Nope. No one called out to me. I didn’t hallucinate after desert ‘shrooms. I didn’t hear a voice that may or may not have been there.
I didn’t trek up some godforsaken mountain in the middle of the sun-scorched, swampass desert to get the Writing Commandments For Self.
Nah. Didn’t have to.
I totally made them up. While sitting in a cushy leather chair. In the air-conditioning.
Made ‘em up in a previous post, in fact.
Because they serve as a presence in order to stop crucifying yourself over your writing. To not allow you to get beat to shit by self- comparisons. They’re here to remind you that you write because you like to write. Because it serves you and what you think is cool to write.
Henceforth, these are your FIVE WRITING COMMANDMENTS FOR SELF:
1. You shall write like you write.
You can try to mimic others’ style, but it doesn’t always work. It gets messy. Cluttered. It smashes against your own style and grinds like a scrapping fork across a clean plate. It’s annoying. Hard to read. It’s like excessive bedazzling – overfuckingdone.
2. You shall write for you.
Let’s be honest, when friends know we write, it’s inevitable: someone will say, “Hey man,” no, their voice gets deeper, way deeper, “you should write this story about two ducks and a goose that includes a flying unicorn. Or you know, somethin’ like that.”
My first response is always the same. “ALL unicorns fly.”
Seriously though, writing for you is comfort. If you write a particular genre or strictly fiction, it’s your comfort zone. It’s what you know.
And what you know isn’t necessarily events; it can be emotions.
How’d it feel not to get those cool-ass flight pants back in 1985? Well, I’ll tell ya. It hurt. Still hurts. All those zippers. The staticy nylon. Pockets everywhere. The coolness. Everyone had ‘em… except me.
Those are things that shape your writing because they shaped you and your writing is a part of your existence. Use your emotion.
3. You shall write whatever it is you wish to write and not what someone tells you to write.
Even if you have an agent or a publisher, you’re still in charge of your writing. The ideas are generated within the confines of your brain garage. You own them. You curate them into a sequence of words and mash them into a group of sentences. But always, it needs to be what you wish to write. Always.
Pay attention to number three otherwise your writing will be as fun as vomit in a shoe.
4. You shall not evaluate your writing against other writers.
This is so important it should be number one, but then again, The Writing Commandments are not in a specific order.
Comparing does nothing to help your writing. It won’t improve your writing or your skills. It’ll lead you straight to the ignition of a fail full of fireworks. Without all the pretty colors.
And it will start with a scintilla of doubt, which manifests into a crippling boondoggle of writing and leads you straight to the corner of pain and angst.
Also actually, hey, this is totally normal because human. Keep it in check and your writing AND your mind will appreciate it.
5. You shall aspire to become a better writer.
Objective numero uno: turn word fuckery into word magic.