We — well a mate and I — call it the Arrow Storm. It’s like Seth Godin’s Dip, but different. The experience looms large in the lives of professional creatives, but it’s not unique to us. Let me explain.
Imagine you’re a knight. Your enemies are a bunch of peasants on top of a hill. Once you get amongst them with your sword, they are almost literally mincemeat:
[The peasants] shouted out, and cried, “Put him to death.” When he heard this, he let his horse go; and drawing a handsome Bordeaux sword, he began to skirmish, and soon cleared the crowd from about him, that it was a pleasure to see.
Some [peasants] attempted to close with him; but with each stroke he gave, he cut off heads, arms, feet or legs. There were no so bold but were afraid; and Sir Robert [Salle] performed that day marvellous feats of arms. These wretches were upwards of forty thousand… he killed twelve of them, besides many whom he wounded. (source)
Whee! And that’s just one (doomed) knight without any armour or backup. In this scenario, you are advancing with your comrades and you have you armour.
Unfortunately, these peasants are armed with longbows.
There are a lot of how-to manuals for writers out there–books about world building, books about grammar, books about finding markets, books about almost every aspect of the writing life. Sadly, there’s no book telling writers how to defend themselves if an axe murderer invades their home office.
A Guide to Improvised Weaponry is the perfect self-defense manual for any writer. It tells you just how to defend yourself when ISIS terrorists decided your work in progress makes you a candidate for their next YouTube video. It’s written by Terry Schappert, a Green Beret and Master sergeant in the U.S. Army Special Forces. This guy knows how to kill you with a pencil. It’s co-written by Adam Slutsky, a professional writer who probably had to explain to Terry that a disappointing advance, low royalties, and non-compete clauses are not valid reasons for killing an acquisitions editor with a pencil.
Each chapter focuses on a common object that you probably have in your home. I was especially interested in objects that are in my home office, ready to be picked up the moment one of my many anonymous online haters kicks in my door.
First, my coffee cup, strategically located to the left of my computer, ready to protect me and mine. Schappert makes the obvious suggestions, like flinging my hot Ethiopian brew into my attacker’s face or using it as a knuckle duster, with the caveat that there’s a good chance of hurting your hand with that second method. He also explains how you can use it to catch the tip of your attacker’s knife and deflect the blow.