Writing IS Hard

I could just leave it at that. One singular sentence to sum up writing. Fits perfectly. Very apropos. But, no. There’s more. Lots more. It’s hard like getting out of bondage. Or a straight jacket. Or an insane asylum.

For simplicity, I’ll give you five reasons as a teaser.

Writers are artists. The canvas is blank until we cover paper with words. Magical, fantastic words that the reader uses to create a vivid picture in their mind. The creative effort is long. To say it’s painstaking doesn’t describe accurately the work involved. And, art takes time.

We punish ourselves. There’s stress. There’s sleeplessness because when we wake, we think of the goddamn story and tweak it at two in the morning. Or we create a character and develop her at three in the morning. Or we sit in a movie theatre and excuse ourselves to the restroom because we just got a great idea and need to peck it into our phone’s notes.


Because the story imprints our brain. It sticks with us long after the final words get written. Even after it’s edited and published, we wonder if it could have been better. What we coulda changed. We do this to ourselves because in some sadistic we, it’s how we thrive. And keep going to write again. Or…

We stress about writing. Or, we don’t write when we like and stress about not writing. And then we stress about the writing we’re actually doing. And when we write and jump to another work or social media, we stress about that because, well, WE’RE NOT FUCKING WRITING. But when we do write, you’d think the stress would go away, but then we stress about the actual goddamn writing and if it’s even any good. Then people ask us if we’re writing, and we answer yes, but think Mother of Christ, am I writing enough? And when people ask us for sample of our writing and we don’t have enough to give, STRESS. And we even stress about if we’re blogging enough. So, holy shit. *rips out a gob of hair*

Writing requires focus. I’ll be honest here, I’ve yet to meet an artist who has laser focus all the time. We I tend to jump back and forth in writing projects so yeah, there’s a few WIPs hidden on my Mac. Also, see the above paragraph. Now, where was… Oh yeah, focus.

Writing requires diligence. This is not to say that writers aren’t a diligent sort, but making the full commitment is well, a huge commitment. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes dedication. So yeah, the diligence thing is hard. And damnit, diligence takes persistence.

In summary, WRITING IS HARD. Very. Fucking. Hard.

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Today I Climb My Everest

I wanted to blog, then I didn’t. And this went round and round until, yeah, blog. I have reasons. Some real, others well…


Why the long road to blog? Because blogging takes work. It steals from other work. Writing work. That’s not to say that I’ve been writing like a motherfucker. In fact, just the opposite: Not much.

But hey, I still write every day. My writing notes explode with ideas and sometimes those ideas gain growth, expand, and evolve into stories. Short stories, to be exact. Problem is, my current WIP list is too long. Way. Too. Fucking. Long.

So yeah…

I need to finish some shit. A lot of shit. I get it.

First thing’s first: I shall finish a piece that’s long taunted me. It laughs at me while asleep in its tech file embedded deep within my Mac. It shuns my very existence. It smiles when it sees me hammer at keys for other WIP. It looks upon me with wide eyes and whispers, “Fuck you.” Then it smiles knowing full well that I’ll never attack it. But, no more. Consider full-on attack mode. I will Hulk the living shit out of it.

IT is a post-apocalyptic story I wrote way back in 2015. “Finished” it almost four years ago to this day. And it sucked. A huge goddamn bag of suck. Sucked so bad, I coulda called it Hoover. Or *Blow Job Betty. Use whichever you want. Don’t care. All I care about now is this one story.



I will gently place your audacity aside in asking why.

Because that one story has haunted me. I think about it regularly. I see it in my dreams. All dreams. I see it when I’m awake. It taps at my shoulder. I create notes about it. And more notes. And then some more. I’m continually adding or revising it. All in my head. And some notes. You see, this one bullshit story has detracted me. It’s derailed my writing. Completely took me out of the writing world and put me smack in the WRITING FUNK. It’s removed me from other works. It’s placed my mind in disarray for writing.

This is not an excuse, it’s a stark reality.

Therefore, Post-Apocalyptic story, I shall finish you and you shall complete me. I will make you better. I shall, with your rolled up papers in hand, shout from my mountaintop. Sure, no one will be around to hear that scream, but doesn’t matter. I will finish the story in a way that feels complete. And thorough. And works. Until then, blogs at this spot will be more regular as I update my progress.

* Name is purely coincidental. If your name is indeed Blow Job Betty well, your parents really fucked up. If your name is just Betty and you’ve given blow jobs, that’s okay. Probably a good thing, in fact. Keep at it, Betty.

