Recently, my nephew’s girlfriend was telling me about a story she was writing. Just took up writing recently but she’s already been doing some acting in high school.
The son of my wife’s cousin reached out to me, wanting to know how to be a better writer. Says he enjoys English class and takes honors courses.
All of a sudden, it would appear, young people are considering either my publishing history or my accessibility in terms of being a viable go-to person. I hesitate to use the word ‘mentor’ because I don’t know what it means in this day and age. Nevertheless, I feel honored and pressured not to disappoint.
So, I came up with some random thoughts, heartfelt enough to be taken seriously but generic enough to fit into any circumstance. I can’t rightly call them Rules because I certainly don’t follow any. I knew what they were until I broke them. After all, how can explain Transgressive Fiction and Metafiction? I wouldn’t presume to call them Guidelines because I don’t want anyone to follow my path or some other successful writer’s path. I want them to find their own way.
Therefore, these are just “H.B’s Thoughts on Writing” and you can take them for what their worth.
(1) Writers are essentially story-tellers. Technical proficiency comes in second.
(2) Write so that your reader is invested in the story you are telling.
(3) Be true to the story. It knows how it needs to be told. A writer’s task is to discover that way.
(4) Write for yourself. Edit for publication.
(5) Know what has come before you. Read those works similar to your interests in order to identify your own voice.
(6) Writing is a solitary endeavor. Sharing the frustrations and struggles doesn’t have to be.
(7) Your first draft is not ready for publication. Neither is your second.
(8) Your third draft is probably not ready for publication. But know when to stop. Overthinking can undermine the passion and joy you have infused into your work.
(9) If you don’t believe, neither will your reader.
(10) Don’t: Think about; Talk about; Plan to; Contemplate; Consider — Writing. Just do it. Just write.