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  • Writer's pictureevviemarin

Rules For Writing

Photograph: flat lay of notebook and pen, old books, candle, vintage kitsch (a ship, a shell, a compass, a horse, an arrow), and tarot cards (The King of Swords and The Hermit).

Featuring The Ancient Italian Tarot, published by Lo Scarebo.

Oh hey, I transferred my blog to a fancier platform. This article is from March 2019.

These are the guidelines I use for writing and editing. I keep them tacked on my wall. I don’t claim to always live up to them, still they help: Write the truth with beauty and clarity. Only write beauty when useful and true. Grammar, language, style, and length are flexible. None can go ignored, but all can adapt. Give the project what it wants. Nothing’s too sacred for revision. Everything is fixable. If it’s not quotable, it’s not finished. Is every word necessary? Is every phrase elegant? Is every statement true? Is every thought complete? Is every passage clear? Is it pleasurable to read? When every answer is yes, it’s done enough. If a turn of phrase bugs you now, it’ll bug you forever. Fix it. You will miss something else that bugs your future self. Too bad. Let a thing be done enough. Honor deadlines. Editing can stretch on forever, so reign it in. 2,000 Words/day yields 7+ book drafts/year. (You will not write 7 books per year. You could certainly write one.) If these work for me, perhaps they will work for someone else. Write your own set of guides, if you haven’t yet. When you keep them wicked simple, they get stuck in your head. When they’re stuck in your head, they show up when you need them most. Happy wordsmithing!

Watercolor Illustration: Ink Web. A sticky web of mottled gray and blue inks and white connecting threads emerges from the tip of a checkered, ball-point pen, and spills over the page.


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