These are the most important truths of writing I've learned to date. At various points in the past, I've posted all these rules in various configurations, but, these are my writing mantras, and the whole point of a mantra is that it's something you repeat:Read the whole thing. If you've been writing for any time at all, I doubt you'll find Maxey's mantras surprising. I also doubt you'll find them to be anything but pure gold. For myself, I find that I need such basic reminders against perfectionism and time-management-induced dejection. After all, the fundamentals are something we never really progress beyond. They are the bedrock upon which the edifice rests, the skeleton that supports the entire body.
1. The worst novel you put on paper is better than the best novel you have in your head.
Suppose you sit down and bang out a manuscript that is, in your judgment, utter crap. Guess what? Other people can read crap. They can read your manuscript and tell you what they like and didn't like. On the other hand, that golden, gleaming, perfect novel that exists only inside your skull is completely unreadable by anyone other than yourself. ...
5. Little by little, the work gets done.
For the most part, when I set a word count goal for a week, I meet that word count goal for a week. But, it's also definitely not unheard of for me to blow a word count goal, sometimes severely. Inky black pools of despair open before me during these times as I wonder just what ever made me think I was any good at this game. ...
So then I start feeling guilt. I'm skipping writing to go to dinner? I'm skipping writing to enjoy sunshine? Are these such rare events that I should toss aside my pursuit of art? Is the sun slated to stop shining tomorrow and this is my last chance ever to enjoy it? Well, maybe it is. Who knows? So when all my big blocks of the time disappear, for happy reasons or sad, I start making bargains. ... The more moments I steal, the easier it is to transition back into stealing hours.
(Picture: CC 2008 by BWJones)