How To Be A Writer In This Fucked-Ass Age Of Rot And Resistance. It is fucking weird being a writer right now.
Especially the writer of what is ostensibly entertainment — it feels precariously like tap-dancing on the Titanic. It’s like, tippity-tap-tappity-tip, “Ya-da-da-da-doo-dee-da-da! Hey, ignore the iceberg, look at me dancing, I’m dancing over here, it’s great, we’re not smashing into a jagged frozen nightmare, ha ha ha that’s just the power of my dance you’re feeling as the boat splits apart and, oh god I’m falling into the hoary black depths, but maybe I can tap dance on an ice floe or the head of a shark–” *is frozen* *is eaten* What I’m trying to say is: It’s hecka hard to conjure words these days. Hard to sit down, avert your gaze from the Hieronymous Bosch painting going on outside your window (“Oh, good, there’s a giant face vomiting up a skeleton bird and the skeleton bird is eating children”), and especially hard to put words down.
This is truly the stupidest, meanest timeline. And it would be easy to… just not write. Only problem: How? 25 Reasons To Keep Making Stuff. Yesterday I did a thread on Twitter — replete with animated GIFs!
— that I thought was valuable enough to put here, too, at Ye Olde Blogge. So, here it is — note, the animated GIFs are missing, so you’ll have to behold the original thread for maximum effect. *clears throat* Why make anything? Why be creative? 25 reasons, starting now. 1. Writing From A Place Of Fear Versus From A Place Of Love. There is an old story that says, there is a fight going on inside every writer.
A battle between two wolves. Or maybe they’re foxes? Whatever. #128: Writing for Money, Writing for Joy. Dear Story Nurse,I’ve been working hard the last year on putting my work out there: shopping a fully edited novel round to agents, pitching and submitting short fiction/game writing and putting some stuff up for free.
While I’ve had a good response when I have a direct audience (i.e. with my alpha readers, free work and blogging), I’m hitting a huge wall of rejection with anything that requires investment from professionals. I’m very aware that this is exactly the problem plenty of writers have (and there are so many examples of famous writers getting rejected a lot) but it feels like such a roll of the dice every time, without any way of improving the odds. Dear Dauntless, Thank you for the kind words! I will be glad to be a force of positivity for you. In Writing, Progress Doesn’t Always Look Like Progress. It’s been sort of a perfect storm of late in terms of triggers leading me to think very hard about writing advice, writing processes, and progress in writing.
Part of it is the discussion I had with awesome human Anthony Carboni on our podcast, Ragnatalk, where in Episode 15 we attempt, however vainly, to tackle the nature of failed, troublesome New Year Resolutions. Part of it is the blowback to the Marie Kondo Netflix show, and the backlash to the blowback, and the backblow to the lashback. (Wait, what?) Part of it too is this tweet by other awesome human, Delilah Dawson: I am wont to describe myself sometimes as a failed novelist.
In 2019: Persist, Persist, Persist. Fuck Your Pre-Rejection, Penmonkey – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. Title says it all.
Fuck your pre-rejection. Don’t know what I’m talking about? See if you’ve ever done this: You wrote something. Maybe you edited it. That is pre-rejection. You have killed the thing you created because you imagine its inevitable rejection. Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong. Writing advice blogs say it.
Your favorite writers say it. MFA programs say it. Write every single day. 25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. ‘Tis the Month of No Mercy.
And so it is time to tackle the subject of… *crash of thunder* 1. As Ineluctable As The Tides. From Bile To Buttercream: How A Writer Makes Use Of Rejection – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. You wanna be a writer?
Then failure is not optional. You know what? That feels like it needs some profanity. Staple Your Rejections To Your Chest And Wade Into Battle With Them As Your Armor – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. As you may know, I’ve received now a — *checks e-mail* — not insubstantial pile of rejections regarding my novel, Blackbirds.
It’s still out with a couple-few publishers, but for the most part, a goodly number of them have passed on the project, and when they passed they tossed a note or three to my agent, and she tossed those notes to me. They were fairly good rejections, if you can say such a thing. A bad rejection would of course be, “This goofy fuckwad is literary poison; his vile prose caused me to void my bowels all over the neighbor’s cat. Andrea Phillips: Throw Everything At The Wall – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds.
Andrea is a friend and a talent and initially when she sent me a guest post that said throw everything at the wall I assume that meant she was offering advice for how to deal with the frustrating realities of being a writer (“JUST BREAK EVERYTHING AND YOU’LL FEEL SO MUCH BETTER”), but her advice is far broader and, well, more useful than all that. Anyway, here Andrea talks about the willful messiness of a writing career: Sometimes, when I talk about all the different kinds of work that I do, I think I come off like a lying liar. See, I’m here today to promote my brand-spanking-new project, The Daring Mermaid Expedition, which is a choose-your-own-adventure-style game except convenient app form.
An interactive novel, if you will. It’s about mermaids and academia and pirates and loyalty. Buuuuuut I’m not actually going to talk about my game. And my record only gets weirder from there. But there is a method to my madness. Self-Care For Writers: Some Tips! – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. Back when I was in elementary school, we used to do that thing on Valentine’s Day where you wrote little crummy cardboardy valentines (often from Your Favorite Brand™) to your other class members and of course you saved the good ones for the kids you had a crush on and of course there were those poor sods who always got way fewer valentines than other kids even though you were supposed to write valentines for everybody.
It was cruel and strange and an odd sort of training for being a writer. Because really, our books and our stories are all paper valentines. We write them and send them out into the world to crushes and non-crushes alike and we really hope you accept them. And we really hope you give us a valentine back. We are all just authors standing in front of audiences asking them to love us. Winning, Losing, And Participating: Shut Up About The Trophy – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. Ah, that common refrain. You shouldn’t just get a trophy for participating. When everyone gets a trophy, nobody wins. If everybody is special, nobody is special. Second place is last place. And on and on. So, You’re Having A Bad Writing Day – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. You’re having a shitty writing day. It happens. I get a crap writing day at least once a week.
Maybe twice. Defy Reality, Become An Artist – Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds. Nobody wants you to be an artist.