There's this website. It's called Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency. And every once and awhile there are so really funny things on there. This one has got to be one of my favorites. I think everyone should read it. Just because who doesn't love to laugh. (Because I'm worried most of you will skip out on reading this little gem, I've highlighted in red the ones that you really should read, even if you skip the others. Come on, just do it.)
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better than You Normally Do
By: Colin Nissan
WRITE EVERY DAY
Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Because that is what writing is all about.
Procrastination is an alluring siren taunting you to Google the country where Balki from Perfect Strangers was from, and to arrange sticky notes on your dog in the shape of hilarious dog shorts. A wicked temptress beckoning you to watch your children, and take showers. Well, it’s time to look procrastination in the eye and tell that seafaring wench, “Sorry not today, today I write.”
FIGHT THROUGH WRITER’S BLOCK
The blank white page. El Diablo Blanco. El Pollo Loco. Whatever you choose to call it, staring into the abyss in search of an idea can be terrifying. But ask yourself this; was Picasso intimidated by the blank canvas? Was Mozart intimidated by the blank sheet music? Was Edison intimidated by the blank lightbulb? If you’re still blocked up, ask yourself more questions, like; Why did I quit my job at TJ Maxx to write full-time? Can/should I eat this entire box of Apple Jacks? Is The Price is Right on at 10 or 11?
LEARN FROM THE MASTERS
Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” This is an incredibly important lesson for writers to remember; never get such a giant head that you feel entitled to throw around obscure phrases like “Show, don’t tell.” Thanks for nothing, Mr. Cryptic.
FIND YOUR MUSE
Finding a really good muse these days isn’t easy, so plan on going through quite a few before landing on a winner. Beware of muses who promise unrealistic timelines for your projects or who wear wizard clothes. When honing in on a promising new muse, also be on the lookout for other writers attempting to swoop in and muse-block you. Just be patient in your search, because the right muse/human relationship can last a lifetime.
HONE YOUR CRAFT
There are two things more difficult than writing. The first is editing, the second is expert level Sudoku where there’s literally two goddamned squares filled in. While editing is a grueling process, if you really work hard at it, in the end you may find that your piece has fewer words than it did before, which is great. Perhaps George Bernard Shaw said it best when upon sending a letter to a close friend, he wrote, “I’m sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have time to make it shorter.” No quote better illustrates the point that writers are very busy.
ASK FOR FEEDBACK
It’s so easy to hide in your little bubble, typing your little words with your little fingers on your little laptop from the comfort of your tiny chair in your miniature little house. I’m taking this tone to illustrate the importance of developing a thick skin. Remember, the only kind of criticism that doesn’t make you a better writer is dishonest criticism. That, and someone telling you that you have weird shoulders.
READ, READ, READ
It’s no secret that great writers are great readers, and that if you can’t read, your writing will often suffer. Similarly, if you can read but have to move your lips to get through the longer words, you’ll still be a pretty bad writer. Also, if you pronounce “espresso” like “expresso.”
STUDY THE RULES, THEN BREAK THEM
Part of finding your own voice as a writer is finding your own grammar. Don’t spend your career lost in a sea of copycats when you can establish your own set of rules. If everyone’s putting periods at the end of their sentences, put yours in the middle of words. Will it be incredibly difficult to read? Yes it will. Will it set you on the path to becoming a literary pioneer? Tough to say, but you’re kind of out of options at this point.
KEEP IT TOGETHER
A writer’s brain is full of little gifts, like a piñata at a birthday party. It’s also full of demons, like a piñata at a birthday party in a mental hospital. The truth is, it’s demons that keep a tortured writer’s spirit alive, not Tootsie Rolls. Sure they’ll give you a tiny burst of energy, but they won’t do squat for your writing. So treat your demons with the respect they deserve, and with enough prescriptions to keep you wearing pants.
The wind sweeps across fields from on top of those beautiful mountains. Much as water would find it's path. It's a beautiful cool night in Nasugbu, Batangas. It feels like home.
Recently my team and I were serving at an orphanage in Taytay near Anitpolo City. It was such a moving heartbreaking couple of weeks. The stories of these kids were terrible. So many had been abused living on the streets, or abused by families that had picked them up on the streets, they'd been abandon by their parents, or sold into slavery as babies. These kids had seen the darkness of the world.
At the orphanage we would take turns on the night shift where we'd sleep up with the kids because many of them will wake up from nightmares from their times on the streets or they'd wake up crying asking for their mom or dad. It would be our job to comfort them and get them back to bed. I simply cannot say how hard it was to hear these kids crying out asking for their dads and me having to be the one to be there. It simply isn't right.
As beautiful as it was to see these kids being truly loved in the orphanage it just wasn't right. That's not where these kids should be. They should have homes. They should have a mother and a father. It broke my heart.
But it opened my eyes to see us as we really our. To see what the Father sees.
This world is filled with the fatherless. But not since He has left them but because we ran from home, chasing ourselves. And the Father is waiting there, all through the night, waiting and watching for us to cry out. And in that moment, He is there. He does not delay in His coming, He is there.
It was such a moving and beautiful picture that He revealed to me. Oh what a privilege it is that I get to serve this man named Jesus. What other calling or what else could I ever do that would surpass this.
I really couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life. I've found what I was meant to do. Where ever it is, whatever it looks like, with everything that I have, to serve and know God, and to make Him known.