The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Ten commandments of Writing

I maintain several lists for different purposes.  One is a strictly "Lifewriting for writers" list, and for that one, I created a "Ten Commandments of Writing" series.  I like it so much that I thought I'd share it with you guys...

1) Thou Shalt Write

Hmmm...the 10 commandments of writing?  Why not?
I have so much fun waking up every morning and
wondering what I'm going to say to all of you.  This
time, I'm going to organize the next ten days to create
a 'ten commandments of writing.'  In other words, if I
had to create a system for my own son to follow on
his path to literary excellence, what would I have him
do?  This is an excellent thought experiement, because
it asks me to boil down the most important things
I've learned over forty years of writing.

And the first and most vital one is: thou shalt write. 
A writer isn't someone who publishes, or makes
herself wealthy, or wins awards, or gets movies.
A writer is someone who writes.  You have to grasp
how important this is.  In every field I know of, the
most excellent people practice their skills five days
a week minimum. The very best are polishing
every single day.

There is a shining star within you, a flaming beacon
of creativity that roared like a forest fire when you
were a child, and has doubtless dimmed a bit since
then.  But if you write every day, you can re-open
a channel to that sacred and intimate space.  I will
repeat here and now the advice I was given, advice
I've passed on to thousands of writers.  It is a
combination of the advice given by Robert Heinlein,
and Ray Bradbury:

1) Write a story a week, or a story every other week.
2) Finish what you write.
3) Put it in the mail, keep it in the mail until it sells.
4) Don't re-write except to editorial requests.

If you will do this, and read obsessively, you are darned
near doomed to succeed. 

Has a nice ring about it, doesn't it?  See you tomorrow!


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Viagra Canada said...

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