8 Rules for Writing

Layne Jamesbook writing1 Comment

You know, now that we’ve written two books, we are officially experts on writing (teaching, photography, fashion, decorating, anything else you can think of, really.)

And we’d love to share with you some things we’ve learned along the writing journey, specifically “writing tips.”  So happy Monday from our hearts to yours, we hope some of the below information helps you in your own writing journey. Let us know!

1. Turn your phone off.

I would say absolutely, with limited exceptions, write and edit with your phone on silent. My phone is currently hidden in my bedroom, and I’m downstairs in the living room. If needed, give your spouse/friends/babysitter a head’s up that you’ll be unavailable for that slot of time. Check in every thirty minutes if needed.

2. Turn your internet off.

Okay, okay I write a lot on Google Docs, and I double check stats or facts often, but I close any tabs that aren’t my writing.

The saddest thing in the world is looking up to realize that your fatty two-hour allotted chunk of writing time has been gobbled by the rabbit hole of Facebook or junk mail arriving at intervals in your inbox.

The bottom line here is: keep distractions to a minimum.

3. Write every day, even if it’s only a little.

This has been The Most Helpful Writing Advice I’ve ever given myself. My general rule of thumb is 30 minutes, even when my days are full.

I grow better and stronger the more I write.

Writing is a muscle. When I don’t use it, it atrophies.

4. Be ruthless when letting your favorites go.

I’ll quote my “writer friends” a lot in this blog space, and here’s another gem from my friend, Alicia E. (She writes plays. Be looking for her, people!)

Over beers, in my favorite bar here in Brantford, she told me that I can never get so attached to one sentence in my book that I’m not willing to let it go.

Even if it’s the best sentence I’ve ever written, I need to be willing to take it out of the book if it’s not working, will weaken the book by keeping it.

This is horribly painful, but a truth I remind myself often.

Be willing to let go.

5. Listen to and weigh out all feedback even if you don’t end up fully using it in the end.

Other people (your beta readers) are going to read your work through completely fresh and clean lenses. Even if you don’t agree with everything they say, examine each thing carefully, look at their feedback from all angles, and then make an informed decision on what you will do with their advice. You may even get conflicting feedback from two beta readers, so you’ll need to go with your gut.

6Ask yourself the hard questions.

What am I trying to say?

Is this character being true to themselves?

Am I writing to the best of my ability or can I say it even better?

7. Feng Shui

This may seem silly, but choosing a writing space that feels life-giving to you is extremely important. For us, this space rotates.
Lindsay has a gorgeous office she’s created, but she also writes at coffee shops.

Layne loves writing on her bed most days of the week, but sometimes she writes on her couch, or at her photo studio.

Find the creative spaces you need and keep going back to them.

8. Start!

For so many of us, this step is the absolute hardest. We hem, we haw. We make excuses. We have good ideas, but actually carving out the time to sit down and make it happen seems insurmountable.

We started a blog long before we started writing a book because those small nuggets felt much more manageable than jumping straight into a full-length novel.

What’s your first step?

Is it scribbling poetry in a journal before you go to sleep?

Starting a journal?

Adding to your blog?

Writing a chapter a day?

Find something that feels do-able and then go for it, two feet first.

We believe in you.

Are you writing these days? If so, what’s it about. Leave a line below. x.

One Comment on “8 Rules for Writing”

  1. Enjoy your process. And if I was ever to write feel like it would be helpful. But for now, just reading!

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