It just occurred to me how obstinately opinionated I can be about writing. There are things that work for me, things that I’ve come to realize about the writing I do and the writing I most enjoy reading, and it has formed a hard lacquer over my writing mind.
These rules for me are hard and fast, and I won’t give them up because I know this is how I will succeed.
It’s like this–I’m a mush. I’ve been a quitting quitter for more than half my life. Worse yet, I don’t even try. I’ve given up writing more times and for more years than I want to let on. But here, you see? I’m not giving it up again.
I’ve quit quitting.
I didn’t even wait for the turkey to get cold.
But writing needs rules and I’ve been letting my rules jiggle around up there so long they’ve become belligerent. I pick fights, even though I’m a mush, because these are rules I believe in.
1. If you want to write, you can write. The only person who ever has to give you permission to write is yourself.
2. You absolutely must write what is true to you. Genre schmanre, loose yourself in what feels right and show the rest your derriere.
3. When all hell breaks loose, write harder. I write daily on whatever comes rolling from my gutters. Sometimes it turns into a story, most of it should be burned. All of it needs to come out.
4. The hardest thing to learn is not to care. We have to start somewhere, then it gets better. I’m still working on that.
5. Writers are some of the greatest people there are. There are so many incredible people that are and have been and will be, but the writers I have met in the last few years have turned me inside-out. I am so, so grateful.
6. Know why You write and let it take off from there. Kind of like an artist statement, kind of like a burning need, if you write, you have a reason. Chance it.
7. Give yourself some credit. It’s incredible to hear from so many people things like–I have no imagination or I don’t have anything to write about or I could never do that. Yeah. Okay. Did you ever learn to walk? How long did that take?
8. Be nice, but don’t let anyone take your voice away. I find life and it’s accoutrements more enjoyable on the friendly side, but I have no time for bullies–professional or otherwise.
9. Read and be alert. The only way to learn anything is by being a part of it. Every inch of life can turn into a story.
10. Take chances. No regrets.
There’s more, I’m sure there’s more. Tell me your rules, what makes you tick, how you write, where you write, why you write. Tell me why I’m wrong. Tell me what I forgot. Tell me to grow up. Just tell me in the comments below.