Rules, yeah, I’m not much on rules. Other than I have to put a hot guy in my post on Wednesdays, I never stray from that one.
As for writing rules, I don’t follow many of the supposed hard and fast ones that every writer should swear by. I tried, believe me, but a lot of them don’t work for me.
For instance, I do not make a plot outline. I think this goes all the way back to when I first started writing papers in school. I couldn’t write an outline for those either. I didn’t get why I shouldn’t just jump in and write. I’m the type that, once I do all the research, it’s already kind of lined up in my head. So I would write the paper, then turn around and write the outline so I could turn it in.
Same thing with books. I jot down character names and some vague information, but for the most part I just leap in and write. The book plays in my head like a movie so I just write what I see. This also gives me the “freedom” to add and subtract as I go. See, I have this quirk that says if I have an outline well I have to stick with it. No matter what. So I just decided to do without.
One rule I live by is that I keep writing. I DO NOT go back and fix what I’ve written. As La Nora says, “You can’t fix what isn’t there.” I used to write and rewrite a first chapter over and over. Yeah, great, so I had a really awesome couple of pages, but nothing more. I made myself stop doing that. Now I just write and keep writing until it’s done.
Another rule I follow, or, for me it’s a rule, is when I finally edit, I read the book aloud as I go. This helps me hear the mistakes.
I do not write at the same time every day. I can’t since I’m now back out working. I do try and write every day. I have found that if I take a journal to work with me I write on my lunch and break. It’s been ages since I’ve hand-written, but it’s working for me.
I can’t think of any other rules that I live by. I try to be kind to myself if the writing doesn’t go well. That’s been a struggle, because I used to beat myself up if I didn’t get something done. Now, I just roll with it. The past is past and there’s nothing I can do about it. All I can worry about is the future.
Now, run and check out the rules the other ladies live by.