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Go Write

I was recently told to go write. This is only weird because the words came from a friend. It’s not like I tell people what to do. Well, *laughs* I do if ‘go fuck off’ or ‘go fuck yourself’ counts, then yeah, I guess so. Actually I’d never say “go fuck off.” I believe less is more so “fuck off” would suffice.


They say if you write, you gotta do it. They do say it. I’ve heard it. Read it, too. The it is writing. Every day. WRITE.

Do the dance. Peck at the keyboard. Make words from letters and then get sentences and all that stuff to appear on the great expansive paper dance floor. WRITE.

So this friend – back off. HE’S REAL. – says to go write.


People that know me tend to think my writing stops because they see no production. I’m like motherfuckers, if a tree falls in the woods does it not make noise? Actually this makes no sense whatsoever in the current context, but it shall remain because WRITING.


Production. Yes. There’s always writing produced. My story notes are writing. My ‘notes’ notes are writing. My short stories are writing. Any yes, my writing is writing. I write every day.


Haha. Me too.

Not really.

Here’s the breakdown: I’m constantly writing. Ideas – I gather them all from the fertile garden of my brain where word-seeds grow into beautiful sentences and then bloom into flowery paragraphs. YES, IT’S REALLY THAT EASY.

No. No it’s not. That was a complete lie.

So ideas.

And more ideas.

Mixed with more ideas because IDEAS.

And wait, yet more goddamn ideas making new ideas. It’s a baby room of crying ideas all looking at me wanting more ideas to happen.

Soon the ideas create ideas which roll into a snowball of ideas. They tumble down the idea mountain picking up idea momentum and idea speed. And like an idea avalanche, they roll on top of idea after idea after idea, gathering a steam of ideas until WHAM. CRASH. BAM. A thunderous crunch of ideas in the brain. IDEAS.

So my friend, way back there in the beginning, said to go write when he really should have said, FINISH YOUR SHIT.

But hey, that’s another post entirely.

See you then.

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C’mon! Just The One More.

I told myself I’d stop doing it. Just quit. No more. No mas. Zip. Zilch. Not even one. 

But nope. 

There I was, doing it again. Sure, I was up early. Had all good intentions. Then…

Shit. Just. Happens. 

I emailed myself. 

Another goddamn email I won’t read. Another email I don’t have time to read. Another email I will move to that folder. Another. Another. Another. 

Why’d I do it?

I blamed it on lack of sleep. I said it’d be only one more. I told me it couldn’t hurt.

Then whammity fuckin’ wham. I brazenly informed me that, “Hey fuckwit, you created an email folder that is titled ‘ME’ not because you’re a narcissist, but you’ve sent to many emails to yourself and you can’t keep up.”


That’s a lot to say from me to me. But I was right. I have sent one two hundred many emails to me. I should delete some. Or I should just block me from emailing me. Or I should just read the goddamn article and not even send it. Unless it’s a really good one. Like the ones I’ve sent. They were all really good. 

Damn, I should go and read those. 

The Desolate Road Is A Motherfucker

The writing…


Let’s just say that’s it’s been a desolate road.


It twists.

There are hairpin turns that’ll rip you apart from the g-forces, shredding flesh from bone. Your hope – to come out unscathed. A miraculous misgiving of nothingness endured. You make it, only to live for another treacherous run.

Then what?

Where do you go next?

You whip out pen and paper and write.

A lot.

Some of it’s shit; some is that of greatness that only you can scribe.

Pfft, even some of the shit develops ideas and what was once shittiness is nary that of greatness, but a thriving new story.

You press on.

Suddenly you find yourself creating a piece that is eager to fall onto the white page. Blankness is no more. Words pour out; a metric fuckton of hammering keys unfurls; and, you see it happening.


Yeah, IT.

You have characters going this way and that. There’s more tension than a bunch of hyenas and a lonely boar. You ratchet. And release. Tweak conflicts. Move things in favor of other things. You add fear. More conflict. But you’re careful not to overdo it because that’s a no-no. You wind tension tight like one of those little rubber band balls and just about when the little fucker is about ready to burst, you slowly back off. No big O. Release doesn’t happen.

So yeah, your story is coming along nicely and then you have a rational conversation with yourself and find your face in front of a mirror talking back at you, “Hey you! Yeah, you. Listen to this idea: that story ya been crafting… what about we put that sucker into a screenplay, but for TV.”

You respond to yourself because, why not. “You mean a script?”

Of course yourself responds again because, conversation. “Yeah, that.”

And it’s decided by you and you. You’re now deep into several episodes of script writing.

So it shall be. The writers road twists and takes us where-the-hell-ever.

Also actually this is totally normal.

