This series of posts is back by request.
In the course of a typical day, I am bombarded with all sorts of questions and requests from those who think about writing, daydream about writing, plan on writing, and wonder why-the-heck they aren’t 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 there.
And now without further ado…here are the first three of Rita’s 9 Rules for Aspiring Writers.
1. So you say you’re a writer? Then be one.
It’s getting hard to keep count of the people who claim 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 decode chicken scratch
Make sure your writing is legible. Let’s be honest, who wants to squint at chicken scratch? I know I don’t! And if 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’m willing to bet agents and editors feel the same way. (I don’t like paper with footprints, mustard, baby drool or coffee stains on it either, but that’s another story).
Chicken scratch is bad…period. And no, it’s not acceptable even if you did have carpal tunnel syndrome surgery on your wrist. Always type your work, whether you’re handing it to me or submitting it to a mega-agent in New York City. 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.
Well, that’s all the rules I have for you right now. Be sure to check back on January 13th for Part 2 of: Rita’s 9 Rules for Aspiring Writers.
Best wishes and happy writing,