Have you heard the following?
- Write what you know.
- Write every day.
- Read as much as you write.
Good rules, in theory, but following them doesn’t have to be the case for everyone. Let’s dissect...
1. Write what you know.
Obvious if you’re writing a “how-to” manual or an auto-biography, but if you’re writing fiction, this is your chance to get creative. Go crazy! Write whatever the hell you want.
Fiction is meant to be just that - fiction. Personally, I don’t want to write anything about or based on my own life events. My life is not that exciting. Nobody wants to read boring. It’s more fun to make stuff up. Part of the fun of being a writer is conducting research and inserting yourself into scenarios and worlds that you may not be familiar with.
CHANGE THE RULE: Escape with your words. Write about everything and anything that interests you.
2. Write every day.
In a perfect world, I’d write 24 hours if I could. I’m sure most writers would love that.
Here in the land of reality, it doesn’t always work this way. Some days I feel like writing. Some days I don’t. I have other things that I need to take care of. If I don’t feel like writing or don’t have a reasonable amount of time, I don’t write.
Forcing yourself to write could actually make you enjoy the process of writing less and may even have the opposite affect in fostering creativity.
CHANGE THE RULE: When you get inspired and feel like writing (anything at all, even a sentence), stop what you’re doing and write. Keep that pen and paper handy!
What I’ve found is that as I begin to write during those thought provoking moments and times when the mood strikes me (even if it’s just a few thoughts or bullet points), I want to write more. It’s like watching water seep out of a small crack in a large dam. Over time, the water, as small as it may seem, will build pressure. Eventually the dam will crack wide open and water will flood out. The same is true with writing. As time goes on you’ll find that these small, enjoyable moments of writing will make you want to write more. Before you know it you’ll be writing all the time and loving every second. It won’t feel like a forced “have-to-do” at all.
3. Read as much as you write.
This is a difficult point to argue, mostly because I believe reading is an inspirational conduit to writing. Reading as a young girl is what catapulted me into wanting to become a writer. But the fact of the matter is, if you want to be a writer (and ultimately publish material), it seems only logical that you would write first, read second.
CHANGE THE RULE: Read as much as you want. And if reading isn’t your thing or you don’t have time, skip it.
Ultimately, the bottom line with anything is DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Becoming a writer and discovering the path to publishing is a personal journey. There are plenty of great writing tips out there. Take it to heart. Nobody has the same path or the same process.
Nor should they.
Just have fun with it. :-)