Friday, June 29, 2012

Keep writing even when the world's ending...

The title of this post isn't some existential* metaphor. It's literal. I'm talking the Apocalypse, capital 'A'. If you thought writer's block was a %*$&# on a normal day, imagine trying to hit your word count when your a-hole neighbor is running down your street shrieking and engulfed in flame. Sure, he was an a-hole, but that didn't mean you wanted him to be consumed by hellfire/alien plasma rays/ignited zombie gas. It probably didn't mean that.

All writer's know that there's nothing--NOTHING!--more important than adding another few hundred words to their epic-magnum-Opie from Mayberry. These tips will make sure that you meet that goal, even if the planet is cracking down the middle like those delicious Cadbury Eggs with the chocolate shell and gooey creme center (Yeah, you know what I'm talking about, let's smack our lips in unison). Now pay attention:

Tip #1 - Write faster

You know those bursts of inspiration where you pound out 1,000 words in like an hour? Focus on generating more of those moments as you seek water, food, and shelter. If you can write like that for an hour a day, that leaves 23 hours to focus solely on survival. That's Life Math, folks.

 Tip #2 - Consider different media

Nothing poisons the muse like losing your data. Electricity will become scarce, so you may need to go all Shakespeare with the quill and parchment. Unless you're using the latest MacBook Pro, which features Apple's longest lasting battery ever, a Retina Display, and new Thunderbolt Technology. Also, it--huh? Okay, yes, they paid me to say that. So what?! Product placement is everywhere, try watching the CW sometime and tell me you don't see vampires driving Ford Fiestas. Doomsday Bunkers don't build themselves you know!

Tip #3 - Remember your friends

Enlist the help of a buddy to fortify a safe writing space. Maybe someone from your critique group. If you work together you can construct your hideout faster, and gather twice as many rations in a shorter amount of time. Then, when the end comes--and if you're quick--you can lock them out and enjoy double rations. Let's be real, you weren't feeling that critique group anyway, and your book is more important than theirs. Moving on...

Tip #4 - Cute animals help

Film has taught us that cute animals--mostly dogs--don't die in horrific situations. So keep one around. A smart dog can be trained to shuttle sandwiches and other lightweight goods. If you don't have access to a sandwich trained canine, consider recruiting another cute animal. Like a Koala Bear.

I know what you're saying. How in the world can a Koala Bear be more useful than a sandwich trained canine? One word: Hugs.

 In Conclusion (get it?)

You can and will write no matter what. Condition your mind to produce in any situation, even the end of life as we know it, and you will become the writer you were always meant to be...the narcissistic, self-important kind. Or, you can relax and not take this gig too seriously. If you find your manuscript is bogging you down, back away. There's a whole--currently non-apocalyptic--world out there. Enjoy it. The words will come.

Hopefully before the zombies/aliens/vengeful demons...

*I don't really know what 'existential' means, I just throw it out there from time to time to make points seem more profound. It worked, didn't it?


Lamar "L. R." Giles writes for adults and teens. Penning everything from epic fantasy to noir thrillers, he's never met a genre he didn't like. His debut YA mystery WHISPERTOWN is about a teen in witness protection who investigates his best friend's murder and stumbles on a dark conspiracy that leads back to his own father. It will be published in Summer, 2013 by HarperCollins. He resides in Virginia with his wife and is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Find out more on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. "There's a whole--currently non-apocalyptic--world out there. Enjoy it. The words will come." So true!

    I would've commented earlier today, but this post fired me up to write! Thanks for it:-)

  2. You're welcome Kristen. Glad it helped you get some work done. I've been busting out some words today, too. Now I'm going for yogurt! :)

  3. Loved this post so hard. Absolutely brilliant.
    Speaking of which, I've been meaning to pick up a MacBook... :p
    An hour a day leaves 23 for survival. Good to know...

    ~Riv Re
    Riv Reads