My Favorite Writing Advice ~ Write Like A Mother****er

Posted · 24 Comments

Write like a mother****er.

Favorite writing advice:

“Write like a mother****er.”

Who said it:

Dear Sugar (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild) at TheRumpus.net 

Why:

Well, this past summer I got burned out and stopped writing because my thinking also got into a funk. I thought: who cares, what difference does it make, it’s never going to be good enough, and on and on. Like most things, Strayed’s advice came into my life on a day when I needed to hear it most.

Strayed talks about the only thing that matters is getting your book written, getting it out of you. She talks about how, as a writer, you need to practice humility & surrender, you need to have resilience & faith. She talks about how the only place you can get any writing done is when you’re on an emotional neutral level: not up so high you think you’re fabulous & not down so low you think you’re terrible. She argues that you have to have strength & nerve; you have to be a warrior.

If you’re a writer (or anyone for that matter) struggling to write, please do something kind for yourself & read that advice.

How it changed my writing:

Well, sometimes you need a kick in the pants. That’s what Strayed’s advice did for me. I started writing again. I dragged my behind to the writing desk, sat down in my chair, and worked on my novel. I wrote humility on one Post-It Note & surrender on another. I printed out the whole essay. I tacked all of them up on a cork board on the wall of my writing room.

I decided to get to work on the story I wanted to tell because no one was going to come ask for it. I decided to do the work for myself. I decided to stop judging, comparing, complaining, worrying, & instead to simply write, write, write. Like a warrior.

So do you write like a mother****er (or warrior, if that word suits you better)? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.

24 Responses to "My Favorite Writing Advice ~ Write Like A Mother****er"
  1. SL_Coelho (@SL_Coelho) says:

    Shelli you post THE BEST advice. What a fantastic mantra for a writer. I plan to print it out and place it on my whiteboard. You just re-ignited my passion. Thank you SO much. For what it’s worth, I’m happy you’re writing again, the world needs your stories – the world needs your talent, your words, your gift. You give me something to reach for. TTFN 😀 ((hugs))

    • Hi Sandy!

      Thanks so much for the fab compliment, darlin. I agree that it’s a fantastic mantra for a writer. I keep it where I can see it as a reminder. I’m so glad that it re-ignited your passion. And thanks, too, for the words of encouragement. Made me smile this afternoon. 🙂 *hugs back* & *heart*

  2. Wow! What a great post, Shelli. Something every writer should read–thanks for sharing.

    • Hi lovely Patricia!

      Thanks so much for the fab compliment. That advice was SO helpful to me; I agree every writer should read it & take it to heart. Cheers, darlin.

  3. Yep, posting it on my corkboard where I’ll see it every day. Thanks.

  4. “…the only thing that matters is getting your book written, getting it out of you.” That is the thing that non-writers have a hard time understanding! And it’s a great thing to remember during those low-down times. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Audrey! *waves* I agree that’s a great way to explain it to non-writers, why we do what we do. I, too, remind myself of that on the days when the writing is a bit tougher. Cheers, darlin.

  5. “Simply write, write, write, like a warrior!” Love that! Ultimately yes, that’s all it’s really about, isn’t it? A real writer enjoys writing for its own sake – no worrying about book sales and promotion allowed! It’s demeaning! Crass commercialism is not for us. We are the fighters, we are the winners, yeah!

    Shelli, I couldn’t agree with you more and I’m so happy you’re back in full swing, writing like a mother****er. Right.

    • Hi Claude! *waves wildly then gives you a hug*

      Thank you for saying this: “no worrying about book sales and promotion allowed!” I know we all get so caught up in the numbers & the marketing, I’ve been guilty of that too, & it can just suck all the joy out of writing. Thanks for being happy for me; I’m happy for me too. 🙂 Cheers, darlin.

  6. Jeri says:

    Writing really is the only way to get the writing done! I just have to work on giving myself permission to write badly, otherwise my progress comes to a standstill.

    • Hi Jeri! *waves*

      I think that’s the biggest obstacle for a lot of writers (myself included), the need to give themselves permission to write badly so they can produce something they can edit later. 🙂

  7. Roh Morgon says:

    I’ve been in a similar situation lately. Between the disruptions of Real Life and an editing project I’m hating (incorporating edits into a novella I thought was fine), I’ve done no work on the sequel to my novel in weeks. To make matters worse, I’m avoiding friends who are also fans and who are waiting impatiently for the sequel.

    But I like the kick in the butt you delivered, and will post it up on my wall.

    Write like a mother****er. Think that will become my new motto.

    • Hi Roh!

      I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been in the same spot, but glad that you came across this advice. I hope it helps you like it did me. It’s a great motto for writers. Sending good thoughts your way for your edits. 🙂

  8. Raya says:

    I tell myself it’s not always going to be gold, but I did it.

    • Shelli Johnson says:

      Hi Raya! *waves*

      That’s a great thing to tell yourself. I tell myself something similar every time I finish a first draft. 🙂

  9. Leslie Pifer says:

    I really really needed this post! I just had to shut down my blog, as it apparently wreaked havoc, disappointment, and embarrassment to my mother…yeah, I’m nearly 32 years old, and still afraid of her, but that’s a whole other issue. I’ve been so devastated because I feel as though I’ve been asked/forced to give up going after a big dream of mine; the one thing that brings me happiness right now, and it has been too very hard to write, or do anything at all creative. I do cross-stitch in my spare time, and could not even bear to pick that up, it was too painful. Attempting to write has been worse, and I still don’t know if I want to again. I know I should, but I can barely bear the thought of it. But, this post, and the article you shared have helped…I think I know where I need to start….thanks!

    • Shelli says:

      Hi Leslie! *waves*

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through a rough time, but glad that you came across this post and it helped you. That advice was SO helpful to me, got me writing again. You know, the one thing I’ve learned over the past few years but especially in the past few months is to make sure I’m doing what makes me happy. I wrote a post a while ago about needing permission to follow your dream. I thought about that as I read your comment. Maybe that post will help you, too. *hugs* & good thoughts sent your way. 🙂

  10. lol, great advice.

    Another good post, Shelli.

  11. Scott says:

    Hmmm. ‘Write like a Trojan?’ maybe? At least I can tell my great aunt and avoid getting whacked on the head by her deadly china teacup…..

    • Hi Scott!

      LOL. Yeah, that’s why it’s got **** in it, so I can avoid getting whacked by someone for the bad language. 😀 Although, it’s still some great advice.

Comments are closed.