A Shot of Inspiration…and a Giant Bear
January 4, 2012 § Leave a Comment
This post by Chuck Wendig has been making the rounds, and for good reason. It’s a good kick-in-the-pants approach to a new year’s writing resolutions. A few of my favorite points:
Stop Thinking It Should Be Easier
It’s not going to get any easier, and why should it? Anything truly worth doing requires hella hard work. If climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro meant packing a light lunch and hopping in a climate-controlled elevator, it wouldn’t really be that big a fucking deal, would it? You want to do This Writing Thing, then don’t just expect hard work — be happy that it’s a hard row to hoe and that you’re just the, er, hoer to hoe it? I dunno. Don’t look at me like that. AVERT YOUR GAZE, SCRUTINIZER. And get back to work.
Whether you’re writing family memoirs or historical romances or books about chicken feed or paranormal thrills, writing isn’t glamorous. It’s work. It’s easy for people to think it should just require a little time at a computer, maybe a heavy sigh or two, but it’s a lot of though and effort and revision. And then you have to deal with all the rejection. It’s certainly not a job for the faint of heart.
Stop the Shame
Writers are often ashamed at who they are and what they do. Other people are out there fighting wars and fixing cars and destroying our country with poisonous loans — and here we are, sitting around in our footy-pajamas, writing about vampires and unicorns, about broken hearts and shattered jaws. A lot of the time we won’t get much respect, but you know what? Fuck that. Take the respect. Writers and storytellers help make this world go around. We’re just as much a part of the societal ecosystem as anybody else. Craft counts. Art matters. Stories are important. Freeze-frame high-five. Now have a beer and a shot of whisky and shove all your shame in a bag and burn it.
Books save lives. Maybe not in the way that open-heart surgery can, but books and stories and art is essential to the human race. Think about all the great historical figures. At least a quarter of them are artists, right? So there’s no reason for people to scoff when you tell them you want to be a writer.
Stop Caring About What Other Writers Are Doing
They’re going to do what they’re going to do. You’re not them. You don’t want to be them and they don’t want to be you. Why do what everyone else is doing? Let me reiterate: do your own thing.
It’s really easy to compare yourself to your successful friends or that 22-year-old novelist with a huge book deal. I do it all the time. But no one’s career path is the same, just like no one’s ideas are the same. You can be happy that they succeed because it means more art in the world.
Stop Being Afraid
Fear will kill you dead. You’ve nothing to be afraid of that a little preparation and pragmatism cannot kill. Everybody who wanted to be a writer and didn’t become one failed based on one of two critical reasons: one, they were lazy, or two, they were afraid. Let’s take for granted you’re not lazy. That means you’re afraid. Fear is nonsense. What do you think is going to happen? You’re going to be eaten by tigers? Life will afford you lots of reasons to be afraid: bees, kidnappers, terrorism, being chewed apart by an escalator, Republicans, Snooki. But being a writer is nothing worthy of fear. It’s worthy of praise. And triumph. And fireworks. And shotguns. And a box of wine. So shove fear aside — let fear be gnawed upon by escalators and tigers. Step up to the plate. Let this be your year.
This is a hard one. It’s easy to be afraid: of the blank page, of the rejection, of never making it. But there’s no reason you should be afraid of wanting something. Of wanting to be an artist. So get your fireworks, shotguns, boxes of wine, and get to work.
Read the full post here for more ass-kicking inspiration.
I feel like this post should end with something hardcore, like bears on fire fighting old-timey ships. So here’s that too.