The final NaBloPoMo post! I’ve decided to particpate in The Next Great Writing Project, but with my own angle. So, instead of ten rules to live by(which is way too hard!), I’m doing ten rules to write by. None of these are original, but that hasn’t made them any less useful. In fact, I’m sure it makes them a bit more true.
1. Don’t wait for permission. No writing god or loved one is going to appear before and say, “Yes, now you may go forth and write.” You want to write? Say no to an invitation or refuse a request and go write. You are the permission god.
2. Don’t think stress about opinions. Whatever the people in your life think, they think. It’s got nothing to do with what you need to put on the page.
3. Don’t write for fame. The reasons for this should be obvious, but write for the love of it or just go watch television.
4. That said, turn off the television. I used to not write because I wanted to watch Law & Order. When I had cable I watched Jon Stewart (I miss him so). Now I write everyday. And I’ve got nothing against TV. I don’t believe TV is evil or good. It just is. It’s up to you how much you let it control your life and steal your writing time.
5. If you can’t write everyday, write everyday anyway. Well, lots of writers say write everyday, and this is great advice, but if you can’t, if you really can’t (and be honest about that), don’t throw up your hands and say, “That’s it then. I can’t do it.” Make a schedule–write every other day, write Monday nights, write during the full moon–and stick with it.
6. Send perfectionism and righteousness packing or lock them in a closet or send them out to bully somebody else. Whatever. They are not your friends. They are certainly not your characters friends. Nothing is perfect and writing to show how moral or smart you are is dull. Write a story.
7. Hang write-what-you-know unless it’s what you want to write. Write what you love, what you want to know, what moves you.
8. Accept rejection. You put your work out there and not everyone will like it. That’s okay. Something everyone likes is bound to be boring.
9. Don’t wait for the muse. The muse may show up sitting pretty on your desk one day–and you might be out at the mall. Be at your desk (or sofa or table or wherever).
10. Love your story. I’ve met people who say they don’t like the story they’re writing. Then change it. Blow it up. Cast it out. I love all my stories. I don’t know why. They are not perfect. They are not great. But they’re mine and I made them and I love them no matter their failings and quirks. If you don’t love them, what hope do they have out in the world?
11. Bonus Rule (because we need more rules in the world). Don’t believe that other writers have it easier than you or are born more talented. They don’t, they aren’t and who cares? That’s got nothing to do with you once you face a blank page.
Now, I’ll try to remember my own rules. Go make your own and break them when you need to.