Having a kid changes everything.
In italics: everything.
All caps: EVERYTHING.
It’s all changed. Changed in the most sanity-destroying, brain-damaging, time-eating, sleep-killing ways.
Many writers give themselves over to a daily routine: wake up, drink coffee, write the first thousand words, walk the dog, second cup of coffee, write the next thousand words, shot of whiskey, a moment spared for Internet pornography, the next thousand words, eat lunch, discard pants, begin editing, get sleepy, get second wind, descend into madness, and so on and so forth.
Writers must become creatures of habit. We must apply order to our day to succeed.
Babies, on the other hand?
Babies are creatures of chaos.
They are, in this way, the very opposite of writers. They cannot give themselves over to routine because every day they change a little more. Our son – nicknamed “B-Dub” – just turned nine months old and out of nowhere this tiny hairless chimpanzee is ticking off checkmarks left and right. Learning to high-five, kiss, stand, walk, babble, put objects together, play patiently with toys, and so forth. He can climb the stairs. He can ascend both tiers of the couch (cushion and the back of the couch) with ease. Having him run around the living room is like setting a coked-up goblin free in your house.
You really have to pay attention to coked-up goblins. And you really have to pay attention to babies, too.
So, where once I had routine, I now have chaos. Where once my day was splayed out before me like a Chinese buffet, I now have to chase down hours with hatchet and spear.
Ah, but all that’s just external. Just what happens on the outside. Something happens inside, too—suddenly, the writer must look at the stories he tells. I take a look at BLACKBIRDS and I think, “My son can’t read this. My son shouldn’t read this until he’s at least a teenager. Hell, I’m not even sure I should read this. Sex. Drugs. Violence. Bad language. Prolific snark.” DOUBLE DEAD features zombies and cannibals and asshole vampires and, worst of all, a nation of Juggalos. SHOTGUN GRAVY has a teen girl who goes up against bullies with shotguns. Not the greatest message for a young mind. “Sure, boy, got a problem with bullies at school? Here’s a .410 shotgun. Give ‘em a scare!”
So now I’m thinking, I’ve got to learn to tell stories to this itty-bitty human. Half the kids’ books we already have don’t help. Daddy can’t read those without criticizing. “This book about this weird button-eyed teddy bear has no character development, no thematic arc, no narrative conflict. I DECLARE IT TO BE A TURD. We will throw this away!” And then I fling it to the far corners of the room.
What will I do? I’ll adjust. Like man has been doing ever since he turned flippers into feet and waddled out of the ocean brine. I’ll keep carving away hours to write. I’ll keep figuring out how, as B-Dub gets older, to tell stories he’ll like as well as keep writing stories that adult human beings will like. And I’ll do it happily and eagerly and without concern because now I’ve got one more reason to keep on doing my penmonkey shuffle: I’ve got a child with a mouth to feed and a mind to fill with stories.
Having a kid changes everything.
In the best – if also the craziest – possible way.
BlackbirdsMiriam Black 1
Angry Robot, April 24. 2012 US/CAN, May 3, 2012 UK/RoW
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.
But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.
No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Touch Of Death | The Future Is Written | Free Way | Surviving ]
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 is a frequent contributor to The Escapist, writing about games and pop culture.
He currently lives in Pennsylvania with wife, dog, and newborn son. You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com, where he is busy talking about storytelling and the art and craft of writing. You can find his writing advice collected in e-books such as Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey and 500 Ways to be a Better Writer. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy.
Terrible Minds (website)
What: One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Blackbirds (Miriam Black 1) from The Qwillery. Please note that should you win the novel will not be sent to you until after it is published in April.
How: Leave a comment answering the following question:
Share one thing that it on your bucket list
(that list of things you'd like to do before you die)?
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Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
**Giveaway rules are subject to change.**
*To those of you who might say, "but, but THIS is not Mr. Wendig's first novel!!" The Qwillery considers Blackbirds a debut novel because it is not part of a series (Tomes of the Dead) with novels by several writers as is Double Dead. The Qwillery may be wrong to think so, but that's the way it is. It is not a reflection of the quality of Double Dead or any novel in the Tomes of the Dead.