One of my favorite things that I’ve learned since I started writing is this: ‘Art Harder, Mother Fucker’. In which I am the mother fucker, and I need to art harder.
It’s been so long since we adopted it that I only partially know where the advice came from – Chuck Wendig’s Terrbile Minds blog. Which post? IDK. The context? Also IDK. I have a mug that says it; according to my account, it was purchased in 2015, but there are references to it going back to 2012 on his blog.
It’s become the battle cry of Tickled Ink. It’s morphed, over the years, from simply, ‘Art Harder, Mother Fucker’, to ‘Art the Fuck Out of It’. Did we get that from Chuck, too? Again, IDK. And we’ve shortened that to ‘ATFOOI’. We pronounce it phonetically. Because we’re cool like that.
What’s my rambling point in all of this? Aside from not paying enough attention to where I steal shit from?
Art harder applies to everything. In every novel I’ve written in the last God knows how many years has had ATFOOI in the comments. Sometimes from me, sometimes from Laurel. Need to add word count? ATFOOI. Need to give a better glimpse inside your MC’s head? ATFOOI. ATFOOI is a reminder to use your best words. It’s a request for more information and a gentle reminder to not be so ‘Disney’ with your predictably-ever-afters.
It means do art – whatever art you do – do it more often, and pour yourself into it. It means that growth is beautiful and difficult and so damn worth it.