The 5 1/2 Commandments of Writing
Apply them for a more fulfilling writing life
A commandment is essentially a prophylactic measure aimed towards minimizing risk and maximizing benefits.
And these benefits are double-edged. They permeate into your personal as well as your career life.
Give or take, commandments are of best interest to those who abide by them as well as the people, audience or client they interact with.
These writing commandments will do the same: they will benefit you the writer as well as your audience.
Here they are...
The Commandment of Love.
What you love, you will have time for.
If you can love writing, you will subconsciously create a few minutes for it in your 24 hours.
And it is a task that comes without extraordinary effort or sacrifice on your part.
What the mind loves, it makes room for.
Love is important.
How often do we keep to tasks that require magnificent effort to sustain? Rarely.
Love for writing reduces the effort of inertia to write. That is an effective approach towards making any craft a second nature — the love of the craft.
This is the first step towards ensuring consistency.
The Commandment Of Productivity.
Your level of productivity is directly proportional to your odds of success.
Consistency is the surest and most sustainable way towards being productive. If you can maintain a level of consistency in writing a certain number of articles like 3 - 5 per week, in one year you would have written enough to be on your way towards becoming one of the most successful writers in your category of choice.
Do not be satisfied with just loving the craft. Be deliberate about it.
Schedule time for writing. Preferably a time with little or no external distractions.
The love of the craft is not enough to ensure consistency. Scheduling a time for writing adds the reassuring ingredients of discipline to it. And with discipline, consistency is more certain than without it.
Schedule time to write. It is a more reassuring measure towards ensuring productivity.
The Commandment of Purpose.
Your creativity over time will boom or shrink depending on the purpose you aspire towards.
The place of purpose in writing can never be overemphasized.
When the purpose of writing is not known, abuse of time and effort dedicated to creativity is inevitable.
The purpose of writing is not just to provide grammatically accurate information. Grammatical accuracy is important, but it is only the icing on the cake.
The purpose of writing is more than grammar; it is to communicate solution to your audience.
There is already information overload. And it is a problem in itself.
People are not searching for more information. Instead, they need a solution to the problem plaguing their minds. That is what your writing is supposed to do for them.
They don’t care how many people are obese in America. What they need is how to lose some pounds per day in 120 days without fail.
Be a writer that solves problems.
The best writings are not error-free presentations with dotted I's and crossed T's. The best writings are the ones aimed towards a specific problem backed with effective ways of solving them.
The Commandment About Money.
Money-first mentality ruin things. It corrupts your creativity - insidiously, but eventually.
The money-first mentality is worth being careful about. Money should never come first in dealing with your clients.
Focus on meeting a need. That is being human.
In business, your audience or clients will relate to that part of you more than anything else. The good news is, if you focus on meeting needs, the money will come anyway.
Money is a reward for a need met. And the more and better you become in meeting the human needs in your industry, the more valuable you will become, and consequently, the higher you will earn.
Pay is a product of value.
Your pay will never exceed your ability and capacity to meet human needs. Never forget that.
Those who earn most meet human needs most. There is no luck to it.
Make a decision against the money-first, audience-second mentality. It leads you nowhere fast.
Enduring success in writing comes from tireless pursuit of meeting needs. That is the audience-first, money-second mentality.
The Commandment of Resourcefulness.
You can not give what you do not have.
No matter how much you wish to be of help, not having what it takes to help places a limit to actualizing your intentions.
Next to the will of being of help to your audience is gaining what it takes to render the requisite help in form of service.
But no one mind has all the answers. A little here and there from other bright minds make your prescription closer to the right fit for the problem.
To succeed as a writer, you must read. Yet there are wannabe-novelists who haven’t picked up a book in years. There are also, more tragically, writers too busy to engage with the end-product of our craft.
If the only thing you’re reading is yourself, you are bound to miss out on valuable lessons.
As a writer, reading is one of the surest ways to resourcefulness
See what others are saying about this article on Twitter. The same applies to reading only within a favorite genre.
A varied diet will strengthen your literary muscles.
Read widely. There is no better way to being resourceful.
The Bonus 1/2 Commandment:
Writing is not a competition. It is a workout. Learn to see it that way henceforth.
The aim of creative writing is not to be better than someone else. The aim is to grow to the best of your potential as an individual.
Like other workouts, writing is a journey to personal growth and intellectual development.
Reading nourishes the mind with knowledge. A well-nourished mind thinks well. And those who think well live well.
Cheers to a fulfilling writing life.
I'm a medic and writer