Top 10 Writing Tips in the World… Ever! Vol. 42 (expressed as pushy, exclamatory imperatives)

I’m not exactly current. The Guardian of our moral consciences published the top ten rules for writing of many pen-wielders about half a century ago and now I’m jumping on the station wagon, even though my opinions on the subject are of little to no consequence, and probably entirely derivative of others laid down previously. Feel free to agree with religious fervour, or disagree vehemently.

Here they are:

  1. Read anything! Don’t fill your head with nothing but highbrow stuff. Wikipedia, for exemplum, is a writer’s bestest friend, and is a useful model for anyone who employs elaborate digression. Don’t forget to write though…
  2. Don’t settle on one place/time of day/sitting position to write! Defamiliarise yourself from the process – write on a bin in the street, write whilst standing on one leg, write in landscape layout, write in different colours, type in a hideous font, write whilst listening to the same song on repeat, write when very tired and when very hungry.
  3. Don’t neglect presentation! Make your writing look like it would do if it were published – respect yourself and your wordy extrusions. Admire it smugly. A little dreaming never hurt… but…
  4. Don’t expect too much! Chances are that, like me, you are not a genius, so your writing isn’t always going to blow the top of the world’s cap off.  Wade on through until you’re sailing again. Sentences are like the changing views from a river – pretty mediocre most of the time, but with passing sublimities. & Good metaphors for sentences are like interesting parts of a parade: non-existent.
  5. Don’t get too attached! As much as you love a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a story, a novel, a life’s work, if it isn’t doing its job properly then it’s got to go.
  6. Find someone you trust to read your stuff! Chances are you don’t have the gift of the gab and the (more important) gift of a fully-functioning bulls**t detector – so find someone who does! I have. And I married them so they’d never get away! Muuuhahaha!
  7. Redraft! But not lazily. Write it all out again! Touch up jobs on Word are just pushing the dust around.
  8. There is no number eight! Take a breather once in a while. Go on Wikipedia. Look up your hometown.
  9. Be ambitious! Just don’t get single-minded about those ambitions. Would it really be that bad if you don’t win the Nobel Prize at twenty-nine? That would be a pretty silly thing to kill yourself over…
  10. Don’t forget that not everyone’s a writer, but everyone’s a reader! Don’t talk too much about writing, concentrate on giving people excellent stuff to read!

How’d you like them apples?

Much love,


One Response to “Top 10 Writing Tips in the World… Ever! Vol. 42 (expressed as pushy, exclamatory imperatives)”

  1. As promised… I read this and rather enjoyed this. That is all.

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