You’re a writer. You may also be a computer programmer or a lawyer or a parent or a cashier or an athlete or a knitter. This is a good thing! Creative and professional opportunities outside the writing world will make your prose that much more convincing.
Learn from the successes and setbacks of your favorite authors. Pick up advice where you can and apply it how you see fit. But do not worship another writer’s career. You can’t ever be that author or have his career. Why would you want to when you can have your own?
Don’t let the inner critic overwhelm your good sense!
Write often and regularly, but take time off too. Didn’t you know there’s an entire world outside your office? Like a kitchen with food! And a shower with soap!!!
Read books in the genre you write, but explore other genres too. Read various authors and read voraciously!
Killing in fiction is a-okay! Sometimes you’ll need to cut your favorite darlings: dynamic characters, hilarious scenes, fantastical description. Love your story, but keep some emotional distance so you can determine who needs the ax.
Cheat on your manuscript if you must! Something not working how you imagined? Is there a plot hole you can’t seem to fill? Get some distance and work on something else. You’ll come back to your manuscript with a refreshed mind and new possibilities.
Don’t write for the market or what’s trendy at the moment if that’s not really what you’re into. Readers will know if your heart isn’t in it! And agents will know it too.
Lie! You’re a fiction writer. Tell the biggest, boldest, most sensational lies you’ve ever imagined. However, if you write memoir, a million little lies will get you in big trouble.
Do not wish to be any other writer. Be who you are. No one else on earth is like you. No one else has had your experiences, so no one else can have your perspective. No one can write what you write. Be the writer you are and show the world what only you can write!
Now go forth, young Zigzaggers, and apply these commandments to your writing life!
What other commandments for the writing life can you add?