Once in a while someone says to me on social media that they need a little motivation to write, and could I motivate them? Could I yell at them? Calls have been made to product a bobblehead or stuffed animal of me that you can place on your desk and said replica will gibber and wail in a most beardly of fashions, encouraging you to write with the blunt mania of the truly deranged.
I have no such bobblehead, sadly.
But, I figure, I have this post.
And in this post, I will motivate you in the bluntest, most brutal fashion I can muster. Which is to say — it won’t be kind? Kindness is sometimes required as a motivational tactic, and a soft touch is there to remind you that no, you don’t really need to write every day, and yes, writing advice is generally a smoldering sack of rat-crap, and that indeed you need to do you and your gut instincts are your best friend when it comes to ARTING HARDER LIKE A PROPER ARTFUCKER. And yet? This is not that post. This is not the soft touch. This is the, “Me filling a sock full of inspiration coins and bludgeoning you about the skull and shoulders with it until you sit your ass down and juice the art from your body like blood from a throttled squirrel” touch.
Now, as always, hold still and let me yell at you.
Occasionally in all caps.
*noisily sucks on a lozenge*
*takes a sip of water*
GODDAMNIT SHIT FUCK WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE
WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING
WHAT THE WIGGLY WANGDONG ARE YOU THINKING
oh no no no I know it’s so hard being a writer
*rolls eyes so hard they pop out of my skull and drop down a sewer drain*
*am now blind*
*bees fly out of empty eye sockets*
ha ha ha you know what’s actually hard?
BEING A JANITOR IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IS HARD because kids puke basically all the time and they don’t make that kid clean it up, oh no, they call the janitor, and that poor fucker has to show up with sand and a bucket and he has to deal with barfspatter full of milk and roof-shingle pizza and like, four Sour Patch kids, and he’s gotta suck it up and make the child-retch go away — and then those same barfy turd children have the gall to make fun of him for it because nobody respects janitors even though they are performing a vital function that nobody wants to do
BUT SURE IT’S VERY HARD TO SIT AND MAKE UP FANCY WORDS AND CHARACTERS ALL DAY
look I’ll just make up a character right now:
REGINALD P. SNURLIQUE, the first regent of Zoldovia; he has a thing for pointy chairs, waltzes, and public masturbation, and he has a parrot with a goiter who insults religion.
here is another character:
COMMANDER JESSIE BEAGLE, the oneironaut, a dream-rider scouring the depths of the slumbering human subconscious in search of her lost love, LIEUTENANT STEVE MCSCROOGLE, either that or she’s just looking for a really good Monte Cristo recipe because a good sandwich can not be underestimated or overlooked.
hey here are some words I just made up
DONGFEATHER. JIZZOLOGY. GUMPUS. FARPTUM. PAGALOPHY. SNUP.
here are some more words
TZZNORP. VWOMMMZ. HYPRODELPHIA. SCIZZARD. WRINJILI.
here are a few insults
SHITWIZARD. BARF-GARGLER. SPACKLEHUMPER. FUCK-APE. CANKERNIPS.
ohhhh here have some motivation — *writes an inspirational message on a Post-It note, tapes note to end of steel-toe boot, kicks note up into your colon, wriggles toes to release note*
WRITING IS JUST YOU STARING AT AN EMPTY SPACE AND THEN LIKE AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOLER BARFING UP THE CONTENTS OF YOUR SKULLSTOMACH — WHATEVER WEIRDO SHIT YOU’VE GOT DIGESTING IN THERE, YOU JUST GO graaaaaaaabbllatch AND THAT FOUL-STINKING SLURRY SPLATTERS EVERYWHERE AND THEN LATER YOU KIND OF TAKE YOUR EDITORIAL HANDS AND GO pat pat pat AND slip slup snup AND THERE YOU GO, A SECOND DRAFT WHERE YOU SCULPT HOT BARF INTO SOMETHING RESEMBLING A SHAPE
Some people can’t do this shit! Some people don’t want to do this shit! But you do. So do it! You have a privilege to take your bizarre imagination and headbutt it into the world. Behold your desire! Do what compels you! Seize the privilege.
