10 Incredibly important rules for writing
1. Stop reading lists of rules & find what works for you; Just start Writing
2. See rule number 1
3. If you're still unsure, refer back to rule number 1
4. Stop looking at other lists on Pinterest and refer to rule number 1
5. Stop comparing yourself to other writers and see rule number 1
6. When someone verbally gives you advice, smile politely and refer to rule number 1
7. When you check and your book sales are lagging, refer to rule number 1
8. If you are frustrated that you haven’t even published a book yet, refer to rule number 1
9. No really, I’m not kidding, refer to rule number 1
10. Just write, you will figure it out.
Okay – I know that was a bit sarcastic, but I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed with advice lately. This morning I got online and found literally dozens of articles full of advice, including many with specific lists of what to do or what not to do to be successful as a writer – but here’s the problem, I am pretty sure that Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Bronte or yes even JK Rowling did not follow some ridiculous 10 point list to learn how to write. I appreciate other writers trying to offer helpful suggestions to support fellow writers, but it can be overwhelming as a new writer. Let’s face it, many of these lists are written simply to get your attention, or to increase their blog reader base. Some of the advice is excellent and may help you a great deal. Some of the advice is completely wrong for you. The challenge is that new writers get so much advice, often conflicting advice, so much so that they become overwhelmed and simply don’t know what to do. Now they are second guessing themselves and really struggling to find their own unique voice.
It reminds me of a new mom. The first few months everyone she meets will offer ‘critical advice’ on how to raise the baby. They will very assuredly demand that “you have to do this” or “you must not do that”, but after a few months, this new mom begins to understand that she doesn’t need to listen to every piece of advice equally & that she is the expert on her own child. She knows her child better than anyone else.
As writers we need to be like that new mom – after all writing is really our baby, and while many people are well intentioned, and they want to help us avoid the struggles they went through, we have to find our own way as new writers.
The next time you see a list that all writers absolutely must read – do yourself a favor and don’t click on it.