Monday Blues

shutterstock-pouty-girlAs many of my long-time followers will note, I have a love-hate relationship with writing. There are days I love it and then there are days where I wish I could just give it up… but there’s a compulsion within me that refuses to let go. In fact, as silly as it sounds, if I go too long without writing, my fingers literally start to ache. I think of it as missing the pounding of the keys beneath my fingertips.

Likewise, there are times I enjoy the writing but hate everything else that goes along with being a professional writer. See, success is relative — I have plenty of people who genuinely tell me they’d give their left arm to be as successful as I am. If I were on the other side, I’d probably say that, too. After all, things have actually gone pretty well for me, aside from the the fact that I haven’t gotten rich!

When I look at all the things that I’ve accomplished, I’m sometimes left going “Wow, I should be happier about all of this…” — I’ve been published multiple times by Marvel Comics; I wrote for West End Games (my favorite rpg publisher growing up); I got the chance to write The Avenger not once but twice; I’ve gotten to work with guys like George Sellas, Will Meugniot, Anthony Castrillo, Norm Breyfogle, Chris Batista, Bob Hall, Frank Brunner and Grant Miehm; and Michael Uslan gave me one heck of a cover blurb to use on my books!

What’s not to love??

And yet I’m often dissatisfied with my lot.

Before I was published the first time, I used to think if I got published one time, I’d be satisfied. Then it happened and I was like, now if I can do it again to prove it wasn’t a fluke… And so on and so on.

It’s never enough.

Lately I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the fact that there aren’t enough of you! I’ve been writing for about ten years now professionally and I’m very appreciative of my fans but it feels like things have gotten a wee bit snug, if you know what I mean. My reader base is of a decent size for the very small pond that is New Pulp but I don’t see it growing very quickly, if at all. At some point you have weigh the time and effort that’s going in to the creation of these products and ask “Is it equal to the rather small amount of money I’m making doing it?”

And then we get back to the whole “Maybe I should just sign off on the blog, stop writing and go home.”

Think what I could do with that free time, I tell myself! I could read more. I could acquire a new hobby. I could begin training for a marathon!

Well, okay, that last one probably isn’t going to happen… but still! Heck, I could take a year-long sabbatical and nobody would notice because I have so many stories already turned in with various publishers!

Normally I just ride it out. Keep on keeping on and then I’ll get excited about what I’m working on… or I’ll find out that a story I completed ages ago is finally seeing print. Those things perk me back up and then I continue on my merry little way until the next time the depression hits me. I don’t really get writer’s block — never have, thankfully — but these little funks feel like they show up more and more often. I never wanted to be the tortured artist — especially not one who willingly writes trashy, escapist fare — but here I am.

Woe is me.

Not really. I recognize that I should be dancing about, happy as can be… but maybe if I was, I wouldn’t want to get better. And bigger.

Maybe it’s the never-being-satisfied that’s the key.


I’ll try to be a bit less pouty tomorrow!


  1. Barry, buck up, little camper. I am 56 years old. Been a voracious reader since about 11 and haven’t stopped yet. I grew up on Marvel comics, science fiction and fantasy, old pulps but not many pulp hero types. Mostly Doc Savage, Avenger and Robert E. Howard characters. I have read all sci-fi authors from the 30’s through 70′ but can’t say much about what’s been written since. Originality fell off a cliff in the 80’s. About 2 years ago I bought a tablet and got the kindle app. Recently, after searches for various pulps, I happened upon your works. Barry, I haven’t had so much FUN reading in the last 30 years. Really. FUN!!! I am currently plowing through everything I can get with your name on it. Your writing style is superior to most anything in the new pulp era, it’s original and I love the way you work other writer’s literary characters into your stories. You handle action well, which many writers have a hard time with. Your stories are written for today’s sensibilities but somehow maintain a feel for the old pulps. Kudos. Please keep it up. Writers like you do not appear often. Like it or not, you now have a duty to continue entertaining me, ummmm, your readers. I won’t offer any critiques, just do what you do. I also think your readership will increase due to Kindle. It just takes time.
    Your new fan,
    Stephen P. Allen

  2. I, also, sometimes wonder if maybe my writing time couldn’t be better spent in maybe acquiring an engineering or medical degree or something, but I have this compulsion to write that I can’t seem to escape. You, my friend, have that same compulsion.

  3. I’ve started to read books again because of your characters and the incredible perils you put them thru. It’s always a delight to read (and re-read!) your novels. I love telling my friends about your characters & stories & am looking forward to reading more of your work in the near future.
    Writing is an itch that you MUST scratch! To deny your creativity is to deny a part of yourself.
    I would still like to see some of your novels adapted to graphic novel form. Companies like IDW & Dark Horse would be a great place for your incredible characters. Whatever the case I will continue to buy what you write.
    Your that good. Period.

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