The Secret To Writing by Chuck Wendig

A few weeks back, I shared my 3 Writing Commandments so when I came across the video below, it seemed only right to share that too. I’m pretty excited to bring you one of my favorite writers of all time: Chuck Wendig. In the flesh. Kind of.

I don’t call him “Master Wendig” for nothing. I’ve been following his blog for a while and he manages to be hilarious, gentle and crass all at the same time. Here are his 5 secrets to writing. Short, sweet, simple…and with no unicorn blood.

The camera’s a bit shaky, but the message is spot on.

If you need more Chuck — and let’s face it, we all need more Chuck — he will be live at the Crossroads Writing Conference in Georgia October 5-7. Details here!

If Chuck Wendig isn’t enough for you (you greedy writer, you), there’s more! Chris Baty — the founder of NaNoWriMo — will be the keynote speaker at the Crossroads conference. I’m completely POUTING that I can’t go.

[Plus, judging from the paragraphs above, I need an intervention for my em-dash addiction.]

If you need more Chuck after that, I highly recommend his writing books. I own two of them and reference them on those really bad days.

And if you start getting Chuck-withdrawals when you’re done with all that, you can find more straightforward, no B.S., crack-you-up writing advice at his blog on TerribleMinds. Here’s a link to all his writing posts.

OK, I’ll take off my fan-girl outfit and turn the place over to you.

Who are your writing teachers? Have they helped you over any particular hurdles in your writing life. Are you a Chuck Wendig fan-person, or is he new to you? What do you think of his advice? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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56 Responses to The Secret To Writing by Chuck Wendig

  1. I love it when one blog I follow, posts about another blog I follow. It’s a small internet world out there after all. At least for writers.

    I actually get to go to the conference thanks to Chuck Wendig and definitely see him as one of my writing teachers. I have all of his books on writing and his novels. I also participate on his weekly challenges now and again. I’m definitely a fangirl. Hopefully not getting to be that annoying type of fangirl though…I just love how his advice is so dead on. Like, he cuts out the crap and just tells it how it is, exactly how it is. It’s fantastic.

    Other people I consider to be my writing teachers in a less direct way, would be Donald Maass and Brent Weeks. I love Maass’ books on writing. You just know he knows what he’s talking about. And while Weeks isn’t a writing teacher, his fantasy books are my absolute favorites and I study them to try to figure out how he did what he did.

    What’s interesting is that Brent Weeks’ literary agent is Donald Maass, and I didn’t know that till after I bought his books randomly as part of my market research.

    It truly is a small writerly world.

    Like

  2. Laura Drake says:

    LOVE Chuck! His humor is spot on, but it only highlights the serious, no-nonsense, no bullcrap lesson under it. He’s a must for writers, IMHO.

    You know who else I’m going to mention – the amazingly sparkly Margie Lawson! Get your bones elsewhere, then go to Margie to make your writing SHINE!

    Thanks, Jenny.

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  3. amyshojai says:

    Killer stuff. Succinct, pithy, take-no-priznerz. Like like like!
    Bob Mayer is an awesome teacher. So is William Bernhardt.

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  4. Wait. We’re not supposed to suck?😉

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  5. Diana Beebe says:

    The best advice ever! Thanks for sharing–I’ll look him up. (I have an em-dash addiction, too. It’s bad. I need an intervention, I think.)

    One of my favorite writing teachers was my grad school creative writing professor. He said to me once, “So, Diana, what have you written lately?” I hear that every time I let a few days go by without writing something. He taught me how to have a thick skin when it comes to criticism, too.

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  6. I’m a Chuck fan too. No beating around the bush … oops, sorry *cliché*.

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  7. amyskennedy says:

    Okay, love Chuck. Every time I hear him say (or read the words) “…finish your shit,” I’m always like, Crap! He’s looked at all my fricken notebooks full of the unfinished. And then it gets me to just buckle the hell down. It also makes me swear more.

    Other teachers: Blake Snyder and Alexandra Sokoloff — both more screenwritery (and Blake is no longer with us, but his words live on) but sometimes I need to cut through the crap and be more screenwritery.

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  8. Jenny Hansen says:

    And if you are in the mood for a completely cute baby video, here is one of Chuck’s son set to really cute music.🙂

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  9. K.B. Owen says:

    Fab clip! I love Chuck’s approach and outlook. I agree with the other suggestions above, and I also like Maureen Johnson’s “Dare to Suck” video: http://maureenjohnson.ning.com/video/dare-to-suck

    Happy writing!