WHAT THE DEEP-FRIED FUCK ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE
WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING
IF YOU WANT TO WRITE THEN WRITE
HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT
look goddamnit IT’S NOT GOING TO WRITE ITSELF it’s not like you go to sleep with a pen duct-taped to your hand and then you wake up with a masterpiece written (though that actually explains James Joyce’s FINNEGANS WAKE) — no! You have to have to fuse your sexy writer ass to the chair and go CLICKY CLACKY TAPPY CLACK with your fingers on the keyboard and summon words out of the ether like some kind of word-wizard and shit.
I mean SWEET HOT HELL, human history is in part the history of humanity making up letters and words and punctuation for you to use and if you willfully choose not to use them then you have just SQUANDERED THE EFFORTS OF ALL OF HUMANITY and that’s just rude is what it is.
JESUS PISS ON AN BICYCLE whuh whah I mean what the crap, other people are more successful than you? YES. DUH. Did you expect to be LORD ROYAL NUMBER ONE WRITER? Like, the bestest-selling, most award-winningest ink-slinger that ever done slung ink? You have to be BEST OF ALL or NOTHING EVER? Oh, and what else, you’ve got IMPOSTOR SYNDROME? Hey, get in line. We all stowed away on this boat. None of us belong here. We’re all hiding underneath blankets hoping none of the real writers figure out we’re here, except those people you think are real writers are also hiding under blankets — probably like, four feet away. We’re all trespassers, and you know how we get away with it? Just by doing it! By committing. By hunkering down. By making it happen with effort and thought and by shuttling off our myriad neuroses and anxieties for some other day, some other situation, some other problem. Oh, you didn’t get that publishing deal you wanted? Or the agent? That sucks. It does! And it also doesn’t matter because that’s how this business goes, that’s how life is, that is is the cost of existing. Did you think every day would offer an eager line of people serving you up your wishes on shiny platters? Or did you expect that — gasp — it would take work and improvement and effort and iteration and reiteration? Because it does. It does require that. All things require that. Writing isn’t a hula hoop — you don’t just pick it up and give a couple hip-shimmies to get that motherfucker spinning. Writing is a complex act. It takes time and failure and more failure and a little success and a little luck and more failure and then REAL success and then hey oops more failure again.
GOD FUCK SHIT
Let’s say you’re riding your mount (horse, camel, motorcycle, taun-taun) across the desert and then the thing just keels over and dies gassily — do you let it fall on you and then you lay there? Sun beating down, sucking you dry, crows picking out your soft bits? Breathing in the carcass’ death-emissions? Or do you crawl free and then look for the next horse? OF COURSE YOU LOOK FOR THE NEXT HORSE. Because you don’t want to die.
Writing is making stuff, and making stuff is the creative version of NOT DYING.
So, don’t die.
Go out there.
Yes, it’s hard.
And also, it’s easy.
It’s as easy as tapping words on a keyboard and it’s as hard as flensing your body of skin and exposing your soul to cutting winds and scouring rains.
And if it’s what you want to do, then you need to do it. No amount of mental calisthenics will excuse you from that act. Writing is so much more than moving a couch, but it still begins with there being a couch in your way and if you want it out of your way you either have to hope it magically decays on its own (it won’t) or you have to put your back into it and GRUNT WITH SURLY EFFORT as you move it out of your path.
*tugs angrily on beard*
*tugs angrily on nipples*
quit looking at me
don’t waste time responding to me how right I am or how wrong I am
MAKE WITH THE WORDS
BARFSPACKLE YOUR STORY
MAKE / CREATE / DO
WRITE / REWRITE / WEEP / WAIL / REPAIR
ART HARDER, MOTHERFUCKER
And, I’m done.
*turns into seven lemurs, all of whom scatter to various boltholes*
* * *
The journey to become a successful writer is long, fraught with peril, and filled with difficult questions: How do I write dialogue? How do I build suspense? What should I know about query letters? How do I start? What the hell do I do?