When A Turkey Is Not A Turkey

Hey you. Psssssst!

It’s me.

Remember me? Yeah, it’s been a while. Too damn long, in fact. Like they say, the only thing that time creates is more time. Well, they don’t really say that. I do. And I just did. You can use it, if you want.

I won’t bore you with minuscule anecdotes of why I’ve been absent from the blogosphere. What I shall do is teach you. New things. New words. New phrases. New terms.

Well, one term really.

It’s a new term I just picked up on, and one I wish I knew it when I was a kid because damn, It woulda came in handy.

Alternative Facts.

It’s catchy. Like use it now catchy.

We should thank the new White House Cabinet for this one.

Alternative Facts are now the lexicon. We’ve traversed a vanguard once reserved for the political elite, which will soon roll off the very tongues of every man, women, and child across America and soon, Earth.

Louis - my dinosaur

Darco – my dinosaur

See that turkey?

It’s not a turkey. It’s a dinosaur. It’s my new pet dinosaur. His name is Darco. Darco the dinosaur. He WILL save America because Darco isn’t just a turkey – dammit – DINOSAUR. Darco is a special dinosaur.

You just said it’s a turkey. Twice.

*shakes head*

No-no. It’s a dinosaur. And it’s mine. Darco.

It looks like a turkey… And you said—

Apparently your eyes deceive you. IT’S A DINOSAUR. AND IT’S MY DINOSAUR. Darco is not a turkey.

*repeats three times to self: Darco is not a turkey. Darco is not a turkey. Darco is not a turkey.*

Also, the dinosaur, which IS NOT A TURKEY, has four legs. Count ‘em, would’ya. FOUR.

The dinosaur, which again is not a turkey, can open beer bottles with his nose, which is not a beak because the DINOSAUR IS NOT A TURKEY; therefore, the DINOSAUR does not have a beak because it is not a turkey. Turkeys have beaks, dinosaurs don’t. Darco has no beak because Darco is not a turkey.

*sings mantra in head: D-a-r-co is not a t-u-r-k-e-y*

So, my turkey – sonofabith – DINOSAUR, likes to fetch because he is a four-legged dinosaur and not a basic turkey. DIN-O-SAUR.

If it’s a “dinosaur”, then why’s it have two legs, a height of about two feet, big wide feathers, wings, and gobble like a goddamn turkey?

First, I do not appreciate your flippant use of quotations to describe my DINOSAUR as a DINOSAUR. My turkey – fuckshit – DINOSAUR is indeed a DINOSAUR. Your trickery will not and cannot work on me.

Turkeys – turkeys don’t even exist. Away with your tomfoolery.

This is utter bullshit! Dinosaurs don’t even exist anymore. And I know what a fuckin’ turkey looks like and that there, is a live fuckin’ turkey. 



Well, you’re wrong. Very, very wrong. Your mistruth aside, the turkeys, which do not exist by the way, I’ve seen – errr, once saw – looked EXACTLY like dinosaurs. Like my dinosaur. Darco. EXACTLY. I’m not lying or bullshitting you. You apparently have been trapped in a parallel universe of media lies about turkeys. Again, my turkey – motherfucker! – DINOSAUR…

My dinosaur is not this creature you call a turkey. Sure, he might look like this turkey thing, but I assure you, HE IS NOT A TURKEY.

But-but, he… HE’S A DAMN TURKEY!

Again, my assurance, and words, are all you need to have fact. What I’m giving you is merely  an alternative fact. One of which you are very confused. Oh well.

I—I don’t even know what that means.

Ohhh, you will. You will.

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self_and_doubt“…The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  ~Sylvia Plath

It comes up from the screen, crawls across the back of your hand and waits. It’ll sit there, staring at the unsuspecting – you – until it decides it’s time. Tentacles stick, going deep, as it inches up your arm until it reaches your neck. It sniffs around at your scent because—because it needs to be you, control you, smell like you. It wants to OWN you. And it will. Oh, it will.

It moves like a snail, goo and mucus trailing – snail slime – until it gets to your earhole. Then—well, then that insidious little mutherfucker whispers sweetly into your cartilaginous space.

You suck.

Your writing, it’s going nowhere.

EVERYone thinks your writing stinks.

Your hair – do you go out with it like that? No one does that.

You should just give up. Throw it in. Kick the can.

Why are you lounging around in boxers? No one wants to see that.

You—you thought you could do this, didn’t you?

And then it’s done. The creepy crawly bastard seeps into your headspace, planting tiny little seeds of self-doubt that sprout into massive, booming trees. You go through headsplode. You decide that yeah, boxers aren’t right. I probably should wear a shirt. You change. You become a self-doubter.


