WriterDojo S2 Ep16: Sharpen Your Saw

If  you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard the refrain “you should be writing!” If you’re a reader, you might have told your favorite author the same. Our perspicacious Hosts/Authors Steve Diamond and Larry Correia return this week to ponder the correct response to this and whether or not this is good or helpful advice. 

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This week’s episode is brought to you by the Executioners– the new book by Jason Cordova & Matt Novotny

Within the Galactic Union, the Peacemakers settle squabbles between guilds, hunt criminals, and settle disputes where regular mercenary units are deemed problematic. They are the elite, trained to be the best peacekeeping force in the known universe.

When the task is too much for a Peacemaker to handle, they send an Enforcer. Stronger, faster, and tougher than the average Peacemaker, Enforcers are a one-man SWAT team who make even the toughest criminal tremble in fear. These terrifying nightmares of walking death do not plead for peace—they make it, and damn the corpses they stack up along the way.

But what happens when even an Enforcer isn’t enough?

You call the Executioners.

From Jason Cordova and Matt Novotny, coming April 29, 2022 – The Executioners. Available exclusively on Amazon

WriterDojo S2 Ep17: Q&A-Business and Marketing
WriterDojo S2 Ep15: the Kickstarter Episode

13 thoughts on “WriterDojo S2 Ep16: Sharpen Your Saw”

  1. On being out of shape from sitting too much:

    I got a RebelDesk walking desk ($600, pre pandemic) and one of those Costco rising desks ($300, I think?) and it changed my life. You only walk 2mph and after two days it’s natural to type and walk at the same time. It’s a huge game changer. You can work and feel physically awesome at the same time. I did it originally for work because I’m also a corporate robot and have like sixty to ninety meetings per week.

    I also did the David Goggins 4x4x48 challenge on it while writing at the same time. I walked four miles every four hours for two days (pre baby) and wrote 30,000 words. Going to try to do something similarly awesome on my paternity leave starting tomorrow and see if I can finish my first novel.

  2. I’m kind of torn with this one.

    If someone is a part time writer, which is most writers, then you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Be thankful for what you get because you really aren’t paying their bills.

    If someone is a full time writer and is producing good regular content, don’t whine about not getting more. People can only do so much. Let them have a healthy life and make things for you and still be thankful for what you get.

    If someone writes full time and was producing regular content, but has recently stopped then the question isn’t “Why aren’t you writing?” The question is “Hey, does anybody know what is going on with Jim Butcher?” Maybe the author you like is going through some shit and they’re doing what they can do. Piling on them is not helpful. Be a good fandom.

    If someone writes full time and hasn’t produced regular content for a decade, but promises it really is coming, then the fanbase should have the right to say “Really? When?” Because ultimately your customers are at some level your bosses. “Why are you writing these histories and prequels instead of finishing your core books, George? Why are you doing D&D and Rick and Morty comics, Patrick?” If I was a decade overdue in my day job, I would be expecting to hear about it. I don’t really think you are a dick just for asking these questions, although you are probably a dick of you ask them like I just did.

    1. If you were a decade overdue in your day job, you’d be hearing it from your boss / grandboss / maybe a coworker who’s work product you were affecting, not from the random person on the week. Larry wrote an article about this a while ago, which I will link in a subsequent comment, but to people who see this comment before the link makes it through moderation search for capitalist novelists guide to fan expectations. I agree with the article, and I would say that when it comes to GRRM and his stories, or Patrick Rothfuss (interestingly enough Rothfuss was what spurred the discussion that spurred the previous article) as a reader, you have the right to not buy it. If you are in fact their editor, you can say – hey, we had a contract for this, what’s going on?
      I agree with you that it’s fair in communities to ask how an author is doing, especially if it’s one who usually interacts with readers and then drops off the face of the Earth. Heck, I’m hopeful that maybe Rothfuss’s D&D / Rick and Morty can help him get through his blocks on book 3. At least with Rothfuss a big part of the problem is that he spent 10 years polishing book 1, had a lot less time to polish book 2, and that ended up breaking what he had written for book 3 and he can’t figure out how to fix it. Are you a dick for asking them, well yes and no – if you ask out of genuine curiosity, what’s happening I love the series maybe not as long as you’re polite. If you’re asking because you think they owe you the book, then you (general you, not you specific) have the fundamental relationship with the author misunderstood and while not quite being a dick, you’re being rude.

  3. For adventures in writing overtired, I’ve been working a fanfic thing as I learn. Bunch of short stories. Started the second one while in the hospital room were newborn #2 was sleeping while I wasn’t. It seemed solid, if not spectacular.

