The Autodidacts

Exploring the universe from the inside out

The Grug Brained Writer

[ Inspired by the strangely-hilarious meme-essay The Grug Brained Developer ]

grug brained writer write million million words and sell about two. grug scratch head to figure why two words become shiny rocks and not other words. grug squeeze and squeeze all learnings into tiny essay

now maybe future smol-brain writers painstakingly sell three whole words not just two like grug

words just container to fill

words like beer glass, soda can, toothpaste tube. not enough by self. if turn upside down squeeze shake curse and still nothing come out, big disappointment

reader very thirsty. reader not want cup, want water. cup without water worse than useless (even actively offensive!) water without cup can at least be licked off floor by parched tongue

simple words good

big-brained writers use big words only they understand. big brained writer laugh when smol-brain not understand. prizes and grants pour shiny rocks on heads of big brains to try to knock more big brained words out. everyone else fall asleep

grug learns that simple words best. simple words understood by everybody. simple words clear glass that shows if full or empty. big-brained words smoked glass that turn out to be empty half the time. so grug stick to simple words. that way grug understand what grug writes. and if grug write stupid grug realize grug write stupid and grug fix

work very bad at doing itself

grug learn plug ears and run anytime meet productivity shaman. productivity shamans all mostly ensorcelled by own spells. no actual productivity comes out of any orifice of productivity shamans. only more productivity spells [1]

grug learn work totally incapable of doing itself. work like helpless baby. grug must take care of work. work is called work but somehow all work done by grug not by work. learn this super learning when very young to save big big disappointment when work fails to do itself [2]

scissors are grug's best friend

baby grug think words grug's best friend, but grug learn words often grug's enemy. many many times grug discover entire paragraphs in fact waste-product of process, not belong in final product at all

grug get wrinkles and twinkle eyes and grug learn: scissors are grug's very very best friend. scissors fix 98% of grug's problems no other tools needed. more words almost never the answer. more cleverness also bad answer. scissors and achy-brain thinking powerful tools that fix most everything almost everytime. scissors very magic! grug worship scissors

scissors still no fun, but grug know actually scissors very best friend

only thing that grows in navel is lint

grug learn: only person interested in contents of grug's navel is grug. nobody else even passing curious. grug learn navel not produce amazing insight even for grug. only thing that grows in navel is lint. navel lint damp with sweat and not smell good. usually has to be thrown out anyway. grug grow old and wise and spend less and less time in own navel and more time in rest of world

grug also learn: not only low interest in contents of grug's navel, nobody interested in grug. grug only interesting to grug. others interesting mostly to themselves. grug's job is not to tell other people about grug. grug's job is to hold up mirror in face of other person and say "look".

ego is apex predator of grug

scissors apex predator of ego

fear not life of sysiphus

often grug not use single word of first draft. work on second draft fresh, labour day, week, month, year. maybe throw that out too

real writer must be non-attachment guru or some kind of masochist

grug learn: faster to spin new yarn than untangle old yarn!

fix big problems first or weep hard

imagine you need fix car. everything broken in horrible ways. (this default state of writing.) car must drive to miami in five days

what work on first, engine or paintjob?


say after me: always work on engine before paintjob

why order such big deal?

  1. car drive without paintjob. car not go without engine. run out of time? drive to miami even tho car look ugly, okay not great. sit in driveway looking pretty? very bad, leads to total absence of shiny rocks (unless business shamans’ brains not plugged in right. not uncommon!)

  2. put engine in, then paint. easy. but if spray glorious paint everywhere (so pretty. wow.) forget about engine, oof. think, no worry, put engine in last minute all okay. wrong! put engine in lean on wet paint. now body and engine all colourful & gooey and paintjob not pretty anymore. re-do paint. (now at 1.5x total work for big-brains who like count everything on abacus.) oops, forget to bolt engine down. engine rattle rattle, maybe come thru hood. fix and bolt down, but while fixing drop heavy wrench, chip glorious paint. repeat whole brainache process. now engine doesn't work because intake is clogged with paint. tear apart everything, yell at sky, start from beginning in right order

be old in new ways

reader want to hear same old things. writer want to write same old things. both want to play game where make-believe that old things everybody like are not old but brand new today

why not make actually new things? because very hit and miss. readers say yuck. critics maybe say yuck, yuck always safe, or maybe say wow, as random surprise to break monotony of yuck

saying old things exactly same way as said before often get ha ha ha so dumb so old so cliche scorn

new new things like, wut? nobody know what to think. mostly ignore, or praise but not read, or critique but not read. notice thruline for new new: not read

wrap up old gifts everybody already like in new paper works every time. add ribbons and sparkles, everybody say wow! and be impressed with shiny new thing that already seem timeless somehow.

