Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing Do's and Don't's

Do's... 

1. Remember: There are no rules. None.
There is no right way (including this one). There is no wrong way. There is only your way...the way that works for you, today.

2. Get out of your own way.
Ask any part of you that is logical, analytical, critical, cynical, doubt-filled or judgmental to step aside for the duration of your projected writing time.

3. Leap into the void...and trust.
Don’t worry about being polite, appropriate or correct. Don’t worry about making sense. Don't worry about the next word, paragraph, chapter or scene. Don't worry about the ending. Don't worry about the beginning. Don’t worry about anything. Just blurt it out...moment by moment, breath by breath, word by word.

3a. Listen...and always go with your first thoughts.
Second thoughts and second-guessing come from that part of your mind that is judgmental or censoring. Trust that what’s coming to you is what calls out to be expressed in this moment. Allow it to be expressed. Trust it and surrender to it. Fully and unconditionally.

4. Write.
What else is there to say?


Don't's

1. Don't force your words into a straitjacket.
Instead, let your words and their innate wisdom determine the form of your work. In other words, if your novel wants to be a screenplay, let it. If your short story wants to be a poem, let. If your poem wants to be a song lyric, let it. It doesn't matter whether you've ever written a novel, screenplay, short story, poem or song. Your story, whatever it is, knows best. Always. 

2. Don't reread your work if you're feeling critical or judgmental.
Instead, wait an hour, a day, a week or a month...however long it takes for you to be able to see your work from a place of heartful discernment, not harsh judgment.

3. Don't worry about the next word, the next sentence or the next chapter.
Instead, remember that the next word will come as easily as your next breath...if you let it.

3a. Don't forget to breathe.
Instead, consider that if you're feeling stuck in your writing, you're probably also stuck in your breathing (and vice versa). Take a moment to center yourself and refocus on your breath.

4. Don't let fear, distraction, low self-esteem, doubt, anxiety, judgment, perceived lack of time, so-called writer's block or other people's criticisms or expectations stop you.
You're a writer. Just write. 


Adapted  from"13 Rules for Writing" from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (c) 2008 Mark David Gerson

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3 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Ooh, 'Get out of your own way' and 'Go with your first thought' so true!!

Passing this along. :)

Stitchfork said...

don't forget to breathe, don't forget to breathe...
All good points!

Patricia Lynne said...

Very nice do's and don't's.