10 Commandments Of Being A Writer

1. Thou shalt not plagiarize.

If writing will have its golden rule, this will be it. It’s not wrong to share neither that compelling thought nor those acute words but please remember to give credit where credit is due.

2. Thou shalt not expect anything from this.

And I meant ANYTHING. Neither fame nor fortune. especially fortune. This will not pay the bills nor give your daily store-bought dinner an upgrade. It’s an egress for your excess creativity which your tedious day job fails to trump down, for that incessant idea at 3am in morning making you lose sleep because it needed to be written NOW and not a second later. Its’ your outlet and that alone is enough.

3. Thou shall not treat its readers as nitwits.

Because they really are not. They don’t need you to talk down to them nor to dumb down your writing. They don’t need you explain every detail just to get the whole picture nor to use simpler words. Because the more time they spent thinking about your work, the more it turns memorable.

4. Thou shall think before typing.

You are a writer not a ranter. Because of social media’s gift of anonymity to public, we have been since plagued by churlish commentary, the vitriol’s of the youth and the sarcasm of the old. And you’re better than that, you bring the complex and subtlety, the art and civility.

5. Thou shalt fight procrastination.

It’s the mortal sin of the prolific. Because you’re talent is innate you also believe that the spurts of your creative juices will come in God’s time. You wait for inspiration, you wait for timing, and you wait for the right mood. Well, it’s not coming kid. There’s no “right” whatnot here. It’s just you and your passion and hard work, always the hard work.

6. Thou shalt have formidable defences.

The netizens are cruel critics, and with the power of namelessness behind them, putting your work out there equates to willingly stepping in an iron maiden. It’s a suicide. It’s either you make or break it. And if you do break, you have to be resilient. Take the hit and stand again, never ever stay down.

7. Thou shalt not do a half-assed job.

Cliché as is sounds but you must really put your heart into it, add your soul if you must. This is job, a job that you truly madly love because even if you’re not getting a single cent from it, you’ll continue doing it. It doesn’t matter if your reader count ends with you and your mom and two other internet prowlers, that’s fine, it’s more than fine. Readers are readers. You must never disappoint.

8. Thou shalt stick to the truth.

This applies to every prose, yes, even fiction. Because you may write about a vampire’s forbidden love or a werewolf’s revenge or the tragedy of the fallen angel but underneath all this you are wielding real-life human emotions. What we feel and see every day intertwined with a magical realm, that’s what fiction is. And to make it effective, you need to make it feel real. Don’t exaggerate nor undervalue.

9. Thou shalt not end with a cliff-hanger.

Or maybe you could, just make sure that we’ll get to a proper ending at some point. Don’t be the dick that makes everyone be emotionally – invested with the story and just as it was getting good, disappears in the face of the earth. It’s worst kind of “orgasm” denial. Trust me; they make the list of people you meet in hell.

10. Thou shalt keep on reading.

Because when all else fails, we come back to square one. And for every writer out there, it all started with reading. This is their first love. This is what moulded them, inspired them to be who they are. There are days that seem like you’re stuck in a creative rut, well, go ahead, take a break and read a good book. It can be your psychological espresso shot when your mind starts to droop. And it will always be beautiful. TC mark

Want to get invited to exclusive private parties where you live? Thought Catalog can arrange that. Sign up here.

image – Merra Marie

More From Thought Catalog

blog comments powered by Disqus