Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Top 10 Writing Rules

1. Ask 'what if'. Let your imagination fly. See what and who shows up.

2. Don't pre-judge. You may think your 'what-if' is a short story - but it could be a novel. Or a play.

3. Eat cake. Eat chocolate. Eat chocolate cake.

4. Get outside and breath fresh air. Spending all day at your keyboard does not make you a better writer. It makes you stale.

5. Don't fence yourself in with set ideas about numbers of characters. You may very well need more. Or less. If you can meld two characters into one, the likelihood is you can meld more.

6. As you sit down to write, cursing and sweating, remember: This was a choice. No one held a gun to your head - you decided you wanted to do this.

7. Read voraciously. Read all types - you'll be amazed at what you can learn.

8. Be content with your own company - because that's what it's going to be a great deal of the time. If you always happier around other people, writing may not be the path for you.

9. Accept that not every word you're writing is brushed with genius. No one's is. Build a bridge and get over it.


10. Write what you would want to read.

This post originally ran last February. Please accept my apologies for rerunning a post. Issues abound in my patch of the woods. My thought was better a rerun than no post at all.


  1. Love #3 and #7!

    I recycled posts over the holidays. There were a bunch of people who hadn't seen the original ones, old and new followers, so reposting old posts is good to do every now and then!

  2. All big YESes. Especially numbers one and ten. And three, of course, but I consider that more a rule of life. :)

  3. Elspeth - No need for apologies. This is an important set of rules to remember. I love #1, 3 and 10, and need to be bopped over the head with #6. Thanks.

  4. Terry; I'm pleased you agree!

    Carol: Thanks. I felt an apology was necessary; but then, I'm Canadian.

    Elisa; It really is more a rule of life, isn't it? Perhaps we should sell posters and make our fortunes.

    Margot; #6 is a hard one to follow! I struggle with it daily.

  5. Of course it is appreciated - you could run this a zillion times and it would still be current! Hope your patch of woods gets some sun...much love to you Elspeth.

  6. Great advice. I especially like #3. :)

  7. I love this one. :) And I hope your issues resolve themselves!

  8. I'm a newbie here and I'm glad to catch up.

  9. I think this list will always be applicable, though I am partial to #3.

  10. I have to keep reminding myself of #6.

  11. I recycle an old blog post occasionally when my muse abandons me. Usually I add a few bits of information to it. My readers don't seem to mind or notice.


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