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Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig
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THREAD: there is no one way to be a writer, no one way to tell a story, no one way to do this thing we do as a hobby or as a job or as an art form. Some write a little every day, in an office; some write a lot at one time at varying, sporadic points. It's all okay.
I think it's important to challenge all pieces of "Known Writing Advice," all those chestnuts of Vital Lore, and to see what they are and what works for you. We all have our own weird fingerprints to imprint upon this thing we do.
I think it IS important to talk about the things you do and the processes you use to write and tell a story and to hold them up and examine them -- share them with others, and listen to their ways of doing things, too.
For instance, WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW is a complicated thing -- it's good to use the things that you know but to not be limited by that. It is not a prohibition against what you cannot write but rather, an invitation to KNOW MORE SHIT.

And how do we know more things?
We read books, we live our lives, we talk to people, we travel, we have experiences and try new things and inhabit new spaces and hunt other authors down and break open their heads with stones and capture the ghosts that leave their shattered skulls and then we eat those ghosts.
The other thing is that everyone tells you that WRITERS WRITE, and WRITERS WRITE EVERY DAY, UNFAILINGLY, UNFLINCHINGLY, but that isn't true, either.

So much goes into writing that...

Well, just isn't writing.
Things that are part of the creative process that no one tells you:
- Thinking
- Walking
- Reading
- Just being out in the world
- Sitting in a dark attic eating cake
- Whispering wishes into a cat's mouth
- Visiting the Seven Goats of the Bone Tree to beseech their bleated glory
Part of the creative process too is carving out the time AND the space to write, and then protecting that time and that space vigorously. Often with magic sigils and blood rites. Writing a book requires a wealth of grim reagents and effervescent potions. Learn ancient magic!
I use cursed beehives to protect my time and my space, for instance.
Which is like, I buy a bunch of beehives, and then I curse them with antediluvian profanity, vulgarities last uttered by the many-tongued triangle beings that once populated this plane of existence, and that makes for hives of angry, magic bees that protect my creative process.
And that way it's like, anytime someone is like, CAN YOU DO THIS THING FOR ME, IT'S NOT LIKE YOU HAVE A REAL JOB, I'm like, sure, come in to my office, oh hey don't mind the swarm of evil magic bees ha ha ha ha
And then the bees are like, WE ARE GOING TO MAKE HONEY FROM YOUR BLOOD, and then as they do that, I sit down and I go back to work writing my stories. You have to really own and curate that time and that place to write.
Every writer protects their writing space and writing time differently. @MargaretAtwood can become a bear, and she just -- she just mauls ANYBODY who'd dare threaten her authorial authority. @scalzi has a laser perimeter. @djolder has an endless array of trained timecats #true
With that time and that space, you grant yourself the ability to find your own voice. Not a brand, not a platform, but who you are. What you write. What you care about. Your voice is the one thing that marks you as a writer, the one original thing.
Finding your voice might mean writing 10,000 hours, it might mean writing in a ton of genres or formats, it might mean searching various owlholes and earthen nooks, it might mean eating wasps and then shrieking threats at the foes you will surely accumulate during your career.
I mean that's the other thing, you're gonna accumulate foes.
Your writing will cause you to conjure and summon various enemies, antagonists, foes and threats -- some will be like, baby writers who want a shot at stealing your voice, others will be full-blown nemeses. Adversaries of great destiny.
For instance, I'm told that David Mitchell is out there right now, with a machete, in the woods, and he's just waiting for me to come into the woods, but ha ha David Mitchell, I'm not gonna do that, I'm savvy to your tricks, you won't get me.
Did you know that @amahnke's nemesis is a coyote? Yup. Not even a magic coyote or a cartoon coyote or a coyote who wants to be a writer -- just a real-ass, regular-ass coyote, always behind him, always in his periphery, just waiting for the moment to strike. Holy shit, right?
No one tells this stuff to writers so that's why I'm telling you.
What I'm trying to say, the path that takes you from ZERO to I WROTE A STORY is different than everyone else's path. So many variables. All writers dig a tunnel through the mountain and detonate it after we clamber through. We all have our ways, our tricks, our processes.
Things that might help you finish that story:
- Outlining it first
- Tracking word count
- Eating right and exercising
- Screaming at ponds and rivers
- Eating yard mushrooms
- Learning the Devil's True Alphabet on your Ominous Pilgrimage
And obviously too you don't want to fall into traps when you write. Don't ever start with weather, because that's how you summon the gaze of the Weather Gods, and they're fickle and mean and will send a tornado up your ass lickety-split, TRUST ME on that one, whoa, wow. Yoinks.
You don't start a story with a character regarding themselves in a mirror because that's how you end up swapping places with Your Other Author, the Evil You with black inkholes for eyes and demon poems tattooed on the tongue.
Never use adverbs because adverbs are wizard prisons
Use an adverb, a wizard escapes into the world to cause chicanery and legerdemain, that's just fact, that's writer fact.
Then again maybe Wizard Escape is part of your voice, and see, even there, no writer is the same. We all do it our own way. We have to. Magic bees or stealing author ghosts or breaking open wizard prisons. The authorial journey is unique to each of us.
Creativity is heresy, every time.
As it should be! Writing a story is forever an act of magic -- sometimes it's world-breaking magic, sometimes it's cursed blood-magic, sometimes it's practiced stage illusions, but it's always a special kind of blasphemy.
And though I joke about all this that's actually one true thing: writing is a special kind of augury and bewitchment that is yours and yours alone. Test your ways, read advice, but never be shamed out of doing it the way you do it, provided that the way you do it provides result.
We all write the spellbook and then burn it afterward.
NOW BUY MY BOOKS AND REVIEW THEM, because otherwise you get the bees.

The. Bees.

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