Writing can be difficult at times. Depending on what you’re writing, you can hit a wall, or the ever-so-dreaded “Writer’s Block.” I always see these posts and read the so-called “rules of writing.” There are some rules like the proper use of grammar, nouns and so on. But, stylistically, it’s important to be yourself. Here are my 13 rules of Writing:
1. Just Write
Simple, right? Sometimes it isn’t but you have just have to push through. As a writer, it’s better to have a page full of absolute crap than a blank page. You can always edit. A blank page is useless. So – no matter what, just keep on writing! (This is the most important rule). The more you write – the better your writing will be. So, JUST WRITE.
2. Find Your Routine
There’s no “One Size Fits All” when it comes to creating a writing routine. There are the early risers who feel the most creative first thing in the morning. There are the night walkers who are more inspired in the late hours. And, of course, there are those in the “In Between.” Find a routine that works for you, personally and stick to it. Consistency is key.
3. READ Obsessively
All writer’s have at least 1 thing in common: they read A LOT. Read as much as you can. Absorb the written word like it’s water and you’re dehydrated. READ – READ – And then, READ SOME MORE.
4. Keep a Pen & Notebook Handy
Act like a pen and notebook are a part of your physical body. You never know when an brilliant idea will pop into your mind. If all else fails – type it on your phone. Always have a means to write down ideas at your fingertips!
5. Avoid Common Cliches
We’re all guilty of using the far-too-used cliches. I’m talking about things like: “Hard as a rock”, “Soft as silk”, “Cold as ice”, “Blind as a bat.” They’ve all been done. Don’t use the cliches that have been beat to death in writing. Instead, make your own.
Writing exercise: Write down as many cliches as you can think of in one column on a piece of paper. In the other column, rewrite those cliches using your own words. 🙂
6. Finish what you Start
I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve stopped mid-plot because another idea popped into my overactive brain. This is not a good practice. Whatever you start – finish it! Even if it’s crap, you can edit it later. Don’t end up with a file cabinet full of unfinished stories/pieces of writing. If another idea comes to you mid-project: write it down and continue with what you’re working on!
7. Get Feedback
This can be scary for a lot of people. No matter what anyone says, we all fear rejection and failure but it’s important to get feedback. Ask friends, family or a significant other to read your work. Ask for their feedback. Listen, but don’t take it too hard. They might be full of sh*t. 😉
8. Keep an “Idea Box”
Okay, so my “Idea Box” isn’t a box at all. It’s a giant binder jam-packed with ideas, first sentences, inspiring images and quotes and a whole lot of writing prompts I’ve collected over the years. Use whatever works for you but keep a selection of all your ideas, inspirations and all-things-writing kept in one place so you can refer to it when the block hits.
9. There, Their & They’re
10. Poetry doesn’t have to Rhyme
This is such a common misconception about poetry. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO RHYME. Have some thoughts – write them down – they don’t have to rhyme. It’s still poetry!
11. Expect Rejections
As a writer, you’re going to have to accept that fact that your writing will likely get rejected – A LOT. This is the case with almost everyone. Just accept it and use it as fuel to keep going.
12. Always Back-Up
I’ve lost a few gems because I didn’t back up my work. There is nothing more frustrating than losing a piece of your own writing. Use Dropbox, the cloud, a drive – whatever. Just back up your writing – ALWAYS.
13. Break the Rules
(Except for the part about backing up your work & writing everyday). You’ll see TONS of lists telling you how to write. F*ck most of those rules. Rules are meant to be broken, especially the super-conventional ones. Use your own voice. Write how you want. Make your own style. The only rules that truly matter when it comes to writing are:
- Write Everyday
- Read Obessesively
- BACK UP YOUR WORK
Just write! You can always edit later. Write. Write. Write.
Good luck writing, fellow scribes. It can be a tricky lifestyle, but if you’re truly committed, and love it – it’s SO worth it.
Much Love <3