You and Your Books Will Burn In Hell For All Eternity

By Aaron Ritchey

I have monstrously grandiose way of thinking, which does not help me very much outside of writing fiction. For example, whenever anyone wants to introduce me to someone, I always assume they will be Hollywood gorgeous, man or woman. However, most people look so…normal.

Real life disappoints me most of the time.

There is one grandiose idea I find very disturbing.

I believe that some writers and some books were meant for greatness and part of me clings to the old idea of that grand destiny, the fantasy of writing a book, publishing it, and making millions of dollars overnight.  Overnight, I have fame, fortune, and…


Really, that’s what I want.  I want THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN, God’s blessing on my writing career and on my book without going through the fear and work it takes to not only write a good book but to get it out into the world.  It’s hard.  Worse than that, it’s messy.  And there are people in my life that look upon what I’m doing with a bemused grin.  “Oh look, Aaron has another book out.  He’s posting about it on Facebook.  Isn’t that cute?  Too bad he’s not a real author.”

Or maybe no one is doing that, but hey, I have that grandiose imagination.  I can picture someone doing that, in Technicolor, so it’s real enough for me.

The reality of THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN is twofold.  On the one hand, some writers and some books did seem destined for greatness.  Their ride was smooth and their way into heaven greased.  I wish it weren’t so, but it is.  I get jealous. I beseech the gods.  Why not me???

Because I just used three question marks.  Probably.

The other side of the coin is that for most writers, it’s a game of perseverance and endurance.  And large parts of the writing game is not sexy.  Writing when you hate every word you type is not sexy.  Getting your ass handed to you at your critique group week after week is not going in the victorious montage scene.

Worse yet, other people start making headway and envy roars!  Like a Katy Perry song, my brothers and sisters.

Then I have the smirking clown on Facebook laughing at my every effort.  Yeah, him, I hate that guy.

But it goes back to endurance, perseverance, and for me, I had to let go of the fantasy of some blessed writing career.  I’ve been fortunate, I’ve had some good breaks, but it’s not my fantasy, believe you me.  I still don’t have a literary agent.  No lovin’ from Aaron from the world of traditional publishing.

What if I don’t have THE MANDATE OF HEAVEN?

It doesn’t matter.  It’s not my job to second-guess God.  It’s my job to write books and to get them published by any means necessary.   It’s my job to do the grunt work and sweat of marketing and posting and all that.  It’s my job to do all the unsexy parts and when people laugh at me?  Well, if I have people who laugh and scoff at me, I know I’m doing something right.

Fashionable apathy is cool, trendy, hip—always has been and always will be.  Being cynical is so much easier than hoping against hoping and writing books the world may or may not bless with money and a vast readership.

And if my books are damned to hell?  Good.  The best parts of Paradise Lost were about Satan anyway.

But I don’t believe any books or authors are cursed.  I believe that since I have the desire to write books, I have a sacred duty to write those books.

That is all the mandate I need.

Aaron Ritchey
Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of The Never Prayer and Long Live the Suicide King, both finalists in various contests. His third novel, Elizabeth’s Midnight, was called “a transformative tale for those who believe in magic and in a young girl’s heart” by Kirkus Reviews. In shorter fiction, his G.I. Joe inspired novella was an Amazon bestseller in Kindle Worlds and his steampunk story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” was part of The Best of Penny Dread Tales anthology published through Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press. The first two books of his young adult sci-fi/western epic series, The Juniper Wars, are available now also from WordFire Press. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two ancient goddesses of chaos posing as his daughters. Learn more about Aaron on his website.

13 thoughts on “You and Your Books Will Burn In Hell For All Eternity

  1. It may not be my job to second guess God, or even the publising industry, but that doesn’t keep me from tossing poorly written books published by the Big 5. Best of luck to all of us: may the odds be ever in our favor.

  2. A lot of us share your pain, Aaron. I sometimes wonder why in the world I keep doing this writing thing when I could be reading your books, and Shannon’s, and Liesa’s, and more instead. SIgh!

  3. LOL, Aaron! You have a strong voice, and a marvelous sense of humor, and you made my morning! “Oh, look, Janet has another book out. Isn’t that cute?” Can’t we all relate? Thanks, and may the Gumball Machine of Fate spit out a gem for you! Happy writing, everyone!

  4. Don’t hate your words along the way. Their small parts are the stepping stones to greatness. Be grateful for the words you have, and know you are blessed to never run out of them!

  5. Aaron. This article inspired me when inspiration got away from me lately. Your words encouraged me when discouragement sometimes surrounds me. I’ll pick up my pencil when words fail me momentarily and just write something, anything, to get back on track. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks all for the comments. I really wrestled with this idea, and it’s something I still struggle with. There are so many books out there, why should I write another one? Because the stories come, Lord, do the stories come. Keep writing all you crazy diamonds.

  7. I believe that envy is a writer’s One Ring, and if you put it in your pocket you will eventually turn into Gollum. It’s so shiny and attractive to think that Lee Child just got lucky, or Stephen King gets all the press so that’s why he sells. This envy can consume you utterly, until you spend your days in a rage and you forget that writing, the act of creation, is selfless. You are right to battle against this envy. I fight it every day. It lays on the floor next to me, shiny, sparkling, beckoning. Thanks for giving me another reason, today, to ignore it.

  8. Aaron, damn the torpedoes–full speed ahead!

    I first went “indie” back in 2001. Talk about the GRIEF I got from the world…even some of my writing friends. Now it’s the “in thing” and I can’t get a gig because everyone else (even some of my writing “friends”) has flooded the market…even people I’m sure gave me stink eye years ago. And I had an agent. Five years. Not one of three novels sold (not for lack of trying on my agent’s part, I assure you). Now I have them ALL out there. And I’m happy about it. They good reviews, even if there’s only one or three [reviews]. Well, last I checked. Anyway, all you can do is what you can do. Keep the joy, and channel the anger into your writing.

    Be strong, you’re a good person. Write on.

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