Rules for writing

This fabulous compendium of writerly wisdom from The Guardian …

Ten rules for writing fiction

… got me to thinking about my own rules for writing.  Here’s my top ten list:

1.  Get a dog.  Writing is a solitary job.

2.  When stuck, walk the dog.  Works like a charm every time.

3.  Try not to check email until noon.  When you cheat (as you inevitably will), promise yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow.

4.  Turn the ringer on the phone off while working.

5.  Take yourself seriously, even if nobody else does.

6.  Not too seriously, though.  Remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Hickory boasts that “Someday they’re going to erect a statue to me in this town,” and Aunt Em retorts, “Well, don’t start posing for it now”?    Stay humble.

7.  Silence the inner critic.  With duct tape, if necessary.

8.  Duct tape is also useful for taping oneself to the chair.

9.  Allow yourself the freedom to write embarrassingly awful first drafts.  Get it all out first before you revise, revise, revise.

10.  The best remedy for a looming deadline is a box of Junior Mints.

Do you have any rules for writing?  I’d love to hear them if you do, so feel free to comment below.  Best entry wins a box of Junior Mints!

3 thoughts on “Rules for writing”

  1. Heather I loved that article too–I’d seen it linked on a listserv earlier but never got to look at it, so this was a reminder. My favorites: Anne Enright’s “Only bad writers think that their work is really good” and Roddy Doyle’s caution about suicide! Ha! Thanks for the link.

  2. When you get an idea, don’t kid yourself that you’ll remember it later. Either jot it down on a piece of paper and stuff it in your purse for later reference, or get yourself to a keyboard immediately!

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