28 Feb

The 12 Rules of Writing for Beginners

Banner - penGeneral rules for writing, in no particular order:

  1. The only way to fail is to give up. You can write whatever you want, and there will be someone who’ll love it and someone who’ll hate it.
  2. Trying to do your best is good. Trying to make a story the best it can be isn’t. Consider this: you will learn over time. Any story you write now will be inferior to any story you write once you’re more skilled. Accept it and move on. The important part is to write and learn, and if anybody tells you otherwise, ask them how many novels they’ve published, and how much they’ve sold.
  3. Your first novel will suck. Accept it. It’s a learning experience, and by the time you finish it, you’ll have learned so much, that you’ll likely want to write a new, better one.
  4. Your tenth novel will suck. Other’s might disagree, but you’ll see all the flaws. Or see none of them. Writers are the absolutely worst judges of their own work.
  5. If you write, and it feels like a slog, likely you’re doing something wrong. Stop and try something else (different technique, different story, different something.)
  6. There are no rules in writing. They are only guidelines, there to be broken.
  7. There is only one rule in writing: figure out how your mind works, and make sure that you write in a way that fits it. You can’t force your brain to work in a certain way, and you can do yourself some real damage by trying. If you’re a pantser, pantse. If you’re a plotter, plot. Or do both at different times. But make sure you learn what works for you.
  8. Story trumps language any day.
  9. Story trumps grammar any day.
  10. Story trumps everything, unless you’re writing literary, in which case focus on language and grammar – to each genre its own!
  11. When it comes to writing, persistence trumps luck.
  12. Luck and persistence trumps anything.

Luck and Persistence! 😉

24 May

Monday Musings: Learn from Your Mistakes, Forgive Your Failures

Sometimes the world kicks you.

Sometimes you stumble, slip, fall down. Best intentions are only that, intentions. Sometimes they fail.

The key isn’t to be eternally successful. The key is to be kind to yourself when you fail. Learning to forgive yourself is a skill. Forgiving yourself is a skill, too, but you can’t start with it. You have to start by learning how to learn it.

Forgiveness is tough. We learn to forgive others. We’re taught to do it, forced to do it, but rarely does anyone take us aside and tell us to be kind to ourselves.

Instead, we internalize the critical voices, the ones that tell us what we should do, absolutely must do, least we end up outcasts, alone, hated, bereft. Read More