The Walking Dave 11: The Worst Thing You Can Do As a Writer Today

Hi! This post was supposed to run on Monday, but I wound up holding onto it for a day or so to see if I still wanted to post it.

Why would I hold it?

Well, it’s kind of negative.

I know, big surprise.

But I try to keep these podcasts positive, because despite my now famous curmudgeonry, when it comes to creativity, I’m actually a rather positive person who hates when cynicism infects art.

This post was inspired by some conversations I’ve had recently with other writers who have been scared away from various message boards. Why? Because by sharing their advice, they’ve become targets so much so that they’ve withdrawn from certain parts of the writing community.

The way I see it writers do one of two things when they’re having a tough time at writing.

And I talk about those things in this podcast.

Other stuff worth mentioning:

My good friend Carl Sinclair has also started a writing podcast, a video one no less called Geekwalker. I saw it after I recorded this, so it’s not mentioned in this episode. But here’s a link to check it out.

Speaking of friends with videos, Garrett Robinson has posted an awesome video review of our book, WhiteSpace: Season One. Wow, our story sounds so cool when other people talk about it! Garrett also posted some hilarious outtakes from the review.


Listen to The Walking Dave Episode 11 below.

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As always, thank you for reading/listening,



28 thoughts on “The Walking Dave 11: The Worst Thing You Can Do As a Writer Today

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  1. Loved the latest episode, and agreed with every word. The hater behaviour baffles me. When I started out, I was inspired and excited to see indies selling well, and wanted to know what they were doing. The last thing on my mind was to post a shit review or spiteful blog post.

    P.S I hope you’re very proud about what you’ve achieved in the last few years 🙂

    1. Thanks, Darren.

      I don’t know if I’m proud so much as grateful for what we’ve achieved. I’m my own worst critic and always think about what I could’ve done better.

      However, I truly do enjoy most of the stories we’ve written (even if I’d want to edit every one of them for the next 100 years to make them better). But every time we get email from people about our stories, I DO feel awesome that people are connecting.

      I know I’ve said it in a million places, but for me (even a person who hates people), I LOVE connecting with people through my art (writing and comics). Because there’s something pure about it — removed from all the other bullshit in the world — a pure experience devoid of the pettiness, viciousness, stupidity, homophobia, racism, and other things that disappoint me in humanity. Stories are a way to bring people together, and I love that.

      1. Totally agree. It’s general intrigue, enthusiasm and excitement. Fuck the haters. We can have our lives, they can keep theirs.

        By the way, I love it that you DO have an opinion and say these things. It makes Walking Dave much more interesting to me.

  2. I used to be on forums and stopped in the last year. The reason was that I want to write full time, and a lot of the writers on the forums want to write one book. That reflected in a lot of posts, and in my case, filtered into my writing, so I was trying to break it. I’d started out posting as if everyone wanted to write full time, and sometimes the reactions of people really surprised me. I don’t outline, and a lot of the negativity came across there because, it seems like the one book writers want something that will make it easy for them and cut steps. Plus, I kept seeing posts about best selling writers, and people would just spew hatred because this guy was mega-successful. It always amazed me that n one would ask the question, “What did he do to become successful?” And that seemed to go back to the one book writers who just wanted to paint by the numbers and get published.

    1. Thanks, Linda. There ARE some writers who are so damned rigid in their outlook that they become myopic. A book MUST be this. It MUST do that. Authors CAN’T market their stuff. ALL THESE DAMNED RULES, many of them holdovers from the traditional publishing world, no less, that SOME writers hang onto for dear life as THE ONE TRUE WAY.

      It’s this kind of rigidity and blindness to experimentation that keeps them from succeeding.

      Meanwhile, you have awesome romance authors (many we’ve talked to on Self-Publishing Round Table) who are trying all kinds of new shit and saying “screw the rules” and CREATING THEIR OWN SUCCESS.

      Anyone that claims there’s only ONE WAY is living in the past and truly limiting their opportunities.

  3. Another great episode.

    Thanks for the mention. Geekwalker is already more fun that it has any right to be.

    Shout out to Garrett. Really good review of one of my favorite horror titles.

    1. Thanks, Carl. I look forward to your GW episodes, though partly just to see if you get attacked by a kangaroo or a firenado. “Carl vs. the Firenado!” Or a firenado with killer kangas and great white sharks. Holy hell, Australia is scary! And coming from an American, that’s saying something!

  4. Man, after listening to the most recent SPP, and this Walking Dave, I feel like you, Johnny and Sean could all use a big hug. Ignore the haters, and keep on being awesome gang.

    1. Thanks, Zac, but this particular entry was far more inspired by what I see happening to some other writers out there. While there are some people who give us shit and have from early on, those people aren’t our fans and we don’t even try to please those people any more. You can’t please everyone. So far better to focus on being yourself and pleasing those that like what you do.

      The majority of people in our space have been super respectful and supportive. 99.7% of our listeners, and nearly all the people we talk with, are awesome. And we could not feel more loved.

      I would have named the writers who inspired this post, but I didn’t want to put more of a target on their backs than they already feel, giving their haters more ammunition against them.

  5. I wouldn’t consider this negative at all, Dave–just a forthwright statement of facts. When are writers going to learn we are NOT in competition with one another. Being jealous of someone else’s success is like me being jealous my readers have moved on to another book when they’re finished with mine: that is to say, they are not exclusively MY readers–it’s not as though another writer poached them from my camp.

    The more stories there are in the world, the better world it is. And isn’t it difficult enough finding your way as a writer without wasting energy being a Grinch on the community? Isn’t that energy better spent focusing on craft? No matter how precious, snowflakes melt.

