Ten Commandments of Being a Writer

The First Commandment: Thou shall find many ways to tell your stories. The best way will be the one that works naturally for you.

The Second Commandment: Thou shall make time to write every day. Let me repeat that, for this is the greatest Commandment: Thou shall make time to write every day. Five minutes, an hour, or half a day, just do it.

The Third Commandment: Thou shall write only to rewrite. Write in a forward direction first, from start to finish. Only then may you seek the path of edit and rewrite.

The Fourth Commandment: Thou shall never think that you write poorly. Or that what you write is crap. If you have the drive to write, listen to your heart. The story will be tightened and improved through critique groups, editors, and your own improvement.

The Fifth Commandment: Thou shall need a critique group. You need supportive friends who are also writers, who can critique your work without damaging you. And you need to learn to critique in return, to bond and grow in your craft.

The Sixth Commandment: Thou shall know the evil that is writer’s block, but also thou shall know that it, too, shall pass. Sometimes writer’s block is your mind’s way of saying, take a break! Go watch a movie, read a book, clean out the garage. The words will come when you return. Anxiety helps no one. Deep breath, and relax.

The Seventh Commandment: Thou shall always seek knowledge, from blogs, workshops, books, and friends. If you stop learning, you stop the creative life inside you. Blessed are the perpetual students, for they shall know more than anyone.

The Eighth Commandment: Thou shall nourish thy body through healthy foods, fresh and unprocessed, low in fat, low in salt, and taken in proper amounts at regular intervals. Thou shall drink water without impurities whenever possible. Coffee should be taken in moderation, no more than a quart at a sitting.

The Ninth Commandment: Thou shall seek the sun or light of day once in every 24 hours. Thou shall keep sacred the movement of the body, in gentle exercise every day. Exercise builds muscle, muscles fuel the metabolism, and the metabolism keeps a writer healthy and creative.

The Tenth Commandment: Thou shall sleep once in every 24 hours. Thy brain needs to clear its cache and reboot, your body must recharge, and you must let the muses whisper the next story into your dreams. Sleep at least 7 hours, and if possible, take a short nap each day. Sleep well.

See you on Sunday!

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