ROW80 Check-In 1: Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing

Hello gentle reader,

It is time for my first ROW80 check-in! My goals for this fourth round are as follows:

Write or edit every day

Editing – Finish my current round of editing for The Last Queen, get my manuscript critiqued and beat-read, then edit some more.

Writing – Write a short story, and continue writing the first draft of The Cursed King

I’m happy to report that I’ve had a great writing week, since I did manage to write or edit every day! Some days (Tuesday and Friday) were tough because I got home from work very late, but I still stuck to the routine. I also managed to read two books for my upcoming Halloween post and I kept my blog alive with an interview with YA author Meagan Spooner. Check it out if you want to know how she got published.

If you’re new to this blog, know that I always add an inspiring story to my ROW80 check-ins. This week, I’m sharing Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing that I found on the Guardian website. Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors and his writing advice is worth a read.

Image by Kimberly Butler

  1. Write
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

How are you other ROWers doing? Here is the Linky to support each other!

9 thoughts on “ROW80 Check-In 1: Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing

  1. I’ve seen those Neil Gaiman rules a few times and I think they are probably some of the better rules, since any writer can apply them regardless of their writing habits or style. Nice work on keeping up with your goals so far 🙂

  2. Jeff Clough says:

    When first saw Neil’s rules I was struck by how succinctly he was able to summarize every book I’ve ever read on the writing craft.
    Sounds like you’ve started the round off in grand fashion. Keep it up! 🙂

  3. Great week, EM! I’m glad you were able to write or edit every day!
    “1. Write. 2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.” << so simple, and yet so troublesome lol
    Thanks for sharing this 😉
    Have a great week!

  4. I hadn’t seen them before – but how good are they! I like ‘laugh at your own jokes’ – I think that’s the best part of writing when you’re laughing away to yourself as you write (and everyone thinks you’re a bit nuts). Well done with the writing this week!

  5. S. J. Maylee says:

    Fabulous start to the round, EM. I like your simple approach and thank you for including Neil’s wise words. Brilliant. I hope you have a great week.

  6. John Holton says:

    I copied the eight rules of writing. Good choice. You had a great week. Hope you have another this week.

  7. EM Castellan says:

    Thanks for all your support! Hope you have a great week too 🙂

  8. Jess Witkins says:

    I am inspired by your accomplishments and Gaiman’s advice. Very inspirational. I love that you include a story with each ROW post about writing tips or inspiring authors.

    What’s your Halloween post going to be about? I’m a fan of that holiday!

  9. EM Castellan says:

    Thanks for mentioning me on your blog! I’m glad you found my post motivating. My Halloween post is going to include book recommendations for the holiday.

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