrote over ten years go. I'm getting it ready to publish. So look for those late 2019, early 2020.
Doing the podcast with Paul was great, and supplementing it with his Facebook group has given us all a forum to share information and encourage one another. So I thank you for the opportunity, and I look forward to as always, much, much more.
Processes. My editing. The reason I'm not going to hit my three-book goal this year is because of editing. My processes and my earlier writing, like The Scales, needed some work. I've shifted and adjusted how I have something in the pipeline at all times. I'm constantly working on those things. And improving those things. But also the processes itself.
I thought I submitted clean manuscripts in the past. But if you aren't, and I mean this within impassioned plea, if you aren't learning something from your editor - get a new editor. When I went with Cindy, who's my editor for The Scales - that's her first book of mine that she's done - the reason I'm so far behind on schedule is because, again, that was a start and stop project. It evolved within the starts and stops.
But the writing spanned over two years. I grew a lot in those two years, and it comes out in that story. And I had to spend a lot of time cleaning that up before I gave it to her. And then when I gave it to her, I was wowed. I now understand what it feels like to have that editor. She is that editor. She taught me. A lot. And that has benefited me now. As I edited the script at the same time, I made tweaks while she was editing The Scales. As I was writing Bitter Aries, which is that contemporary fantasy, her little head was floating over my shoulder.
I've learned. So my writing is tighter. My drafts will be tighter. They will get quicker. They will happen quicker. I will move them to the next stage quicker. And get to that next project more quickly, which is what I want. I want to produce. I want to get those things out there. So that takes time. I need to make sure she's available, and I need to be able to write to those deadlines, which is not something I did 100 episodes ago. In order to do that, I also have to clean up my priorities. Change some things about me; those processes. And that's what I will be doing.
I love audio drama, but it's a lot of work that does not pay. It doesn't support the things I need to do. It helps me find an audience, but when you have as many as I do, and they're as complex as they are, it's not just a single narrator talking over a drone sound effect; it takes a lot of time. That time slows me down.
So I had to make decisions. I had to look at my processes. Now, spending a lot of book time on those audio dramas. And that's something I'm not going to do anymore. I will go with Crown of Thieves for my patrons, and that's it. Everything else is going to die a slow, fading, death. But it has to for the name of the processes. I have to make those difficult and tough choices, which is what I've done.
It doesn't mean it's fun. It doesn't mean I enjoy it. It doesn't mean that I'm happy about it. I do suffer remorse. I do suffer longing, grief, and realizing that my audio drama career is essentially done and dusted. But again, what are my priorities? The priorities are those things that allow me to make money and make a living doing them. And audio drama is not that, unfortunately. So, we move forward. Let's stop here for another author update.
I'm Gwen Katz, and I'm the author of Among the Red Stars - a story about the Night Witches; Russia's female pilots in World War II. And I was on Horrible Writing recently talking about LGBT fiction and what it's like being an LGBT author.
Since I've been on the show, things have been exciting. I got an agent to represent my novel about women in the women's Army Corp. in the U.S during World War II - also a very interesting story. Things you can expect from me in the near future are some exciting new short stories. I've got one about Russian woman assassins, and another is a steampunk story. So be on the lookout for those.
And then there's the publishing point of this. And this is where I have my growing to do. This is why there will be complete candor again. This is why there will be empowerment through candor because I have a lot to learn.
I'm currently enrolled in two courses. You don't even want to know how much money I've spent on these two courses. At some point, I'm going to learn something and be able to share my experiences with you all. So you'll get a little bit of what I've spent $1,600 on. And you will be able to, I hope, if I implement these things, learn from my lessons.
I can't do any of that while I'm burdened by all these other obligations. So, streamlining. Again, talking about processes like I did in that last segment, but how it affects the publishing. Learning these things, I've realized there's so much to learn.
If you're going to go the Indy route, it's overwhelming. It's empowering because you control everything. Financially, except for the one-percenters, it's very much more viable. You make more money doing Indy stuff than you do going the trade route. But everything's on your shoulders. It can be overwhelming. And I'm not like that. I'm somebody who needs to go, go, go, go, go. Why can't I do this? I should be able to do all this stuff by now. And over the past 100 episodes, I've learned to let that go. And learn a little bit at a time.
I'm learning a little bit about ads still. I can't even get to them because I'm constantly either working or - the writing doesn't interfere with this stuff because it's dedicated in the morning; don't mess with it. But it's the rest of the day. It's the administrative task of the Horrible Writing group. It's all the work that goes into The Stories We Tell. It's getting an episode of this show out every single week. It's three audiobooks plus The Scales coming that I've got to get through.
