10 Writerly Rules
Writing is a process. It's not just about putting words on a page, even though that is obviously an essential element, but many other areas need to be considered and practiced in order to progress and achieve success.
As writers, we are often asked questions like: What do you do all day? Just sit and write? Don’t you get bored? Isn’t it lonely? At first, I struggled to answer such questions in a coherent way so I began devising a set of rules (a bit like Gibbs’ Rules on NCIS). The list is ever growing as I learn new things. I'm currently at Rule 67. Here are 10 of my more basic rules, in no particular order.
#1 Write every day, no matter what type of writing. Then, you get better at writing every day.
#2 Always carry a notebook and pen (preferably several pens).
#3 Make lists of your favourite words, books, places and things.
#4 Read! Read! And read more!
#5 Don’t settle on just one style. Explore! Try new things.
#6 Only set yourself realistic targets. You can always do more.
#7 Go for walks. Dance round the living room in your pyjamas. Pull weeds. Do dishes. Write about it.
#8 Always carry a camera. Take pictures of things that inspire you. Write about it.
#9 Talk to like-minded people. It doesn’t have to be about writing but it’s useful if the other person can relate to your wacky ideas that unexpectedly pop into a conversation.
#10 Stomp out feelings of guilt, fear, frustration, brain-freeze. I have cards with their names on them and literally throw them on the floor and stomp away. It helps. Try it.
As many of you know, once the finished product is ready or almost ready, then there are a whole host of other rules to contemplate. Eeek! Like I said, writing is a process and that process takes a lot of time, patience, perseverance and a whole heap of gumption!
If you could share one writing rule with us, what would that be?