This post, by Chuck Wendig, originally appeared on his terribleminds.
With NaNoWriMo about to storm surge the writer (and wannabe-writer) community, this seems a good time to both tickle your pink parts and jam my boot up your boothole in terms of getting your penmonkey asses motivated. So, here goes — 25 motivational thoughts for writers, starting in 3… 2… 1…
1. You Are The God Of This Place
The blank page is your world. You choose what goes into it. Anything at all. Upend the frothy cup that is your heart and see what spills out. Murder plots. Train crashes. Pterodactyl love interests. Vampire threesomes. Housewife bondage. Demon spies! Cake heists! Suburban ennui! You can destroy people. You can build things. You can create love, foster hate, foment rage, invoke sorrow. Anything you want in any order you care to present it. This is your story. This is your jam.
2. Infinite Power, Zero Responsibility
Not only are you god of this place, but you have none of the responsibility divine beings are supposed to possess. You have literally no responsibility to anyone but yourself — you’re like a chimp with a handgun. Run amok! Shoot things! Who cares? There exists this non-canonical infancy gospel where Jesus is actually a little kid and he’s like, running around with crazy Jesus wizard powers. He’s killing them and resurrecting them and he’s turning water into Kool-Aid and loaves into Goldfish crackers — he’s just going apeshit with his Godborn sorcery. BE LIKE CRAZY JESUS BABY. Run around zapping shit with your God lightning! You owe nobody anything in this space. It’s adult swim. It’s booze cruise.
3. The Rarest Bird Of Them All
The easiest way to separate yourself from the unformed blobby mass of “aspiring” writers is to a) actually write and b) actually finish. That’s how easy it is to clamber up the ladder to the second echelon. Write. And finish what you write. That’s how you break away from the pack and leave the rest of the sickly herd for the hungry wolves of shame and self-doubt. And for all I know, actual wolves.
4. You’re Not Cleaning Up Some Sixth Grader’s Vomit
You have worse ways to spend a day than to spend it writing. Here’s a short list: artificially inseminating tigers, getting shot at by an opposing army, getting eaten by a grue, mopping the floors of a strip club, digging ditches and then pooping in them, cleaning up the vomit of nervous elementary school children, being forced to dance by strange dance-obsessed captors, working in a Shanghai sweatshop making consumer electronics for greedy Americans, and being punched to death by a coked-up Jean-Claude Van Damme. Point is: writing is a pretty great way to spend a morning, afternoon, or night.
5. Abuse The Freedom To Suck
Writing is not about perfection — that’s editing you’re thinking of. Editing is about arrangement, elegance, cutting down instead of building up. Editing is Jenga. Writing is about putting all the pieces out there. It’s construction in the strangest, sloppiest form. It’s inelegant. And imperfect. And insane. It’s supposed to be this way. Writing is a first-time bike-ride. You’re meant to wobble and accidentally drive into some rose bushes. Allow yourself the freedom — nay, the pleasure — to suck. This is playtime. (Or, as I call it: “Whiskey and Hookers” time.) Playtime is supposed to be messy.