My Ten Writing Commandments

Every writer-in-training should have their own set of commandments – tricks they know work, stratagems to ensnare muses, and so forth. Below is my personal list:

1. Set a daily quota and an ultimate deadline.

2. Do not think about the story before you write it – come to the page ready for anything.

3. Do not think about the story while you write – be surprised along the way.

4. Resist the urge to discuss your story with others – the enchantment will last longer.

5. Don’t wait for the mood to strike. Apply butt to chair.

6. Procrastinate! Speeding to make your quota at the last minute will make you write faster than your Inner Editor can critique.

7. Expect nothing of yourself except meeting the quota and the deadline. Quantity over quality – you can edit later.

8. Write what you would want to happen if you were reading the story.

9. If you have a good idea for a scene, wait to write it – the anticipation will keep you wanting to continue.

10. Never go over your daily quota, no matter how much fun you’re having – come back to something you’re looking excited about continuing.

Here are a couple other lists by other writers:

The Kill Zone: 10 Commandments for Writers by James Scott Bell 

The 10 Commandments of Fiction Writing by Writers’ Digest

One thought on “My Ten Writing Commandments

  1. Interesting list, they don’t all work for me but your number 8 really hits the nail on the head –
    “Write what you would want to happen if you were reading the story.”
    This is one of my guiding principles…

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