Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rules for Writing

Scrolling through the gazillion blogs I follow I came upon this post by Alex Moore, which then led me to this post. So, click on both, so I can give credit where credit is due. The gist of the post . . .

Jess Walter (published author) offered the following rules for writing:

  • Revel in the work
  • Sweat the sentences
  • When you finish something, really celebrate
  • Take joy in the small victories
  • Trust your instincts
  • Be nicer to yourself
  • Keep in mind your story of how you came to be a writer

Please, seriously, go here and read the full post and the comments that followed.

I love these rules, especially take joy in the small victories. How often do we ignore the small victories - that essential sentence, the paragraph of brilliance - because we're too focused on the greater picture of completing our novel? I'm guilty, guilty, guilty, just sentence me to a life without Starbucks!!!! Noooooo, must have Starbucks, must have Starbucks . . . well, as long as I can still have my margaritas on Friday night!

So, I'm going to post these rules on the cluttered bulletin board next to my desk and try to celebrate the small victories. I'm also, as I've written about before, as has Lady Glamis, going to trust my instincts more. If something's not working, I'm stepping away from that and moving on to something else - this is something I did the other night when a chapter just wasn't gelling for me. I stopped working on the chapter, did something else, then came back and rewrote the chapter. Brilliance. Okay, not brilliance, but I trusted my instinct and things worked out.

Have a great day.


Robyn said...

Scott, I'm having the, chapter ain't gelling problem right now. UGH! Think I'll step away for just a bit. And celebrate the small victories! Great post, we write because we live!!:)

Cindy said...

"Take joy in the small victories." That one is my favorite. There are a lot of BIG victories in writing but those are few and far between. It's the little victories that define us for the long term and help us grow enough to be able to experience those BIG victories.

Scott said...

Robyn - I truly think my instinct drives my writing. Any time I get totally stuck, I step away, and then revisit later. Normally, I see the error of my ways, delete the crap I thought was brilliance, and - BAM - the words start flowing. Such was what happened with that chapter I was having difficulty with (yes, I know - never end a sentence with a prep).

Cindy - I agree totally. I think we focus too much on the big victories rather than the little ones. My mother is 84 years old and she always jokes that waking up every day is a small victory. ; ) Mom's a hoot the older she gets. So, I'm going to celebrate those few sentences I manage to eke out when I really, really, really don't feel like writing.


Lady Glamis said...

I usually hate pat-down rules, but those ones you list are really, really great! Thanks for sharing. :)

Litgirl01 said...

There are rules? :-D Here's to margaritas on Friday night!

Scott said...

Lady Glamis - you're welcome. The writer blogsphere is all about the sharing of knowledge . . . at least in my humble opinion.

LitGirl01 - 7:30 Central Time on Friday, a glass will be raised in your honor!

Litgirl01 said...

Scott - I will toast in your honor too...7:30! :-)

Ann Victor said...

My vote is also for the "take joy in small victories". It's those small victories that keep our hopes alive.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Certainly not what one would expect from writing rules. Let us enjoy the fresh air!

Tess said...

Finally, I can comment. Blogger kept kicking me off your blog yesterday. Ugh.

I like "Be nicer to yourself". Why are we so hard on ourselves??? We question our abilities, our outfits, our thighs....

Someday we are going to realize how awesome we were back in the day and wish we would have appreciated the journey a little bit more.

Good thoughts, Scott. Have a great holiday weekend!!

Scott said...

Tess - I've had the same problem with Blogger yesterday and today. I guess they have a glitch somewhere. I have no clue why we're so hard on ourselves. Perhaps we all need to step away every now and then. : )

Justus - I like these rules better than the ones beaten into me throughout countless English courses! I think the new rules are much nicer and more in tune with our (big generalization) artistic nature.