Tag Archives: inspiration

My Top-Ten Writing Guidelines

Another article I wrote some time back (when I re-launched this website, I had lost all my previous uploads such as photos and pdf files).

My Top-Ten Writing Guidelines

I don’t believe in writing ‘rules’ because there aren’t any. There are NO laws governing writing because even ‘rules’ on grammar and usage keep changing over time. What doesn’t change is the infinite variations on the writing process based on individual writers and their need to communicate with the written word.

But if I have to impart any advice to writers it would be the following:

1) Don’t write to perfection. There will be a few but very rare times when something comes out the first time and doesn’t require any significant editing. Most of the time, your writing will require multiple rounds of editing to make it work well.

2) Remember, you can always revise later. As one of my all-time favorite authors Nora Roberts once said, “You can’t revise a blank page.” Get it down first so you can revise and edit. Because revisions and edits are a fact-of-life with writing.

3) Edit and revise but don’t beat the crap out of yourself in the process. I know so many writers who write and edit while beating themselves up at the same time. Yes, there are times when you’ll read something and not have any idea what you were trying to say. But unless you were writing drunk, high, or seriously messed-up, cut yourself some slack.

4) Try to understand that writing is purely subjective. What one person likes someone else won’t. Accept that as a fact of life and try to figure out what it is that works, or doesn’t work for you.

5) Writing days can be up and down. Some days the words will flow out of you like a water tap turned on full. And sometimes it will be a trickle. And some days the tap will be dry. Yes, you can push yourself but if the writing isn’t flowing, you might need to take a step back to try and figure out why.

6) Don’t adhere to absolutes with writing. For some writers, adverbs don’t work at all and for some writers they’re good friends that can be very useful. Personally, I don’t have a problem with adverbs though I do make sure they serve a purpose and aren’t just marshmallow fluff.

7) Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You’ll always fall short sooner or later and then you’ll feel bad and probably not be able to write. I believe every writer has to figure things out for themselves and you have to do what’s best for you.

8) Read your work out loud to yourself. I believe in this because when you read something out loud not only do you hear the rhythm of your words, you’ll also catch a lot of mistakes, too.

9) Know that with writing, like anything else you do in life, you will get better over time if you keep at it. Because if you keep learning, you’ll push yourself to go further and deeper and your writing will get better because of that.

10) Don’t let Fear stop you from writing. This is advice I really need to take myself but knowing that I’ve retreated from my writing because of Fear is the first step in moving away from it. Don’t let the bullies and jerks of this world ruin writing for you, and don’t give them any power over you.

Good luck with your writing.

My Top 10 Writing Guidelines pdf

Monday Motivation: Get a Dog

I see a lot of ‘Monday Motivation’ on the internet and it’s all nice and well to see things you can do to drag your ass out of bed when you don’t want to.

But what got me out of bed this morning gave me one single bit of advice to add to the massive pile out there: get a dog.

Yep. Get a dog so that you have to get out of bed to take them potty. Because I can tell you this morning that was the only thing that could get me out of bed. My bed was nice and warm, the covers soft and fluffy even if the pillows were flat. And my cat was curled up at feet sleeping. But my doggo is well-trained enough to nag me until I get up and take her outside to pee.

I honestly think I need to design a toilet-like apparatus a dog can use inside a dwelling. Because I know I could train my dog to use something like that. I’m not sure about my cat because sadly, he’s not always the brightest bulb in the box.

But to get semi-serious here for a moment about motivation: last night in the car alone I was thinking as I often do and not about trivia and life in 1985 since the American Top Forty Countdown show wasn’t on yet. Instead, I was thinking about what keeps me motivated to get up out of bed and do what I do. My motivation is more than just because basic survival such as needing money to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly, and to be a responsible pet-owner.

No, it’s something more than that. Because although I pretty much live day-to-day I do have hopes and dreams for my future. They’re simple ones, though: enough money to live on, a van fitted out to live in, and the ability to earn money in a way I like most of the time. Now I’m flat-broke and just writing every single day to hone my writing skills but I know that I won’t have a chance in Hell of moving beyond my bare-bones existence if I roll over and sleep on it.

And here’s where the asshole thought of the day comes in: what do you do if you feel like the world doesn’t want you to succeed? You tell the world to go fuck itself. If you encounter anyone who pisses on your goals and dreams, or tries to undermine your work, you can be polite and walk away and tune their shit out. Or you can be impolite as hell and tell them to fuck off. Either one will work even if the asshole-thought-of-the-day voice is just inside your head.

A lot of times right now I feel like I’m just slogging it out day in and day out. I have felt the urge not to write or blog every day but have fought that hard. I fight it knowing I don’t have much of an audience and it’s not bringing in any income. I tell myself I’m doing this because I want to write, and I won’t get better at it if I sit on my ass and don’t do it. Because I know anything that I’ve ever gotten any good at wasn’t because I was blessed with all the software I needed in my head. It was because I got to working on the hardware and worked through pain and bullshit sometimes to train my somewhat dumb-ass brain on how to do something.

And please don’t tell me I shouldn’t call my brain a dumb-ass. Since asshole-thoughts are present there it’s earned the right to be called a dumb-ass sometimes. But I know if I just keep working eventually the asshole-thoughts-of-the-day will wander off and try to be assholes elsewhere.

Back to my advice to get a dog in order to motivate your butt out of bed every day: dogs have it right in a lot of respects, especially when they go potty. My dog sniffs around till she finds the right spot to piss on then she kicks dirt over it. I like to think she’s not doing that just because of instinct, but because she finds the asshole-thought-of-the-day and pisses on it.

So in addition to survival and working towards the things you really want in life, find a reason to get out of bed and piss on any asshole-thoughts-of-the-day that come to you.

