One day about two months ago, I was sitting during my lunch break and got the idea to write a list of “rules” that a writer should live by. I came up with about forty (really 31 rules, but some had sub-rules). Really it was just another expression of my nerdiness in trying to quantify/describe something. Here are some of them, and in brackets what I now think of them a couple months down the road:
1. Write every single day, no exceptions.
[I still believe this is true, though ONE exception might be made – if you are editing a book you have finished, this counts as writing. I think it is still important to create new content, like a blog post.]
2. Write at least 1,000 words per day, even if you have to bleed for them.
[This is Stephen King’s and many other writers’ adage. I think it is a great rule. Granted you do a thousand words or more every day, you can be done with the first draft of most novels in two to three months. Novellas are even shorter, from a month to a month and a half. You can do a short story a week, counting editing and everything else.]
2a. Don’t wait to become inspired. Just become inspired.
[I still think this is VERY true. I’m not really a believer in any sort of mysticism, even if art seems to have a mystical quality to it. I think the idea that inspiration drops out of the ether takes credit away from the ingenuity of humans. I think we are all capable of amazing things…a lot of it is believing that we can do those things.]
2b. Some days you won’t want to write. Maybe most days. Write anyway.
[Like above, still very true. Sometimes, writing is a job. But as far as jobs go, it is pretty fun.]
2c. The Muse is a flighty thing; don’t wait for hours for her to arrive, like a pretty girl not arriving on time for a date (if at all). The Muse keeps her own schedule you are not privy to, and besides, you have writing to do. When she comes, do not dismiss her; let her guide you for her powers are far beyond that of you, a mere mortal.
[I still like the analogy of the Muse being a pretty girl who may or may not show up for a date. I think the Muse is a mysterious thing – some days she likes you, some days she could care less, some days you are own your own. But when she does decide to show up, amazing things happen. It’s not really our place as writers to question where she has been, or why she is not spending more time with you – it is just to be grateful for her company, because the Muse is always out of your league. Have a set time you write every day, so the Muse knows where to find you. Nothing is more annoying than the Muse showing up at an inopportune time when you are far from desk, notepad, and pen (though she will always do so anyway just to mess with you As a side note, I think the wording is kinda silly toward the end, but I may have just been feeling silly that day.]
Maybe I’ll add some more of the things I came up in a future post. After all there is still 30 or so of them.
Since this is getting a little long, I think it’s time to go. I have an interview this morning. It should go well, but wish me luck, ladies and gents!