Look, we all knew the end would come for us eventually, and with the way 2020 was going for us, the end might be coming sooner rather than later. Us monkeys just can’t go around banging sticks together for thousands of years without there being some kind of repercussion for our actions. Whether it be the fire tornados currently ravaging California, the global health pandemic keeping us locked inside, or just the failure of our own democracy to address the issues of the nation, it’s pretty clear that humanity (or at least the U.S.) doesn’t have much time left in this world. So what can we do as writers to help avert this coming disaster?
Hell if I know.
But if you’ve come looking for some ways to make your writing stick out in the coming apocalypse, I may have a few tips for you…
TIP #1: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE’S NEEDS AND TIME CONSTRAINTS
Remember looking up baking recipes for peanut butter cookies and suddenly stumbling across an old woman’s life story? Yeah, you shouldn’t do that. It’s the apocalypse. People don’t have time to read a full, fleshed-out story of you berating your life choices, even if that story is super interesting and contains valuable life lessons that you personally would have wished to learn sooner. Not only is such information totally unneeded, it wastes precious time for your potential readers, who may or may not be currently being chased by mutated, ravenous dogs. If they don’t have time to survive, they certainly won’t have time to read your writing.
But what a potential survivor will make time for is pertinent information needed for their general survival. Things like the nearest source of clean water, the nearest shelter, or how to secretly go around the nearest bandit camp would be some of the things that your readers would actively make time for, since it will help them in the long run. Stick to topics that help with survival, and you’re sure to have plenty of readers flocking to you with whatever form of currency we’ll be using in the end times.
TIP #2: FIND OTHER WAYS TO JOURNAL
Needless to say, paper and ink will most likely become a luxury in an apocalyptic setting. Even basic supplies like toilet paper will be fought over religiously, so the chances of you keeping a pen and paper on you for journaling purposes will be rather slim. So what should you do if you run out of paper?
My advice? Learn from the ancient Mesopotamian’s and start using clay tablets, if you can. They’re durable, easily erasable, and can be fire blasted to keep your writing permanently etched in clay. Keep them safe, and your writing will last longer than if you had just written it down on paper. But if clay is a bit hard to come by, you can always make yourself some charcoal pencils using a can and some wood. By peeling the bark off a young stick and putting that in a near-airtight container, you can make yourself some pencils that can write on nearly any surface, and can easily be rubbed off. Your words may not last as long as those written in clay, but if you preserve them right, your work could easily last 28.000 years, meaning some lucky historian will be able to eventually find your fanfics and put them on display for the world to see.
Speaking of historians…
TIP #3: HISTORY WILL HAVE THE LAST SAY, SO DO IT ANYWAY
It’s the apocalypse. There are no rules anymore. So who’s going to stop you from taking that one story you have that no one would seem to publish and passing it off as a huge work of art? Break into the Louvre and scatter your poetry amongst the displays. Write a horror story and claim to be Stephen King. Scrawl your name on the forehead of the Statue of Liberty, then raid the gift shop. Who’s going to stop you? Right now, it’s all about making your mark on history in any way that you can. With society collapsing, our best bet is to pull an Emily Dickinson and be little known in our own time, but be remembered for all eternity after our deaths. The best way for us to do that is to display our work among other great artists, and hope that historians find our writings some day and mistake us for an important person of literary merit. Just keep making content, and eventually at some point in time you will become famous. Even if that fame is founded upon the dumbass shenanigans you managed to get yourself into while the world was burning down.
That about wraps it up for what I have got to say. Hopefully you’ll look back some day and remember my advice while you desperately scrounge around for the last can of beans in an abandoned supermarket, desperately trying to eek out an existence as the world continues to spiral out of control.
Did anything that you have just read help out in any meaningful way? If not, you can always add to the discussion by leaving a comment down below. If you have anything else you’d like to add, please send me a smoke signal via the Minneapolis skyline. I promise I’ll signal you back in 3 – 6 business days, apocalypse notwithstanding.
Meet the blogger:
BLAKE BUTENHOFF is a thoroughly odd individual. He is supposedly a Senior of Hamline University’s Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, but no one knows quite exactly how he got into such a position. He enjoys strange works of fiction, hiding out in the quiet corners of rooms, and ketchup on his macaroni.