In 2019: Persist, Persist, Persist

Usually, I do a writing-related resolution for myself and other writers if they care to borrow it — but this year, all I got is:

Persist, writers.

Your stories will outlast this peculiar, fucked-up moment in history, but for those stories to outlast, you first gotta write ’em.

I don’t know who you are or what you write: maybe what you need to write is raw escapism, or maybe your form of resistance and persistence demands you use your stories to tackle the hinky fuckery going on. But resist, and persist, with art, and with narrative.

You can do it. But it won’t be easier. I expect it’ll be harder this year just as it was harder in 2018 — harder than it feels like it should be. But that makes it all the more worth doing. Don’t let your stories be lost to this bullshit. Save them. Write them.


Persist. Forgive yourself. Write despite — or better yet, write TO spite. Embrace the game of inches and understand you won’t always sprint for miles. One word at a time, one sentence, one paragraph, one scene, a house built a brick at a time.

Some days will be harder than others. Turn away from the news when you can. Save time for yourself, give it to yourself as a gift before you give your time to anybody else, or to anywhere or anything else. Art hurts. Stories are squirmy. We live in strange times. Persist.

You need to do it. We need you to do it. Your stories are yours. Full of you. Full of what you believe and what you fear, brimming with your notions both conscious and unconscious, tied to all you’ve known, you’ve loved, you’ve hated. The world needs you and your tales.


There’s no map but the one you draw. No process of anyone’s you can borrow. You gain your groove by wearing it into the floor one micrometer at a time. It’s erosion. Water on stone to find its path. It makes it harder in times like these because we want it to be math. PERSIST.

You don’t know you can do it. You don’t know that you belong. You can do it. You belong as much as anybody. You’re an impostor, sure, because we’re all impostors, we’re all here unasked for, unbidden, uninvited, wearing our masks.

Persist anyway.

I worry for those just starting, just trying to begin — what a difficult time for you to try to start off on a creative path. But it’s vital you do it. We need your voice, your energy, your ideas. It won’t be right out of the gate. That’s hard. But true. And yet you persist.

Throw some of the fucks out of your fuckbasket. Autonomous functions get harder when we overthink them. Sleeping. Breathing. Writing is like that, too. Write anyway. Write without thinking too much, too hard. Offload your worry to Future You. Just write. And persist.

Bleed on the page if you gotta. Sing and scream. Be angry there. Be vigilant and sad and unsafe. Write madly and with undistilled fury. Write with love, too. Love for yourself even if you can’t see it. Love for the story and the process — even if you can’t feel it.


There’s no one way forward. Forward isn’t always forward. Sometimes it’s sideways and sidesteps: hinky, wonky, janky-ass backroads and short-cuts and getting lost in dark forests. Sometimes you go BACKWARD. That’s okay, too. Whaddya do?

That’s right, you persist.

Sometimes writing isn’t even writing, sometimes storytelling is about thinking, about chewing on something, it’s just you revisiting it again and again, slow-roasting it over hours, days, weeks, months, even years. Recognize that. Persist through it.

And writing is rewriting, too. It’s getting it wrong before you get it right. Sometimes it’s getting it wrong, then even WRONGER, then fucking it all up before you can see it, lined up like a line of crystals in crepuscular beam of sunlight. That’s how it is, sometimes. Persist.

You got this. You won’t feel like you got this. I don’t feel like I got this. I feel overwhelmed by it. I worry I’m not good enough or that I don’t belong. Every book is harder than the last. But I keep on.

And so will you.

Persist, persist, persist.

Into 2019. And past it.

Merry happy fellow word-herders, ink-slingers, penmonkeys.

44 responses to “In 2019: Persist, Persist, Persist”

  1. Excellent advice. I am in my 6th yr in the search of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. There are many days I do not want to go into my studio to work but i do. And, I track my hours. Well, this is my full time job so my lunch break is over and ….. hiho hiho and commence with the whistling.

  2. Thanks for this, Penmonkey-in-Chief. Just what I needed to hear heading into this new year when “Nevertheless, she persisted” will have a whole new meaning for me.

    Happy 2019!

  3. Beautifully written and thank you, Mr. Wendig. Happy New Year to you, your family and all who frequent this lovely space here. Well wishes and great success to you all.

