I saw a column written by AK Turner on The Huffington Post: 10 Rules for Aspiring Women Writers. I encourage all writers…women or men, aspiring or experienced…to read this short piece. From her list, my favorites are:
“Never dwell on what you have not done.”
I feel this is good advice for everyone. After all, there will always be many more things we could do compared to things we’ve done. Focusing on our never-finished to-do list will only feed our guilt and make us feel less-than. I’ve also found that focusing on what I’ve already done inspires me to do more.
“Do unto other writers as you would have them do unto you.”
So true! That’s why I feel blessed to belong to a supportive and inspiring group, called Detroit Working Writers. I find it therapeutic hanging around with people who don’t consider me anal for editing out adjectives or rearranging paragraphs for better flow.
“Never feel ashamed of time spent reading.”
Ah, sometimes I do find that reading seems like a guilty pleasure. I enjoy it as much as eating dark chocolate…except for reading and eating dark chocolate at the same time! Yet reading is vital for writers. Mrs. Millie Loftus, who taught sophomore composition at Dominican High School in Detroit, used to say: “If you want to be a good writer, be a good reader.” So true, Mrs. Loftus!
I’d like to add my own item to the list: “I don’t know what I think until I’ve written about it.” I’ve come to accept that the process of writing is magical and spiritual in its own way. Just engaging in the act of writing transforms and refines my thoughts…if I let it. If I don’t let the process take over, then my writing stinks.
And on that high note, I’ll stop writing and let you look at that list from AK Turner.