Some say writing is hard. I disagree. I think writing is incredibly easy. It's the easiest, most joyful thing I've ever done.
Now, selling—a different matter, entirely. That's hard. I find that rules help with hard things.
Before anyone gets the idea that I think I know more than I do or that I am preaching, these are rules I have for myself.
1. Do not wait for the muse. It's not coming because there is no such thing.
2. Do not blame writers' block. There is no such thing.
3. There is only putting your bottom in the chair and your hands on the keyboard. Do it.
4. Don't whine, if you ask someone for an opinion and they don't tell you what you want to hear.
5. Don't whine when you get a rejection, even if it is the one that wasn't fair, the one that hurt your feelings, the one that reminded you that you aren't as thick skinned as you think you are. If you must say, "Well, too bad for you. You could have had me!" say it to your animal or an empty room. It's not going to do you any good for the rest of the world to know how arrogant you really are.
6. Don't whine if you enter a contest and a judge gives you a three on grammar, even if you have never had so much as a point deducted for grammar in any other contest, even if she misspelled words in her comments. Just say, (to that same animal or empty room), "Bless her heart." Don't enter that contest again. They are not responsible and they just want your entry fee.
7. I'm going to stop and say here, just don't whine period. Dear God, I hate whining. If I hate whining, I have absolutely no tolerance for whiners unless they are under the age of three and are running a high temperature.
8. Don't sit around pondering your state of mind. It's a waste of time. Ponder your characters' states of mind. That's productive.
9. Don't roll your eyes when people start talking about story boards and collages. Some of your best friends story board and collage. It's their way. Remember they might want to roll their eyes because you think you must have 47 maps and floor plans, which you make Stephanie draw.
10 In fact, don't roll your eyes at all. People don't like it, even if it does feel good.
11. Don't write what you don't love. Even if you can do it, even if you can sell it, even if the public loves it and wants more—and those are big ifs—, you have gotten yourself a job you hate.
Everyone needs their own rules. What are some of yours?