For the longest time, YEARS, every time someone found out I was a writer, the next question was always, “Oh? What do you write?”

And like a wimp, I always shrugged it off and gave a vague, evasive answer. Oh, you know, little bit of everything.

Which wasn’t a lie. In addition to horror, I write reviews, I have written poetry. I have several comic book scripts, and even a play tucked away in a safe place away from prying eyes. But horror has always always always been my first and most important love. If I was told I could only write in one genre for the rest of my life, there wouldn’t even be a hesitation: horror.

But I always dodged the question and gave a very … ambiguous answer. A little bit of everything.

Why did I do that? Was I ashamed of being a horror writer? Surely not! Was I?

To be fair, I only said this when a normie would ask me that question. If it was a horror fan, I had no problem admitting the dirty truth. I’m a horror writer. But just someone off the street?

I was out to lunch with my ex wife one day–we were still married at the time, so it wasn’t weird–and I was wearing my “I’d Rather Be Writing” t-shirt. I’ve had this shirt for years, didn’t even give a second thought to wearing it out to lunch. This guy gets up from his table and, as he’s leaving, stops by and asks, “What do you write?”

A little bit of everything.

DAMMIT! I did it again.

When it would have been so easy to just say, “I’m a horror writer.” It’s even easier to say; it’s one word less than my usual answer.

And I wonder how many others out there do the same thing. What kind of movies do you make? What kind of music do you play? What do you write?

Oh, you know, this and that, little bit of everything.

I’ve gotten over it and now I don’t hesitate to say I’m a horror writer. And I admit it took some time and courage because outside of the horror community, the genre just has such a … cheap feel. But still, man, there’s nothing I’d rather write for the rest of my life.

When you’re trying to make a name and a life for yourself with your art, ambiguity is not your friend. And yeah yeah, there’s always that one that has to claim I love ALL genres. Sure you do. We all do. But if it came down to it and you could only work in one genre and God said pick? That’s your genre. Own it.

An audience who doesn’t know you is going to find you because they like a particular thing. I have found dozens of horror authors I fell in love with, because I love horror and was looking for horror. I just happened to find these authors I never would have heard of otherwise because they were in the horror section. So don’t shy away from the thing you love and want to do. Embrace it.

Make a show of it. You can see it on the homepage of my website, C. DENNIS MOORE–HORROR AUTHOR. I may have spent the majority of 2018 writing a serialized super hero story and not a lot of horror at all, but it’s still my number one right up front.

I’m proud to be a horror writer. But in my years writing, I’ve come across a number of horror writers who insist that’s not what they do. They do “a little bit of everything.” I’d list their names for you, but you’ve not heard of them. And you probably won’t because in their quest to distance themselves from this wonderful genre, or from ANY genre, they’ve released a mish-mash of stories that confuses readers.

Chances are VERY good if you’re reading my fiction, it’s most likely horror–last year’s production notwithstanding. Chances are very good if you read a Stephen King novel, it’s going to be a horror novel. Chances are very good if you read an Ed Lee novel, it’s going to be a horror novel. Not that I’m equating myself with those guys, they’re masters of the genre.

But, when I want to read some horror, I know who to go to because the authors I read aren’t wishy washy when it comes to what they do. They write horror. And I don’t want to turn this into a discussion about the validity or pitfalls of genre-hopping, I love genre-hopping. But at the end of the day, no matter how many super hero stories or love poems I write, I am a horror writer.

Period. End of discussion.

Yes, I want to play in every genre there is, I want to write in every style, I would love to be known as a great writer no matter what comes out of my head. But first and foremost, I want to be known as a great HORROR writer.

And so that is where my focus lies, and where my current goals are leading. How specific are your goals? Are you just hoping to be a great filmmaker, or do you want to make the funniest comedies ever released? Or the most exciting westerns? Do you want to make music, or do you want to record the best heavy metal tunes around?

If there’s a genre you like, don’t deny it. Genres are how our audience finds us, especially when we’re still unknown to the general populace. No one saw STAR WARS because they were after the next George Lucas movie at the time. They saw science fiction space opera and that’s what drew them in.

Find your genre. Own it. Live it. And then make in synonymous with you.

It’s the start of a new year and the time when we sit back and gaze at all the wonderful, beautiful possibilities. Just think of all the things I’m going to get done this year, all the accomplishments, all the completed goals. This year is going to be THE BEST, Jerry!

And we look at all those incredible feats we’re going to achieve and we … freeze.

We get so worked up over the scope of our plans that we are suddenly overwhelmed and can’t even get started.

These are the times we need stop. Breathe. Focus. Stop thinking about the future and all of our amazing plans, and just BE PRESENT.

What’s going on with you today, RIGHT NOW? How are you feeling? Take a few minutes, 10-15, and meditate in silence.

A lot of people here the word “meditate” and automatically think there’s no way I could clear my mind. But that’s not what meditation is about. I’m not even sure clearing your mind is possible, especially for creatives like us. Our minds are always turned on to the possibilities of art all around us. So asking someone like us to clear their mind just isn’t realistic.

But sitting in silence is. So you sit in a COMFORTABLE position. Close your eyes and just breathe. And while all those random thoughts are flying around in your brain, listen to the sound of your breathing. Listen to the room around you. Let those thoughts that are running rampant in your head collide in your mind’s eye and then push them away.

Just breathe and be in the moment. We’re not thinking about what we’re GOING to do, we’re thinking about what we ARE doing, which is just sitting here, breathing.

According to the Eco Institute and their 141 Benefits of Meditation, “Not only do experienced meditators often look decades younger than their ‘true’ age, but they also live much longer lives than the rest of us mere mortals.” Meditation can also help you lose weight. Says the Eco Institute, “Meditation satisfies the same neurochemical ‘fix’ within the brain that we get when we eat addictive food.”

The American Meditation Society says meditation can also improve psychological health and self-esteem, lowers incidences of depression, anger, irritability, improves concentration, increases positive thinking, and enhances creativity. And aren’t these ALL things creative people can benefit from?

In his Tim Ferris interview, Terry Crews said he got to the point where he stopped thinking I WANT to be rich and decided I AM rich, now how would a rich person act? Good idea.

I don’t need to be rich, but it wouldn’t hurt. I do, however, want to be happy and successful in my writing. So let’s look at some other successful creators who meditate.

Paul McCartney started meditating in 1967. When the Beatles traveled to India to learn about mediation, they “spent their free time writing songs—many of which ended up in ‘The White Album.’”

Jerry Seinfeld credits meditation with helping him survive 9 years of a TV show where he was “the star of the show, the executive producer of the show, the head writer, in charge of casting and editing, for 24 episodes on network television – not cable.”

And Martin Scorsese has said, “For the last few years, I’ve been practicing meditation. It’s difficult to describe the effect it has had on my life. I can only mention maybe a few words: calm, clarity, a balance, and at times – a recognition. It’s made a difference.”

How can you argue with testimonials like that?

And I’m not saying you need to go buy a bunch of candles and incense and dedicate your life to following the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I’m just saying take a few minutes to help battle the goal overwhelm you’re probably feeling at the start of the year. Have a seat. Focus on your breathing. Stop thinking, for 15 minutes, about all your plans for the future and just BE PRESENT.