Rules from Chris: Writerly Rule #1

Welcome fellow writers and readers to my (Chris’s) first post on the Rule of Three Blog. I wanted to start by passing along some tips I’ve learned in my experience in the literary world and with writing in general. On your journey to create captivating characters, sophisticated settings, and powerful plots, there are going to be plenty of people like me who want to offer advice on how to make that adventure as successful and fulfilling as possible. As you listen to their advice on the craft, you’ll come to realize that a lot of it sounds pretty damn repetitive.

The truth of the matter is there isn’t a secret recipe out there that is going to make you a better writer. The masters of the craft will attest to this. But there are habits—or rules to live by—you can replicate to help you become better. Writerly rules, if you will. Let’s get started…

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Rule #1: Write Every Day

This might be the most obvious rule. It coincides with all of those little slogans that our parents told us about how “practice makes perfect” when we were growing up. They weren’t wrong. Ask any professional—and the scientists who’ve studied how those professionals became professionals—and they’ll tell you that it all boils down to practice. Long hours, repetitive motions, and true dedication. However, there is something that those professionals don’t emphasize:

Writerly Rule #1: Write first every day.

Yes, it’s that simple. Write first. Maybe not before coffee, but definitely before you put any of your world-building powers towards a task. If it can’t be absolutely first, for the love of all that is holy make sure you write before your artistic energy is gone. Our creativity has a finite source throughout one day. It’s sacred and valuable and you should treat it as such. If you don’t believe me, I’m calling bullshit. You and I both know you’ve come to a point in a day when you’ve planted your butt on the couch, kicked your feet up, and watched Netflix for hours because your mind couldn’t produce a sentence even if you had access to a self-typing telepathic keyboard. Your “creative well” was sucked dry and only sleep or binge-watching Break Bad would refill your depleted stores.

So, stop putting your energy into something that isn’t your writing first. Writing demands and deserves that best creative effort you can give it.

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