Do Commandments work for you? Well, believe in them or not, they seem to be shall we say - unforgettable.
And I've had commandments on my mind of the writerly type. These are my commandments that sometimes I keep and sometimes I break but I thought they might be worthy at least to share with a few writerly types out there.
Where did we leave off? Number 4? Okay, here we go.
Thou shalt not envy the prolific output of your writer friends, Mark Twain, Stephen King, or Shakespeare.
Let's face it - they write faster than you, or are more disciplined, or more inspired, or - - - maybe they can say, 'no,' and close the door to the world better. It doesn't really matter what makes them write more and produce more words. You're not them. I think this is an important commandment because there is this thing called . . .
Thou shalt not cripple your Karma.
I don't care what you believe or how you phrase it. My Grandmother may not have known the word Karma but she did tell me a few things - "Treat others the way you want to be treated," and "What goes around comes around." When you put those things together I think you get a pretty elementary version of Karma. I do my best to help new writers (of any age) connect with others. To point them in the right direction for their work, connecting with agents, publishers, the page and each other. That doesn't mean I read the work of all new writers who want my opinion. I simply cannot. I barely have time to write my own stories. I point them in the direction of those who can and who should. But writer Karma has a lot to do with helping other writers get serious about their writing if that is their gift and calling in life. And to help other authors promote their work. There is enough air for everyone. The world has not run out of readers. Thank God!
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors Amazon #'s.
See commandment #6. You are allowed a twinge of envy if you must but a better response might be hallelujah and Amen! if they are doing well. Likewise, when you are published, thou shall not check your Amazon numbers hourly.
Thou SHALL read. (Weren't you getting tired of all those not's anyway?)
Read, and read, and then read some more. I know, I know. I just said that I could not read the work of early writers or experienced writers for my opinion and feedback. That's a different type of reading. That is basically editing or story working. I read for some reviews, I read for the radio program, I read occasionally for endorsements but that is becoming more rare due to my schedule. BUT - I read. I'm currently reading the series #1 Ladies Detective Agency because they are so precious and real and stress free. And The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb because I missed it years ago when it first came out. I'm looking forward to reading JT Ellison's most recent - (talk about prolific!) and I almost picked up an old copy of The Maltese Falcon the other day just for the fun of the word play.
You must not only read but read beyond the bounds of your comfort zone. NO, that doesn't mean you have to read Fifty Shades of Grey. You just need to read mysteries, and literary fiction, and page-turner beach reads, novels translated from foreign authors (they have a different way with words,) and so on to be able to embrace your own style. Nothing teaches us to write more than having a rich, reading, life.
Stay tuned for 9-12 later this week!
River Jordan is a real writer in the real world whose imagination can take her to far away places where room service never ends and the hotel bookstore is always open.