samwitt.com

The thoughts and work of Sam Witt

Get Back in Your Hole

Black and white picture of a rabbit hole

2013 was a big year for me. I started publishing my work again (a short story and, of course, Half-Made Girls) and started getting a handle on some aspects of writing theory that hadn’t really gelled for me. I developed a twitter following, more or less, and got the ol’ blog rolling again. I marketed my ass off and saw some decent returns in that area. But there was this one little thing that kind of got lost in the hectic shuffle.

I didn’t write nearly as much as I should have. I am a fast writer, thanks to years of grinding away for a few pennies a word. You want something other than Ramen soup for dinner next month? Then you better write your freelance ass off, inkslinger. Back in the day, ten thousand words a day, five days a week, was what it took to get me where I wanted to be. 

In the early days of the year, I did exactly that. Work my full-time job, come home, have some dinner, then sit at the kitchen table and write until it was time to go to bed. Or past time to go to bed, most nights, because writing to me is like having a steady drip of heroin right into my brainmeat. Once I get going, I go until there’s no more juice left in the tank, and I love every goddamned minute of it.

But as I spent more time pimping my wares, more time researching my audience, more time reading about writing and talking to other writers about writing, shit started to slip. I wasn’t writing 10k words a day. I was only getting in 5k. Then I was having a hard time writing every day, so my weekly output slid even further. I was turning into one of those poopsacks that spends all their time talking about writing and marketing the writing they’ve already done.

That is a fucking waste, my friends.

It’s great for writers to spread their wings and drop their digital messages in bottles out into the riptides of social media. But we aren’t meant to spend our days gabbling like a bunch of geese. We’re meant to tell stories.

You can’t tell stories while you’re farting around on the internet. You write stories in the same places writers have written them for centuries. In your hole. Closed off from distractions and irritations, hidden away in the shadows where your imagination can percolate and your fingers can taptaptap out a path to a new world for you and your readers.

Writers have to live a life worth writing about, don’t get me wrong. But, at the end of the day, if you want to write and write a lot, then there’s only one piece of advice I can give you.

Get back in the goddamned hole.

That’s where I’ll be in 2014.

About Sam

I am the author of the popular Pitchfork County series of horror novels. I also write a newsletter with great reading suggestions and free fiction.

  • Indu

    Thank you, Sam. Every word resonates with me. Congratulations on getting some of your work published. I hope you have a great year ahead, and I am sure you will, if you stay long enough in that happy hole. I am definitely headed to mine 🙂

  • Sam

    Hi there, Indu – glad you found something good to take with you. Enjoy your time in the hole; it’s a great place!