profit from tribe ha ha ha (instead of self destruct)

grug give advice: show work to tribe. show work to grugs that grug respect. watch closely. one grug point at part of a work and say ha ha ha so stupid. change it like this and all good. second grug point at different part of work and say ha ha ha dumb fix it like this. third grug point at same part of work as first grug ha ha ha even louder, say fix like that and all good and not shoot self in foot so hard okay?

so what grug do when nobody agree what wrong with work, but all think work broken? simple

grug think hard about what everybody say, but use own gut-rumbles to make final choice what do

one say this part awful, other say same part very very good? two arrows meet mid-air! grug rub hands together because advice cancels out and grug not need do any work whatsoever.

but often like in example everybody point at same part and hold nose, and tell grug to do different things

this very important info for grug

if many many people point at same part and hold nose, part probably is rotten and grug nose just plugged

grug must fix, but grug use own gut-rumbles and fix own way. ways others say to fix may be not correct way at all, others may be trying to be helpful but super not know what talking about. this happen often to everybody. is okay

plug ears, unblock nose, get rid of smell


always more smells to get rid of. is fine

story, story, story!

behold aspirations of grug: cleverness, cleverness, cleverness

behold needs of tribe: story, story, story!

grug operate both neurons in head at same time and suddenly grug understand why self not useful to tribe

story is camera zooming around world teeming with wild animals.

lecture is camera left at back of room while tiny man mutters words into ringing microphone

story puts reader in not just shoes but smelly socks as well, even inside itchy skin, inside pounding heart, inside tremulous soul [3]

one time grug pay man with many prizes to tell grug truth about grug's work, even if truth not polite thing to say. man think work boring but mostly okay. over and over, same three costly words emerge from beneath cowcatcher mustache: "show don't tell" [4]

another time grug pay full-time word shaman to look at work, she mark entire end of story "I don't get it", but that another story and unpleasant one too

how grug know if work fully cooked

grug fix and fix and fix and fix. when grug notice work only getting charred and dried up longer it spends in oven emitting smoke, grug ring dinner bell


grug scared of AI but not too scared. grug know writing good way harder than seems. grug look forward to watch AI fail pathetically over and over just like grug

putting words next to each other to stir true and beautiful thoughts and feelings what grug want to do. this second-worst way to get shiny rocks in whole world. only worse way is grug other career as grug-brained musician. grug can count shiny rocks on one finger and run out of shiny rocks before run out of finger [5]

writer life very very easy and very hard at same time. everyone think writer fat lazy person sit do nothing all day. not like that at all! no respect for work whirring whirring away hidden from everyone but grug. but why complain, grug think, still better than most other job on planet. very few jobs where possible to remain complete infant entire life! so, so worth it to grug

  1. case in point! unless reading just for brain-tingle: close tab, do work, come back and give shiny rocks as thank you for kick in pants. ↩︎

  2. like old-time word wizard say: "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." ↩︎

  3. lecture: chromebook for sale never used plz buy

    story: chromebook gift for my daughter's birthday but she got macbook from her mother so selling chromebook

  4. grug say, so and so bad. everybody say, whatever

    grug say, so and so blather into cellphone in restaurant with speakerphone turned on, everyone understand

  5. use same word wizard skills make people drool and throw shiny rocks at company that pay word shaman is total magnet for shiny rocks. but, total vacuums for soul. grug avoid advertising shamans like infectious disease. same time, advertising shamans not so different from grug. that why grug worried, shun advertising shamans. not want to turn into one by accident. so easy, happens all the time. (especially because tho grug pretend grug artist not advertising shaman, grug secretly want to get stoned by shiny rock. say, only so grug stay artist not bad shaman, but sudden waft of advertising shaman smell when grug talk about money. seems very suspicious) ↩︎