Unashamed Writing

Authentic writing from the gut - the studio of a self-taught writer

“The Kick-Ass Writer” by Chuck Wendig – Writing Tips – Part 1

If you read the post about my first impression of “The Kick-Ass Writer”, you already know that I’m in love with Chuck Wendig. Well, not with the writer himself. The man is married, for goodness’ sake. I’m not a home-wrecker … I don’t think. I’m not going to try stealing him despite his wicked good looks, boyish charm, and evil looking grin that scared the heck out of me when I first clicked on the “Who is Chuck Wendig?” section of his blog. There’s only one of him and he is off the market … unless his lucky wife changes her mind. Then I reserve the right to change my mind also.

What I am in love with are his wit, candor, down-to-earth logic, and smart-enough-to-know-not-to-take-himself-too-seriously writing style. Those are in unlimited supply and he’s been generously flashing them at the rest of the world. I’m sure he has his wife’s blessing to spread himself around like that. He sure has my blessing.

If you noticed some sexual innuendos in there … good for you. I meant to make them. If not, go read that last paragraph again. You don’t want to miss them.

Back to Chuck Wendig: I can’t tell you how happy I am that I picked up his book. I started writing fiction about five months ago. It was just myself, for my benefit. Then, I discovered … something. Something important enough to make me think my writing might be worth sharing.

Do you know what I found out? Writing for yourself is fun. Writing for yourself while knowing that someone else might be reading your work … that’s scary. Make that SCARY with all capital letters.

Not only that, but the path from diary-scribbler to good writer and published author can be overwhelming. If you want to become the next Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Anne Rice, or … E.L.James it’s not enough to come up with great fiction. In another words, you can’t just write a new and improved version of “Fifty Shades of Purple (or-whatever-your-favorite-color-is).”

You also have to brush up your editing, marketing, blogging, designing, publishing, etc., etc., etc. squared and then quadrupled skills. What? You don’t have any of those extra skills? Tough luck, kiddo. Unless you have tons of money and the inclination to pay for someone else’s help, you’d better get a lifetime supply of glue, put some of it on the seat of your pants, some of it on your computer chair, and get busy learning. You’ll be stuck there for a while, whether you like it or not.

So, when you decide to write professionally, you can’t be just a writer anymore. As soon as you realize that, you get crushed by Himalaya sized mountains of doubts. Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe what you feel. This is where you have two choices:

  1. You get back to scribbling in your diary and be the only one that ever cries, laughs at, or mocks your work.
  2. You get a tall glass of wine (or a taller glass of whisky with Coke), get glued to your computer, and you start learning.

I’m going to quote Chuck again on what it takes to make it on this journey. “You practice […]. You practice […] by writing, by reading, by living a life worth writing about. You must always be learning, gaining, improving.”

So that’s what I decided to do from underneath my mountain of doubt. I’m practicing. I’m learning. I’m definitely not giving up because, the thing that still doesn’t make much sense to me is: I love writing. I love it enough to stay up until 4 am writing down blog posts, html code, or naughty bits of steamy romance.

I’ll share my struggles and my successes here, on my blog. If I can inspire at least one other person to not give up, I’ll feel that I’ve accomplished something worthwhile.

As part of my “sharing strategy”, I’ll be writing about bits of wisdom … or bits of junk, for that matter, that I discover during my reading. I think any new writer, and seasoned writer for that matter, needs some:

  • inspiration;
  • hope;
  • small surprises to make them laugh a little and get them out of the dark hole of self-doubt;
  • a friendly kick in the bottom to make them stop whining and start writing. Unless the whining is a way of getting into the head of a cry-baby character so you can be authentic when describing them in your soon to be best-seller. Then go ahead, cry your heart out. Afterwards, go super fast back to your desk and write that marvelous piece of fiction.
  • reassurance that someone else has already been through what you are going through and happy endings … or happy interludes on your writing journey are possible.

So, let’s look at writers who can teach us something. Who can inspire us. Who faced the same doubts that we do but didn’t give up. If they could do it, then so can we. That’s what this “The Kick-Ass Writer” series is about. I have no idea how many parts the series will have. I’ll find out when I’m done with it. And when I’m done with it, I’ll start another one. The learning never stops.

By the way: please remember that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. In another words, what is junk to me, might be wisdom to you. And viceversa.

Or, as Chuck said it, “The goal isn’t to deliver truth to you. The goal is not to inflict my ways and rules upon you. The goal is to make you think.” And, my own addition here, the goal is to hopefully inspire you.

P.S. Do you think that Chuck Wendig’s ears are ringing now? I sure have been talking about the poor guy a lot lately. I even fantasized about him. Er … I mean, I thought of him in a completely innocent way in my dreams. Whatever!

P.P.S. At the end of every post about Chuck Wendig I’ll add a link to his blog at terribleminds.com and a link to his “The Kick-Ass Writer” book. That way you can get that awesome wit and wisdom straight from the horse’s mouth.


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