The best way to answer these questions is to ditch your uncertainty and transform yourself into a Kick-Ass Writer. This new book from award-winning author Chuck Wendig combines the best of his eye-opening writing instruction — previously available in e-book form only — with all-new insights into writing and publishing. It’s an explosive broadside of gritty advice that will destroy your fears, clear the path, and help you find your voice, your story, and your audience.
55 responses to “Please Let Me Motivate You With My Gesticulations And Screams”
If that’s not motivational, I don’t know what is!
I’m sorry . . . I was writing. Did you say something?
Oh, man! Just thought of a better retort! Damn! Oh, well.
Damn I love you Cherk Wendiggity dog.
Amusingly, I read this just after turning in a revision. 😉
“Writing is making stuff, and making stuff is the creative version of NOT DYING.”
– what a fabulous idea.
Oh, shell yes! Motivates me, for what that’s worth.
It’s like you just looked into my soul, or maybe just my window. Here I was letting depression and a dislocated get the better of me. But now I will endeavour to write some shit.
oh um dislocated shoulder that is… bloody pain killers!
At risk of violating your rule of not posting a positive comment to this rant, allow me to say from the perspective of 40 years of paying the rent with shit I squeeze out of my head, thougg my fingers into the keyboard and thence on to the page, for any wannabe writer, you have just said everything that needs to be said.
It comes down to two things.
1. Shut the fuck up.
2. Sit down and write.
Oh, it also helps to be a reader, which is the study of publishable writing. If you’re not a reader who looks forward every day to reading, you will never ever be a writer.
Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
Jesus wept! Don’t sugar coat it, babe. Say what you REALLY think!
Awesome advice, particularly the bit about not dying. Note to self: Write that bit down…
Long-time lurker, but this post has dragged me from the shadows into The Comments Section. Holy shit, I can’t stop laughing. 🙂
Also… writing. *shifty eyes* I can’t stop WRITING.
I leave Saturday for a week long writing retreat, over which I have been obsessing. CAN I DO IT? CAN I MAKE WORDS THAT MAKE THINGS THAT MAKE SENSE?
THANK YOU CHUCH WENDIG
*Packs barf bags* *Mutters “These things are golden.”*
Oh, gee, thanks Chuck. Now I want a lemur.
This post should be required reading for all authors. The perfect way to start a new month! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a script to write.
Well done, sir, well done. I’m keeping this to inspire me tomorrow as well. I’m off to bookland
Yes to all this, except I think writing is EXACTLY like a hula hoop. It’s super-easy to try, harder than you think to do well, and good goddamn, if you falter in your enthusiasm or your steady pace AT ALL, that thing wobbles right to the ground, done, until you try again.
It is EXACTLY LIKE THAT. Wow.
[…] to do lists. But I want to not just write to do lists, I want them to help me write better. For me Chuck Wendig style flailing and shouting isn’t actually useful. Yes, but what will I write? Which project? How much? By when? Me? I […]
My first glance at the title read “Please let me morivate you with my gesticles,” and I nearly didn’t open it. Not a fan of seeing other people’s gesticles, I’m affraid…
wow, my typing was spot-on this morning….
I’m going, I’m doing, and not dying, I SWEAR!
But I’m also making this my new wallpaper, because THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR TO PUNT MY SELF DOUBT IN THE CROTCH WITH BOOTS MADE FROM BEAVER TEETH!
But now I want a bobble head of you. I’m writing anyway.
Everything about this post makes me want to grin broadly and kiss you on the cheek and loudly announce, “I love my Captain!”
No seriously. What a thing to wake up to first thing in the morning. Thank you.
Every time I consider slamming my face against my keyboard because this writing stuff is so friggin’ hard, I will remind myself. It could be so much worse. I could be children’s barfspatter all day. Thanks for putting it all back into perspective for me, Chuck.
I imagine you as Charkles the scary clown that lives in the woods behind my house as you give this motivational speech. Writing keeps Charkles in the woods where he belongs. No words? He creeps closer to the house. Still no words? He presses his greasy clown face against the window. Stop licking the glass, weirdo! I’ll write! I will! I am! See? I’m writing right now. Back to the woods, Charkles. I’m writing. And leave the trash can alone.
