The Professor, Eric Arvin

The world of M/M romance has exploded over the last few years. It has been such a wonderful time to be a fan. Especially since authors like Eric Arvin have so many different facets to their writing. Be it comedy, satire, whimsy, fantasy, or contemporary drama, he has mastered it all. And some of the tips he’s picked up along the way are as vital as they are humorous.

Sit back and take notes as Eric takes us through the ups and downs of writing.

Things I have learned (and wish to impart) from being a slave to the art of writing

-You will occasionally read a writer who is so good, whose words and style speak to you with such force and eloquence, that you will wonder if anything as great and marvelous will ever come from you. This will either a) make you try harder, or b) make you throw your hands in the air in resignation and never write again. The first is preferable as you don’t want to be perceived as the raging drama queen you secretly are.

-At least five times a year, you will vow to never write again. You will go through such moments of melancholy self-pity as to make a violin sound chipper in comparison. This will last about an hour before a new idea forces you back to the laptop. You will drool on the keyboard from the excitement this new idea causes, because you JUST KNOW this is going to be the story that sails you into the literary stratosphere. You might even get a Lammy nomination! But if you do, don’t go to the ceremony. That’ll show ’em for not nominating you all those previous times. Yeah. That’ll show ’em!

-Every now and then, you will get a wonderful letter or email from a reader telling you how much they enjoy your writing. You will print this out, hold it to your chest for a moment, and put it in a box to look at on rainy days… Do NOT masturbate to it. That’s just wrong.

-Or read that letter or email for comfort when a publisher rejects something on which you’ve worked your ass off. Trust me. It WILL happen. But remember, somewhere in the world there is someone who wants to read exactly what you’ve written. Always. You just have to find a way to connect with them. Submit to another publisher. You must. It is what you do. Beg, holler, and whore. There are a million publishers out there. Someone wants you.

-You will nearly be destroyed when a project that held such promise falls apart and is relegated to the “Never to be published” pile in your cedar chest (more about that later). You will most likely pick its bones for years to come for other tales. In this way, it still lives. It is Frankenscript, and it will haunt your dreams.

-Writing is lonely. Writing has no social life. It makes up its own and its imaginary friends are very, very pretty. But not as pretty as you.

-You experience a high after finishing a well-executed project that is better than any drug. It’s akin to the high after a great workout, if that workout ended with an orgasm and a chocolate muffin.

-Not everything you write will find a home. When you die there will be unpublished stories and outlines found as your relatives are rummaging through your things. They will be in slightly messed stacks because you slightly messed them on purpose to give them a Romantic air. Leave these to your favorite relative. With any luck, they will then be published. If J.R.R. Tolkien’s family can exploit his work after he died, so can yours.

-Inspiration comes whenever it wants. This can be at three in the morning in a dream. It will wake you. You will fight the urge to get up and write the idea down, but you will lose. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come for weeks, so you must take it when you can. Accept that you are the vessel and this is your purpose. If you refuse, the gods will be angry and chop off your weiner. You wouldn’t want that to happen. If you don’t have a wiener, they will give you one and then chop it off.

-The day after the release of a new project is a little depressing. You’ve spent months, sometimes years, with a group of characters who seem very real to you. In some ways, they’re better friends than your friends. (Embrace the crazy.)You’ve spent weeks promoting the book as best you can with your meager, MEAGER budget. And then, the day comes and goes. Nothing. Suddenly, all you hear are crickets. It’s as if what you’ve written, this great comet of such imagination and fire, hardly made a dent in the atmosphere. Have a muffin. You’ll feel better. Soon reviews will start trickling in and all will be well.

-Allow yourself an hour to sulk after a bad review, then get on with your life. It’s only one opinion, and screw those festering bung holes for not seeing how brilliant you are. Don’t be like director David Lean. It was said that the reason there was 14 years between his films Ryan’s Daughter and A Passage To India was because of a review a single critic gave to the first film. That’s too much power for someone else’s words to have over your own fabulosity.

-You are your own personal shrink. While writing you will have epiphanies and realizations that would freaking blow the world’s collective mind. You will solve personal conflicts on your own, and you will most likely THINK.WAY.TOO.MUCH. about everything. So learn to meditate. Tell those muses, “Hey, Muuses! Shut the hell up! I’m trying to watch Ancient Aliens here. Jeez!”

-When someone says to you “you’re so lucky to be a writer” avoid the urge to slap them with a raw turkey breast. They mean well, but they don’t understand the hard work that goes into it. Nor do they live on the salary you have to survive on, which brings me to…

-You WILL be poor.

-The success of others – including your close friends – will make you occasionally jealous. This does not make you a bad person. Maybe mediocre, but not bad. This feeling does not mean that you wish your friend didn’t have such great success. But that you wish YOU did as well. You could be successful together and strut around town flaunting your super coolness to everyone you see. Envy is an ugly color on you. But it looks just fine on others. Strange that.

-Promotion is the Devil. Some writers are naturals in the art of promo. Some are not. You will try, but you just won’t get it. The guest blogging, the Facebook ads, the book signings…they all look and sound great, but you have never been Mr. Popular and socializing is a bit of a struggle. There is the constant knowledge that, while you are definitely dateable, you may not be particularly relate-able.

