I used to make fun of them. I admit it, and I’m not proud of it. I would use unkind words like “needy” when describing them. I would screen my phone calls based on how much time I had till the next meeting. I would answer voice mails with emails.

There were excuses, to be sure. Working in corporate America, there’s very little time set aside for actual work—for completing the things that appear in your written job description. Instead there are meetings. I’ve actually been to meetings that were planning sessions for other meetings. It was rare that anyone at the vice president level or higher actually listened in meetings, and they never read anything, ever. So it required a long string of meetings, in which the same information was repeated over and over and over again, before even the simplest message penetrated enough to get a signature on a piece of paper. That’s a good excuse. It wasn’t my fault. Believe me—please believe me—I would much rather be on the phone with an author.

But that was then, and this is now.

Now I go to very few meetings, all of them have purpose, and the vast majority are via telephone or Skype. It’s extremely rare that my time is wasted by some outside influence. I am in control of my own schedule and my own to do list. My kids are at school, my wife is at work, and my dog is asleep under my desk.

And I am desperate for human contact…

Read the rest in…

Editor and author Philip Athans offers hands on advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general in this collection of 58 revised and expanded essays from the first five years of his long-running weekly blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook.


—Philip Athans


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Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.



About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, ( is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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  1. If you lived a little closer, I’d have you over for a game or five. But I think the drive to Ohio would be a bit of a commute for you…

  2. Neeks says:

    If you lived near me I would ask you to help me create a local writers group. Is there one in your area? I’ll bet they would be ecstatic to have such a prolific writer in their midst! I know I would. 🙂

  3. Amen! It’s amazing isn’t it? I tried to go away for a writing retreat…alone. I came home three days early because i needed to be around people at least a little bit in order to stay on top of my creativity. Welcome to the needy!

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