e’s 10 Rules for Writing
Caution: This is a slightly selfish post.
But, I’m thinking down the road of writing…fiction. You heard me right, FICTION without the “non” part in front of it! I know, right? So. Not. Me. BUT – here’s the selfish part – I googled “how to write fiction” tonight and received this two part article back from the UK on how to write fiction. It is jam packed with really cool stuff, so I wanted to link it here, for no other purpose than to have it if I need to track back to it in the future. (That’s the selfish part.)
Then, I thought, OK – what the hay? I’ll try and pound out my own 10 Rules for Writing (Non Fiction). I love a good top 10 list. Ready?
My 10 Rules for Writing (Non Fiction):
1. Show up – a lot of people talk about writing book, but there’s a lot less who actually show up to do the work. Showing up is half the battle here. And by showing up? I really mean “do the work.” It is sitting down on your dupa, consistently, almost religiously, and writing. And writing is work. Trust me on this.
2. Do a little every day – my book writing cycle is about 1 year. I turn in my manuscript at the end of the year for my first book, flip the galleys 1Q, publish soft bound copies 2Q, promote 2Q/3Q, now publish the eBook 3Q, then usually back in 2Q I’m already cranking on book #2, and focus on getting the 2nd book done by 4Q again. I don’t just pump out a book all at once. That would be overwhelming. So just try and do a little bit each and every day.
3. If the universe phones, take the call – this probably should be back at #1, but if you read a lot of books (most writers do), and there’s a book you want to read, but can’t find it…? Guess what? That’s the phone call from the universe that it actually needs to be written. By. You. Holla!
4. Read. A. Lot. Law school has kind of killed my buzz on reading other stuff (case law by judges isn’t exactly sexy reading), but seriously – you have to read other people’s stuff to get better at writing. If you’re a true writer, you’re probably already a voracious reader anyway. If not? Get better at both reading and writing, because they are directly related.
5. A Vision helps – some people think you have to have a clear cut title, fully developed outline, cover design and pretty much everything good to go before you actually write the book, because you can stay true to your vision. I think it helps. Is it completely necessary? No. Why? Because writing a book is like taking a trip, without a complete map–sometimes, you get surprises along the way. If you’ve got your map already pimped out, will you actually allow yourself to be surprised?
6. Pray – I’m not a hard core religious fanatic, but a conversation with a higher power on occasion (particularly when you have writer’s block) is helpful. Besides, if you share that you’re chatting with God/A Higher Power, that’s a little less crazy than just talking to and answering yourself.
7. Love it, or don’t do it – I have loved each and every book project I’ve ever worked on. But I’ve also at some point along the way hated it too. You get sick of looking at your book, especially for me when I’m editing it. I don’t really want to read it a 4th or 5th or 20th time. But it is the love of the topic and the passion for the idea that will get you through the icky and over to the side with rainbows, lollipops and kittens – where you get to hold the book in your hands for the first time. Do it for the love and no other reason.
8. Find someone else you trust to read and edit - I am NOT saying here that you hand over your manuscript to some random editor and blindly let them tinker with your baby. You’re still on the hook for editing, in this writer’s opinion. BUT–I do think you should try and find someone else who you trust to read the book and edit too. There comes a point where you not only hate the sight of the manuscript, but you’re also so close to it that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Thus, it is wise to find someone who isn’t quite so attached to your baby…and who can tell you your baby is ugly in certain parts in order to make it better.
9. Don’t give up control of your vision - I know a lot of authors who published out there “traditionally” and were generally disappointed with the final version of their books, because they had no say in the cover, the look of the book, the feel of it, etc. Don’t hand over a half-baked book and expect your vision to match up perfectly with what someone else thinks is the right look and feel of your book. Only you know the true essence of your book, so don’t let someone else dictate it back to you.
10. Breaking up is hard to do - I’ve blogged about this before, but once that book is posted on Amazon, once you’ve had the first copy of it in your very own paws, there’s a bit of letting go that you have to go through, and it often bums me out a bit when a book project is finished. It’s kind of like breaking up with someone who you’ve dated for a year or two. It sucks. It’s hard, and it’s slightly sad, but in the end…? It was all worth the ride.
That’s it! Now, I just have to see how much of this applies to writing fiction. Probably all of it. But, writing fiction methinks is very, very different from writing non.
Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.