And those things - you know how it is. You don't have a lot of time in life, right? So you fit those things in where you can. One of the things I'm trying to figure out how - to this day - is to figure out the marketing and sales aspect of book sales. I'm not going to let it stop me. I'm going to keep producing because I've got a million stories. Ideally, I will get to the point where I will have that time, and I'll already have the content out there. I may have missed windows with that content. But the thing is, is I will have that back catalog. And I'm at peace with that.
Moving forward with the new stuff, I'll have learned more about sales and marketing. And I will also have that back catalog already out there when I do figure this out and unlock the key. But let me tell you straight up, for those of you who haven't yet, there is nothing - and I mean nothing - like putting your book out there and seeing that baby pop up on Amazon. I want to chase that high 30-40 more times before they put me in a box in the ground. Actually, I'm going to be cremated, but you get the point of it. I want that high. And I want that for all of you as well. Let's take a pause for another author update.
Hello everybody. My name is Cheyenne Bramwell. Hello again, long time no talk and listen, I guess? So what I do is I do a daily poetry blog on poemafterpoem.weebly.com. I do a lot of Twitter, micro-fiction, and micro-poetry. And my handle for that is @poemsbycheyenne.
And I am also one of the producers of a podcast called Magical Bullshit. It's an actual play, pathfinder podcast. And it's really, really, funny so you should check it out.
And in the future, I am going to also have a podcast called Word Wonk Pod - Or Word Wonk Podcast - it's going to have me reading and sharing a bunch of my poetry and micro-fiction along with having guest readers and writers on and were just going to talk about all things writing and stuff.
But the biggest new thing that I am doing right now, or did specifically, I published a short poetry chapbook called Words are Hard, and it's available on Amazon right now. And I would love it if you checked that out.
When I was on Horrible Writing, I talked about using writing to communicate. So not a lot has changed on that topic; I still stutter. And, yup, writing is still my way of communicating. And I love it. Still and forever.
Oh, and I'll be doing some more chapbooks in the future so keep an eye out for those along with future novels and things. Thank you guys so much for listening to this, and it's good to talk to you again. Hope you're doing well and you have a great day.
Over these hundred episodes, I've met amazing people. From fans of the show, of my audio dramas, of The Stories We Tell - but one of the greatest things about this show is the Horrible Writing Writer's Support Group on Facebook. We're now approaching 550 people in that group.
I never would have thought that when I started it and invited eight friends to come along and say, "Hey, help me kick this thing off." And then I reached out to SL Baron, and I said, "Hey, you told me about doing this. I'm doing this, want to come over?" And slowly we grew. And it took a long time. And then all of a sudden, we were getting 20-30 people every single week wanting to come in. And again, I'm not a big name - this podcast is not a big name draw. But yet, we're getting numbers like that every week, and hopefully, and I'm seeing it, we're helping people.
This month - this week - as I record this, we are doing our monthly ABC Challenge. A Breviloquent Challenge where we write flash fiction within a couple of days- write it, edit it, everything within a couple of days for the contest; to be involved in The Stories We Tell episode in the future. And I looked at it today, and I'm surprised by how many new names I'm seeing in there, and I absolutely love it.
I had beers with a friend last night - Eric, if you're listening to this, I'm talking about you - and he joined the group because of The Stories We Tell. He heard the flash fiction. He said, "I want to be part of that." And he joined the group. Somebody who's never taken writing as a consideration before now wants to be part of it. It's absolutely amazing. And it's not mine.
I'm the person who started the Facebook page, but it's all those wonderful people in there who make that their Horrible family- and we use that capital letter Horrible - tongue in cheek fun - family that it is. Because it is.
We don't play around with self-promotion and spammy 'buy my stuff' crap. That's not why we're there. We're there to support, to celebrate, to commiserate, and to answer questions of each other. Share things we've learned with each other. That's the only way we grow. And it's an absolutely beautiful community to be part of.
I'm so honored by it; by each and every one of you who are part of that community. Who contribute, who help, who cheer people on. You all know how lonely this is. That community can be a lifeline for so many. So if you are a fan of this show, and you are not part of that community - I know you have a Facebook account somewhere even if you haven't used it in three years - log back on real quick, search for Horrible Writing Writer's Support Group, answer the questions.
Don't be that person that submits and doesn't answer the questions because we'll just reject you. Show us you're real. And then come in. And the only thing you have to check in Facebook is check-in with us. And it will be a beautiful thing for you. Because it's been a beautiful thing for the year that we've had it.
