How to Overcome Your Dread of GAWD - Reb MacRath

Don't even try to tell me you don't know the meaning of GAWD. If you write,you do know--and if you don't, you're not right in the head. So let's man and woman up and admit the existence of GAWD:

Goddamned Awful Writing Decisions

We've decisions to make, of course, every day about writing as both art and business: matters of style and plotting, promotional tactics and price points, fine tuning our queries, etc. There's no end to it--and we don't mind, not really. It's all part of being a writer, we know. In fact, we take morbid pleasure sometimes in comparing our stresses and blues with our pals. My best guess is that 98% of these decisions aren't life-threatening. Any query can always be further fine-tuned. Any botching of a plot can always be corrected. But that's not our issue. Our issue is:


And, oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about. These are the life-threatening forks in the road where no mercy is shown if you make the wrong choice. I speak from experience: having chosen the right agent, left her for a better...then left him for the wrong agent who promised me a quick sale. That sort of thing. It may take you years to recover, if you recover at all, from a bungled wrestling match with


Now, the funniest unfunny thing about GAWD is that there's no predicting when and where it will strike next. Consider my current dilemma:

Two years ago, I made a good bold decision, moving cross-country from Charlotte to Seattle. Since arriving, I've accomplished my main immediate goal: find a job that left me ample time during the work week to write. Even after doing that, I continued to tweak my mode of commute and my space for writing, arriving at perfection: a quiet, lovely place where I can write for 3 hours before work and one more hour after. And the only cost to me is getting up at 4 a.m. Better yet, next year I'll graduate from temp-to-hire to staff and get cool benefits.

But not so fast...


Yes, just when everything seems to be coming together--an eleventh ebook coming out in the spring, plans for print editions, and upcoming interviews on the air and in print--I face another sharp fork in the road:

The company I work for will relocate next fall, from Seattle's happening Capitol Hill to the dead, dreary boondocks of Renton. An office park in the middle of nowhere. There, my commute time would rise from 30 minutes each way to about 90 minutes. 3 hours daily to and from an office park served by a food truck.

If I stay with them to keep my benefits, and a secure position, I'll become a weekend writer at a time when I should be putting on more speed in both writing and promotion.

If I choose to leave, I may find another temp position with no benefits or security. And jobs, past a certain age, don't get any easier to find.

I still weigh the pros and cons of each. But, embracing the inevitable, I've pretty much made my decision: I'll redo my resume and after New Year's start applying left and right for jobs that allow me to honor my commitment: to devote solid time to my writing.

Perhaps GAWD loves us in its way and is simply trying to test us. 


Bill Kirton said…
4 a.m? 4 A.M!!!!

Anyone who gets up at that time deserves better.

Sod's Law is what we call your job dilemma, Reb. I'm sorry to hear it. If there were any justice, the amount of time, thought and effort you put into your books would result in sales that enabled you to write full time.

But 4 A.M...
Jan Needle said…
Or move to a smaller country, like Britain. Post Brexit I would have said don't bother, then you'all trumped us with Trump. All I can say now is that he's a hard gawd, that GAWD. Dare I say keep smiling?
glitter noir said…
Thanks, Bill and Jan. Last night I wondered what I'd say in an interview if I were asked how I manage to write on my schedule...The honest answer--but one I'd never dare to give--would be: 'It's easy if you give up alcohol, tobacco, women, partying of any kind and even socializing.'
Jan Needle said…
I've heard of that, Reb. It's what Beckett called (in All That Fall, I think) 'fully paid up death'!
Umberto Tosi said…
Gawd, Reb! I would be sleepless in Seattle trying to keep up with your schedule. I'm just getting to bed at 4 a. m.! Hat's off to you not only as an early riser but a prolific one.
(I do my best writing, such as it is, in the wee hours.)

As for where you find yourself once again, I recommend the sage advice my boyhood hero, Yogi Berra:
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
glitter noir said…
Thanks, Umberto. It is a raw hour to rise, that's for sure. But, compared with the alternative--spending two to three years on each book, at my age--the price is one I gladly pay. With luck, pluck and persistence, I may be able to write full-time soon.

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