Kari’s rules of writing

20 Apr

This week my daughter told me that she might like to be a writer someday. Considering how last year we struggled to just get her to write a one-page essay for English class, I admit this came as a bit of a shock to me. I mean, I know that she likes drawing and writing but I didn’t  know that she’d want to do it as a career. Up until recently, I thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. However, it made me think about Being a Writer.

I often see other bloggers mention that they are working on a book, or that they wish they could quit their jobs and just write full-time. That is definitely not me. I do not consider myself a writer. I am just a person who sometimes writes stuff. I like to make people laugh, and I like having an outlet to share the changes in my life with my friends and family. A blog is a nice place to do that, and it’s certainly more convenient than sending emails to everyone individually. But I am not working on a book, and I have no intention of writing one. While I would love to be able to survive strictly off my creative efforts, the thought of being a full-time writer fills me with anxiety. That is not the path for me.

However, I did think about what advice I would give my daughter if she asked. Not that she would, because she’s 14 so obviously asking your MOM for advice is so not cool. And she probably doesn’t think of me as a writer either. But I digress. If she wete to ask, I would tell her these are the 3 most important things that I have ever learned about writing:

Rule number 0.5 of writing:*
If you want to be a writer, you must start by writing. After all, a writer is by definition someone who writes. Right? Like I said I don’t really consider myself a Writer, but even I have been known to stop what I am doing to jot down an idea or a funny sentence that occurs to me while doing something else. I have even pulled over to the side of the to to record an idea, knowing that if I don’t write it down I will forget before I get home.

Rule number 1 of writing:
Save early and save often. (That’s Ctrl-S if you’re using most word processing programs on a PC. If you’re using a Mac, I can’t help you, but I’m sure you will figure it out.)**

Rule number 2*** of writing:
Don’t talk about fight club. Wait, wrong list. Rule #2 is actually make a backup of your writing.

Rule number 3 of writing:
Make a backup of your backup. Just in case something happens to the first backup.

Observation: I might have OCD.

* I originally left this rule out of my list thinking it was self-explanatory and redundant, but am adding it back in due to several people mentioning it.

** I’m going to go ahead and guess Command-S because it makes sense. But if you try and and that doesn’t work, don’t blame me. I’m not in Tech Support.

*** Number Two. *giggle*


Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Life in General, Schadenfreude for you


Tags: , , , ,

9 responses to “Kari’s rules of writing

  1. mareserinitatis

    April 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    I thought I wanted to be a writer, but I realized that while I may have made a helluva journalist, the style of writing is too boring. As far as fiction, I have a couple short stories I’ve been working on (for YEARS)…but I realized that I’m not creative enough to do it for a living.

    Totally agree about the blogs, though.

    Rule number 1 should really be: if you want to be a writer you have to write. It’s similar to photography. You may take 2 rolls of film (you can tell when I took photography), but you’ll be lucky to have one good shot. Same thing with writing. If you write a ream of paper, you’ll maybe get a good chapter or two out of it. You get better with time, but it takes a lot of effort.

    Incidentally, older son says he wants to be a writer, too…but he decided not to do an English major after the couple classes he’s had in English this year. 🙂

    • karifur

      April 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      You’re actually the second person to say that, Cherish. I left out that rule because it seemed obvious to me, but I guess I will have to add it in.

      • mareserinitatis

        April 20, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        Too many of my students (in a previous job) said they were going to be writers. They obviously don’t write even as much as I do…

      • karifur

        April 21, 2014 at 8:19 am

        As much as I want to encourage her creativity, we are also realistic and have discussed with her the importance of a “day job”.

      • Jenel

        April 20, 2014 at 4:37 pm

        You would think it’s obvious, but then there are the days when writing just isn’t *fun* – and you still have to sit yourself down at that desk and write.

  2. S T Cameron

    April 21, 2014 at 6:45 am

    One final rule about writing is Finish. Too many people start writing, and like me, don’t finish it. I finally finished my first book and the next two. You should always be working on FINISHING the next work.

  3. fargojones

    April 21, 2014 at 7:23 am

    My 2 cents – also read a lot. Top of the line professional writers – be they journalists, poets, copywriters, whatever – are also voracious readers of everything. In undergrad, I used to hear people say they don’t read poetry cause they didn’t want it to influence their work, which is a very silly thing to think.

    • karifur

      April 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Oh this is not a problem for my daughter at all. We have had to tell her teachers to confiscate her books in class, otherwise she will read instead of paying attention. She frequently has the maximum allowed number of books checked out from the library as well. She never goes anywhere without a book.


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