Y’know Chuck, the bobblehead thing is a really good idea – I bet if you put it on your merchandise page it’d sell like sweets in a playground. After all, If we can have Plastic Jesus on the Dashboard of our Cars, can’t we also have a Bobblehead Chuck on the dashboard of our computers?
I’m now going to go away and write some shit. In the hope that, one day, it will be Not Shit.
Where the hell are our bobbleheads!?
I seriously want that bobblehead that every time it moves screams, “ART HARDER, MOTHERFUCKER!” at the top of its lungs.
I would pay good money for this. Or whatever The Wendig is demanding for such purchases.
You should give serious consideration to creatinga Chuck Wendig Bobblehead. It might be a bestseller ancillary product; you never know.
And, hey, multiple income streams, right? 😉
This is me pushing the “like” button.
Y’know, that bobblehead thing. Might work. (I already did a bunch of rewriting today, btw.)
“Art harder, motherfucker” might be my next tattoo.
I finished the first draft of my latest book yesterday. I am sitting in my bathrobe, reading this post and giggling because I’m not the one getting yelled at. I already arted. Tomorrow, after I divide my manuscript into individual files by chapter, I’m going to art harder, but today is my day off.
OK – gave up half way through because I’m not going to get my word count in for today if I read it all. Thanks. Great post. Back to writing now. Er – that’s all. (Love “arting” – it’s like farting, but without the f word!)
I was writing this morning. I’m taking a lunch break and reading your motivational words. Afterwards, I’ll write some more. BECAUSE THAT’S HOW I ROLL IN THE MOTHERFUCKING SHIRE.
I, artfucker, will now proceed with harder arting. TIME TO MAKE SHIT.
This. This is what I needed. THANK YOU!!
I am quite literally here because I’m procrastinating at my desk. This made me laugh out loud a whole lot. *gets back to writing*
Laugh out loud funny–the description of writer as Barf-Sculptor. One of your best.
But I can’t hula-hoop…
hahahaha! Thanks Chuck! This is some kick-ass motivation 😀
“oh no no no I know it’s so hard being a writer
*rolls eyes so hard they pop out of my skull and drop down a sewer drain* ”
Ahhhh I’m so happy now, belly laughs all day long.
[…] As always, Chuck Wendig knows just what to say. NSFW! I will write despite a piece of my brain feeling like it has turned off. Who knows, maybe it […]
This is beautiful. If my cold virus wasn’t mutating into zombie mode, I would frame it today. I love it when you get all real world.
Think you could record that so I can just hit play and listen to it whenever I really need to?
[…] in the immortal words of Chuck Wendig, “Art harder, […]
This might be my favorite post you’ve ever written.
[…] Incidentally, a very useful post on something quite similar was written by the ever-awesome Chuck Wending HERE. […]
[…] We’re all trespassers, and you know how we get away with it? Just by doing it! By committing. By hunkering down. By making it happen with effort and thought and by shuttling off our myriad neuroses and anxieties for some other day, some other situation, some other problem. Oh, you didn’t get that publishing deal you wanted? Or the agent? That sucks. It does! And it also doesn’t matter because that’s how this business goes, that’s how life is, that is is the cost of existing. Did you think every day would offer an eager line of people serving you up your wishes on shiny platters? Or did you expect that — gasp — it would take work and improvement and effort and iteration and reiteration? Because it does. It does require that. All things require that. Writing isn’t a hula hoop — you don’t just pick it up and give a couple hip-shimmies to get that motherfucker spinning. Writing is a complex act. It takes time and failure and more failure and a little success and a little luck and more failure and then REAL success and then hey oops more failure again. – Chuck Wendig […]
[…] about syntax or go loopy over flowery prose. Just push a story out through your fingers. Read this motivational article by Chuck Wendig, and get back to […]
[…] If that wasn’t your speed, try this shouty, sweary explosion of impostor syndrome-checking inspirational hellfire in that only Chuck Wendig could conjure! http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/03/01/please-let-me-motivate-you-with-my-gesticulations-and-scr… […]