Ran across this great blog post from Karen E. Olson, the author of the lighthearted, Las-Vegas-based Tattoo Shop mysteries. It made me think about how I would articulate a Writer’s Code of my own. Here it is:
1. Write every day. (Momentum is everything.)
2. Work alone. (Editor and agent are exceptions.)
3. Read widely.
4. Never lose your sense of gratitude and wonder.
5. In fact, just get over yourself in general.
6. Be discreet.
7. Be generous.
8. Mind your manners.
9. Have fun.
What is your writer’s code? If you’re not a writer, what is your personal code?
To whom do these lovely and mysterious arms belong? (No, not the Venus de Milo, silly.) Who is sitting on our couch playing with Cressie and Boo? Why, it’s Agent Diana, in town for a conference and here to spend some very intense time discussing The Silver Casket.
It was wonderful to meet Agent D. face-to-face for the first time. We devoured incredible prime steaks, exotic chocolates steeped in fruit and liqueurs; saganaki, spanokopita and tzatziki; and lovely cupcakes. Did we do anything but eat? Heh. Well, yes. We spent hours talking about The Silver Casket, books, The Second Duchess, books, the conference, books, promotion and bookstores, and oh yes—books.
Agent D. is now on her way back to New York after waving a sad goodbye to the beagle duo, and I’m on my way back to my hermitage to write up notes on everything we talked about…
<edit> <edit> <edit> <coffee> <edit> <rewrite> <rewrite> <tear out hair> <rewrite> <edit> <edit> <write new stuff> <write new stuff> <write fantastic new stuff> <run up and down hall shouting whoo-hoo!> <scare doggies> <edit> <edit> <edit> <coffee> <edit> <edit> <edit> <edit>……..
“If only you’d remember before you ever sit down to write that you’ve been a reader long before you were ever a writer. You simply fix that fact in your mind, then sit very still and ask yourself, as a reader, what piece of writing in all the world Buddy Glass would want to read if he had his heart’s choice. The next step is terrible, but so simple I can hardly believe it as I write it. You just sit down shamelessly and write the thing yourself.” —From Seymour: An Introduction.
There aren’t really any unbreakable “rules” for writing—or for that matter, for life. But this is a good one:
Intend every word you write.
Its corollary for life-in-general, of course, would be intend every thing you do.
Harder than it sounds.
I’m going to be out of touch for a while—I have some family matters to attend to and I want to do some deep writing.
At left, see my imaginary hermitage. Where else would I squirrel myself away but in an ancient stone cottage with a thatched roof? Can’t you just feel the delicious solitude and the silence, but for leaves rustling and an occasional bird singing? Fortunately it is also equipped with high-speed fiberoptic broadband internet.
See you in a few weeks!