Monday, October 25, 2010

Rules for Writers & a Winner

 Congratulations to Charlotte, the winner of A Memory Between Us, by Sarah Sundin! Thanks to all who stopped by for last week's interview and giveaway.


Rules? We Need Rules?

What are the key elements that help us get where we want to go? Is there a set of rules to follow? Is it different for every writer? I pondered this recently, and this is my short list. 

1) Practice - Practice makes perfect, and there's a whole lot to be learned on the road that leads to perfect. Matter of fact, destination "perfect" is always hovering on the horizon, and is it just me, or does it seem to move back each time I think I'm closer to it? We need to write, write, and write some more.

2) Keep Learning - No matter how much we know about writing, there's always something to learn. Another genre, another style, a new way to plot or plan, it's out there, with plenty to teach us. Read a writing book, take a class, attend a workshop, or visit a blog; the possibilities are endless. These things enrich our writing and help us move forward.

3) Stay Connected - Writing is a solitary profession and it's important to get beyond ourselves for a fresh perspective. Our words may seem amazing - in our heads, on the screen, on the page, but for true and lasting success, we need interaction and feedback. Join a writing group, connect with writers online or elsewhere, or attend a conference.

4) Give Back - Remember the writers who've helped you along the way? Sow a little kindness to other writers. Whether newbies or veterans or somewhere in between, we can all benefit from support. Take a few minutes and critique that article in your inbox, drop a note to your favorite author, share a good writing resource, or meet your frazzled writer friend for coffee. Your life and writing will be richer for it.

For additional thoughts on keys to writing success, check out author and editor Chuck Sambuchino's Four Golden Rules of Being a Writer. 

Did I miss anything? What are your rules for writing success? Please share!

Happy writing,


  1. Excellent rules!

    I think writing through the fear is essential. I've been at this long enough to witness myself and others go through periods of great self-doubt. It's worth it to write through and during those feelings.
    ~ Wendy

  2. Thanks for the reminder with these important rules! I know that I'm a bit lacking in numbers 3 &4 and I always have good intentions, but never follow through...will strive to do better:)

    Happy Monday!

  3. I have one... just make sure you write. :0)

  4. I love your rules--espcially the give back one-- That is so important!

  5. Excellent rules!
    I'd add - don't grow discouraged.

  6. I like what Wendy said about writing through the fear and what Alex said (don't grow discouraged). I especially like #4 - go for coffee. Sometimes I'm the 'frazzled writer' that needs the outing! :)

    Smiling and waving.

  7. Don't let your ego get in the way of your excellence! That's mine. :-) Thanks for sharing these much needed rules.

  8. Wendy,
    Yes, very good point! We do need to keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other.

    I know, I've got good intentions too that don't always translate into action. It's a tough balance, writing's got to come first. All in good time. :)

    Yes, because it all starts right there, doesn't it? :)

    You know, I've had so many people lend me a hand, and I appreciate it so much. If I can give back a tenth of that, it's a good thing.

    Good point! It is easy to get discouraged; I think too, that the more connected we are, the less we may suffer from this.

    Me too. Number 4 is a fave of mine:) And yes, we need to go. You in?

    Yes, this is a good one. No big heads allowed! Just stands in the way of real success.

    Blessings all,

  9. Hi Karen .. love what you said .. particularly the give on .. give as you go .. encourage, support everyone .. great and necessary thought & application .. thanks - Hilary

  10. Karen, I get discouraged easily. I have gotten better since I started writing , but the ol' feelings still get stepped on. :) So mine would be not to get discouraged. But I love all of yours. Especially 1 and 4.

    Love you, my friend. I hope to meet you someday. Wouldn't that be FANTASTIC? :)

  11. Awesome rules! I totally agree with #4!

  12. I like those rules. I am happy to see that I live by them too!

  13. Excellent tips! I think staying connected is far more important than we think!

  14. Whether it's writing or anything else, these are good rules to live by. To that I would include: Try to keep a positive outlook.

    Tossing It Out

  15. Great tips! All I can add is, let the piece sit for a few days, and then go back and cut! cut! cut! wherever you find repetition, wordiness and awkward phrasing. It's amazing what cutting can do for our work :)


  16. Hilary,
    Thank you! I'm a firm believer too, of sowing and reaping. :)

    Yes, it would be awesome to meet in person. :)
    Good point about guarding against discouragement.

    Thank you! I think 4 is one of my faves:)

    That's a good thing! :)

    I agree, it really is!

    You're right, these do apply to other things too. A positive outlook is very important.

    Blessings all,

  17. Hi Karen - Good things to remember. I am hard pressed to say which of the above is the most important. Each carries equal weight.

  18. Karen,
    A positive, get up and try again attitude is what counts. All of your points are well taken.

  19. Barb,
    Thank you! Yes, those are excellent tips. So important!

    I think they all figure into the equation to make our writing sharp.

    Yes, I agree, a positive attitude overall is a must.

    Blessings to each of you,

  20. Great post, thank you! I really identify with the idea of being part of a community--for me, that's when my writing really took off.

  21. Awesome rules, simple but so true! Thanks Karen!

  22. Thanks for sharing, Karen. You excel at the Give Back rule. I appreciate you.

    Did anyone say Pray? That helps me the most.


  23. Amie,
    Thank you:) Yes, I'd have a to say a good support group of writers has helped me tremendously.

    I think simple is often the only way. We make things too complicated, don't you think?

    Yes, pray - probably the most important part of the whole process! Thank you:)

    Blessings all,

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  25. Karen:
    I have to keep in mind that I have to write every day. I get discouraged a lot. But I have to remember God's timing is not my timing.

  26. Hi Karen -

    Prayer...and lots of chocolate!

    Susan :)

  27. Hi Karen, great post. I agree with all the points and live by them. Thanks for the link, will check it out.

  28. Great rules Karen! Reading LOTS helps my writing. From lots of fiction to even women's magazines, reading good writing gets into my subconcious making mine better.

  29. Cecelia,
    Yes, our timing is often different. :) Patience comes in handy!

    Oh my, I did forget chocolate! What was I thinking? :)

    This is a good thing! Hope the link is helpful.

    Thank you. :) I agree, reading is very important.

    Blessings to each of you,

  30. These are great! I love numbers 3 and 4; they're so important.

    I'd add "wait". So often when we get feedback, we react to it defensively. You really have to give it time to settle in.

  31. Thanks for those great reminders Karen! In my experience writers are wonderfully generous people. You are certainly one of those beautiful ones.
    Dorothy :)


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!