As a working professional you know how hard it is to make time for your writing. You clock into your 9 to 5 and 9 takes its sweet time getting to 5. Then you clock out and 5 runs right back to 9, and frankly 9 isn’t all that interested in 5. It’s a one-sided relationship.
It’s hard for those of you trapped in this numerical cycle to meet your word count goals, let alone your career aspirations. You need supernatural solutions to get the job done. You need a tower full of lightning rods, a kaleidoscope of beakers, and a chemical bath in the cellar. You need a meadow filled with pillars, conjuring circles, and gathering of shadows worth talking to. You need ideas way outside the box.
Well you’ve stumbled into the right high-altitude secret crystalline observatory. Leave your coat on the pillar of antlers and take a seat upon the altar. The wizard of forbidden knowledge will see you now.
If you want to keep at this writing game whilst balancing a day job then you’ll need…
By this I don’t mean unknown writers whom you pay a fraction of your profits to piggyback upon your stature. I mean literal ghosts whose quality writing youcan piggyback on.
Too many celebrated authors died before they got around to writing an entire novel. Why not give them another stab at it?
Just know that it isn’t enough to draw a summoning circle in your laundry room, read your teenage poetry, and expect Edgar Allan Poe to come on the scene. No.
Writers are aloof in life. They’re even more evasive in death. If you really want to draw them into your parents’ basement you’re going to have to offer them a comfort from this mortal plane that they’re missing. If you want your prose to sound nice you’ll have pay a paranormal price.
If you want to summon Edgar Allan Poe you’re going to have to drink some laudanum (and by “some” I mean Donald-Trump-Diet-Coke dosages of laudanum). If you want to summon Hunter S. Thompson you’re going to have to sip acid out of a shell casing. If you want to summon Sylvia Plath then strap in, you’re in for quite an electroshock.
The lesson here is if you want to raise your influences to do your literary bidding be prepared to embrace the side effects of their favorite poison.
If that’s too high a price then try…
An Army of Clones
A fully staffed writer’s room, with a whiteboard and vending machine full of energy drinks can crank out a season of television in four months. Just imagine what you could accomplish with a team of well-vetted professionals, who share your tastes.
Do you happen to know any geneticists looking to up their biotechnical game, perhaps on an island far from the jurisdiction of the UN and all their pesky little restrictions? If so you should volunteer for the human trails of their latest experiment.
“Quick question Drew. I’m way ahead of you. I’ve replicated my DNA several times over and while some of my brood are proving to be competent wordsmiths as they enter adolescence some of the others have neurological impairments that prevent them from empathizing with other human beings.”
So you’re the progenitor to a litter of psychopaths, and while some of your clones are writers on par with their creator the others tell stories in dog entrails. The way I see it this bug might just be a feature. While you staff your writer’s room full of mini-yous, draft the others into a different kind of service. Let me explain.
How many times have you had a brilliant idea for a story, gotten several drafts in, only to discover someone else has already published something similar? You could press on and publish your story anyway, but there’s a possibility that the other author might file a lawsuit against you. Not if you send in the clones on a little mission wielding a lime green syringe. That rival author might just catch themselves a little heart condition.
Quantum Self Plagiarism
It’s one thing to copy a chapter from something you’ve sold and paste it into something new. It’s another thing to breach the boundaries of parallel dimensions and collect the works of your far more celebrated counterparts.
This is especially easy if one of your alternate selves has already invented and misplaced a portal gun in your presence. If this has yet to happen, don’t worry. Just have a plan for how you intend to overpower your alternate self when they inevitably make the mistake of paying you a visit.
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling sympathy for your alternate self. Odds are they’re not here to share with you the wondrous nature of the ever expanding universe, they’re here because they’re organs are failing and they want to strip you for parts. That’s why you need get the jump on them, give them an acid bath, and go cosmos surfing with their portal gun. Then it’s only a matter of landing on an earth where you’re already household name.
When All Else Fails Try Time Travel
Remember that scene in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journeywhere the duo needs to win the battle of the bands in order to save the future? It’s the scene when they realize they still don’t know how to play their instruments? For most musicians this would be a problem but Bill and Ted have a phone booth that can travel through time. Right when they travel to the past their older selves emerge from another phone booth rocking ZZ Top beards and baby carriers.
Assume that time travel technology will eventually be made available to leaders at the highest levels of power. Assume that the whole of all future civilizations are built around your artistic contribution. Assume that they’ll send a delegate back to give you access to that time travel technology, and slack off until that happens.
Some of these solutions may seem a tad… abstract, but trust me they’re preferable to working through your decompression time until you’ve got nothing of substance to say to anyone… which is what it feels like I’ve been doing.
(Slams head into desk and gets back to editing.)
My new short story The Pigeon King is now available on Amazon!