There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Commandments for Writers

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?


Saumya said...

Last one is fantastic and so are the others :)I bookmarked this page. Have a great night, Laura!

Kristine Asselin said...

Great reminders, Laura. :) And, no, I haven't showered yet...but I'm going to soon, I promise!

SA Larsenッ said...

Number 5 is so important. It helps you spread your wings and see even your own ideas in a different light. And yes, being who you are is the mostest. "To Thine Own Self Be True," and you will get far.

Journaling Woman said...

Numbers 9 and 10 speak to me. Should I worry that I love lying? :)


Clarissa Draper said...

These are excellent! I loved them all. It's so true to take your craft seriously but not too seriously.

Bish Denham said...

These are all wonderful. I like #9... :)

Shelley Sly said...

I found all of these to be true and relevant, but the one that really struck me was #6. I'm in the process of editing my MS and I'm going to have to kill some scenes that I really like. But it's a necessity.

Faith E. Hough said...

Wonderful advice!

Kyra Lennon said...

Fabulous advice! I really need to work on commandment number 3!

jabblog said...

Very good - and so true:-)

Laura Marcella said...

Saumya- Thanks, Saumya! I hope everything is going well with you!

Kristine- LoL, the day is still young!

Sheri- Absolutely! Being true to yourself is the secret to success. :)

Teresa- Only if you never tell the truth! ;)

Clarissa- Yup, there must be some fun involved as well!

Bish- Thanks! It's only through "lies" that we can get to the truth! That's the beauty of fiction, heehee. ;)

Shelley- The good thing is you can always keep those pages just in case. Good luck!!

Faith- Thank you! I'm glad you like this post.

Kyra- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines!! I totally hear you about #3. I need to work on that one, too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

jabblog- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I'm glad you like the post. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Love all the 10 commandments, especially the last one. I had no idea that you were joining the A to Z blog challenge. Eager to read the rest of your posts.

DL Hammons said...

I love the permission #9 affords us! :)

Christina Lee said...

"And a shower with soap"--LOL!!! These are great, Laura!

Cristina said...

I seem to forget the world outside of my computer. Yes, I should go take a shower. LOL

Laura Barnes said...

#10 is fabulous. Great topic for the challenge. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'd rather be me than any other writer.

I forget to go eat sometimes, too.

Tara Tyler said...

how are you going to top this?

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Laura! These are all great reminders. Thanks!


Pammy pam said...

i like number four: food and shower. mostly food. cookies. and coffee.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Love, love, LOVE!! And LOVE SOME MORE!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Kristi said...

Loved these!!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it! #3 (inner critic) is HARD to follow! But I'm getting better :)

Amanda Trought said...

Laura, this is a great list! and lovely to meet you will enjoy having a look round your blog! Blessings Amanda

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Excellent Commandments! I especially like 5, 8 & 10! Well done!

SharleneT said...

Hello, Fellow Challenger. Love the Commandments. I can't think of when I wasn't writing, so it's hard to find a place I'm not! Even when I take time off. I need your prayers. I'm #424 from Rockin' Chair Reflections. Come visit when you can.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

This is such a great post!! So clever an idea, and in your handling of it. Love how you tell us to violate all the usual commandments: Lie, Cheat, Kill! Well done :D

Nicki Ivey said...

I know, I know! But it's so hard to not want to have JK Rowling's success or Stephen King's prolific fingers. *sigh* Who is ever going to know Nicki?

Great post! I look forward to coming back for more!

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, everyone! Thank you for your comments. I'm glad many of these commandments were insightful for you! I also have to work on #3, heehee. Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines to my new visitors and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!! Happy A to Z, Zigzaggers!!


Angi said...

Great advice. I'd better go wander outside my office to see why my children are so quiet right this moment.

Laura Marcella said...

Angi- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! That's probably a good idea! I don't have little ones, but I have a husband and sometimes I have to wander outside my office to check on him because, let's face it, men are just little boys trapped in an adult body, LoL. ;) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Jennifer Wells said...

Great post! #6 is especially difficult for me, but I've started using a trick to make it a bit easier. Copy whatever you have to cut into a new document. It won't end up in the final novel, but it makes it easier to make those necessary cuts.

R.A.Desilets said...

It took me forever to consider myself a "writer." I'm not an "author" yet, and I'm not "published" yet, but I am a writer.

And I think it took me a really long time to accept that.

This is a nice list :)

Laura Marcella said...

Jennifer- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! That's a terrific trick. It's the best thing about cutting and rewriting: You can save the old stuff just in case! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!

R.A.- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I think of it this way: A writer is one who writes! Even if you don't seek publication, even if it's a hobby, then you're a writer because you write. When I'm published I'll also call myself an author, but I'll always be a writer! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!