5 Rules for Writing That I Stole from Famous Writers
Fake it, till you make it, right? ;-)
I‘ve been writing for a long time and we all start small. We all start somewhere. And then we look up to our role models or other writers who are now successful and who are living the life you want.
You look up to them and let yourself be inspired. You try to find out what they‘re doing differently and what you could incorporate. That‘s when I came up with my 5 rules for writing.
1. "Understand why you write. Success is a difficult, ambiguous thing to measure in this career; if you understand what drives you to write, then you’ll be able to define yourself." – Fonda Lee
Recently the “why” hit me hard and it’s such an important thing as a writer that you shouldn’t forget about. In the beginning to be totally honest with you, I was one of the writers who thought I want to be like JK Rowling. Write the perfect story and BOOM! Success and fame.
But yeah that’s a one and a million thing to happen. And do I really want that life?
Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t believe that this would never happen again. It might be.
BUT that should not be my WHY.
My why is to inspire people by telling my stories. I want to share my experiences and entertain people. I want to have an impact in their lives. And it doesn‘t matter how big or tiny this impact may be.
Maybe my stories even teach something? Maybe there is a message hidden that I haven‘t really thought of?
It doesn’t matter, if I’ll be the next JK Rowling or some not super well known author. I’m just myself and write the stories I love and share with the world. And I believe truly that when I do it for that reason, I’ll be successful with it and make a living. And so can you.
You just need to know your why!
2. "Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. " – Louis L'Amour
When I started writing, I had this misunderstanding that I only write when I’m inspired or in the mood. Which was really rare.
I got lazy and didn’t write a lot which lead to even more frustration. I felt so unmotivated and then the self-doubts came in, of course. The moment I realised that you need to write whenever and however you’re feeling, I got not even more done but I also my motivation and inspiration was back.
Sometimes you need to force yourself to sit down and focus. Sometimes it’s really hard and you might be thinking, “Why am I doing this shit?” But I can assure you, it’ll be worth it.
You really need to defeat your inner perfectionist. And I know how hard that is, believe me. I mean some of your writing will suck for sure, but at least you’re writing. And that’s the point.
No matter what write!
Because a real writer has to write. And if you do that, the muse will hit you.
3. "It is not your place to compare it to others. Instead, your responsibility is to create.“ - Martha Graham
Good old comparison. It’s not only a bad thing in writing but generally speaking in life. You should never compare anything you write with someone else’s.
I mean, first of all you have your unique writing style and you write stories like you, not like someone else. Also this person might be on another level in their writing compared to you. And if you compare yourself, you’ll never be happy and proud of anything you do.
The only person you should compare yourself is yourself.
How did your writing style improve? What did you do better this time?
So, just keep writing like Dory just keeps swimming. And don’t look around what other people do. Just create and write. And you’ll see, you not only will get better and better, but also more confident and creative.
4. “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.” - Zadie Smith
Wow, this one, took me a long time. And I’m still struggling sometimes with it. Because for me it’s hard to say no. Especially to people who are important to me. To tell them, that I can’t hang out with them right now or that writing is right now more important. Uff, that’s hard.
But it’s necessary. Especially when you want to get things done. And it’s not only people we’re talking about. It’s also your smartphone and all that social media crap.
Don’t get me wrong. I like social media for the possibilities that it offers, but it’s soooo distracting. Often I put my phone on airplane mode when I’m writing because I don’t want to be distracted.
Your writing time is holy. It needs to be protected!
Your brain needs that time to come up with stories and characters. Right now I’m trying to schedule my writing time more and it works better. If writing is really important to you, then protect the time for it.
5. “Write and finish stories.” - Neil Gaiman
There’s no way for me to not mention Neil Gaiman when I talk about famous writers I stole advice from. Because he’s one hell of a role model for me. And this quote changed my game.
I’ve always been writing a lot, but I barely finished stories. Sounds familiar? If so, then do it like me and put that quote on your wall, door, fridge, or wherever you can see it daily. I did that and I forced myself to finish stories and books. Even though it was hard and exhausting sometimes. But I did it.
Write and finish stories!
Because you not only owe it your stories, but you’ll learn a lot from every story you wrote. And it doesn’t matter how bad or good it was. Just keep writing and finishing stories.
That’s what makes you a professional writer. And one day it’ll make you to one successful or even famous one.