Here’s a list of my favorites and what they mean to me, not in any particular order.
These have mattered to me. (The image comes first, then my take on it.)
I use this every day to get me to write on days I didn’t want to or didn’t have a good idea. When a master lays down an imperative, there may be something to it. Write every day. Even if it’s two sentences, write every day.
I always thought it just mean to be a radical. Woo! Party! Get drunk and write, you radical party guy! No, it means write with abandon and then edit with austerity. Be flat out craaaazy when you write. Make up words. Express every feeling no matter how embarrassing, then edit it – not to remove that stuff, but to make it legible and poignant. When CP’s see paragraphs and say it touched them or that they really like it, many were brought about from this type of abandon that was later refined. I should do it more.
Huge. It’s almost imperceptible how important this is. This is voice. This is that quality people can’t quite explain that makes a writing unique, and we all have it, but it does take practice for it to work, just like a great actor or comic or sculptor or painter, the working on the craft is also what makes it, but knowing your way of saying things, and that you do have a unique way, is special.
I know, right? Don’t quit, push on. Good stuff waits around the corner! Stopping in the shit means staying in the shit.
Brilliant, a thousand times over. I want this on a t-shirt. Goes along with throwing rocks at your characters (see below). Brilliant. Brilliant! BRILLIANT!
Which is what makes a story interesting. Try it. Your life will change because your stories CHANGE. Suddenly, what you write is a lot more interesting. It’s an imperative. Words to live by. Rocks. Lots of rocks.
Some days, you just aren’t feeling it. Write anyway. The inability to stay inspired has been the demise of a lot of writer friends over the years. You really do have to force yourself to write sometimes – and that’s when it’s work. Hunt inspiration down and wrestle it, don’t wait for it. Life is full of distractions and next thing you know it’s three years later and your book is gathering dust. Being accused of waiting scares the hell out of me.
also known as “assume your reader is smart”
There are two things in this one. First, your story needs to have several secrets. Second, don’t tell us all of them in chapter one. Remember to sprinkle in a few surprises along the way.
This… I learned the hard way in 2019. I used to have a good friend who was a role model of this. We aren’t friends anymore, but the lesson lives on.
Write every day with this in mind. It should be on a Post-It on every writer’s computer, with a flashing neon light. It makes the story SO much better. You can do it, too. It’s exhilarating.
Go there. Lots of new writers can’t do this. Lots of established writers would be better of they did this. It’s worth it. This may be the most important one of all, so I saved it for last. Put yourself out there. Go for it.
There are more but this is plenty.