But I want to send a special message of love, not only to SL Baron - I talked about her earlier - but all the people who help out with that group. Like Dohai, who I mentioned earlier. Erika Stensrud. Cheyenne Bramwell, who I've mentioned earlier and throughout this. Jennifer Worrell, Bethanie Smith, AC Ward, who you hear a lot on The Stories We Tell.
And of course, the one and only NJ Boyer, who one day I want to have on the show. It's like a bucket list thing. And I'm not going to tell you why. But NJ has a story that I find fascinating, especially now seeing where she is in her writing. So before you hear from me in Episode 200, I had better interviewed NJ Boyer on this show.
This community, this show, has been epic for me. It really, truly has. I have checked off one of the most important bucket list items that I had for my life. And now that I've done it, I want more of it. But I'm at peace with what I can do at the same time. Being part of that community and those people that I've named off - and more - is epic. I'm honored to call a lot of them friends. I'm honored to have them as part of my life. And me, I hope, rewarding in their lives as well.
But it doesn't end there. There are other things coming. For this show, what can you expect in the future? I don't know. For the foreseeable future, it will remain weekly. I have a couple interviews lined up. And from time to time, I will reach out to other people. But at this point in my publishing journey, those interviews aren't the top priority because they're just too difficult to set up. They're too timely. I love doing them.
I love talking to Simon Wood, USA Today Bestselling author. That's still a highlight of this experience for me. After the interview, he hung out for another 50 minutes and essentially gave me all kinds of advice I wouldn't have had otherwise. That's just amazing. It's humbling, and it's amazing. But they're a lot of work. So they will still come from time to time; everything else will be tightly packaged.
The Stories We Tell Podcast is still going to happen. It's a monthly thing for the monthly challenge, and everybody's benefiting from it. Everybody who participates. If you're not over there on the Horrible Writing Writer's Support Group - why aren't you there yet? Join us. Come check this show out. I think you're going to absolutely love what we do. Even if flash fiction doesn't work for you because it's so short, check out the stories. I think you'll find that you'll actually really enjoy them.
But what about me, Paul, the author? Besides a podcaster. Well, those books are still coming. I'm going to shift away from horror and thriller. I may do one from time to time, but after RIP, The Scales, and that third Subject Found book is out, I pretty much see my future in fantasy.
For example, Bitter Aries is already done. The book has been written. It's got work. It needs work. But it's been written. And as soon as I'm done recording this, I'm heading off to a pub with a notebook, and I'm going to outline the second book in that series. I'm loving it. The books are fun and easy to write because it's very vivid for me. And that's a 12 book series that I've got planned. Twelve books.
After that is Crown of Thieves; my epic fantasy. And anything after that, I've got a million other stand-alone ideas. Maybe, with the book series - the 12 book series - and the Crown of Thieves series, maybe I'll actually get enough of a name that when I start doing stand-alone books again, they'll actually have some traction. I'm not going to worry about it. Why? Because I'm having the time of my life.
I'm happiest, aside from being with my family and the people I love and Liverpool winning, I'm happiest - I say that tongue-in-cheek, folks. Don't take me that seriously. I am happiest when I'm writing. I'm fulfilled. I feel at peace. That's what it's about. That's what this whole journey is about. Bringing you that sense of fulfillment, helping you find it in yourself. You're not going to get it anywhere else. In you. That's what's important to me. That's why I do this. This is why I stop and make episodes every week. It's that important to me.
I hope these 100 episodes of Horrible Writing have lifted you in your dark times and made you feel like the center of attention in your good times. I hope I've given you specific tactics, actionable items, that you can do and implement in your life - your writing life, your networks and beyond - to help you reach the goals that you have for yourself and your writing.
I hope that you've enjoyed this journey and that you consider me at least a little part of your life. And if you're not there yet, I also hope that you take the time to consider becoming part of the Horrible Writing family over on Facebook. Again, Horrible Writing Writer's Support Group. Because those people, you, everyone who downloads, streams, everyone who tells a friend about this show, are absolutely epic. Until Episode 101 - peace.
This has been Horrible Writing, and hopefully, after this episode, you suck less than you did at the beginning. I am Paul Sating; your host extraordinaire. You can find me over on the TwitterVerse @writinghorrible, and over at paulsating.com/horrible-writing. Until next time, suck less.
Transcription by Renzee Lee over at Renzee Lee Freelancing. For fast turn around times on content writing, transcription, and editing services, email Renzee at email@example.com.
Originally Posted: August 2019