Comfort Words

Maya Angelou said, “Some critics will write: ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’ – which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.”

I find this incredibly encouraging. Writing is hard work. At least good writing is. It looks effortless, which I suppose is why there are so many people trying to get published. Some of my favorite writing advice has been “Plant butt in chair.” I gotta say, I love that feeling when I get rolling on something, and I hit the “zone” where the words and ideas come almost faster than I can get them down. I suppose I’d have more experiences like this if I was able to follow the PBiC rule more often.

What other good writing advice is there? Heinlein’s Rules for Writing, which he freely gave out, went thusly:

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Robert J. Sawyer, the Canadian science fiction author, has a great take on these on his page , plus adding a sixth rule of his own. Rule #2 is often the most daunting. It’s easier to get something started than to keep it rolling. If I could get past that I might get a chance to try following the rest of the rules.

I struggle most with finding inspiration. I know, I know, I can’t wait for the muse to arrive, I have to Plant Butt in Chair and just write. One of the things that gets me going is reading, especially good writing. I’m still in a Jane Austen haze. Actually, reading good writing can backfire sometimes. If it’s that good, I feel a bit discouraged and think “why should I bother when I know I’ll never write that well?” I guess I bother because I can’t not.


About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon,,, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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2 Responses to Comfort Words

  1. Alex Moore says:

    great post & great wisdom. i haven’t checked out rule #6 yet, but i have to say that for me number five is going to take a great deal of fortitude 🙂 it’s so much easier to simply say, “I’m writing for myself, so it doesn’t matter…”

  2. Digital Dame says:

    Thanks, Alex!

    I think we really have to write for ourselves, though, don’t we? We can’t really know what the market is going to go for ahead of time. For instance, no one could have predicted the “Harry Potter” phenomenon. I just feel like I need to love what I’m writing, because if I don’t no one else will either.

    And definitely treat yourself to Robert Sawyer’s article, it’s very funny.

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