Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday Soirée - 8 Writing Don'ts and Do's

I'm always happy to be reminded of some of the simpler rules that foster a healthy writing life.
So I share eight that always come in handy when I find myself slipping.

1. Don’t waste time gripping

Do acknowledge that distractions and interruptions are a part of the writing life. Unless you live you would find it difficult to write. So attend to your life, whatever it may consist of then scrape up whatever time is left, go to your writing space and write.

2. Don’t wallow in negative thinking
Do count your blessings and multiply your efforts chasing your writing dreams. Hasten to develop your own personal strategies for coping with and managing the people and circumstances that muddle up your writing routine as well as your own internal saboteurs.

3. Don’t be afraid to break the rules, sometimes
Do listen and practice sage advice from other writers, especially when they can prove that their advice worked for them.

4. Don’t submit sloppy work
Do check for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, concise sentences, sentence structure and word count. Re-read, re-write, edit, let your work sit for a few hours, a day or two before another round of re-reading, re-writing and editing. Then submit a polished and professional piece on or before the requested deadline.

5. Don’t play loose with deadlines
Do insist that the people around you respect your schedule, particularly when you have a deadline looming. If you will be late, contact your editor to explain and request an extension.

6. Don’t miss opportunities
Do try new things. If you skip over work that appears to be beyond your ability or experience, you could be stunting your growth as a writer. Try something new for yourself, just to see if you can handle it. Then, the next time you come across an out-of-your-comfort zone job or assignment, you won’t be so intimidated but a little bit more daring, adventurous and confident.

7. Don’t be a hermit
Do get out and about in person or online. Create a blog, comment on posts, join social networks, participate in online forums, start or join a writing group. Share your thoughts, your writing, your writing process, your goals and your experiences. Give advice. Tout your own horn with humility, grace and style.

8. Don’t give up
Do hang in there. It’s a long road to your writing dreams and it is neither smooth nor straight but you are not alone. Whether you find it at home, in your community, among relatives or friends (online or in person) you are not without support.

What do's and don'ts you use to help foster a healthy writing life?


Joanne said...

I think you've nailed one of the most important - re-write, re-read and edit more than once. It's amazing the things we miss the first time around.

DO research places to submit your work. And then DO polish your piece until it shines, and submit!

I also like your rule about deadlines and have a question for you: I'm always respectful of mine and others' deadlines. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where YOU are waiting for information from someone due on a deadline, and the deadline gets precariously close with no contact, thus holding up your work? This happened before with me, and I'm not one to "chase" after people for them to do their job. I'm curious how you would handle this.

Cheryl Wright said...

QUESTION: Have you ever found yourself in a situation where YOU are waiting for information from someone due on a deadline, and the deadline gets precariously close with no contact, thus holding up your work?

It has happened before on two occasions. Thankfully it was not for the same publication.

In one instance, I was able eventually to contact the person who was holding me up to find out where she was with her responsibilities and then called the editor to give her a heads up.
In the other, I never made contact and had to do the work that was delegated.

In both instances, the editor was very understanding and offered a short extention - six hours and two days respectively.

It all worked out in the end but I am very careful who I delegate certain aspects of a writing assignment.

Because I write fulltime now, I work on my own and rarely delegate tasks that might affect my making a deadline.

Joanne said...

Thanks Cheryl, it's happened to me twice, once the work never came through, the other came at the last minute and needed much editing. Hopefully, it won't happen again!

Cheryl Wright said...

Joanne, you're welcome. Yes, let's hope it doesn't happen again because our reputation is at stake.

magnolia said...

I don't have my own list. But I do appreciate yours. Especially not giving up.

That is holding me steady right now. I may not be making the progress I want to make, but I'm not giving up either.

Cheryl Wright said...


"A warrior stays to fight...even when the hope has left." Hiei

You remind me of this quote and it reminds meof you. May it inspire you to continue holding on my dear, dear Mags.

Magnolia said...

Thanks friend. You don't know how much that means to me right now.

Cheryl Wright said...

You're welcome.

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