-A good editor will save your butt from looking very stupid. When you get the first edits back for a new manuscript there may be so much red you may question whether you even attended school at all. And while the public will thankfully never see your atrocious guffaws, you can’t help but wonder if there is an Editor’s Club somewhere in the world – possibly a seedy basement or a seedier library – whereat your name is a punchline.

-Finally, be grateful. You’re a writer. And your friend was right. That’s pretty damn cool.


Eric is very fond of chocolate muffins when he’s feeling great … to enter to win an e-book from his backlist, comment below about how you reward yourself for a job well done.

Open until Thursday, July 19th at 11:59 pm (PST). A winner will be selected and notified on Friday.


23 thoughts on “The Professor, Eric Arvin

  1. jonmichaelsen July 17, 2012 / 10:14 am

    Eric, awesome piece; are you sure you didn’t interview me?? I’m sharing with my friends who have no idea what it’s like to be a writer. Thanks for this perceptive insight.

  2. Verena July 17, 2012 / 10:14 am

    I used to reward myself with donuts, but since I wanna lose weight, that’s not an option anymore. Now I reward myself with books…lol.

  3. Kerry Sullivan July 17, 2012 / 10:39 am

    Oh I love to reward myself with books, muffins and sherry and that is all together so I eatthe muffins while reading the book and drinking the sherry ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Trix July 17, 2012 / 10:46 am

    I like a good trip to a book or record store, and sometimes some chocolate item will end up in the mix, too….

  5. kbranfield July 17, 2012 / 11:21 am

    Great post by a fabulous author. I reward myself with books. Even when I don’t deserve an reward :D!

  6. Val Kovalin July 17, 2012 / 12:00 pm

    “Frankenscript…you WILL be poor…Promotion is the Devil.” Ha, ha! Delightful post, very funny. Thanks for sharing.

  7. anelviz July 17, 2012 / 1:28 pm

    As much as I adore chocolate, for me, the only reward truly worthy of a job well done is great sex. Since it wouldn’t be great sex if I had to do it alone, someone else — namely, my boyfriend — would have to be convinced I’d done a great job. I hope he’d say the same thing after the sex, too!

  8. Juliana July 17, 2012 / 1:56 pm

    I reward myself with a nice hot cup of Earl Grey tea. Just a little something to help enjoy a good book!

  9. Penumbra July 17, 2012 / 2:25 pm

    I reward myself with good food. Preferably out to a nice restaurant ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Suze July 17, 2012 / 2:46 pm

    A glass of red wine, a book and no kids – perfect reward for me!

  11. Jbst July 17, 2012 / 3:06 pm

    This post was so insightful to me as a reader about the life of a writer or author. I like to reward myself with a dessert, preferably chocolate. Wishing you the most delicious chocolate muffin.

  12. Hambel July 17, 2012 / 4:27 pm

    Wise words indeed. Fond as I am of chocolate muffins, I prefer a sit-down with a cup of tea and some dunkable biccies for my reward. If my kindle’s nearby, that makes it even better.

  13. Susan Laine July 17, 2012 / 5:12 pm

    Great post, Eric. Laughed out loud throughout. “Suddenly, all you hear are crickets.” Yup, I hear that! Those chocolate muffins sure sound good ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. James Erich July 17, 2012 / 6:38 pm

    “Envy is an ugly color on you. But it looks just fine on others.”

    Great line! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Michelle (MiMi) July 17, 2012 / 11:49 pm

    I agree…very cool!
    I reward myself with books, of course!
    chellebee66 at gmail dot com

  16. arella3173 July 18, 2012 / 4:27 am

    I enjoyed the post!! lol…
    Hm, the way I reward myself with a job well done….??
    I think what I usually do Is buy myself a book. LOL… mainly, a Yaoi Manga. Or, another Ebook. yep… If those are out of the question then I get myself my favorite Ice-cream: Chunky Monkey by Ben&Jerry’s. lol…

    Thanks for the contest!! xD


  17. Jenn T. July 18, 2012 / 8:54 am

    You always say what everyone thinks, but often don’t express with as much humility and humor. You crack me up. And I find you very relate-able, even if my dating options with your are nil. I’m glad you’ve resisted virtual slapping me with turkey because I do think you are lucky. Imagination, creativity, and talent are pretty badass. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. David Berger July 18, 2012 / 10:19 am

    I reward myself with sushi. Lots and lots of sushi! Did I mention sushi? ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Angela Burton July 18, 2012 / 4:17 pm

    I love this post, although now I am scared to send a wonderful letter to you. We reward ourselves here in my office with mochas but only on Mondays because of the alliteration. (We want to be able to go around saying, “It’s Mocha Monday,” and feel momentary glee.) I am certainly glad you are a writer, because I am reading a book of yours now.

  20. Eric Arvin July 19, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    Thank you, all! I got the warm fuzzies…which is very uncomfortable in this hellacious heat ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. mantasticfiction July 20, 2012 / 12:53 pm

    Congratulations Jenn T! I will be contacting you directly about claiming your prize ๐Ÿ™‚

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