It’s the staggering enemy of any writer, like ice cream, it is just one of many. It creates laziness, fear, loathing, piss-saturated pants. Or boxers. It’s that rogue wave that topples you when at the sea of words.


It makes you stop writing. It gets you to stop in the middle of that one story where things happen and shit moves fast – you’re best work – and print it out for the sole purpose of ripping it to shreds and flushing it down the toilet only to grab the remnants and scoop them into your facehole.

Hide yourself from the sweet seduction. Plug your ears to the whispers. Ignore the fugue state it uses to envelop your senses. You must stand tall, boxers and all. Your laptop, the shield. Your pen, the perennial spear. Charge and spike the bullseye of it’s prolapsed anus to the back wall and walk away with a grin.

Alas, you ask, “How—how do we do this? What techniques work against the great beast?”

Many there are. A few I shall share.


At one time or another, everyone suffers from a bout of self-doubt. True fact. Everyone. Creative types, especially. You. Me. Them. The best writers of our time and before all suffered from it. It tickled at their necks until embedded deep within twisting its pointy claws, penetrating the soul.

You don’t think as you once did. Makes mushy brain goo. You do things you normally wouldn’t. You develop a new standard of nothingness. A truly shitty attitude because, hey, you ask yourself, “Why the fuck even?” your answer is always the same, “Befuckingcause.”


We all go through it.




You’re not the only one. The difference, though, is that some writers feel it. They refuse to get pulled down in the bog of shit. They tighten their boots and walk the fuck through it.

They decide they want the ball on the mound with bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth. They wanna be the shooter with four seconds left, down by two with the title on the line. And all other sports metaphors that fit here. You get the picture.


Writers have the one glorious thing that most others don’t. It sets us apart from most, if not all. It’s a splendtastic, monumentous, granddaddy of ‘em all: A do over.

We create all the time. We WILL write bad shit. Monumentally bad shit. But we move past it, stepping on and crushing self-doubt along the way. And know this, nothing is written in stone. We can go back and fix stuff. Edit it. Recreate it. Change the unholy shit out of it.

*Side note: Sure, some things were written in stone, of course, I know this but that was back before self-doubt was a thing. Move on.


Clear your mind.

Deep breathes in.

Deep breathes out.



Find your downward dog. Do yoga.

Do something different. Sometimes self-doubt just needs you to make a change. Aim your attention gun at something else. Walk your dog. Walk someone else’s dog. Get an untrained dog and let it walk you. Walk yourself. Read a book. Watch porn. Bake a cake. Watch porn. Visit an animal shelter because animals, DUH. Get yourself a different perspective. It makes you ponder elsewhere other than the twisted tangle of desert vines – the ones with those goddamn spines and thorns – working through your head.

Clear them from your mind.


You’re not trying to practice medicine. This isn’t a large-scale test that’s tantamount to a year’s worth of studying two hours a day. You’re not a Navy Seal magically appearing to save hostages, then disappearing in the wind never to be seen again. You’re not donning a fire suit and charging full-bore into a raging inferno to save little kids, babies, and puppies. Nope. You’re a fucking writer. You mess up, you start over. You delete shit. At worst, the words on your manuscript run from the salty tears of your fear. Those other people mess up, shit goes south. Fast. The epic quest you think you’re on, you’re not. Relax.


Failure, which is a breeder of self-doubt, only means that you gave it a shot. You didn’t sit aside and wonder the dreaded “what if” bullshit. You tired and it didn’t work out. You can try again. Tebow considers success as giving your all. Leaving nothing behind. Just like him, we can learn from failure.

I have a thought on this. It goes thusly:

“Failure comes from regret. The two mash hard popping out self-doubt, which jumps up and bites you in the nibbly bits, hanging on until you can no longer sit comfortably. It’s like bumping up and down on a bike, except there’s no seat, just the seat post ramming up your butthole while the devil smiles in the background.”


Self-doubt sits, silent and still, waiting with mouth agape. Heavy wind coming. Turn sideways and let ‘er flicker. Take it in mutherfucker. Take. It. In.

That’s how you handle self-doubt.

Just in case that analogy wasn’t clear, the piss is practice. Waiting for the right wind is patience.

Don’t judge me.


When you settle in the kitchen with your bottle of Booker’s and give it a go at baking that aforementioned cake, you realize, after a few straight-from-the-bottle swigs, that yeah, you need baking practice. You prepare the oven, get your shit straight, fold when told to fold. Stir here and stir there. And then you bake. You bake your ass off. You bake like it’s the absolute last cake of creation.