My Prayer of Thanks

From time to time, I’ve had people ask if there is anything they can pray for me. I tell them thanks for the offer of prayer but I decline because I’m grateful for being given the day I have to live my life. Because no matter how tired, angry, sad, or hurt I get during the day, I also give thanks for having the day to live in. So if I were to say a prayer for myself, it would be a prayer of thanks, and go like this:

 

For every single day I live

I give thanks

I give thanks to God, the Goddess, and the Universe

For being all around me

And within me

 

I give thanks that I awoke today alive

I give thanks for the breathe in my body

For the energy I had to get out of bed

For the needs of my pets to feed and care for them

 

I give thanks to seeing the sun and the sky

For breathing clean air

For having clean water to drink

For having food to eat

I pray for those that don’t have these things

And I pray to God to guide those who can alleviate this suffering on Earth

 

I pray for people to find hope in the darkest of parts of their souls

And in the world around them

And I pray that those who bring the darkness

Are brought into the light of justice

 

I know I can pray at any time

So I pray for hope most of all

Not just for myself

But for everyone in the world

 

But for myself I simply give thanks in prayer

Write and Edit (and Live Your Life) Instead of Beating Yourself Up

My late father always used to say to never get into a one-legged ass-kicking contest with yourself because you’ll always win. I want to apply this to writing because I see so many writers beating the crap out of themselves simply for writing stuff that isn’t perfect on a first draft.

I know going in every single time I put my fingers on the keyboard and begin tapping things out that I’ll be going back over what I wrote and add and delete like mad. But I was taught writing and editing went hand-in-hand and that you couldn’t have one without the other. I will admit in the past I used to look at what I wrote and think, ‘who in the hell wrote this steaming pile of shit?’ That was only because I wrote stuff that was all over the place and needed one hell of an editing job, not because I didn’t think I couldn’t write or that I shouldn’t write, or worst of all, that no one would ever like it.

Not everyone is going to like what you write so no use pissing and moaning about it. If you find yourself doing that, just stop it. And if you think you’re supposed to do that in order to be thought of as a ‘real writer’, that’s a load of bullocks. Because like I said before, you don’t have to do anything, and you will never be everything to everyone, and your writing will not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Good writing involves a ton of editing to make it work as well as it can. As I type this here, I keep going back over what I wrote and if I need to edit something I do. And most of all when I am editing, I don’t call myself an idiot or any of that bullshit.

I will admit here I used to be terribly anxious about writing certain things and posting them for the world to see on the internet. I used to be worried about what people would think and that they would let me know in no uncertain terms if they hated me and what I wrote. A lot of that fear was just internal anxiety and hormonal bullshit but I had to work through that to get to where I’m at now. And I’ve been lucky in that I made a key breakthrough in my mind that gave me the ability to let go of a lot of emotional baggage that I didn’t need to carry around.

But to be honest here, I haven’t gotten a lot of feedback on what I’ve been posting so far. Which is fine by me as I don’t do this to get clicks or feedback or anything like that. Right now I’m just doing this to get in the grove of writing and editing every day and putting my work out there. Because writing, like anything else you do, is something you’ll only get good at by doing it. And you won’t get good at something by beating the crap out of yourself while you’re doing it.

I used to think that I had to beat myself up and put myself down so that other people couldn’t do it to me first. It was like I thought if I did it to myself that other people wouldn’t do it to me. That wasn’t the case because if someone wants to talk shit to you, they will. How you deal with that is entirely up to you. And for me, it’s letting that shit roll of me like water off a duck’s ass.

So rounding back to writing here specifically: don’t beat the crap out of yourself and your writing. It’s a waste of time and energy that can be much better spent on writing and editing till your work flows as well as it can.

And if someone out there doesn’t like that, just say ‘bullocks’ to them and get back to work.

Writing Inspiration Bullocks

I’m sure there is someone out in this world who would love to slap my mouth shut for putting those three words together in today’s blog title. But sometimes I feel like all I see when it comes to writing is finding the motivation and inspiration to write instead of complete works of writing instead.

So in response to all that glorious writing motivation and inspiration I say this:

You don’t have to write.

I know you may feel like if you don’t write your brain is going to explode or all your wonderful ideas and stories will just die with you and take a few million years to regroup from the stardust of your demise. But that’s not going to happen because you felt like you had to write, but because you went out and wrote then edited the crap out of what you wrote till it shined like a clean toilet.

I write despite all the bullshit that comes along with it. But I refuse to be all high-and-mighty and lofty and say ‘I have to write’. No, for me it is a conscious choice to park my butt and write the words and edit the crap out of them before I share them with the rest of the world.

For me it’s never been about having the need to write, but wanting to do it. It’s wanting to see the words hit the page, wanting to push myself to sharpen them to the brightest points, and hearing their truth not just inside my head, but with my own ears, too.

I know I don’t have to be in the perfect mood to write. I know my mind can be a mess and most of all, I know it doesn’t have to be set in a certain way. I can write in a flying-hot good mood, or in a dark and cold pisser of a mood. And I can always edit until I get it to where it flows the way I want it to. I don’t have to kill my darlings but instead keep at them until they make it out of the jungle of my mind.

I don’t need a room of my own, or a lot of time, either. And as for the thoughts that question the worth of my words and whether they’re good enough for others to see, bullocks to them. I know someone out in the world won’t like me and what I write, but I’ve kept on going despite being told that in more variations than I care to admit to. Every day I feel like I’m learning more and more how to kick that crap out of my way even when it keeps coming into my path.

So if you’re looking for any writing inspiration from me I’ll tell you one thing: write because you want to, and never mind the bullocks that comes along with it.