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  • Writer's pictureJabe Stafford

Writing = Mad Science

Writers, artists, and creators all started their journey by stitching a zombie arm to a pelvis without knowing why or how.

That was a metaphor.

That book you’re writing? It’s the product of you going all mad scientist.

Think of the first time you started creating. Was it writing on receipt tape at the turd retail job you ditched? Or splurging on art supplies only for your first couple pieces to look like antiquated feces? Good! You took the first step.

Now take a million more.

You’ll step in excrement along the way, but that’s how you learn to avoid it.

There are so many little rules and tricks you pick up on the journey to creating art for a living that you can’t count them. (Unless you write an obsessive list over weeks, and if you do, good friggin’ luck getting that time back.) You can only internalize those rules.

Making dialogue flow.

Outlining and plot structure.

Why not to use overused words.

Those tricks all add up and become instinct the way a mad scientist learns not to stitch arms to pelvises. You just gotta go through a lot of stitching first.

Stitch arms to heads. Combine hands and feet. Build that six-legged monstrosity you always wanted. Then share it. Because I guarantee you there are fantastic people out there who enjoy six-legged monstrosities.

Those were metaphors.

Except the sharing part. Publicly geeking out about the art you created is another part of the journey. You’re dadgum right other people might look at your tentacle romance trilogy and talk shit about it. Don’t fear walking through the shit sometimes. All the best mad scientists—I MEAN—creators have walked right through it.

That’s how they learned to improve the mad science. By looking at the zombie arm they stitched to a pelvis all those years ago and thinking, "How can I genuinely improve that?"

Keyword: genuinely.

Someday in your journey you’ll wake up and start writing without even realizing you’re using all those rules and tricks you internalized. It’ll be better. More satisfying. And still, parts will get stitched on wrong even though you learned a butt-ton.

Internalize some more rules. Cherry-pick facts and outlines and techniques, then combine ‘em with your new set of skills. Return to your mad scientists’s lab, be it an office, a coffee shop, or a stolen moment at work. That balance of branching out and then repeating the creation cycle?

That’s how you achieve those goals.

So step in some metaphorical shit today so you can learn how to dance around it.

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