The Ten Commandments of Writing

Posted August 17, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

Recently I read an article from the Writer’s Digest that I thought was fascinating that I had to share it with everyone. Of course there are no real rules for writing but below would be the top ten issues to focus on when trying to become a professional writer.

1. Take yourself seriously
If you’re not going to take your writing seriously, it will be hard for anyone else to do the same. Writing is part of who you are, not just a pastime.

2. Act like a professional
When it comes to your work, try to be professional about it; it is important to take the time to look at the grammar, punctuation, spelling and even format of your work.

3. Write your passion
Forget what’s popular at the moment, write what you’re passionate about.

4. Love the process
If you want to be a writer you will need to learn to love what writing involves. If you don’t like spending time in front of a computer, rereading or rewriting, you will find it difficult to love the process of becoming a writer.

5. Read—a lot
It is very important to know your genre, to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. To do this you need to learn to read lots; it will help your writing style improve.

6. Stick to a schedule
Personally, I’m a procrastinator, so I never get any writing done. Especially for me, I need to schedule time to write and I need to stick to it.

7. Be critical of your work
All writers end up being their biggest critic; don’t be to upset with your work, it is a necessary evil to help improve.

8. Develop thick skin
You will receive a lot of criticism and rejections, it is important not to take it personally and analyse logically. Not everyone has the same taste, and not everyone will love your work, but these rejections will help you improve your work.

9. Trust your editors
Editors and trusted readers of your working progress are there to help you polish your work. You have to learn to trust them in order to get the best version of your story possible.

10. There are no certainties
All in all remember that there are no certainties in life, just write and enjoy yourself.

If you want to read the full article you can do so here. I just wanted to share this list with some of my opinions. Are there any more commandments you would add to this list?

0 responses to “The Ten Commandments of Writing

  1. I would add to make writing a priority, not a “when I have time” activity. If you don’t take the time, it won’t be given to you. Turn off the tv, shut off the XBox or Wii or whatever. I guess it dovetails into #1, taking it seriously. I’ll never forget something I once heard from a writer about when she started to think of herself as a ‘writer.’ Her answer was “When I quit saying mopping the floor in the middle of the day was more important.” You have to give up something if you want the time to write. And doing housework is like stringing beads with no knot at the end anyway.

  2. spacebar

    thank you for sharing your journey. this is a wonderful site…

    sometimes i study the sentences of authors as i read a book, marveling at the sum total effect of the words strung together (with a knot at the end in this case: grin)

    maybe a word choice puzzles me (i’m thinking of cornell woolrich here) but stand back for effect – boom! i do so love it.

    in this way, i accept my own awkwardness. i know that i bring a unique effect to phrasing – at least get it down on paper! look at it again tomorrow …

    i don’t know what woolrich’s editors were doing before they went to print – but i’m glad they left him alone, maybe i deserve to be confused by his word order.

    do you know (yes YOU/all probably do) that reading silently to onself (even if you move your mouth) was once considered unacceptable? hmmmm…

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