By Writing Excuses | April 6, 2014 - 7:29 pm - Posted in Career, Season 9

“What are the parts of the job that nobody told you about?”

Or, you know, WARNED you about…

It’s a question somebody sent to us, and we all had different answers, so Brandon put together a list, and we made a whole episode out of it! We talk about reviews, physical pain, dietary excitement, deadline-driven interruptions, and not having leisure reading time.

But this isn’t just us whining. We also talk about our solutions to these problems. You know, in between the whining.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Shambling Guide to New York City, by Mur Lafferty, and narrated by Mur, too.

Writing Prompt: Your main character is a writer, and they want to write but cannot because of some completely bizarre professional requirement that we did not talk about in this episode.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, April 6th, 2014 at 7:29 pm and is filed under Career, Season 9. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Comments

  1. April 6, 2014 @ 9:38 pm


    Even though I’m not studying writing or a directly related field in college, I’ve certainly got a head start on the posture problems. I do, on average, err more towards “forgetting to eat” than overeating.

    Writing actually results in me getting more exercise than coursework. I can’t plan out stories sitting still. I either go on walks or pace around the room. It’s just how I think about stories, and have always done it that way. It weirded out my mother when I was a child.

    Posted by Cory
  2. April 7, 2014 @ 6:20 am


    Welcome back Dan – your input has been missed.

    Nice cast team. Both very informative and surprising.

    Posted by Julien
  3. April 7, 2014 @ 11:26 am


    A programmer can relate to the perils of a seated profession. Personally, I’m starting with some serious strength training using Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength.

    I don’t have to pick heavy things up off the ground for my work but I do have to hold my body up all day and keep the disks in my back off the nerves. I feel better when my back is strong.

    Posted by Servius
  4. April 8, 2014 @ 12:10 am


    Starting Strength references have bled into the comments on Writing Excuses. This is far funnier to me than it should be.

    Heavy lifting is in fact, magic, though. My happiness and back health pretty much boil down to “How sleep-deprived am i currently?” and “How drastically overdue is my next workout?” It may be counter-intuitive that bearing lots of weight makes my spine feel amazing, but that’s just how it is.

    After saying “Heavy lifting is magic” I’m kind of tempted to write a fantasy story where that is literally true…..

    Posted by Cory
  5. April 8, 2014 @ 3:49 am


    Also happy to have Dan back on the ‘cast.

    Never would I want to insinuate that he’s the shapest knife in the drawer, but he adds some distinctive poignancy to the game. (The kind that comes from suspicously specific denials, I suppose.)

    In fact, I think that each one of you four adds a special voice that is missed if it’s missing. Every time I re-listen to some very old episode where pieces of text are read out, I can’t help thinking “Mary would have done that better”. No offence, bros!

    One peace of – hopefully – constructive criticism on a few of the latest – danless – episodes:

    If you have a guest aboard but don’t let her/him define the topic, the guest sometimes has difficulties to partake in the discussion. Especially if they don’t have the personality – or the booming voice – of James Dashner, Scott Lynch or Larry Correia …

    I can understand the thinking “well, she’s still sitting here after that episode about her special topic, why not just keep her aboard during the episode that Brandon wanted to do for some time?”, but I found the resulting episodes not quite up to your own – admittedly ridiculously high – standards.

    Don’t expect your guests to interrupt you to have their voices heard. Don’t expect them to be like Mary, who’s always a lady, but has learned how to play with the boys.

    To be clear, you did a really good job, but I expected you to do even better – in that particular regard.

    That said, keep them comin’, guys!

    Posted by Timothy Cramer
  6. April 8, 2014 @ 2:23 pm


    Not sure if any of the casters have ever had this problem, but too much writing actually makes my arm fall asleep (first time it happened, the numbness made me worry it was a heart attack). Essentially, too much computer use can result in shortened muscles that press on nerves. Slinging a bag over my shoulder, carrying a suitcase, etc, are all enough to set it off. Now I have to stretch before and after writing (something that feels ridiculous even to write, but its true).

    Posted by J D Tolson
  7. April 8, 2014 @ 5:02 pm


    I so agree about the leisure reading issue. I end up reading much more non-fiction in the throws of a first draft. My reward for finishing equals hitting my to-read fiction pile.

    Now thanks to you guys, I’ve just spent :30 looking up TREAD DESKS. I must have one.

    Posted by Casondra Brewster
  8. April 8, 2014 @ 8:43 pm


    Taking the cover off the writing life and showing the grisly truth? Not quite enough for the Enquirer, but…

    Here’s the transcript. Bad reviews, pains in the back, weight issues, interruptions when you can least afford them, and not even a chance to relax and read? It’s all there, waiting for your reading.

    http://wetranscripts.livejournal.com/86866.html

    Posted by 'nother Mike
  9. April 8, 2014 @ 10:00 pm


    Very insightful and interesting. I find myself sacrificing workout time to write, since I’m still in school and don’t want to delay my WIP any further.

    Posted by Taylor
  10. April 9, 2014 @ 12:06 am


    Welcome back, Dan.

    This week’s writing prompt is almost identical o the very first writing prompt in S01E16.
    It’s cool to see you come full circle after all this time.

    Posted by Adam
  11. April 10, 2014 @ 11:23 am


    I use a exercise ball as an office chair, which may mess with the knees (I use a foot rest once in a while to give some relief, but I lost weight using it, my core got stronger, it’s really cheap (less than 25 bucks with a plastic support to keep it from rolling. It reminds me to do thinks like lift my legs, which is more exercise and good for my lower stomach muscles and forces me to balance and move as I sit and type.

    I lost 10 pounds in about 2 months using the thing without anything else. (But my metabolism tends to be high)

    The pain reduced significantly when I did that. My lower back pain ceased, my butt wasn’t sore from hours of writing, etc. and it improved my terrible posture and sitting posture so I didn’t slouch when I type. This also meant less wrist pain overall. Plus, if I do feel like exercising, I can do it at my desk with minimal effort.

    Posted by Rachel Udin
  12. April 12, 2014 @ 3:02 pm


    It’s great that Dan is back!

    Lifehacker had several great articles that explained how to stay in relatively healthy shape, while having a sedentary job.

    Posted by Aaron Lovin