Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wendig on Coping

Crime scribe Chuck Wendig talks coping mechanisms for writers. Excerpts:
The writer is a complex animal. We are grotesque mutations -- irregular creatures, as I have noted -- that form a crass menagerie, a mad bestiary. A writer possesses the lion’s mane, the horse’s hoof, the unicorn’s horn, the moonbat’s milky nipples. We’re dangerous animals, bred as chimera, confused as to who we are or what good we may do for the world. The world is home, quite frankly, to too many of us. We have bred wantonly, and now we are everywhere. Our creative heritage is watered down with liquor and insanity. We’re like designer dogs. We’re a Poodle crossed with a Weimaraner crossed with a Pomeranian. We are the Poomaraner. The Weipooranian. The Pomaranadoodle. Possibly rabid. Definitely bewildered.

Or, put more succinctly, beware of writer. ...

You do this day in, day out, you start to feel a little nuts.

The rejections. The fictions. The criticisms. Endless words. Myriad characters. So much time.

And so I give unto you: coping mechanisms. Fellow penmonkeys, compatriot wordslingers, if you want to do this job and not end up shellacked in your own snot-froth while hanging from the ceiling fan -- if you are to survive at all with your mind and spirit intact -- then you must do as I say. Do not deviate, lest you be struck down by your own lunacy.

Read the whole thing. In addition to salty diction (that’s a language warning, in case you were wondering), Wendig also casts out plenty of pearls. Examples? Soothe your chronic insecurity by fixating on an execrable author who has managed to achieve mainstream success, because certainly you can do better than him. Focus on writing an awesome piece before worrying about the eldritch horror that is the publishing industry. Beware the Internet, that gravitational singularity that will suck in all of your spare time. All good stuff. The only advice I disagree with is "do not hang out with other writers" lest madness threaten. Let it come, I say! I've found talking the craft in person or online to be almost uniformly delightful.

(Picture: CC 2007 by The Pack; Hat Tip: @StaciaDecker)

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