Work Like A Mother Fucker

The only always appropriate writing advice I have ever seen came from Cheryl Strayed AKA Sugar from the Rumpus. 

Write Like A Mother Fucker.

Aside from being the best always appropriate writing advice, it is also the inspiration for the chest piece tattoo I’m saving for.

I’d like to add something to that.

Work Like a Mother Fucker.

Last night I spent four hours working after my day job on writing tasks. I sent queries, a couple of withdrawls, noted my rejection list and sent a couple of submissions.

I put together some things to work on. I went to work.

Someone asked me recently how I am keeping all this up. The submissions, the blogs, the things. My only answer is that I work like a mother fucker.

My day job including my commute takes up 12 hours of my day.

I don’t know where or when I first saw the advice to treat writing like a job but when I started doing that things just happened.

I write more. I write whenever I can. I write at my dayjob (THANKFULLY), I write at the bus stop at night, I write on the bus. If I’m not writing or editing I’m thinking about writing.

My dayjob which I’ve had for more than a decade does a lot to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly but writing feeds my soul.

I stay up way too late, I exacerbate my insomnia, I dream about it, I wake up jonesing to write down a phrase or edit something and as much as it fucks me up it keeps me alive.

I’m learning to take more opportunities. I’ve learned when despite something seeming like a good idea to say no. I have said no to a few paid gigs because they didn’t suit me. I’ve told some editors to fuck off. It feels good.

While yes, I still work mostly for free I am passionate about that work and that is what sustains me.

Three years ago if you’d told me I would be talking to authors I admire and love I”d have laughed. If you’d told me that I would meet people on facebook who don’t know me personally but like my work I’d have snorted.

It is happening.

Not because of dumb luck. It’s not even really totally based on talent it’s because I work like a mother fucker.

I don’t always like writing. Matter of fact sometimes I really fucking hate it. Sometimes I just want to go the fuck to sleep without turning over shit I’ve written in my head or thinking about trying to get into an anthology. Sometimes I’d rather just look at cute shoes and make up than read a million zines and and rewrite and reformat and trying to make sure my submissions follow every zines preferred formatting etc etc etc.

All these things, sometimes y’all it’s fucking bullshit. It really is.

I swallow how much bullshit it can be and get back to work.

Grinding.

Hustling.

Erykah Badu has said frequently on twitter the phrase They Sleep We Grind.

I have embraced it.

Work Like A Mother Fucker.

That in mind. Time to grind.

Today I am going to get out my 59th and 60th submissions. I’m going to update my author site. I’m also going to get back to some people on the facebooks and then I’m going to write like a mother fucker.

As of right now here are my current stats as Duotrope calculates them.

Overall Fiction Poetry Non-Fic
Pending Submissions: 5 5 0 0
Sent Past 12 Months: 58 47 11 0
Sent This Month: 3 3 0 0
Acceptance Ratio: 20%* 19.4%* 22.2% -

 

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie. View all posts by Shannon Barber

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