And you fuck it up.

It’s not moist. It’s not dry. It’s a version of wallpaper paste. It sticks to your mouth like peanut butter, except that shit’s not PB. Nor is it the J of PBJ. It has a fine nothingness flavor bordering on blah and holy hell this is horrid goat shit.

Now what?


You do not set a ten-pound brick of dynamite in the oven and stomp off. You cannot do that. It’s wrong.

You go back in there, well, first you toss that overcooked slash undercooked piece of shit, then—then you start over. You practice. You grab a chunk of your patience and try it all over again. You repeat that process until you’re awarded the world’s first ever Michelin star for a private kitchen.

Just like getting your new Michelin star, writing takes time to perfect. Hell, scratch that. It’s never perfected. Never ever ever. It’s a constant of practicing and getting better every day.

So remember the 3P process: PISS-PRACTICE-PATIENCE. Just don’t piss on your cake. Ever.


REMEMBER: You validate yourself. No one needs to validate your writing worth. Learn that writing around self-doubt is your best defense against the creeping death.

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Editing 101: WELCOME TO HEL

low-tablet-alternate-copyEditing is the most fun you can legally and ethically have.


I’m totally lying.

Sometimes your writing just, well, sucks. That’s where the editing writing process comes in for the writer because, editing is writing. Always. They’re connected at the hip like Siamese twins. No getting away from it. You can’t run and hide. It’ll find you.

When you edit your own work, however, here’s the note you need to send yourself:


Dear Fucker Face,

Welcome to the bowels of hell. Enjoy your bucket full of shit.



No-seriously, but hella seriously. Editing is, can be, and forever shall go down not only as the most important part of your writing (YES, IT IS PART OF ALL WRITING), but the most agonizing. It’s treacherous. Painful. As in blisters on the brain painful. It will cripple your mind and make your eyes bleed.

Here’s my editing shortlist for you. Do with it what you will.

1. Do Some Other Shit.

You’ve finished your book. Wohoo! Get whacky! Now—now put it away. Hide it. Get away from it. Now.

The brain needs rest and since you’ve just completed your book; your brain needs a lot of rest. Editing is a twisty road that’ll get you lost, if you let it; therefore, put your work away. That’s it. PUT IT AWAY. Write the second book or another book or something else. Distance yourself from the fresh shit you wrote. I’m not telling you to move to Alaska and leave the writing in Florida. But yeah, I kinda am.

You need a new mindset when editing. A mental freshness. You need to have time where all bias is removed. To leave the co-dependency out of it. To not get upset because you absolutely love what you wrote and to hell with the first person that says something should go. You need to get rid of the overprotectiveness of being able to remove shit and doing the Ginsu part of editing. So put time between the last word and the editing process. How long is up to you and dependent upon if you’re on a deadline. The longer the better.

2. Print It. Read It Aloud. Hand To Another Humanoid To Read And Give Notes.

You don’t need to literally print out a 300-page manuscript because trees. Slather that thing across your laptop, desktop, tablet, whatever-screeny thing you use to look at and read it.

When we read it out loud, we hear what other people read. If it doesn’t work in our brain, then it’ll confuse other brains too.

Finally, other readers are vital to your editing process. Use beta readers, writing groups, or a trusted source to pull you from your vacuum. You need other people’s POVs. Their eyeballs see more than your glassy orbs. They can find things that you miss like that you kept writing dialogue for Jack in chapter seven even after you killed the poor bastard off in chapter three.

You will then get their notes. It’s a must, those notes. Pay them in beer, whiskey, fantastic embellishment…whatever. You will be pissed at what you consider their unbelievable “inaccurate bullshit” and “blatantly hurtful” notes. You will cry. But hose notes will help. Later.

3. Read Other Humanoids Notes.

Yes. You must get over yourself and read their notes. You’re gonna hate ‘em right away. Might last for a few minutes or a few weeks. No worries. It’s normal’ish, like your petulance. After the read, put those little fuckers away. File them.

4. Re-Read. Copyedit On The Fly. And Take Mad Notes. MAD. NOTES.

That time arrives when you must embrace, hug, and give your book some more love. Sit down with it. Put your arm around it. Look at its words. Re-read it. Fast.

Why the fast read?

Because you’re not reading this sonofabitch for pleasure. You’re reading it to see the glaring big picture. It makes clearer the fuckery in your writing. Small fuckery. Large fuckery. These are the hiccups that come up like a hatchet at a wedding, ruining the entire experience. But hey, you’re taking notes, too.

