“No seriously, he’s not fucking around, you really don’t want to be a writer. But if you’re mad enough to decide that you do, Wendig will be your gonzo-esque guide, from the technical advice about structure, query letters and submissions, to dealing with agents and editors and how to make your characters do as they’re damn well told, he’s full of good advice. Like a cursing, booze-soaked Virgil to your Dante, let him show you around. Buy this book, your editor will thank you.”

— Jenni Hill, Editor, Solaris Books

Don’t miss the PENMONKEY INCITEMENT program right here.

Kindle (US): Buy Here

Kindle (UK): Buy Here

Nook: Buy Here

Or buy direct:

Want to become a novelist? A screenwriter? An all-around freelance penmonkey? Don’t know the difference between beats, scenes, sequences and acts? Not sure where to begin your edit, or how to query an agent, or what liquor goes best with the madness of being a writer? Then CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY is all yours.

CONFESSIONS is a collection of 50+ essays on the subject of writing and the writing life. It covers a wide array of subjects, from technical advice to discussions of publishing versus self-publishing to what to do if you wake up pantsless and ink-stained in the basement of a Tijuana bookstore.

Equal parts hilarious, insane, profane, and profound, CONFESSIONS will take you through the trials and tribulations of the penmonkey’s existence, offering advice every step of the way.

Features popular TERRIBLEMINDS essays:

…”Beware of Writer”

…”Drop That Pen, Grab A Hammer: Building The Writer’s Platform”

…”Exposing Yourself: Do You Write For Free?”

…”No, Seriously, I’m Not F**king Around, You Really Don’t Want To Be A Writer”

…”The Penmonkey’s Paean”

… “Why Your Novel Won’t Get Published”

…”Why You Won’t Finish That Novel”

And more!

(TERRIBLEMINDS has been named one of the top 101 websites for writers by WRITER’S DIGEST magazine!)

What Others Are Saying

“Chuck Wendig has done what so many authors desperately need and will never admit: offered a phenomenal book about the real world of writing, and made it reachable and readable by anyone. His terribleminds blog guided me through good days and bad, provided advice and much-appreciated laughter throughout the whole, often painful, process. I’m thrilled to have his brain trapped in Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, and I’ll be referring to the squishy gray-matter of his brilliance often.

If it weren’t for Chuck Wendig’s advice, I’d have fallen off the writing map long ago. This is the book you want stapled to your chest when you march into the battle of authorship! An absolute must-read for anyone even thinking of dabbling with words for a living.”

— Karina Cooper, Author of Blood of the Wicked

“Chuck Wendig’s Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is full of the kind of writing advice I wish I’d gotten in school. Practical, brutally honest, and done with the kind of humor that will make it stick in your brain. Whether you’re a veteran writer or new to the craft, you’ll find something useful in here.

Plus he says ‘fuck’ a lot, so, you know, there’s that.”

— Stephen Blackmoore, author of City of the Lost

“In Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, Chuck Wendig hammers out writing and career advice that’s always brave, profane, creative, clever, and honest. And don’t forget hilarious. You’ll never laugh so hard learning so much.”

— Matt Forbeck, game designer and author of Vegas Knights

“These days, a kind word is regarded with suspicion. A supportive gesture is mistrusted. An altruistic move never is. We live in a time where cynics ignore the saccharine of Chicken Soup books and accept hugs only from Mother, and only when we’re drunk and crying. When a writer hits cynical, drunken, mother-hugging rock bottom, that’s when they need Chuck Wendig’s raw, no-holds barred advice. This is not for the faint of heart. But then again, neither is writing.”

— Mur Lafferty, host of ISBW (I Should Be Writing) podcast, editor of Escape Pod, author of Playing For Keeps

“Despite being irreverent, vulgar, and funny, Chuck Wendig is also surprisingly profound. From one wordslinger about another, Chuck is the real deal and every prospective or working writer should read Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey. Hell, the ‘Writer’s Prayer’ alone is worth the price of admission.”

— Jennifer Brozek, Author of The Little Finance Book That Could

“About the only thing harder than being a writer is trying to capture the utter insanity that truly is the writer’s life. In Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey, Chuck Wendig does just that. You’ll be laughing, crying, shouting and grimacing, but most of all, you’ll feel the deep resonance of hearing the truth in all of its sarcastic, profane and comedic glory. If you want to be a better writer, or just want to be inspired by one of the best takes on writing I’ve ever read, do yourself a favor and buy Confessions.”

— Daniel Ames, author of Feasting at the Table of the Damned

“Chuck Wendig’s book Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is a must-read for any writer who is ready for the grown-up truth about what it takes to be a career writer. Chuck’s wisdom is the agogi where only the strong will survive. Slap on some facepaint and rub your hands with sawdust. Time to wipe out entire villages of little darlings and lay waste to bad habits. Wendig forces you face to face with your weaker self, hands you a spear then makes you fight to the death. In the end, you might be bloody, bruised and exhausted, but you will be a stronger, more professional writer than you ever imagined possible. You walk into this book a quivering neophyte crusted with writer fantasies and walk away a seasoned word warrior ready to do battle in the arena we call publishing.”

