A happy writer is eating cheesecake.

25 ways to be a happy writer (or, at least, happier)

Chuck Wendig – terribleminds.com


Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Double Dead, Bait Dog, and Dinocalypse Now. He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: The Blue Blazes, The Cormorant, Heartland Books 1/2/3, Beyond Dinocalypse, Dinocalypse Forever, Harum Scarum, and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits.

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award.

Chuck has contributed over two million words to the game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP). He was a frequent contributor to The Escapist, writing about games and pop culture.

Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books.

He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, two dogs, and newborn son.

He is likely drunk and untrustworthy.

You may reach him at terribleminds [at] gmail [dot] com.





1.  Write – this is actually harder than it sounds.  You write your book, but then you have to promote it.  Do you know how much time goes into kickstarting a blog, getting your facebook page seen, getting your name out there beyond your friends.  Hell, TO your friends?  It’s exhausting.

2.  Care less – I used to confuse ‘could care less’ with ‘could not care less’ – either way, both are pretty hard.

3.  Write about what you want to write – blogging isn’t what I want to do, but you have dues to pay.  I do enjoy writing about shit blowing up and men who aren’t afraid to cry, but don’t.

4.  Bring yourself to the page – Or in my case, to the .doc.  Facebook and twitter are just too interesting.

5.  Stop comparing yourself to others – this is hard to do when you see hacks, and yes, I said it…hacks, get published by major houses and I’m strugging in the indie world.

6.  Open yourself – once you’ve delved into the world of social media promotion, you can’t get anymore open than that, I’ve noticed.

7.  Set realistic goals – I just read Stephen King pushes himself to write 2k words A DAY.  I mistakenly tried that goal as a NY’s resolution.  I did it one day and it’s now almost April.

8.  Recognize the lengths of your control – You can only spam your friends on facebook so much.

9.  Gaze not into publishing’s demon eye – I’m self-published, the only evil eye I’m getting is from my mirror.

10. Don’t give haters real estate in your brain – so far I’ve gotten 2 not very nice comments on my facebook pages about spamming them with my book.  I don’t think people understand how facebook ads work.  I didn’t spam them, they picked preferences and facebook spammed them.  They should just give in and buy my book.  I deleted and banned those 2 haters, though.  They were ugly.

11. Stop looking at your amazon ranking (or any other internet numbers) – why do you think I’m writing a blog in the first place?  Of course I check how many hits I get a day here.  Amazon ranking?  It varies from 400k to 600k, although I peaked at 26 next to James Patterson’s recent unpublished book.  I got a screenshot of that.

12. Give yourself permission to suck – I’ve had friends tell me they’re starting my book, then never hear anything else from them.  I’m too afraid to ask what they thought, assuming that they just didn’t like it.  Which is ok, first one out of the gate gives me a baseline and I can only get better.  Right? Please say right.

13. Deal with your shit – Luckily the only shit I have to deal with is my 13 year old daughter’s middle school drama, but wow that’s exhausting, too.  It’s hard to write when I want to punch a bunch of girls in the face.

14. When something isn’t working, change it – I have the misfortune (I call it that because sometimes too much of something is a bad thing) of coming from a role playing message board where I have a CRAP load of material.  I keep wanting to incorporate it all (why waste it all??) but timeline and condensing material has become a problem.  Where do you start?  I recently read – write out of order.  Giving that a try.

15. Take care of your body – I just lost 90lbs.  You can read about that here but you don’t have to – it’s not that interesting.

16. Fuck money – that is easier said than done.  I published Blood Memory: Book 1 knowing full well I’d never be out of the red.  Granted it didn’t cost that much to publish it, but I certainly did not make a profit.  My first, and only, royalty check was for $23.  I took my family out to McDonalds with it.  You don’t write for the money, at least I’m not, I write because it’s fun.

17. Recognize the limits of shame – Shame is somewhat goal oriented.  A motivator?  Not really, at least I don’t put much stock into writing more because I’m ashamed.  Think I’m more ashamed of my internet time.

18. Treat your audience well – Dearest reader, you’re happy, right?  Maybe if I stopped posting/spamming so much?

19. Help nurture other writers (and be nurtured in return) – People ask me about self-publishing, and I’m more than happy to answer questions, but I don’t feel like I’m helpful.  I’d feel like a noob in a room full of professionals if I went to a conference, but I’d gladly sit, listen, read, and learn.

20. See failure as an instruction manual – I think this goes with shame, sucking, and writer’s block.

21. Make no excuses – Set a goal and stick with it.  I hesitate to add ‘as reasonably close as you can’ because it just gives you an out.

22. Long term satisfaction over short term happiness – Nothing ever comes to you.  Certainly not fame and fortune.  I’m hoping for some recognition by book 4.  (sigh)

23. Let your voice find you – I spent most of my adult life being kind of snarky.  Bitterness takes a hold of your sense of humor and strangles the shit out of it.  In my 30s I realized that I just don’t give a shit.  Why sweat the small stuff?  I let that come out in my writing, finding a humorous hook goes over way better than a bitter one.  Like I recently told a friend, if writing action/adventure/paranormal is not my schtick, and the fetish stripping doesn’t pan out, there’s always comedy.

24. Love some part of what you do – I enjoy writing, mostly because it takes me somewhere other than Colorado Springs in the dead of winter.  Who wouldn’t want to live in a paranormal universe where you run the risk of either being a vampire’s snack or a werewolf’s girlfriend. I mean, really?

25. Finish your shit – hey, I’m just happy I finished this.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.