What the Mailman Brought Me: A Postcard from Chuck Wendig
You might remember about a month ago, I won a tiny little writing contest over at Chuck Wendig’s blog. (Or, okay, you might not remember. Yeah, I know it was a while ago, and I know you’ve had a lot on your mind lately, and — no, I don’t expect you to keep track of “every little thing I jot down,” why would you even say that? You know what, look, you’re taking this way too seriously, just calm the hell down for a minute.)
I won a couple of free e-books of his writing advice, Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey and 250 Things You Should Know About Writing, which I’ve been working my way through relatively slowly, mainly because reading them tends to make me put them aside and go write or edit something. So there’s that.
But he also promised “(1) Penmonkey postcard sent to you via Jolly Olde Snail Mail, and on this postcard I will ink a random thought about writing all for you. I might also pass out on the postcard and smear it with drool.” And, true to his word — about the sending part, I don’t know about the drool part — I received the postcard just this past Friday. Pictures below. (Including, by his fiat, a picture of me licking the postcard.)
I asked him if I could share the contents of said postcard with you all or if I should keep it all to my greedy little self, and he said it was mine, I could do whatever I wanted with it. I briefly pondered selling it on eBay — “Valuable Piece of Writing Advice from Published Author, only one owner, near mint” — but then I remembered that he gives away tons of writing advice for free on his blog, so that coin might be a little, ahhhh, devalued, is what I’m trying to say, here. (In the nicest way possible.)
. . . . No, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t part with this — I won it! And besides, it will be a keepsake to treasure for years — someday I’ll be able to pull this out, smile fondly, and say, “Oh, man, remember back when we had a Post Office?”
Good times. Good times.
Anyway — you’re here for the writing advice, I’m sure, and here you go. The front of the card reads:
I am the Commander of these words.
I am the King of this story.
I am the God of this place.
I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.
And the flipside reads:
Herr Doktor Montoure:
To you, I bequeath this single-service nugget of writing advice:
WRITE WITHOUT FEAR.
Hang it up on the clothesline for all to see. All of it. Too few write from a place of discomfort.
A couple things strike me about this:
Firstly, “Herr Doktor Montoure” is what a friend of mine used to call me in school. No, seriously. I can therefore only assume that Wendig has been stalking me since I was sixteen, or that he has extensive files on everyone he sends mail to. Extensive files.
Secondly, that’s damn fine advice, all right. Something that I’ve been trying to tell myself for years, and it’s nice to have a reminder staring at me from my corkboard. I mustn’t be afraid when I write a story. (That’s your job.)
Well said, Mr. Wendig. I promise I will always write from a place of discomfort. Like the back seat of a Volkswagen.