— Kristen Lamb, author of, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer

“Introduction: The Penmonkey Behind The Curtain”


My agent shopped this book around. Publishers, they didn’t want it. The biggest issue prevalent in rejections was: “We don’t know who he is.”

That’s true. I don’t blame them. They don’t know me.

You might not know me, either.

Hell, I don’t even know if I know me. I saw this book and I was like, “Who is that guy? He sounds like a douche-collector.”

You have no reason to know who I am.

I didn’t write that bestselling novel.

I’m not the dude behind Pirates of Carribbean 6: Secret of the Jade Manatee.

That popular television show on ABC starring the cop who’s also a doctor, Doctor Detective Mike Hymen? Nope. Not me, either.

I didn’t pen that awesome Batman comic, that killer cookbook, or the feel-good article in your local paper about that guy who donates kittens for cancer.

I’m not Stephen King. I’m not JK Rowling. Or Dan Brown, or Stephenie Meyer or Jonathan Franzen or Ken Follett or James Joyce or whatever jerk wrote the Seven Tablets of the Enuma Elish.

I am none of those people.

See? What did I say? You really don’t know me.

I’m not any of those people, and yet? My name is Chuck Wendig, and I am a freelance penmonkey. Or, to rephrase in your guttural human tongue: “I am writer.”


True Fact #784: Not every writer is a verb-slinging ink-stained superstar.

Doesn’t change the reality that every day, writers continue to belch word count into the world the way cows loose great clouds of methane. Wander through a bookstore or library recently? Amble down the magazine racks? Or, if you’re feeling brave, click on over to Amazon-dot-com and just try to imagine all the books that are available. Consider all the novels, novellas, cookbooks, textbooks, Dummies guides, travel guides, how-to-guides, histories, self-help books, poems, mythologies, sociologies, film crits, lit crits, cultural crits, books about clits, and so on, and so forth.

Hell, expand your search and kick down the walls. Leave Amazon and wander onto the nobody-really-calls-it-the World Wide Web without a Sherpa to guide you: behold the billions of web pages, each offering content big and small, each an unholy mash-up of words and visuals, of people and the stories of people, of sounds and ideas and thoughts.

It’s like trying to count all the stars in the night sky. With but your fingers and toes as your abacus.

Now, realize that all of it—every last bit of content—was something someone wrote.

They wrote it! With words. And little squiggly bits called “periods” and “commas”. And they strung them all together to make sense (or at least some gross facsimile of sense). They told stories. They conveyed ideas. Spontaneous generation: from nothing to something with naught but the conception of the thing.

The kicker? A lot of them likely got paid to provide that content, to put it into the world.

It might not have been a great deal of money. Not enough to buy a yacht. Or a pony. Or even a meal. But some of those writers—many of those writers—receive enough currency (dollars and cents; we’re not talking about wampum, here) to pay their mortgages, to put clothes on their children, to keep their cabinets stocked in vodka and coffee and printer ribbon and adult diapers. (You know: the important things.) They’re doing what some consider impossible, or at least improbable: they’re making a living putting words on paper.

I am one of those writers.


I am the sum total of my writing to date. It’s just how most writers are, I suspect: we are the accumulation of words, and our life orbits those words (not vice versa).

You want to know who I am? You want to know why I’m qualified to write this book despite not being a name you recognize?

I am my bibliography. I am my resume, my CV.

I am 2.5 million words. That’s just for the game industry alone.

I am my first short story sale—“Bourbon Street Lullaby”—when I was 18.

I am my 100+ game books. I am my unpublished novel. I am my upcoming novel, Double Dead. I am the screenplay that put me in the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting Lab. I am the film that resulted, a film now in development. I am my failed (and possibly revivified) TNT pilot. I am my dozens of articles and short fiction. I am my thousands of blog posts.

I am my ten-year-old blog, terribleminds.

I am all the projects that lurk around the corner.

I am every utterance of profanity. I am each absurd tweet.

I am every discarded draft, every redline, every editorial comment, every cut word and killed darling.

I am five cents a word. Or ten cents a word. Or, in rare cases, twenty-five cents a word.

(Doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but recognize that this paragraph has taken me under a minute to write, and by the time I’m done, it’ll be fifty words long. Fifty words at five cents is two-fifty. At ten cents? Five bucks. At a quarter-per-word? Twelve-dollars, fifty cents. In general, I write about 1000 words per hour. Which means, over the course of 60 minutes, I’m potentially earning $50, or $100, or even $250 an hour.)

I am the deadly sting of taxes, for the freelance writer is taxed without mercy, without courtesy of lubrication, without the quid pro quo of a reach-around.

I am every future word I’ll write until I eventually expire. And even then, I am every word of mine that exists beyond my corporeal existence, for the writer, like the Viking, finds immortality in the legends he has told or are told of him.

I am this book.

I am a writer.

Guess what? You can be a writer, too.

Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey

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