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  10. Jess Witkins says:

    You know, I think I can handle those rules!

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  11. Emma says:

    Finish my shit. You see, that right there is the problem🙂

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  12. Catie Rhodes says:

    I learned a heck of a lot from Holly Lisle. Some of it was actual how-to writing stuff. Some of it was how to think about writing, how to understand what I wanted to write about. But a lot of it was just stuff about how to approach life, how to carry myself, and how to keep writing when life hurt so bad I wanted to stop.

    The other person I learned a lot from was Kristen Lamb. If I had not taken her branding class in May 2011, I would not have met my critique partner. I would not have met all my wonderful writerly friends. Most importantly, I would not be getting ready to start self-publishing my fiction. I can say with almost 100% certainty that I would still be flailing around, wondering if my writing was “good enough.”

    And this reminds me. I need to send you an email. Check your inbox later in the day.

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  13. Em-dash addiction – we need a club. I’m so there with you. lol Love the Chuck!

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  14. John Holton says:

    This might have been the best writing advice that I’ve ever gotten. I try to learn something from every writer, whether they’re writing a craft book, a newspaper column, a blog, a novel, or the side of a milk carton. In many cases, I learn to recognize sucky writing so that I can catch myself when I’m doing it.

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  15. how fun! my favorite is the “try not to suck.” LOL! Great advice. Let’s see, my first writing book was Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. It totally turned me into a writer. It’s a wonderful book on becoming creative. I also use play and script writing books. I’ve wandered back and forth between, well, I did. I stick with novels and short stories for now. But the script techniques are helpful to my novels, I’ve found. Playwriting; The Structure of Action by Sam Smiley is a particular favorite. Thanks for the great video!

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  16. zkullis says:

    I am new to Chuck, but there is an easy remedy for that. I liked the advice, the little “amuse-bouche”. Hopefully the try not to suck part will become easier as time progresses. 😉

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    • Just so you know, Chuck swears. A lot. Some people are offended by this, I am not. If you don’t mind several curse words in a post, you won’t mind Chuck at all. He’s brilliant.

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Oh yes, Tameri is right on the foul language alert. I thought about putting it into the post. He manages to make swearing an art form though. You will definitely dig him – he has one of the MOST distinctive writing voices I’ve ever heard.

      Like

      • zkullis says:

        Thanks for the warning ladies. I have a number of Russian friends (Russian swearing is the epitome of cussing, the apex of colorful language), so I am absolutely okay with it. 😀

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        • Russian swear words! I would love to know some of them. If you ever feel like sharing, look me up.🙂

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Oh, I want Russian swear words too!!!

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          • zkullis says:

            There’s something visceral about cussing (some of the first Arabic I ever learned was swearing).

            Okay. This first bit is tame, more of a taunt than cussing, but the feeling behind it is the same. “Nu cho, dyavoly, davaite!” (Hey you, devils, bring it on!) Something I would say to egg my buddies on. Or maybe something more simple, “Davaite, svolochi!” (Bring it on, you pricks!)

            “Idi na huj!” This will start a fight. It’s akin to F*** off. Russian is a very cool and very expressive language. Imagine how versatile our f-word is, and then multiply it many times over.

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          • Nice! Thanks for sharing, zkullis. You are one cool dude.

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  17. An amuse bouche! Chuck is awesome. I kept going on and on and on about him to my husband, so he bought Chuck’s book. I haven’t heard him laugh so hard while reading, which was totally cool, but the slapping my arm to punctuate how funny Chuck’s writing was got kind of irritating.

    I love Chuck. Thanks for both videos. I got my writing advice and day’s worth of cuteness all in one post. Love.

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  18. “Try very hard not to suck.” So funny! It actually is good advice, because I think I tend to make my writing life more complicated than it needs to be. A little simplicity can go a long way.

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  19. Every couple of weeks, I switch back to the wallpaper of Chuck’s secrets. Absolutely awesome advice.

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  20. Love this Jenny! Just what I needed to hear. Thank you🙂

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  21. Gilliad Stern says:

    Awesome post! Chuck is awesome.🙂

    Like

  22. Pingback: Best Post Title of the Week: “Dare To Suck” | Jenny Hansen's Blog

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