get a pen and paper (or keyboard and monitor) and do it!
that’s what i always come back to – so i guess i could call that my first rule of writing (and i have to tell you, the word “rule” makes me squirm). rory over at clean cut blog (and check it out, his blog is definitely clean cut) asked that question in his “first rule of writing” group writing project.
“get a pen and paper and do it” means, among other things: “don’t wait for inspiration to strike”. it occurs to me that that the reason we want inspiration so much is because we want control – the control that comes, for example, when we suddenly have a colourful vision of what the writing project will look like. inspiration brings knowledge, and knowledge means power/control.
for example, we may not want to start writing a short story until we know whether the protagonist will die at the end. if we don’t have control over something, we often don’t want anything to do with it. giving ourselves up to the flow of the story (on paper and in real life) can be pretty scary. however, i find that in the end, it’s the only thing that really works.
so – whenever i meet someone with writers block, i always suggest simply plunging in and “copying” what runs through their head. it’s a terrific way to start. chances are that what runs through your head is related to what you want to write about in the first place anyway. and then suddenly, without trying, inspiration will often strike.
(by the way, it’s interesting that i’m ending up writing about inspiration – that’s how i got to know rory at clean cut blog: through vivien’s group writing project about inspiration.)
on a very personal level, “get a pen and paper and do it” also means the excitement of a blank piece of something, ready, willing and receptive to whatever scribbles appear on it. it’s like the promise of a new morning, or a brand new dress. it’s the chance to start something new, invent a tiny little corner of the world all by myself, and to do it through the sensual experience of hands and mind forming letters, words, sentences …
that’s not a rule or a guideline but perhaps a guiding light, a pleasurable knowledge: writing as a delectable experience of the senses.
do you have a “most important” writing guideline you want to share? if you have a blog, go over to rory’s article to participate in this group writing project; if you don’t have a blog, feel fee to post your ideas here.