The Writing Life…with guest Clay Morgan

Melissa Tagg On Writing 36 Comments

My friend Clay Morgan is here today. Yay!

He hosts this great podcast with two friends (which I had a blast guesting on recently). He and those same friends blog at this fun website. He wrote this awesome book. And we both host this classic movie feature.

By way of further introduction, I was going to make some disparaging joke about Clay not liking Sound of Music, but then I read his post and realized it’s one of my favorite posts ever and so decided to be nice. If you are a writer and/or you like to laugh, this should totally make your day…


Oh, the life of a writer. I empathize with our gracious host here, Melissa, who is plugging away against deadline. As I type these words I imagine her holed up in a cave, nearly bursting with delirium. I wouldn’t even blame her if she’s hunched in the corner of her room like Gollum muttering about her precious as she tosses stale Cheetos at the computer screen.

(MT: Exchange the Cheetos for baby carrots and you’ve about got it right, Clay.)

But she’s resilient, and I’m sure she’ll be back and better than ever in no time. I figured I would step in for just today though and give her a day off the ol’ blog lest she stare at the blinking cursor a bit too long and start to think it’s mocking her.

I have a writing cave too. It has a window. I always thought that would be so nice, having a window to look out like that. It’s not much of a view but my little roof gets visited by squirrels, birds, and one time even a cat. No kidding! A cat peeked into my second floor window one day.


MT: Ugh, why do cats creep me out so much?

It reminds me of this movie called Funny Farm which is from the 80s so Melissa probably hasn’t seen it. (MT: Nope) He was so happy to have a writing room in the country with a window. Until the writer’s block set in and those birds just weren’t charming any more.



Still you hunker down into that beautiful spot where words magically funnel from the heavens down into your mind and heart before flowing through your fingers in a tap dance of inspiration upon the keys.

Before you know it, the work is done, and you turn it over to publishing professionals who herald your manuscript’s arrival with virtual angel song.


(MT: I’m so scared that’s exactly how my editor’s going to react when I turn my book in tomorrow!)

Oh who am I kidding? This job is TOUGH. It’s like this:

You decide to write a book and EVERYONE is like what’s it about?

But you’re like, it’s gonna be awesome I AM SO EXCITED LET’S DO THIS.

So you sit down for the inspiration to flow but are like…

And your friends are like, “Hey Shakespeare, how’s your novel going? Oh, it’s not?”

cumberbatch challenge

So you get super focused. This time IT IS ON.

And you think of the people who always encourage you. This one’s for them.

Because You…are a writer.

And you’re so inspired you don’t even care about the haters anymore.

But why is it SO HARD?

The writer madness sets in…

Yeah, the rejection stings, so you seek out inspiration, a mentor, someone who understands the grind of this sadistic profession. They will comfort you, guide you, and oh my goodness every writer in history is so much better than you and everything you write is SO BAD why did you ever decide to do this again!

And that’s just one day.

But as hard, frustrating, mind-breaking, and maddening as it is, you just love writing and telling stories and making others happy by working at your craft.

So you wake up the next day, dust the stale Cheetos off your shirt, and do it all over again.


CLAY MORGAN is the author of Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn. He blogs at and lives in a writing cave in Pittsburgh with a Yorkie named Romy and a piece of Alexander Hamilton’s hair.

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    Comments 36

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          Melissa Tagg

          Ok, I’ll add it to the list of 80s movies I haven’t seen but should. (Versus the list of 80s movies I have seen and never want to again…cough, E.T.) I mean, if it’s about a writer, it’s really only right to see it…

    1. Beth K. Vogt

      “And that’s just one day.”

      Favorite. Line. Of. The. Blog. Post.

      Or maybe: “Nothing you say can upset me.”

      Or: “It’s not fair.”

      I think I’m just gonna replay the “I am a writer” (CUE APPLAUSE) video over and over ago.

      Clay, how many hours of writing did you avoid creating this bit of mad brilliance?

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    2. Rissi

      Ha! Fabulous post Clay (and Melissa!). Thanks for the giggles.

      (And, Melissa, I am sure your book will be awesome! No worries, you got this.)

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        Melissa Tagg

        Ahhhh cats freak me out. Of course, I lived with one of the meanest cats in the whole world for about a year once right after college. I’m pretty sure it scarred me for life, so I’m probably a little biased.

    3. Amber

      I HAVE NEVER LAUGHED SO HARD! Wow, did I need this today! Thank you so much!!!! You are fabulous–hope I can actually MEET you someday!

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    4. Gabrielle Meyer

      I’m late to the party, but this was awesome!!! I laughed so hard at the Funny Farm clip of his reader’s reaction, I had tears in my eyes! My beta readers have my WIP and I’m so afraid that’s what each one wants to do! I might have to watch that one a couple times a day, just to get a good laugh. I love knowing I’m not alone on this sadistic journey. :)

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        Melissa Tagg

        Gabe, the worst is when that’s MY reaction to my own stuff. LOL! But just so you know, as someone who has read your writing, I’ve never had that response. You are a fabulous writer…and not once, that I’ve seen, have you done a flash sideways… :)

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