Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Mess Welcomes Matt Best

Meet Matt Betts
A writer of speculative fiction, Matt Best is also a poet and a doer of things. This summer his steampunk novel, Odd Men Out, will be released by Dog Star Books, and you'll definitely want to check it out.  You'll learn quite a bit about Matt in his guest post this week, so I don't want to say too much upfront.  However, I can relate to what he says as a writer who struggled to get the words down on paper while taking care of a family.  I am sure we have all been there and many of us are still there. Perhaps, after reading his story, you'll be nice to share some of your writing tricks for making time in the comments.  I'd love to see how others have managed to make their dreams a reality.

For now, however, let's see how Matt managed it.

The Writing Life of Matt Betts

I’m the father of two crazy boys, one just turned 2 and the other became a 6-year-old not long after.
I’m a writer. When they let me write.

It’s easy to blame the kids when I have stretches of unproductivity, dry spells, writer’s block, brain drain, or whatever you want to call it. They’re convenient scapegoats, what with soccer practice, doctor appointments, homework, bedtime stories and general lunacy.

What’s strange is that I actually became more productive once my kids were born. It went against everything I expected. Late night feedings, diaper changes, doctor’s visits. Add in the 8-5 day job. There was no way I was getting anything done.

Except I did.

It seems that somehow, miraculously, and purely by accident, I started making good use of my free time. When I had 5 minutes, I wrote something—a line, a scene, a conversation, anything—and it kind of added up. 100 words here, 225 there. A couple of those tiny amounts with the 750 to 1,000 words I was writing at lunch, and whatever I could write on the weekends, and it REALLY added up.

I managed to get out some flash fiction and a little poetry out, and I really made a dent in a novel—all in the few months after my first son was born. It was probably the most productive I’ve ever been. It’s easy to say I managed my schedule more wisely then, but really, I just wrote when I had time. If an idea came to me, I wrote it. I had a notebook and a pen with me at all times. Back then, I had a 30 minute drive to work and I used it to plot scenes and develop characters in my head, all of which I wrote down as soon as the chance presented itself.

In the two years since my youngest was born, I finished a science fiction/steampunk book called Odd Men Out, and it was accepted by Dog Star Books. It comes out this summer, and I’ve started on a follow up to it.

I’ve gotten away from that winning formula for writing recently, even though it was second nature for a while. I guess I started taking it for granted. It seemed so easy. My writing suffers because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a blast with my boys and if there was ever a decent reason for not meeting my daily word count goals, it’s because I’m making a Lego tower, or stopping an alien invasion, or reading books with my boys.

For things like that, I can’t complain. I mean, where do you think I get all of my ideas?

About Matt Betts:

Ohio native Matt Betts worked for a number of years in radio as an on-air personality, anchor and reporter. His fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of print and online venues.

Matt’s steampunk/alternate history novel, Odd Men Out, will be released in early August from Dog Star Books. He blogs at and tweets as @Betts_Matt

Matt lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and sons. He is currently planning his next adventure.

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1 comment:

  1. And I thought that my life was hectic! I'm amazed you were able to produce so much with all of that on your plate. I'm really looking forward to your books now. Good luck keeping up with them! It'll be harder as they get older. They tend to get faster haha.