[Photo caption: Author Jason Offutt and his wife Kimberly Offutt on a recent vacation at Rathbun Lake, Iowa. Yes, Iowa has lakes.]
There are different levels of emotional stress that come with where a writer is in their career.
Early on was rejection, until I learned that EVERY writer gets rejected. Seeing the best-selling books publishers rejected, like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, A Wrinkle in Time, etc., gave me more confidence.
After My Books Were Published, I Grew Impatient
After my first few books were published, my emotional challenge was impatience.
I was writing books faster than they were getting published.
Now, after sixteen of my books have been published, the emotional challenge has to do with agents. I know my work sells, that’s proven, so why is it so bloody impossible to land an agent?
I deal with this like I’ve dealt with everything else. I need to continue to get better. Be a better novelist, a better query letter writer, and stop stalking agents on Twitter (okay, so I don’t really do that).
I deal with stress by putting my work aside and reading a book, or going outside to breathe, and, when my wife makes me, yoga. Just by relaxing, the frustrating aspects of the writing/publishing process seem less stressful.
For a Writer, Weight Gain and Back Pain Go Together
[The biggest physical challenges of being a writer:] Weight gain, weight gain, weight gain.
That and back pain. They go together.
I’m trying to eat healthier, and just getting up and taking a walk now and again.
I Can’t Not Write
Let me use a double negative here: I can’t not write.
If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. When I’m not in front of my computer, I have a pen and notebook with me just in case.
If I don’t my head may explode.
Even if no one is going to read what I’m writing, oh man, it’s so therapeutic.
Book Marketing Is the Worst
Marketing is the worst.
I’ve been fortunate enough a couple of my publishers do a great job at marketing. I appear on author panels, I’m interviewed on radio programs, I try to get at least local newspapers to interview me.
I do NOT know how to use social media as a marketing tool. I’ve tried.
The Most Writer-Friendly Profession
I’m fortunate I teach at a university.
Other than being a full-time famous writer person (which I am not), this may be the most writer-friendly profession (my previous profession of newspaper editor, wasn’t).
My schedule is such I have a couple of hours in the afternoon or evening to write, plus a a month of vacation in the winter and four months of vacation in the summer.
This gives me lots of time to write.
Advice for a Young Writer: Always Think Your Writing Sucks
I wish I would have known this as a young writer: always think your writing sucks.
If you are really committed to being an author, this mainframe will do one thing—always make you strive to be better.
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Jason Offutt writes books. This is infinitely better than what his father trained him to do, which was to drink beer and shout at the television. He is best known for science fiction, such as his end-of-the-world zombie novel Bad Day for the Apocalypse (a curious work that doesn’t include zombies), his paranormal non-fiction like Chasing American Monsters (that does), and his book of humor How to Kill Monsters Using Common Household Objects.
He teaches university journalism, cooks for his family, and wastes much of his writing time trying to keep the cat off his lap.
Chasing American Monsters: The Black Dog of Hanging Hills, the Tommyknockers of Pennsylvania, the Banshee of the Badlands―these beasts and hundreds more will hold you spellbound, unable to look away from their frightful features and their extraordinary stories.
Come face to face with modern-day dinosaurs, extraterrestrials, dragons, lizard men, giants, and flying humanoids.
This illustrated collection includes more than 250 monsters and cryptids that will make your hair stand on end when you hear something go bump in the night.
From Alabama to Wyoming and everywhere in between, these enigmatic abominations lurk in the darkest corners and the deepest shadows. This eye-opening book details the origins, appearance, and behaviors of these bizarre creatures so that if you should come across a terrifying beast in the wild, you’ll know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Available on Amazon.
So You Had to Build a Time Machine: Skid doesn’t believe in ghosts or time travel or any of that nonsense.
A circus runaway-turned-bouncer, she believes in hard work, self-defense, and good strong coffee.
Then one day an annoying theoretical physicist named Dave pops into the seat next to her at her least favorite Kansas City bar and disappears into thin air when she punches him (he totally deserved it).
Now, the world is changing, and Dave keeps reappearing in odd places like the old Sanderson murder house—and that’s only the start of her problems.
Available on Amazon.