Five Rules for Cynwise’s Field Notes

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Here’s the thing. This weblog? This thing you’re reading? It’s not really a weblog. It’s an experiment designed to get me over my writing block on my main weblog. It’s basically a big fat I DARE YOU TO POST button in my face.

If you’re new here, you might get many of your questions answered in the first post, On Field NotesHowever, as time as gone on, I’ve codified several rules that force me to hit Publish – no matter what.

RULE THE FIRST: PUBLISH NO MATTER WHAT.

It doesn’t matter what I think about a post, when I’m done I hit Publish. The topic might be controversial, or I might take positions which I feel uneasy taking in public. I might think it’s piece of crap (this is usally the case) and not worth publishing. I might think it’s too long (also the case) and that the structure is terrible.

Screw that shit. Once I start writing a post on CFN, I have to publish it.

Fear of not being good enough is what stops so many writers from writing. Damn the torpedoes – publish it already. It’s good enough.

RULE THE SECOND: NO LOOKING BACK.

No editing. None. Each post on this site is a first draft, straight from the can. No futzing about with post structure. No rearranging to make it flow better. No fucking around with sections or post flow or sentence structure or even going back to fix my typos when it’s all done. I will edit a post to death if given the chance – how does it sound, how does it flow, does it make sense, did I get all the points I wanted to cover.

No.

I’m not writing this to win a prize. I’m writing this so that I can fucking write.

First draft is good enough for CFN.

RULE THE THIRD: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DEEP.

Holy shit, how many posts have I sunk because I thought, “this is dumb, no one is going to care?”

How many posts did I look at and go, this is like 200 words, max, that’s not even worth a post on CBM. I could tweet this!

How many posts did I go, this is not fully fleshed out, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, I need to think about this some more.

Shut UP, inner editor! Take a hike! Just fucking write it out already!

RULE THE FOURTH: NO SUCH THING AS TOO LONG OR TOO SHORT.

One of the challenges I have to overcome is that I like to write a lot of words. I AM WORDY OKAY I know it. Jeeze. You have no idea how often I yell that at myself.

Related to that, one of my biggest problems on CBM was that I felt, very strongly, that each post needed to have substance and heft. That every post needed to be 2000 words minimum, that it needed to be a weighty topic, that it needed to be brilliant and funny and insightful and a good, solid, friendly guide to Warcraft.

What the fuck, self? Get over yourself already.

I like to write a lot. “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead” could be my motto.

And it’s okay.

I’m not allowed to judge if a post is too long or short on CFN. I write until I have no more to say, then I stop. Sometimes that will be a single graphic. Sometimes it will be 7500 words.

No looking back. No such thing as too long. No such thing as too short.

RULE THE FIFTH: TELL THE INNER EDITOR TO FUCK OFF.

This rule partly exists to cover all circumstances not covered by the preceeding four rules. If I find that my internal editor is trying to make a mess of things and stop me from hitting Publish, I get to tell it to go fuck off.

But also it’s to remind me that it’s okay to swear.

I don’t swear in meatspace, I have two kids and I actually feel it’s important to set a good example for them. I can’t swear in front of them and then ask them not to do so too, and I think there are good reasons to teach your kids to not swear before kindergarden.

But – let’s be honest – I swear a lot in my head. And I swear on the internet.

And it’s fucking okay to swear, god damnit!

Ok. Hit publish and move on.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Five Rules for Cynwise’s Field Notes

  1. Redbeard

    You know, it must be a requirement in IT to be able to swear a lot. I learned mine from my grandfather the WW2 vet.I’ve discovered that on my non-WoW blog I’m more forgiving of what I write, but the WoW blog gets all of the “you’d BETTER not screw this up” mental anguish. Must be that I think the WoW blog is the more formal of the two, for some strange reason.

  2. Coreus

    I really enjoy reading your blog, and hearing that you do it without editing is really surprising.I tend to be obsessive about finding the words that mean exactly what I mean to say, and it’s something I think I need to let go of. Communication is never perfect, and trying to make it perfect is a waste of time.Thankyou for helping me reach this perspective.

  3. Syl

    “And it’s fucking okay to swear, god damnit!”so much LOVE for this! :D<333>I hate people acting all holy when they all secretly swear in their heads anyway. swearing can be catharsis.as for the editor….god i wish I could do better there, I am a nutcase. but you have one advantage you know Cyn, you’re not a non-native writer on top of everything else. i have my moments and posts where i write with relative ease myself and then those i overthink horribly – being self-conscious of your blogging in a second language doesn’t help there.oh well….i will keep working on the zen. as a writer i certainly am my own worst enemy.

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  5. One of my superlative colleagues and dear friends once told me about “Rule 10.” Rule 10 is whatever I want it to be.

    Great post – thank you.

  6. Neil Gaiman posted some very similar advice recently. It’s … tighter, more eloquent, and … I mean, it’s Neil Gaiman.

    But that doesn’t matter, I’m still hitting publish! :)

  7. What is truly comforting about that is somewhere out there, a middle school Language Arts teacher is probably saying the same thing…

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