How to Write

17 Apr

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Every morning, get up an hour before you have to. As you take your morning shit, read a book by your favorite writer. I recommend Charles Bukowski.

Then sit down, every day, and just make your fingers move on the keyboard. Just write the first shit that comes into your head. Don’t worry about structure or getting jokes in there or expressing any particular idea. Write this material with the idea that NO ONE is EVER going to read it. You will have a voice in your head chiming in constantly saying OMIGOD THIS FUCKING SUCKS! YOU HAVE NO TALENT! IF ANYONE EVER SAW THIS IT’D BE LIKE EVERY GIRL IN JUNIOR HIGH SEEING YOUR NAKED DICK AFTER YOU WERE SWIMMING IN ICE WATER! You will need to get past this voice. It takes about a year.

Talk about EVERYTHING. The shit you took, what you jerked off to, the millimeter of bumpy brown nipple you saw in the cashier girl’s blouse when she bent over to bag your eighty five per cent lean ground beef, how that was the highlight of your day. Everything. Your job, your mother, your porn, your stupid Xbox games. Whatever is on your mind naturally. Force nothing.

If you are being honest, you will find yourself confessing a lot of stuff. Writing a lot of horribly self-deprecating things. At first it may compound your self-hatred and make you more miserable, dwelling on shit so much. Doesn’t matter. This is the gold, but you don’t know it at first.

The trick is: shit that is painful while you’re writing it is fucking hilarious a few days later. I can’t believe I was that hung up on my job, my mother, my porn, my stupid Xbox games. I can’t believe seeing half the fucking bag girl’s tit was the best part of my fucking day. Shit that you thought was a confession you would take to the grave suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, and in fact would make a fucking funny blog entry. The more it hurts when it’s happening the funnier it is later.

Eventually you get used to this, and writing becomes a therapeutic tool to get you over shit. Things don’t feel real until you write them down. Then they don’t feel real until you share them with your audience. You will have a sense of control over the world. If something shitty happens, part of you is thinking: fuck yeah, material. Some Steven Seagal shit, turning your pain’s momentum against it.

You will worry that your words aren’t any good. They will get better, and come to you easier. You will worry that no one gives a shit about your banal life. Well, most people lead banal lives, and reading someone’s similar story makes them feel less alone in the world. Plus the fucking bugs eating chicken bones in my trash can are engaged in epic life and death struggles to eat, fuck, and live another day. Stories are everywhere and nothing is too small. Just stay honest. Say exactly what you think and to hell with what anybody else thinks.

Also, I find it helps when you say “fuck” a lot.

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11 Responses to “How to Write”

  1. BADM April 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Fetching hat and overalls. Got it. Thanks for the tip DT!

  2. lolcopterpilot April 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    DT you are my anti-hero. Thank you for giving me the confidence to try this myself. I’ve been keeping a private journal for about a year, mostly day to day shit. I’ve never actually gone back over the whole thing. Probably some good nuggets to be mined. I’ve already drafted about 10 blog posts, as yet unpublished, just honing them down to some level of quality so I wouldn’t be embarrassed to put it online where everyone in the world will be able to ignore it. How long does it usually take for you to get from idea to post? Do you do a lot of editing or just stream of thought? Thanks again. –LP

  3. Ruxman April 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Or stay up an hour later if you have tried and can’t do mornings. Whatever it is I gotta have a coffee.

  4. eec April 18, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    I’d usually read the New York Times or The Atlantic and crap like that, but that’s been p depressing for me nowadays. Or I’d read some other sort of theoretical or jargony-like things. I picked up Bakhtin’s _Rabelais and His World_. Not sure if it necessarily helps in regards to style or accessibility, but it does aid my rhetoric and direction. Hm.

    #niche? Or maybe just a roundabout approach in style? I fear of getting too lofty at times — dealing with Dunning–Kruger nitwits sure gets my goat (aka incompetent asshats aka “the unskilled’s metacognitive bias of illusory superiority and inability to recognize their mistakes”).

    God, am I sounding like a neckbeard? Ugh. Maybe I should go back to watching cartoons and get my nails did.

  5. Potential Riposte April 18, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Much appreciated, DT.

  6. Anonymous April 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    What if I don’t take morning shits?

  7. Reader April 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Probably the best look into who you are yet.

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