Monday, March 7, 2016

Writing book revew: Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey

Title: Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Terribleminds, 2011. 338 pages.
Source: Purchased

This collection of 50+ essays covers many aspects of writing and the writing life, from why you should never be a writer, to why being a writer is amazing, to how to edit the living daylights out of your MS. It is profane, exaggerated, and totally inspiring.

My Review:
I guess I gave it away with the last sentence of the summary: the book is motivating. I didn't think every essay in the book was inspiring or fit me and my situation, but in general, when Wendig starts talking about writing, I have to listen--and usually to laugh before I get down to thinking seriously about what applies and how it matters.

This book is one of a set of 8 e-books on writing, collections of essays posted on Chuck Wendig's blog,, over the years. Many in this book were written when he was just starting out, not as a writer (he clearly had been doing that for many years), but as a novelist. He added some updates to the essays, in a few cases changing things to reflect what he's learned since, or adding bits of advice he left out. The result is about what you'd expect: unlike his traditionally published writing book, The Kick-Ass Writer (see review), the book is a bit rough and uneven. The advice is still good, and if you enjoy his style, will get you moving.

My biggest complaint is that I'd rather have the books on paper. I need to mark useful bits, and dog-ear pages, write my own notes, and all the things that you can only *sort of* do with an ebook.

Chuck Wendig isn't for everyone. He's foul-mouthed, in an imaginative and exuberant way that you will either enjoy or possibly hate, but is hard to ignore (sometimes he makes me squirm. Mostly, I am merely in awe that anyone can come up with that many ways to cuss). If that sort of thing bothers you, don't go here (or to his blog). If you can live with the language, though, the advice is (as far as I can tell) generally sound, and usually helps me to sit down and get to work. 


Full Disclosure: I purchased Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey with my own hard-earned money, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 


  1. Yes - I do like Chuck's motivational posts; he talks a huge amount of sense, and he's very balanced, but they do get a bit long, sometimes! Maybe I just prefer to go to his blog rather than read his books.

    1. He can go on a bit. And I suspect the collection of writing books will end up a bit redundant. But they make nice sort of inspirational bits to dip into :)


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