    However, once other people started reading it, I started getting back questions about what was going on. Took me a while to realize that, there were things going on that the readers knew about, but the view point character did not, and I had never actually explained in the story what he didn’t know…


  4. “People will know when we recorded this episode”
    Well it certainly wasn’t the past few days, otherwise that would have been a joke about Amber Turd or Johnny Depp’s mom. I’ve been listening to the trial with Rekieta’s commentary in the background, and if the shit those two did was done by a fictional character it would have been called stupidly over the top. Even Cinderella’s stepmom wouldn’t be able to mock her child being blind in one eye or intentionally do drugs in front of a husband in rehab.

    “I got on Robin Hood”
    I recommend finding some other way to trade shares. That company outright STOLE from its customers just last year. When some idiot hedge fund promised to buy more shares of a company than exist, Robin Hood sold the shares of users, without consent, at market low to prevent that hedge fund from going under.

    1. May just be me sperging out but:

      Robinhood stuff is more complicated (basically the actual exchanges required them to give a bunch of money to show they could stay liquid, and they didn’t have it, and also exchanges can shut down if they think you’re doing something that will crash the whole market which the whole GME thing almost did) so they didnt steal, but they *were* shady/lied about why they made it so you couldn’t buy GME because they didn’t want to admit they hit a liquidity ceiling. Granted, still questions about why some players also have the power to shut down trades like that but not outright theft. For me the problem is lying about it. I’ve used Schwab ever since.

      1. We’re being left with fewer and fewer choices, though, as the big fish eat the little fish. I started out with ScotTrade about 20 years ago. Then it got eaten by AmeriTrade. Now AmeriTrade has been eaten by Schwab. What’s next on the menu?
        They say I can’t be a nonconformist because I’m not like the other nonconformists.

  5. Sharpen your saws Larry and Steve. Even us non-writers feel this you only have so much bandwidth for things and our lives. I see this is other teachers I work around where they never get away or do anything way from school and it just makes the bitter jaded people. I guess that is why so many have tik tok accounts where they say insane things.

    Thanks for the great books. Take the time you need. You have given us many reasons to trust you and God Bless

  6. In the indie Romance publishing world, its’s a complicated thing. On the one hand, we’re mostly women and give a lot of grace and support to each other for writing around day jobs and kids and caretaker duties and illnesses.

    On the other, it’s a *crazy prolific* genre despite all those Real Life challenges, so we tend to roll our eyes at authors elsewhere that take forever to deliver what they promised. When you know authors that delivered books despite losing their house or being homeless, delays from First World Problems are a joke. When a mom with toddlers at home still delivers 2 or 4 books a year…. Or the author that’s bedridden with a chronic illness and has to dictate all her books because she can’t type keeps chugging along. Or hell, the author that finished at least one book in freakin’ hospice before she died of cancer!

    I just don’t want to hear an author publicly bitch about not having a dedicated office or a quiet home or whatever other easily fixable problem they post. Way too many other authors are showing writing is possible with way more serious problems every day, so bitch in private. You don’t do yourself any favors with readers.

    Do I know successful authors sacrificing family time for 12 hour days and think they should be with their kids more when they’re young? Yes. Never taking a day off is not healthy. Period. All the money in the world isn’t worth a wrecked body, divorce, and damaged children. I always hope when they tell me those schedules that it’ll be a temporary sacrifice to get to a sustainable level, then they’ll back off. Hire a good PA to manage the busy work.

    But promises matter and accountability matters. If you need to change a release date, tell people why and then stick to the new date. Readers are understanding when you’re honest and respectful of their investment in your career.

    1. I found it helpful to announce in advance, “Hi folks, just so you know, Life is about to Happen for a while. I will try to get things done toward [book], but please be patient.” It tends to take some of the sting out of delayed release dates. But I’m not in romance, so the genre pressures are a lot different.

  7. Sometimes I join in the chorus of people screaming “Take my money!!!” when Larry announces something. This is for a laugh, and as encouragement. Because we all know, encouragement is a good thing in moderation. When somebody buys my book, I find that encouraging.

    Larry, or any writer or artist, is under no obligation to provide me or any other fan with entertainment on some kind of schedule. This should be an obvious thing, along the lines of ‘water is wet’. Some people appear to have their Power of Entitlement cranked up over 9000, the obvious doesn’t penetrate their neutronium-dense craniums.

    As far as authors ‘needing quiet space’ and all that rot, my first book was written on a micro-laptop in bars, coffee shops, and one time perched on a curbstone in Montreal waiting for my ride to show up.

    Likewise I know a quite successful mystery writer who does most of their work in cafes. Stuff at home is nuts, they go to Starbucks and slap on a pair of headphones.

    If you want to write it you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you won’t.

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