There are plenty of books on writing and the internet is full of quotes about the writing process, the writer’s life, rejection etc. In my years as an aspiring writer, I spent too much time on these, instead of working on my craft. You see, writing to established authors and asking them for advice when you haven’t even written page one, is a waste of time. BUT in this sea of information, I’ve chosen two favourites and two not so appealing pieces of advice.
First, the most favourite of them all; you must read a lot to be a successful writer. This is the best advice for any writer whether she is a newbie or years into the profession. Reading inside and outside your genre is the key to learning more about your craft. For example, I realised that I needed way more dialogue in my books after one such reading spree.
The second piece of writing advice that I love and follow is about the significance of the first draft. Yes, the first draft does NOT need to be perfect — it just needs to be done. Getting your story out from your heart and onto the pages is a major part of the writing process. Editing can wait.
Now for my two least favourite rules. The rule about writing every day doesn’t work for me or many other authors I know. While I do write almost every day when I’m working on my first draft, I take breaks between writing and editing and between books. These breaks help me refocus on my work. Sometimes, the time off helps me discover little plot holes too. Plus, writing is both my passion and career but I think forcing myself to write every day of the year will make it seem like an annoying job. Which it isn’t.
Another rule that doesn’t suit me is the insistence that writers should consider writing its own reward. Hell no. Writers can write books, content and other words and expect money for it. Never settle for giving away your words for free. No amount of ‘exposure’ is worth it. Time and talent are precious.
Do you follow any writing rules?