Note the good stuff. The bad. Especially the bad. Anything that doesn’t fit. Shit that needs to be moved. Or snipped out and placed on your whatever-you-decided-to-call-it page. Don’t hold back. Be a cold editing killer. Don’t emote.

You will use these notes later.

And you shall copy-edit whilst flying through. Poke it a little. Add a tweak. Or a tweaker, if it fits in the scene. Bend it. Twist it. Hammer it. Search out spelling errors, grammatical unevenness, improper word use (Hey, it happens. Words are hard!), and poor word choice. Debilitate fuckedupedness in punctuation, tense concerns, shitty metaphors, adverbs not needed/required, and other junk.

5. Remove Shitty Words.

This is a separate part to your editing. It’s fast. Merciless. Part of the cleaning process.

Think of it as this…

Editing removes the suck from your work. Shitty words make your writing suck. The so-called Crutch Words. Words you use too damn much. Or words that slow the piece down. It pisses off readers. I’ve read pieces where it’s a literal goddamn epidemic. Not like Ebola, but…

I’m not going to get into a list of all the words I can think of, but here are a few I notice: seemingly, annoyingly, suddenly, just-about-any-fucking-adverb, kind-of/sort-of. That’s enough.

I keep a list. Well, a file really. In it are all my Internet pictures of cats. Cute, adorable cats.


Wait a second.

What I meant is, I keep a file for words. Those crutch words that I’ve lazily fallen on. Stumbled into like a drunk. It’s lazy word construction, really. Poor use of those word things. Overuse of some words. It’s useful because it allows me to know things. Things like how many times I used a certain word or phrase. I can search and see that I’ve used the word ‘fuck’ seventy-two times in this book and know that I’m right on track. Or whatever.

6. For Fuckssake, DON’T OVEREDIT.

You’ve edited out your heinous fuckery, moved shit around, and yes, you even managed to understand the great difference between lie and lay. Hey sunshine, you did well.

Know that there’s a difference between editing and doing too much editing. What this magic level of editing is is different for every writer, but there is a thing as too much. At some point, it’s like that relationship you were in at age twenty and you needed to let it go. A simple sign that you’re going too far: You’re stuck on a paragraph for an age and a half; you can feel the wrongness, but you can’t work out how to fix that sucker.

That’s where your professional editor comes in. Do all you can, clean it up, scrape off all the nibbly bits, and then send it away.

7. Don’t Delete Copy. DO NOT DELETE COPY.

So-yeah-umm-no, don’t delete copy. Ever. Cut it and move it to a separate Notes Page or Trash Page or whatever the hell you wanna call your page. Me, I call it my MASSIVE FUCKING NOTES PAGE. In all caps, because MASSIVE. You—you cannot use that.

Here’s two specific reasons why you never delete your copy: You may decide, “Hey, that paragraph/sentence I thought was carp shit was pretty good and needs to go back,” then wham, there it is. And, if it doesn’t go in your current story, it might squeeze into another piece.

And dammit, if you delete and trash your shit, I will find you.

8. Don’t Be Afraid.

Grab a drink. No, not water. Stronger. Much, much stronger.

You’re gonna be fearful. You’re gonna get scared. Your finger will hover the delete button for a few seconds. Maybe you’ll walk away and have a second thought whilst sipping that strong beverage. Then, then you’ll realize that you need to get your writerly shit together. You’ll buckle up. You will get your mindset right.

Editing can be like following an unmerciful god who thinks cactus dildos are fun times.

You have to fight through your every sense of flight. Stay connected. Editing is where your story gets told. It comes to life. It breathes.

9. Bring It Back.

All those notes, gather them. Yours, other peeps, the ones from the aliens, the ones from you mom, the ones you scribbled with all the story fuckups; get ‘em all. Read them. Make them work. Or not. Some will work, others will get bombed and shredded. Point is, use whatever makes your story better.

10. Success. Or Not.

All the work you’ve done, all the editing, the hammering of paragraphs into a finely polished ornament of reading pleasure; it may have worked. Just maybe. Or it may look like a coronal mass ejection of plasma from the sun. One pass might get you done. Or not.

Remember, editing IS writing. Do it until it’s right.


You Are Commanded To Write Thusly. Or Whatever.

low-tablet-alternateVery recently I wrote The Writing Commandments For Self as a guide for writer self-preservation. It’s there for writers’ to stop beating themselves up over their writing.

It got me to thinking, yeah, I do it on occasion.

Anyway, thinking…

There should be some writing tips/commandments/ideas/thoughts/etc. because no one ever has put these into the Internet machine.

So, without further blather, I give upon thee My Writing Beliefs, which may or may not end at ten. But most likely won’t, except in this post.

