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Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Rules

The lovely Mandy of HeaddeskForWriters.blogspot.com contacted me recently about doing an interview on her site closer to the publication of Before I Fall. I of course acquiesced happily and gratefully (in my fam, no one asks for my opinion on anything more significant than shoes and restaurant selection--not that either shoes or restaurants is insignificant, by any means--so it's always fabulous to get solicited for my feelings on writing/books/the creative process).

Anyway, Mandy asked me a question that really struck a chord with me. She wrote:

Here on Headdesk, I have a minor obsession with the rules of writing. Is there any particular rule you write by?

First of all, I want to say that I think this is a great question. Second of all, I want to clarify that I am reprinting this question without having consulted Mandy, so I am hoping she will forgive me for the shout-out. (Sorry, Mandy.)

In general, I'm not sure I believe in writing "rules." I certainly don't "only write what [I] know," for example. My first-ever novel, completed when I was nineteen, was told from the perspective of a 35-year-old man with a sex worker addiction whose first wife died of cancer. (I was very angsty back then...actually, I'm still angsty, but whatever.) And I don't show instead of telling, necessarily; I use exposition with liberal abandonment, in fact.

There's only a single writing "rule" I rigorously adhere to: I write Every. Single. Day. No matter what. At my desk. In the subway. On the train from Champagne to Paris. In the park. I think the most difficult part of being a writer is overcoming daily Resistance, those hundreds of myriad excuses and time-sucks and procrastination techniques that keep you from digging into your manuscript (like, um, blogging...). The only way to get good at beating resistance is to beat it again and again and again; that's why I write every day.

I'm going to do a longer post about Resistance at some point because it's a topic that really interests me and is, I believe, pertinent to all creative endeavors, but now I want to know: Writers, what about YOU? Is there a writing rule you follow?


1 comment:

Creative A said...

Thank you Lauren! I love that one of my questions could have impacted you like that. It's funny, because the reason I ask the question is because of my own love/hate relationship with the rules of writing. I've seen so many authors answer it differently each time. It's sort of like a reality check that no one rule is the law, and people are getting published despite the rules they follow.

So. My two cents. Thanks for the shout out!


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