Christie Craig's Writers Corner.
C.C. Hunter's Books
Writer's Ten Commandments
1. Thou shall commit to write.
How many hours a week do you believe you can give to writing? Do not set yourself up to fail! Be realistic in your commitment. Then be committed.
2. Thou shall commit to submit.
The most exciting thing that can happen in your writing career is that you get published. This means that you're going to have to submit. What is keeping you from submitting? I'm not saying a book should be sent out before its time, but I know too many writers who finish a book, stuff it under the bed, and never submit. Is your fear of rejection keeping you from taking a leap of faith?
3. Thou shall stop hitting your head against the same wall.
Have you ever heard the saying? Stop beating a dead horse. When something isn't working, whether it is your schedule in writing time, or a plot, when you've tried and tried, and keep getting the same results, maybe it's time to get a new horse. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. So, shift your writing time from morning to mid-day if you can't seem to thinks straight in the early mornings. If a plot just isn't working after you've readlly given it thought, give yourself permission to put it in a drawer for a day, a week, years if it takes it, but don't just sit there and wait for inspiration to hit. Go out and chase inspiration down, knock it on the head, and drag it back to your desk. In other words, start on a new book or create a new plan of action. Find a way to rekindle the writing passion.
4. Thou shalt not compare thyself to other writers.
I know, so- and-so publishes everything she writes, and what cha'-ma'-call-it's writing is first-draft perfect, and ding-bat over there sold four books to the publisher you want to sell to. Well, get over it! Stop comparing yourself to other writers. We all have our own paths to success. Yes, some may appear easier than others, but sometimes it only appears that way. And even if your path is more difficult, you will never know when the doors will open, when avenues magically appear. Learn to celebrate your peers' successes and let their accomplishments motivate you, not depress you.
5. Thou shall not focus on rejection.
Yes, it stinks, it stings, and I don't like it any more than you do. But I don't hate it as much as whole bunch of other writers who aren't submitting, or writing, because they're afraid of that dirty little R word. Remember, you've only failed when you fail to try. Keep yourself focused on the possibility of selling, on the joy of writing. Focus on the pieces you have written, the kind words you've received from a critique, or a contest win. Just don't focus on rejection.
6. Thou shall continue to improve your trade.
It's easy to get nice and settled in your comfort zone. It's easy to say, "I don't have time to read. I don't have time to attend writing workshops. I know what I'm doing." The truth is, if you stop learning, you grow stale. You stop being aware of the subtle changes in the market. Read other people's work that you admire, read the new first-time authors to see what new talent is catching an editor's eye. Keep studying, learning, and growing to become a better writer.
7. Thou shall be open-minded.
I hear so many writers put down different genres. "Oh, who couldn't write an erotic romance?" Or, "Who couldn't write a novella?" "Who couldn't write for the magazines?" But the truth is, the person saying who couldn't do it, is probably the person who couldn't do it. A publishing credit is a credit. It doesn't matter where it is. Short pieces count, books in different genres count. Don't limit yourself to what you will write. Remember, it might be a long haul before you arrive on the New York Times Best Seller's list. Until then, experiment in different genres, you might accidentally find a path you love better than the one you are on.
8. Thou shall give back to the universe what it has given you.
Don't forget to reach out to someone and give back what you have been given. Has someone taken the time to help you overcome an issue in your craft? Has some just offered to help you achieve a goal? Can you not do the same for someone else? You might be surprised at the return Karma. I sincerely believe the old saying, "What comes around, goes around." I've seen it too many times. When I go out of my way to help a new writer it comes back to me two-fold. When I'm feeling tight on money. I'll purposely go and donate a little money to someone or an organization. It amazes me how quickly I'll see the income double and return to me in a form of a contract, or a photography job. Don't believe me? Try it. I think you'll be amazed.
9. Thou shall find time to play.
Writers write about life. If you're not living, how can you write about it? Sooner or later, all your ideas, creativity and inspiration will dry up if your not living, playing and enjoying life. Make a commitment to play. Try remembering what you enjoyed doing as a child. Did you enjoy card games, board games, painting, coloring? Rekindle an old passion for something that you stopped doing because you felt it was a waste of time. Chances are, that waste of time was the most relaxing moments of your life. Do yourself a favor, take one hour this week and plan to do something wonderful for yourself. Take a book to the park, go buy yourself a new perfume, go out for a cup of wonderful coffee. Put a crossword puzzle together. There's only one rule: It must be fun!
10. Thou shall not be afraid of change.
I know it sounds like an ugly word. Most of us hate change. But the truth is change happens. It's sort of like menopause and crow's feet, it's gonna show up on your doorstep (or face) whether you want it to or not. Ever read the book, WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? The moral of the story is when change happens, don't sit there waiting for things to change back, or feeling sorry for yourself, go find yourself some other cheese. We all know that lines close, publishing houses fold and rejection happens. Don't sit around whining, pull yourself up by your bra straps, yank up your big-girl panties and go find yourself a new chunk of cheese.