Ways To Stay Motivated In This [*insert Expletive*] Era Of Epic Stupid
July 19, 2017 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Author Chuck Wendig gives you a handy top 10 list article to help you Survive and keep creating Art, in this unfurling Age of Dumb "Everything is dumb right now. From nose to tail, we have become the dumbest, saddest pig at the county fair. Historians will not refer to this period as THE DARK AGES, but rather, THE DUMB AGES. The greatest question I get, right now, is how to simply persist creating art and staying motivated and creative in this epoch of syphilitic dipshittery, so I thought I’d bop in here and try my hand at answering that." - Chuck Wendig

I highly recommend reading the entire thing as it is not very long, but it is succinctly written, in the Wendig's usual raw style.

For those who don't (or cant) rtfa [read the full article] below is a heavily abridged version:
  1. Stop staring at the news and at social media. This is hard, because presently the news is a series of constantly crashing cars right outside your window.
  2. Writing is an act of resistance. Art is an act of resistance.
  3. Put that piss and vinegar into the work.
  4. Do some real resistance, too. Make your calls. Join a protest.
  5. Hey, also, just take care of yourself.
  6. Don’t dismiss what you do.
  7. But also don’t be afraid to go bigger.
  8. Art has meaning.
  9. Talk to others like you.
  10. Remain cautiously, grimly optimistic. Optimism is hard. So fucking hard.
Mr. Wendig has been featured on Mefi before here, here, here, here, and here

posted by Faintdreams (18 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

But Wendig is near the top of my list of individual voices worth listening to in my scary long RSS feeds. His recent omnibus Politics in America piece summed up things so well (with meme-matic bees!!). And he often enlists others to toss in their own well-above-average thoughts. For a writer, he's an excellent editor.

And the expletive Faintdreams discretely omitted from the title was another example of Mr. Wendig's way with words: "Shit-Shellacked".
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

All of this.

I've gotten a bit traumatized (thanks a lot, cops) and a lot burned out on #4, which resulted in a lot more #5.

And I'm big into making music against the stupid, and trying really damn hard at #6 and #10.
posted by Foosnark at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2017

Thanks, I needed this at this exact moment.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Put on your own mask first. Make the words. Art the art. Eat that cheese."

Sometimes it's the important details and the small things, too.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Encouragement and cheerful, yes! But I was mystified by "Eat that cheese". Is this a thing now?
posted by olopua at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2017

Eating the cheese has always been a thing, it's just that we should have never, ever felt bad about it.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:51 PM on July 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah thanks, need this.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:26 PM on July 19, 2017

Came in here for the syphilitic dipshittery, not dissapointed.
posted by infini at 3:34 PM on July 19, 2017

Stop staring at the news and at social media. This is hard, because presently the news is a series of constantly crashing cars right outside your window.
Writing is an act of resistance. Art is an act of resistance.
Put that piss and vinegar into the work.

given that I'd already stocked up on art supplies, and started the doodling a couple of days ago, this is a timely kick in the ass
posted by infini at 3:36 PM on July 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I write sci-fi books about student debt and space pirates. Monstrous megacorporations. All that. I also write feel-good smutty urban fantasy. (Link in my profile, etc.)

The last year or so has made me feel like the most ridiculously unrealistic thing I write is where people in power hold to principles and people of opposing parties can come together. That stuff where government can look at a raw deal given to its citizens and say, "No, fuck that." Feels so much more far-fetched now than it did a year ago.

Producing fantastical fiction often seems like a pretty silly thing, but I'm occasionally reminded of how much these things can matter to people. Even if it's just escapism, it's important. I got an email from a veteran who said my books let him get Afghanistan out of his head for just a little while, which meant a lot 'cause it basically never leaves. I sat at my computer and cried.

Whether you're publishing with a big name or you feel like you're "just writing fanfic" or "just writing fluff" (hint: there's no "just"), there are people out there who need that. Not all of 'em are going to speak up. Not all of them reach out. But they exist, and what you offer is important to them.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:02 PM on July 19, 2017 [13 favorites]

This is a great piece, but I think this...
but remember, “left” is less a direction and more a gaggle of subjective principles. Bernie is super liberal, until you realize he’s soft on guns and soft on women’s rights and grouses about identity politics, which makes him economically progressive but not socially progressive.
...is a great example of part of the problem: "left" absolutely, definitely is a direction, and it's a direction that follows a broad but well-established path of economic and political thought. But somehow people have got this idea that right wingers' stridency of belief, rather than the specific beliefs about which they're so strident, is the problem... And so "lefty" becomes this hand-wavey thing mostly just serving to describe whatever makes socially liberal people feel good about their lives at the time, and if it doesn't, then it couldn't possibly have any place in opposing the right wing. But doesn't it seem like, increasingly, what makes people feel good about their lives is just whatever makes it easier to escape their lives?
posted by Mike Smith at 4:17 PM on July 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Maybe we're the dumb ones.
posted by Modest House at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2017

Such tough, depressing times. Make art. Connect with those that appreciate you. Breathe. I went outside early this morning, and it was simply amazing, so now that's on my list too. Family.
posted by emmet at 5:05 PM on July 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell is my go to, when I feel swamped by the Waves of Dumbness.

"Man is a rational animal-so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it, though I have searched in many countries spread over three continents. On the contrary, I have seen the world plunging continually further into madness. I have seen great nations, formerly leaders of civilization, led astray by preachers of bombastic nonsense. I have seen cruelty, persecution, and superstition increasing by leaps and bounds, until we have almost reached the point where praise of rationality is held to mark a man as an old fogey regrettably surviving from a bygone age. All this is depressing, but gloom is a useless emotion. In order to escape from it, I have been driven to study the past with more attention than I had formerly given to it, and have found, as Erasmus found, that folly is perennial and yet the human race has survived. The follies of our own times are easier to bear when they are seen against the background of past follies. In what follows I shall mix the sillinesses of our day with those of former centuries. Perhaps the result may help in seeing our own times in perspective, and as not much worse than other ages that our ancestors lived through without ultimate disaster."
posted by storybored at 8:37 PM on July 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

I needed to read these words today but had no idea this was the case until I did. Thanks! Also have never heard of Chuck Wendig before.

The recent novel Phone by Will Self says similar things - albeit in a much longer and dense way. This article is like a very condensed version in terms of the message.
posted by numberstation at 9:06 AM on July 20, 2017

rtfa means "read the full article"?

I swear I thought it meant "read the fucking article"
posted by R.F.Simpson at 2:56 PM on July 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm very proud to announce I spent an hour gazing at bees buzzing in the overgrown backyard. I felt so cleansed that I'm ready and waiting to do it again tomorrow.
posted by infini at 12:55 PM on July 26, 2017

Also, thanks to this thread
posted by infini at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2017

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