What are Your 10 Rules for Writing?

Tin Pencil Writing Exercise

What do you consider the most important practices for an aspiring author? How about rules for writing? We all have our own writing quirks and pet peeves, but what are some personal standards that you apply to your writing? Let’s compile a list of the Tin Pencil’s favorite writing rules!

Example* (by Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust and Coraline):

1 Write.

2 Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3 Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4 Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5 Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6 Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7 Laugh at your own jokes.

8 The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

*Find more examples from revered writers here.

Please bring your writing rules (doesn’t have to be ten, however many you have, really) to the next Tin Pencil meeting on March 23rd.

Write On!

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1 Response to “What are Your 10 Rules for Writing?”



  1. 1 My Ten Rules for Writing (Plus 3 Bonus Rules) « Trackback on March 24, 2010 at 2:43 pm

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