In the spirit of the post below, where luminaries provide their rules of fiction, I thought I would come up with my 10 bits of advice on writing. If you’d like to take this meme and run with it, please do! Let me know in the comments, and I’ll link to it. (BTW, it is 9:33 am and I should be writing…)
1. Don’t use your blog as a way of procrastinating. (I don’t follow this rule. I procrastinate every morning until 9:30 or even 10:30. Don’t follow my example.)
2. Read lots. This is not procrastinating. Honest. It’s honing one’s craft. Or something like that.
3. You have the right to earn a living. Writing is hard work. Therapists make $100 to $200 an hour whether or not their clients feel like it’s working.
4. Be proud that you write. You’re a producer. You aren’t just shoving paper around. You aren’t a service provider to someone who may or may not benefit from it. You are creating something from nothing. And then it is read and enjoyed. What can be better?
5. Question all the things that society tells writers. Why does a book have to sell a million copies for a writer to feel worthwhile? Does a doctor have to cure half the patients in the world? Does a dentist have to fill a million teeth or a lawyer represent a million clients? (At least the dentist’s patients go away without a toothache!)
6. You only go through this life once. You might have other lives (we’ll leave that as an open question), but this one is unique. If you have an urge to write, do it. If you have an urge to travel, swim, have kids, sew, bungee jump (well maybe not that one), do it. Why not?
7. When it comes to love, people say there is an old shoe for every sock, a cover for every pot. There is a reader for every book. I don’t know how many, but there is at least one and that one is you. Is it worth it?
8. Writing changes you. At least it changes me, every time. This is how I grow in the world. It isn’t the only way, but it’s one of the most important.
9. Writing is my gift. Is it yours? That is no guarantee of fame or fortune. Nor is there a way to measure how great a gift it is. But everyone has gifts, and we are here to express them.
10. At the end of the day, we die. Can we say we did our best? Can we say we did all we could with who we were in this life? Yes. I am certain you can. That’s all anyone can ask and if that includes writing, you’ll know it. It’s now 9:50 am. I’m off to write.