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March 2013
15

This is in response to a few asks we currently have on needing tough love or motivation to get them writing. There’s some swearing and such in this, so it’s tagged just in case.


Let me open this by saying that I’m not going to be puking rainbows and butterflies on your face this time. I’m not going to tell you that only you can write your stories or that you’re special and original, because even though it’s all true, you’ve heard that all before.

So instead, I’m going to tell you two things you’re probably not going to like. And that’s fine with me. I don’t have much to lose here; I’m a letter.

The first is to get the fuck off Tumblr right now.

Close Facebook. Tell your friends you’ll be back later. Turn off your cell phone, and keep it out of arm’s reach. Turn off your internet if you have to. Unplug your television — or throw it out the window if necessary. One of the reasons you’re not writing right now is because you’re tweeting that you’re having writer’s block, or you’re looking up cures for it on websites like this one.

Wanna know the secret?

There isn’t a single damn one.

You literally have to sit there and force yourself to write. Sure, you’ll find inspiration eventually, but you are not inspiration’s bitch. Do bland side-stories for your characters, or write something absolutely ridiculous. Write something that is so shitty you’d be embarrassed to show it to anything with a heartbeat — just write fucking something. 

Because that’s the life of a writer. There are deadlines to be met, and they are not going to change just because you’re ‘not feeling it’, because you aren’t a John Green or Stephen King — yet. You have to get the hang of this. It’s something you have to do. And I know you can.

The second thing is going to make you probably want to punch me in the fucking face, but that’s cool, too. Here it goes. You ready?

You are going to fail.

You are not going to like your writing all of the time. You’re going to think that you’re terrible. You’re going to doubt the fuck out of yourself. You might even throw away the story you’ve been working on for years because it just isn’t as good as you thought. You are going to get turned down by publishers.

And I know you’re sitting there right now, thinking 'Isn't this supposed to be a motivational speech? What the hell?' But listen up, you little shits. This is important.

It is important that you fail.

Let me repeat that, in case the bolds and the italics weren’t enough damn emphasis.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU FAIL.

As a writer, failure is not your fucking kryptonite. It is your coal to turn into diamonds.

Let me explain:

As a writer, if you never fail, you are never going to experiment with things that may or may not work. If you never fail, you are never going to have to put the sweat and tears into your work. There should be nights where you doubt yourself, but that doubt will make you more critical of yourself and make your work better in the end.  There should be nights where everything is hanging by the metaphorical fucking thread and you stick by this by sheer force of passion and will alone. It is okay to mess up, to be terrible, and to get turned down. Just do not let it end there.

Writing one shitty story SHOULD NOT stop you from picking up your pen and trying something else.

Getting turned down by one publisher SHOULD NOT stop you from reviewing your work, getting other opinions on it, and trying again.

Every good story that you write, any time you get published — it will be a direct result of the times those fucking bad times and those failures.

This is not the career for the weak of heart. This is not the career if you want to feel good about yourself, and this is not the career if you’re going to give up if they tell you ‘No’.

But if you follow those two things? If you become the fucking master of the Butt-In-Chair and if you refuse to give up on this no matter what fucking happens, you’re going to do great things. You might not be famous like King, but you’re going to be a voice in the world. You’ll get better each time you practice and each time you fail, and you’ll create things so fucking beautiful that it will define this Age of Humanity.

Because if someone in this generation has to be the defining voice of humanity, why can’t it be you?

image

-K

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