Writing Rules or Not

2014-0820-144758859If you’re writing a book, or beginning to outline the book you plan to write, you may be looking for rules to follow on how to go about putting your book together.

There are no rules.

Really – no one knows anything about what makes a book successful or not. Or to get it finished.

The only surefire way to get something done is to do it. That is, don’t procrastinate.

You are going to begin your book, aren’t you?

Here’s something the great thinker Marcus Aurelius wrote almost 2,000 years ago, about procrastination:

​​“Think of all the years passed by in which you said to yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow,” and how the gods have again and again granted you periods of grace of which you have not availed yourself. It is time to realize that you are a member of the Universe, that you are born of Nature itself, and to know that a limit has been set to your time.”

Um, you know what that means, don’t you? If you put it off doing something until tomorrow, soon you won’t have any tomorrows to do anything.

This is not a rule for writers. Merely a strong suggestion to get started.

A good way to begin – now that we’re ending the summer season thinking and looking ahead to the hustle and bustle of the autumn – is to make your writing a daily habit.

Either set aside time in the morning, before work, or in the evening before sleep (after dinner or before dinner), to write your page or two. And don’t deviate from the routine. Do it, reminding yourself of it at first, until the act of writing for a half-hour to 45 minutes to an hour becomes instilled in you.

Yes, you don’t have to give yourself two or three hours to accomplish this. Even a brief interval of time, over a steady period, will prove to be very productive for you.

It works for me – I am better in the morning, but tend to write throughout the day – but for my personal, i.e., creative work, it’s always before I do the work that I actually get paid for.

If I don’t get to it, I feel I’m missing something, as if I’d skipped a workout or even a meal. Procrastination never feels good. But daily accomplishments certainly do – especially when they lead, little by little, to an actual book.

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