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5 Laws to Becoming a Writer

Updated on October 22, 2016
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience. She holds degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Have a Sense of Humor

Humor is vital in life. If you are an author, it is doubly so. Why? Because things rarely go the way you want in life especially in your writing.

Mistakes Happen

Every author is going to make a mistake. In fact, every one of them will make some big ones. You have to accept that. And you have to laugh at it. After all, others will so you might as well beat them to the punch.

Learn to Laugh

You need to learn to laugh at your mistakes. You’ll find that the mistakes aren’t so big or bad if you are the first to laugh at them. Laugh. Show the world that the mistake is not going to keep you down. When you do that, they don’t have anything to hold against you. You plow right through obstacles and find success.

You might even find that your mistakes are foundations for stories.

Editing comes Before Publishing

There are a few laws in getting a book published. One very important one that is ignored or at least treated lightly by many is editing. No book should be published before a thorough editing is done.

What is Editing?

Editing is the artistic cutting of the garbage from your work. It whittles away what makes it unattractive to make it beautiful. Editing finds the problems and holes and fixes them.

Purpose of Editing

No writer is perfect. Even the award winning don’t write perfect manuscripts. That is why there are editors. With editing, a different set of eyes sees things clearly. They can see the mistakes you can’t. Instead of publishing incorrect data or a poorly worded book, editing aids in shaping it into publishing material.

Effect of Editing

It is amazing what excellent editing can do for a writer, even the best writers. It isn’t that the writers can’t write. Quite the opposite. The problem lies in being too involved in the story and close to the words. You can’t see the issues when you’re the writer. Editing helps you see what the story really looks like and how it needs to be fixed.

Unedited works appear as though a third grader wrote them. I’m not trying to be mean here. This is true of any writer who didn’t get their work edited. Editing creates a final product worth reading.

Writing Has to Consume You

If you really want to be a writer, you have to let the writing consume you at some point. To approach your writing with a laissez faire attitude will not help you complete your writing or find the success you are looking for. Be consumed!

What It Means to Be Consumed

To be consumed means you can’t think of anything else but your writing. It will keep you up late at night. It will have you writing when you should be working. Hey, I didn’t say it was convenient or safe!

Being Consumed and Still in the World Around You

It can be very hard to be consumed by your writing and still move through life as you have to. But it can be done. Takes discipline and practice.

First off, you have to have ways to allow your muse to feel like the consummation is complete while in reality you are still able to get through a meeting or finish your grocery shopping. Keep a notebook or something handy where you can jot down ideas. Maybe even get a paragraph or two written. That is usually enough to keep the muse happy.

Second, learn to let your mind ponder a plot, scene, or character while you are doing other things. You can be listening to a lecture and still think on your story. Just keep your eye on the speaker. You can be working hard at your day job and still stop to think about your story here and there. Just don’t let your face be too readable.

Know the Muse Rules

If you are a writer, there is something in your life that you can’t live without and at times wish you could. The muse is a necessary evil for writers. Yet we continue to fight this powerful being. Why? We have to realize that the muse rules.

What is the Muse?

The muse is what drives your creativity and wreaks havoc on your non writing life. It interrupts your day job during a meeting to tell you about a really wonderful scene you really really have to write. You’ll be enjoying a movie with the family when the muse taps you on the brain and begins to drive you crazy.

The muse is the being that you long for yet would love to strangle at the same time. The muse is the surge of creative energy that keeps you up late at night drawing pictures or writing a story that just will not leave you alone.

How Does the Muse Work?

This is a question that is worth millions. No artist understands how the muse really works. They just know it does, and it very powerful. Typically, it is most powerful when you don’t want it to be.

I can’t tell you how many times sitting in a church service or in a business meeting did my muse wake up and start demanding my attention. Then there are times when I am off work and the family is away from the house. It’s the perfect time to write. Of course, the muse at that time is taking a nap and is not the least bit interested in working.

When You Disagree with the Muse

Disagreeing with the Muse is a common occurrance. All writers do it at one time or another. The writer thinks the story has to go in one direction while the muse insists on a totally different one. Trust me! The muse is powerful. You will not win. Accept that fact now.

Fighting with your muse is extremely painful. It will keep you up late at night. You might want the story to go your way, but the muse will never let up. You will eventually tire, but the muse keeps going. The result is an exhausted writer giving into a very merry muse.

Accept You are Insane

In order to be considered a real writer, you just have to go ahead and accept the fact that you are insane. It will save you so much headache.

The Voices in Your Head

Yes, you have voices in your head. It typically is called a muse and can come in various forms and sometimes at the same time. No need to fear. It is actually a good thing. Every writer has them. They are a part of you and don’t need professional help. Just be careful telling non-writers about them.

Yes, Characters Speak to You

Don’t freak out the first time a character speaks to you. It can be strange, but you’ll find yourself talking back. Just don’t do it too much in public.

I was writing one of my stories and had just finished a paragraph when the character I was writing about spoke up, “I would never do that!” “Yes, you would.” “No, and I won’t have you write it. Change it. Here is what I’d say….” Needless to say I wrote it down and it was so much better.

Let the characters speak to you. They are real.

You are Possessed

Yes, your muse has possessed you. You will not be able to control yourself. When the muse calls to you and sends your characters to get you writing, you cannot refuse. You will find yourself writing uncontrollably until all hours of the night and anywhere you might be. The story has to come out.


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