Lastly, I know what you’re thinking, “Will this be on the test? Must I remember these?”

The answers you will not like. They are, in order, yes and yes. You will like exactly what you are given.

1. You Shall Write.

This is not a Sisyphean task. Words on paper and all that stuff. You need the practice and everything you write is practice. Even the most bumptious bastard among us needs to practice.

Think of your writing practice as a fuckbucket of more. Always more and more. And more of a good thing is, well, a good thing. Therefore, whether your thing is pterodactyl erotica or the Luddite manual on reversing technology, write.

This is not one of those things that offer the illusion of accomplishing something. Practicing only makes your words better. And you want better words.

2. You Shall Have Alligator Skin.

Not literally because that’d take a lot of lotion to smooth out.

But the thickness of your skin is a precursor of your ability to handle the slurry of words that shall be spewed your way in regards to your ability or inability to write well.

Think Great Wall of China thick because putting your writing out into the world and asking people to review your work is like asking…well, it can be harsh.

And people can be unforgiving once you ask them to read and review your writing, especially if said writing is sucky.

The rule here would be, Don’t Have Sucky Writing, but in reality, not everything is our absolute best, so refer to Commandment number one.

3. You Shall Be Critical Of Your Work.

If you’d prefer eat a bowl of thumbtacks rather than read your own work, cut and paste this writing commandment to the inside of your eyeballs.

*stares unflinchingly at you. I’ll wait.*

If not…

Your goal here is to have the ability to read that of which you’ve written and not destroy it with scatter bombs full of paperclips or get stabby with a scissors.

(Which leads to Writing Commandment 3a: Never Destroy Your Writing.)

Here’s the catch: the better you become as a writer, the more critical you are of your writing. You’ll be able to wade through a puddle of shit to know if your shit, is indeed, shit.

Critical attention to your work only increases your ability in style, characterization, and story construction.

Also, and always: you owe it to yourself, but more importantly, YOU OWE IT TO THE READER.

4. You Shall Not Suck (That Bad).

Sucking is part of a writer’s life.

So yeah, Imma rephrase that: A writer will have ups and downs. Sometimes the writing will be only meh, while at other times it will shine like a bright blinding light careening your car off the cliff.

Your goal is, sometimes, to be able slip the noose that hangs your writing. Be the curator, not the undertaker, of your writing.

A good rule in not sucking is don’t finish the last sentence of your book with HUH WOOZAH WUZZA WUZZA MUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRP FLURP. Just sayin’.

5. You Shall Read.

When you’re hungry, you eat.

Think of reading as food for your brain. Well, more food. It expands your mind in ways that only science understands, probably anyway.

It also teaches you how to write, and at times, how not to write.

6. You Shall Love The Process.

Do this now: open your arms and embrace your writing process.

*waits. waits more. and more. ewwwww gross. I said embrace…*

Here’s the thing about the writing process: IT’S DIFFERENT FOR EVERY WRITER. Find yours. Hug it. Keep it. Allow it to flourish. Keep tweaking it. Make it perfect. And make it work for you.

7. You Shall Edit Like An Editor Even Though You Aren’t An Editor.

Editing is hell.

It’s even worse if you wrote the story. It’s a gi-hugic pain in the ass. In other words, it is perhaps, just maybe, quite possibly, but probably mostly, the worst thing ever.


Because there’s too much bias involved in your decision to cut, chop, and dice. You’re too close to the damn story, but being able to edit it is more than just spelling words correctly and checking punctuation. It’s removing dull parts. Slicing out pieces that don’t contribute to the story. Making sure your story has flow. And so much more.

For me, editing is part of tweaking my work. I’ll write and then go over it the next day. When I hit 10-20K words I’ll go through the piece and re-check stuff. Cut things, if needed; or add things, if needed. The end result is a story that I can hand over to my professional editor and let her do her thing and make it better.

A note on editing your own work: Do not allow your lack of attention to detail to be completely underwhelming in your editing effort.

8. You Shall Show Your Shit.

You hear this a lot as a writer, “Show, don’t tell.” This, in itself, is confusing because as a writer, one tells a story. Storytelling.

So there’s a fine gray line here.

Your words can be unique and vivid, thus showing something or they can be basic and factual in telling something. And both are needed in your writing.

Confusion should now set in like trying to figure what to do with the opposite end of a hammer.

When you give signs of Jimmy’s animalistic, vein-popping rage, you’re allowing the reader to do some work in figuring out that Jimmy is angry. When you just put it out there, “Jimmy is upset,” you’re telling.

