Thursday, March 12, 2015

Three of My Writing Rules

More Writing Tips--some redundant.

by Jackie King

Rule 1: Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Books are written one word at a time, one sentence at a time, and one paragraph at a time. Each day remind yourself that all you have to do is write one sentence, and then one more, and then one more…

Rule 2: Give yourself permission to write a bad first draft. This removes the fear of failure. You can’t fail because it’s okay to write sucky pages. What’s hard is putting your heart on paper. Don’t listen to your internal monitor that says, “You can’t even spell.” (Like that makes any difference? Many successful writers can’t. That’s why God made dictionaries.)

Rule 3: Write every day. Determine to write even in chaos or tragedy, because life is seldom perfect. No matter how busy you are, you have a right to some time of your own; learn to recognize and grasp these moments. Keep either index cards or a notebook close at all times. (I prefer index cards and always carry some in my purse, pocket and car.

For instance: Modern men and women spend a huge amount of time standing in lines, waiting at the doctor’s office, or the dentist or hairdresser, or for a child at private lessons or activities. Apprehend these moments to make character sketches, brainstorm writing ideas, or write a scene or part of a scene. It’s possible to write a scene in 20 minutes. I know one author who wrote her second book waiting at the airport for her next plane.

Other stuff: Get a large collapsible file to keep all of your notes, character sketches, newspaper clippings, etc., together. Writing time shouldn’t be wasted searching for lost notes. Keep that file somewhere handy and drop each scrap of paper or index card into it.

Writing a book doesn’t always happen in an organized way. Writers are creative folk and there are different ways to begin. Many things can trigger a germ of an idea from which a novel can develop: an overheard snatch of conversation; a newspaper or magazine article; a scene flashing through your mind unexpectedly.

Never forget: Trust yourself and follow your intuition while you’re writing. This brings out that precious quality called “voice.”

  • Discipline is primary. 
  • Talent is secondary.
  • Luck is nice, but a lack of luck can be overcome by persistence.
  • Use your experiences plus your imagination.

The Most Important Rule:



Bill Kirton said...

I found myself smiling all through this, Jackie, because it's something I could have written myself, almost word for word. (So I suppose that prohibits me from saying it's good, wise advice because that would make it sound like boasting.) But the whole philosophy behind it - write any time, anywhere, without being overly self-critical or precious about it - nails it. If you're a writer, it's what you do.

Jackie King said...

Thanks, Bill. Coming from you, that is high praise. I've read your books.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I can say it's good advice, Jackie, because it is. Fledglings should take the craft seriously if they want to succeed. Writing something every day is necessary, even it's character sketches and plot outlines.