No Fuckery Allowed. Write on your terms.

In college, I juggled a full course load, a full-time job and a part-time job, and a social life. I’m an overachiever. I sort of specialize in getting shit done.

Lucky for me, this website has become a great way to channel my urge to *do* something. (Read: write.) As it turns out, you need help in that very department.  Sooooo, here are four “No Fuckery Allowed” ways to pull it off on your terms.

1 – Writers are not the in business of soothing or comforting.

Just say it. Don’t think about how to make it pretty. Don’t ponder how “a real writer” might arrange the words. If you are writing, then you are a writer. No one can tell the story like you. (Thank you, Michael Xavier.) So be yourself. Holding back for fear of someone else’s reaction is not being true to yourself or your message. We don’t write to make friends with the world. We write because we can’t help it. Ergo, how someone else feels about your words is irrelevant. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.

2 – Writers’ block is a fancy phrase for fear.

So figure out what is scaring you. Then look it in the eye, tell it to fuck off, and write anyway. Putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) is not a terrifying act. If you’re no_fuckeryafraid, you are anticipating a negative reaction to your words. Examine that. Hold it up to the light and see it for what it is – a whole lot of nothing. Writers are conduits. We share messages. Not everyone is going to love what we write, and that is perfectly okay. We’re not curing cancer. Frankly, I’d be more worried if everyone did love it. Strong reactions – love, hate, grief, sadness – mean we’ve punched the reader some place tender. That’s my goal. How about you?

3 – Forget the gear.

On my desk right now, in no particular order: my computer, two 99-cent spiral notebooks, a bag of Ruffles, a mug of coffee, a pack of Marlboro Lights and an ashtray. (Yes, I smoke. Get over it.) Somewhere nearby, I have a few pens, some paperclips, my Kindle and a pile of bills. I write in Word. For this site, I write in WordPress. I carry a notebook and a handful of pencils if I leave the house.

Writers do not need particular software, felt tip pens, leather-bound journals or anything else. Before carrying my notebook everywhere, I was known for grabbing napkins off restaurant tables or shuffling through the glove box for a scrap of paper. If you have something to say, the medium you use to scrawl it on doesn’t matter. Waiting for the right gear is a stall tactic. Stop it.

4 – It’s not about you, sweetie.

I don’t care what you’ve earned, been awarded, overcome or survived. I don’t care if you’re a high school dropout or a PhD candidate. As a reader, I don’t care about you at all – unless you can show me how what you feel relates to me. So stop worrying that you aren’t qualified to write. Stop thinking you haven’t lived enough to write. Stop telling me what you’ve done and connect with me. Show me why I should care. Make me give a shit by sharing your feelings, thoughts and lessons learned. Show me why this story matters.

What reads better?

After a lengthy and successful career in journalism, I decided to take it easy on myself and work from home.


My chronic overachieving eventually burned out my adrenal glands. The body can only tolerate so much. When I finally crashed, I slept 16 to 20 hours a day, unable to even shower without help. My choices were either to modify my lifestyle and schedule (work from home) or keep going and risk permanent damage.

The why – the detailed and specific – makes all the difference. Good writers make people feel something.

• • •

Psst. Subscribe to this site in the upper right hand corner and I’ll send you a free copy of my book, A Writer’s Voice. What it is. Why it matters. And how to develop yours. Who doesn’t love free shit?

21 replies
  1. Brian Watkins
    Brian Watkins says:

    My gut reaction to your writer’s block = fear was “Well, wait a second..” But as I mulled it over for a moment it made a lot of sense, as writing for fear of reaction is challenging. Some days you’re not “feeling it” enough to know a flowery or safe way to say everything, but it doesn’t mean you literally have nothing to say. I know that when I’ve been stumped before for blog content it’s often been more about dismissing various ideas that came to mind because they didn’t seem like they’d be interesting enough for readers (and not really that I had absolutely nothing to say). Sometimes we all need the reminder that writing is for us first; if others happen to like it too then great.

  2. Debby Gies
    Debby Gies says:

    I love your blatant honesty. I only recently subscribed to your mailing list and so glad. Today I was writing and felt exactly like the topic discussed. I’m writing a memoir and every once in a while I find myself stopping myself when writing, wondering who is going to get pissed at me for telling the hidden truths. Thanks for inspiring me to keep going and I will remember.. I AM WRITING FOR ME

  3. Melanie D.
    Melanie D. says:

    This ain’t PC of me to say (get over it, prudes) but even though I’m not into smoking, I love that there are writers who still do. So old school. Keep lighting up, and lighting on.

  4. Steve Holak
    Steve Holak says:

    Beckster, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced the block, but I do have bouts of writer’s diarrhea; I banged out 3700 words the other day and said to my significant other that I felt like I didn’t put any time in at all. Which didn’t go over well.


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