9. You Shall Use Conflict. And Suspense. And Then Ratchet Said Conflict. And Then Ratchet Again. And Suspense.

Conflict is the driver of your story. It takes the reader on twists and turns and goes a hundred miles per hour into a hairpin turn.

Suspense is the knife that gets jabbed into the back of some asshole, but really it’s the other asshole, but holy fucking shit, WAIT! because it’s really some other asshole, the real villain, who got knife-stabbed in the kidney and bled out while screaming, SONOFABITCH! he wasn’t the real villain.

Here I shall not separate external versus internal conflict. I shall not harp on unnatural conflict, either. Here is where I simply inform you that conflict IS the key to your story. It’s the butter to your bread. The cash to your wallet. The ink to your pen and all other useless clichés of nonsense.

Here is where I do tell you that heinous fuckery in your writing is yeah, hellacool. Guiding your reader into thinking one thing, then twisting it like a Bavarian pretzel where it’s really five, no, six…really it’s seven things rather than only the one thing, but really it’s nine because hahahahahahahahahaha, fuck you in thinking it was just the one thing. Yeah, HEINOUS FUCKERY.

10. You Shall Allow Your Characters To Move Forth The Plot.

Story happenings come about in two ways: Shit either happens outside of the character, or the character makes shit happen.

What I mean about allowing your characters to move the plot forward is to not let your characters squeeze your plot with boney fingers and drag to an early grave. There’s a lot of cause/effect, conflict/response in number ten; however, that’s another post altogether. Here, we shall see action – reaction or result of action.

What your character(s) do as a result of an action is primary in moving things forward. Does Mary react to a mysterious phone call or is there a result of action from the call. Yeah, there’s a difference.

And it tells the reader more about Mary. If Mary does neither, reaction or result of action, then she becomes useless fodder within a story that is not moving forward.

The Writing Commandments For Self

low-tablet-alternateNope. No one called out to me. I didn’t hallucinate after desert ‘shrooms. I didn’t hear a voice that may or may not have been there.

I didn’t trek up some godforsaken mountain in the middle of the sun-scorched, swampass desert to get the Writing Commandments For Self.

Nah. Didn’t have to.

I totally made them up. While sitting in a cushy leather chair. In the air-conditioning.

Made ‘em up in a previous post, in fact.


Because they serve as a presence in order to stop crucifying yourself over your writing. To not allow you to get beat to shit by self- comparisons. They’re here to remind you that you write because you like to write. Because it serves you and what you think is cool to write.

Henceforth, these are your FIVE WRITING COMMANDMENTS FOR SELF:

1. You shall write like you write.

You can try to mimic others’ style, but it doesn’t always work. It gets messy. Cluttered. It smashes against your own style and grinds like a scrapping fork across a clean plate. It’s annoying. Hard to read. It’s like excessive bedazzling – overfuckingdone.

2. You shall write for you.

Let’s be honest, when friends know we write, it’s inevitable: someone will say, “Hey man,” no, their voice gets deeper, way deeper, “you should write this story about two ducks and a goose that includes a flying unicorn. Or you know, somethin’ like that.”

My first response is always the same. “ALL unicorns fly.”

Seriously though, writing for you is comfort. If you write a particular genre or strictly fiction, it’s your comfort zone. It’s what you know.

And what you know isn’t necessarily events; it can be emotions.

How’d it feel not to get those cool-ass flight pants back in 1985? Well, I’ll tell ya. It hurt. Still hurts. All those zippers. The staticy nylon. Pockets everywhere. The coolness. Everyone had ‘em… except me.

Those are things that shape your writing because they shaped you and your writing is a part of your existence. Use your emotion.

3. You shall write whatever it is you wish to write and not what someone tells you to write.

Even if you have an agent or a publisher, you’re still in charge of your writing. The ideas are generated within the confines of your brain garage. You own them. You curate them into a sequence of words and mash them into a group of sentences. But always, it needs to be what you wish to write. Always.

Pay attention to number three otherwise your writing will be as fun as vomit in a shoe.

4. You shall not evaluate your writing against other writers.

This is so important it should be number one, but then again, The Writing Commandments are not in a specific order.

Comparing does nothing to help your writing. It won’t improve your writing or your skills. It’ll lead you straight to the ignition of a fail full of fireworks. Without all the pretty colors.

And it will start with a scintilla of doubt, which manifests into a crippling boondoggle of writing and leads you straight to the corner of pain and angst.

Also actually, hey, this is totally normal because human. Keep it in check and your writing AND your mind will appreciate it.

5. You shall aspire to become a better writer.

Objective numero uno: turn word fuckery into word magic.




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