  4. It’s just under four hours off the end of 2018 here in the UK, and your post will be the last I read this year. Excellent inspiring thoughts that I will carry forward into the new year. Happy New Year to you and yours Mr Wendig. And to all that forge stories by throwing words at screens and paper.

  5. I just wanted to say thank you. I was starting to question my writing, as it’s been rather slow moving for the last few weeks. This post reminded me that every single word is a small victory and such progress shouldn’t be overlooked. You’re an inspiration to us all!

    Hope you have good new year!

  6. I almost feel like you wrote this just for me, Chuck.
    Something of a psychological trauma a year ago has hindered my ability to write. I’ve struggled so much with my mental health, with the anger and concern over the current political and social climate, and with the fear that I’ve lost the ability completely.
    Thank you for this. I will persist.

  7. Thank you. I have personal fuckery going on as well, and this spoke to me. I like all of your advice (and got copies of your books for my son after he admitted that he writes a lot of fan fiction, lol), but for some reason, this column hit my Feels Center. Fingers crossed for all of us.

  8. “You got this. You won’t feel like you got this.” -> This has been my lesson for 2018 >> The fact that no one feels like they got this, yet they continue. They persist.
    And so will I.

  9. This went straight to the heart. Amongst all of your excellent advice to us struggling writers, this is probably my favourite one, and now I want PERSIST written with stars in the nightsky for everyone to see. I’m waiting to hear back about two books while in the process of editing a third, and everything feels like it’s up in the air, along with corrosive thoughts like: “Still unpublished, loser? Maybe it’s time to give up and grow up.” But then my happy inner editor comes to the rescue (he kinda looks like you!), spits on the floor and says: “Fuck it. You got one life, and it could be over tomorrow. Have fun. Write.” So I’m like: “Shit. He’s not wrong. It really could be over tomorrow. Better thank Wendig while I got the chance.” So, thank you for the encouraging blog posts and especially Kick-ass Writer, because without them I wouldn’t have finished even one book. For real. Yes, you mean a lot to complete strangers and it may be a bit creepy to hear, but that’s a legacy, man. So have a fantastic new year, and the very best to you and your family. Thank you.

  10. “You gain your groove by wearing it into the floor one micrometer at a time” Exactly what I needed to hear today. It made me think about my writing but also how I approach any challenge. Thank you and Happy New Year!

  11. Well written and spoken there Chuck! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    And you’ve spoken a truth most people keep to themselves and hidden because they’re terrified others will tell them to shut up and stop talking because it’s the truth of the world, and it’s the truth of how things are now.

    What we write is the truth hidden amongst the lies (who told us that? Stephen King? Yeh I think he did!) and ain’t that the truth?

    It sure is… and us pen monkeys will keep on writing dude… because that’s what we do.

    May this year be filled with everything you have wished for and more, Chuck… enjoy and wallow (like the pig and year is) and do everything you aim to do.

  12. You are such a beautiful person. Thank you for sharing such encouraging words. Thanks for your generosity! I had a glimpse of the “line of crystals in a crepuscular beam of sunlight” as I read this, and imagined how easy it might be to just turn a corner and suddenly see it, in the most unlikely of places. Perhaps when you’re running on empty.

  13. Perfect, so true! I NEEDED that! Thanks for getting right inside my head…and, please stay. Persistence is my new mantra. Uphill, into the biting wind and amidst all the nonsense wizzing by that is today’s new norm. Persist. Groovy.

  14. Thanks Chuck. I discovered I could get a lot done when I allowed myself to just not GAF about anything but a) basic needs b) writing. The house, the yard, and the world can go to hell without me for a little while longer. I appreciate you being here, fighting the good fight, and reminding us to do the same.

  15. Thanks for these words of encouragement, from a writer tackling her first novel, which seems mammoth, gargantuan, utterly daunting…but I will persist!

  16. Chuck, thank you. This was the perfect post at the perfect time – so much so that I’ve printed it out to read to myself every day. I’m thinking of getting PERSIST written (or carved, or tattooed) into or onto something I can wear, see, touch…whatever works to keep the writing spirit going in a world gone mad. You have inspired me today, and I’m sure you have also inspired countless others. Thanks again.

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