(Write, Despite is a little Latin motto which translates to “F*** you, 2017.” Coined circa Jan. 2017 by Chuck Wendig, who’s most likely not a bloodsucking Algonquian spirit. Here’s what it means to me.)
Dear readers and writers,
I’ve got a confession to make. And I’m not talking Father forgive me, for I envied my godly brother when the waitress gave him a bigger burger than me. I’m talking Father forgive me, for I have murdered a man and dismembered him and flushed his body parts down the toilets in eleven different churches and I’m just going to leave the knife in the confessional here please clean up the bloody footprints thank you Father.
I’ve been blocked. For years. Hell, four whole years. (Pardon my Hebrew.)
I’m scared. No, terrified. No, drugged, stabbed, steamrollered, and ground into toilet paper for fear to wipe away its defecations. Afraid of my own art, my own love. Of the stories within me. Of being unable to free them. Of wasting my time, of screwing up, of failure.
It’s like that dream where you go to school in your underwear. Only it’s not me, it’s my novel. In a preschool classroom being torn apart by toddlers getting their drool, nostril fluids, and dirty diapers all over it. And when I wake up, the dream’s still there, and either it sits down next to me and cheerfully uses my skull for a bongo while I try to write, or it lurks in the corner ready to pounce while I try to avoid work.
This isn’t going to be an inspirational post. There’s no kicking Hey guys, here’s how I beat writer’s block, and you can too! No commercial lie. I’m not trying to market you a dream or fence you some miracle drug solution as shady as a middle-aged mustachioed white man in a rusty black van offering you free candy.
I don’t have an answer. I’m still blocked.
But I just keep writing anyway. Because I couldn’t not. This is my life’s story. I write, despite.
It’s not about making money with my writing, or rocking the world and making literary history, or becoming famous, or even viral. Maybe that will never happen. They’ve always been dreams, but I corrupted myself and my art when I made them my purpose. It’s been pressuring me, crushing me, stifling me.
But I’ve heard stories of writers under immense financial strain, just eating, sleeping, and writing, day in and day out, producing masterpieces. Writers in poverty. Writers in prison. Writers in hospitals. Writers injured, blinded, physically and emotionally broken.
There’s what it’s about. I eat, I sleep, I write. I can’t stop doing any of those things, or I would die. I eat, despite. I sleep, despite.
I write, despite.
Distraction, pressure, pain. I write, despite. Money, prestige, fame. I write, despite. Love, admiration, respect. I only need that from one person, my one and truest fan. So I write, despite.
Some weeks it’s a couple thousands words. Some weeks it’s a couple hundred. I write, despite. Hanging with my feet and hands nailed to a ten-foot pen and a thousand pencils stabbed into my ribcage, I write, despite. Dragging every single word across the fiery plains of Hell and rowing them up the five rivers of Hades, I write, despite.
Strapped naked to a bareback cybertronic pteranodon driving a DeLorean into the sun and singing Nickelback’s Rockstar, I write, despite.
Want inspiration? Here it is. Don’t judge your success by anything other than whether or not you write. Just keep writing.