    1. Well said, Cate! Books are like food. Do you stop eating at a restaurant you love when a new one opens? No. You just eat at different places according to your mood. Same with books. I didn’t stop reading Stephen King when I discovered Clive Barker. Two different writers that appeal to different facets of me, both of value.

      1. Cate and Dave — you are both right. There are millions of people out there who like reading different things, at different times. I’m reading Yesterday’s Gone (only in the day time — sue me, it gives me nightmares) and other types of stories at night. King and Barker are both great, both in the horror biz and yet totaly different. It’s kind of like golf. You’re not out to really beat the other guy (in a way), you’re out to be the best you can be. The more books out there, the better for everyone to find something and someone they love to read. Envy is an evil, hard work … there you go.

  6. That was an excellent episode. I actually listened to it twice.
    Thank you for helping and giving so much.
    You are very much appreciated :o)
    (Don’t tell Sean I said that. lol)

    1. Thanks, Mgon. Though I do want to be clear that this was a frustration I was feeling for a few other writers not myself. OUR SPP community has been even more supportive than I ever would’ve thought they’d be when we first started this podcast. You all are fucking amazing!

  7. So I backed FU(lol, I didn’t even notice Fiction Unboxed acronym would be FU, well anyways…) before I started listening to your show. I knew of you guys but just hadn’t followed through. In the last few days I’ve listened to about a dozen podcasts on my commute and have become a fan of the show and really enjoyed experiencing your journey in hyper-speed of binge watching. Before I spew out too much man love, I’ll just say, much respect.

    OT: I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen and talked with a few other writers about these attacks on them. For anyone to attack Hugh, who is one of the nicest, best ambassadors of indies we have, is sickening. I can’t understand what their motivations are. I’ve seen a mass exodus from KBoards from the big hitters like Hugh, which is a terrible shame because it was the coolest thing ever to get advice from people like Hugh, Bella Andre, HM Ward, Russell Blake, MimI Strong, SM Reine and countless other indies. I have heard they lurk with decoy accounts now…

    To combat this exodus, I’ve taken to corresponding with them through emails and stuff. And this is another thing I love about indies, they respond with enthusiasm to your questions, they want to help you and many want you to succeed. But those people that want to tear them down, ugh, I want to build an internet transporter right to their moms basement and ask them “What the hell?”.

    I’ll end with what Hugh says about haters gonna hate: Hugger gonna Hug
    Here’s a video of him:

    1. Thanks, Matt. Yeah, it is kind of sad that authors are being driven away. I think it makes the writing world a bit more difficult to traverse for the very people who chase them away. When authors stop sharing their ideas, the community as a whole is lesser for it.

      I think there’s a bit more for me to explore on the subject in a future podcast including a bit about how I understand some of the authors’ motivations who are chasing these other authors away, in that they think they’re PROTECTING the community. And I’ll talk a bit about my own prejudices against certain types of authors and how I’m starting to see things a bit differently.

  8. I agree with the general consensus in the comments, not a negative episode at all and 100% stuff that needs to be said. Sure, I’d love to sell more books, but until I can properly follow the “Repeat” part of SPP’s mantra, this is a lottery. Although I keep wishing for the big win every time I buy an actual lottery ticket too, I still haven’t got my millions. And that’s OK, because I knew the likely outcome before the results came in. Best to consider every sale, every review, every email to be a success, rather than the lack of bestseller status to be a failure.
    Beyond the reader feedback, which does of course mean so very much, it’s the writing / self publishing community that I value the most. So far I’ve thankfully not encountered haters, just the occasional blame-the-world-for-everything type of person who STILL is more successful than me (that last part actually does piss me off, not that I’d express it in public… oh, wait 😉 ).
    You’re right, while it’s fine to have the odd bad day, nobody wants to hang out with permanently bitter people.

    1. Hedonist – thank you for your comment.

      As for the big win — I don’t think that is the reality for most of us. I think we need to claim our victory with lots of little wins. And if one of our books (or with luck, a whole series) happens to take off, then AWESOME! But we can’t plan on that. It IS a lot like the lottery in that way. You buy a ticket and hope, but you don’t quit your day job before they call the numbers, right?

      1. Exactly. Not that I’d let inconvenient stuff like reality prevent me from figuring out exactly what to spend on once the men with the giant cheque arrive 😉 it’s good to dream.

  9. Great episode.

    We people are all really good at lying to ourselves, and we writers are horrible at understanding our own work. I think that’s part of the reason it’s so easy to hate on others.

    Hugh does so much for other writers. Anyone who knows about the Author Earnings numbers and thinks he’s holding them back is fooling themselves.

  10. Hating is a waste of time and energy. The haters are usually just helping the person they hate get attention. Another great walkcast Dave. I really enjoy listening to yours.

  11. This was fantastic, Dave. You’re the right kind of cynical. You’re cynical against people’s bullshit, particularly when they use that bullshit against themselves and others. Having listened to you on SPP, I didn’t expect this show would be so inspirational. Bravo. Heading over to iTunes to leave a review right now.

  12. Wow, Dave. That episode was so beautiful in its truth. It’s true that I see writers who used to share kinda disappear. Some of them were quite eloquent and vocal – but I am sure that must take a toll at some point. I am just glad I had an opportunity to learn from them. I’m glad you’re still sharing. You’re the best. Have a great week.

  13. Great podcast. Some people are simply jealous of success and the inability to emulate them drives them to destroy that success, regardless of how feeble their attempt it. Overall, I’ve found the indie community fantastic. My blog has attracted some great people, writer and non writers alike. Podcasts such as this and SPP have been great resources for a beginner like me. Some of the reviews on Amazon and other sites are a little rough and I still scream when people review without reading a book. I think bully’s evolve with technology. They can bully and antagonize via a computer a lot more easily then face to face.

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