In the course of a typical day, I am bombarded with all sorts of questions and requests from those who are thinking about writing, daydreaming about writing, planning on writing, and wondering why-the-heck they are not writing.
From this bombardment, I’ve developed a list of 9 rules I believe every aspiring writer should know. Why 9 rules, you ask? Because I couldn’t think of 10.
So without further ado…here they are.
1. So you say you’re a writer? Then be one.
This may sound hard, but I’ve lost count of the people who say they want to write, then proceed to list—in exquisite detail—all the reasons they cannot be a writer. If you’re a writer, then do it; write, I mean. Get some paper, pick up a pencil, sit your butt in a chair and write. Period. Paragraph.
2. Nobody wants to decipher your handwriting
Don’t take this the wrong way, but…I don’t take kindly to people who shove their work at me with a blanket command to, “Read this,” and it’s written in super-miniature drunken chicken scratch. (I don’t like paper with footprints, mustard, baby drool or coffee stains on it either, but that’s another story).
Now, I don’t consider myself old by any means, but I must admit my eyes just don’t see as good as they used to. (Yes, I know “good” isn’t grammatically correct, but spare me a little folly). Please, please, PLEASE, know I speak the truth when I say your work must be typed. Chicken scractch is bad…period. And no, it’s not acceptable even if you did have that carpal tunnel syndrome operation on your wrist. Always type your work, whether you’re handing it to me or submitting it to a mega-agent in New York. Typing your work is like oatmeal…it’s the right thing to do.
3. No Kidding; You need tools
A doctor has her stethoscope and prescription pads. A dentist has that nightmarish drill that leaves you sleepless in Seattle. Even a dog walker has his handy-dandy portable pooper-scooper for when Fido just can’t hold it any longer. So why, oh why, don’t you have your tools?
What tools do writers need? We need a computer, a printer, the internet, and a printer/scanner/fax machine. And it would certainly be nice to have a microcassette recorder to record your thoughts during those busy times, like when you’re driving in gut-wrenching traffic and a great idea hits you but you can’t get to your writing pad.
If you’re on a budget (aren’t we all?) and you can’t afford these glorious tools, just settle for a yellow writing pad, a pack of pencils, and a quiet corner in which to write.
Whatever you do, recognize that the writing profession is no different from other professions, and as such, writers need tools, too.