We hold beliefs that affect our writing, whether we are conscious of these beliefs or not. Years ago I started a list of my writing beliefs so I could become more aware of how they help or hinder my work.
Some of my beliefs are smart, others are pure neurosis, and from time to time I revisit my list because I’ve noticed how my beliefs change. Here is just some of what I believe about writing:
- Talking about writing is not writing.
- When my life is difficult or depressing, I think: it’s all material.
- Don’t get stuck in an idea when another one is trying to happen.
- Writing well isn’t easy; otherwise, everyone would do it.
- I will always be learning to write.
- Sometimes the workshop group wants you to write your stories their way.
- Get rid of a sentence that gives you a hard time. You didn’t need it anyway.
- I have often proved my inner critic wrong.
- My ex will think everything I write is about him.
- Creation is painful. Revision is a blast.
The only time I feel like doing housework is when I have a writing deadline.
- Reading work out loud is a good way to detect errors, tangles, and crap.
- My standards are higher than my abilities allow me to reach.
- My best writing happens when I’m not thinking about it.
- I am cautious about sharing my work in draft. It’s fragile then, and so am I.
- There is always a nugget of truth in every criticism.
- Time slows down painfully when you wait for someone to read your work.
- All the good sentences might already be taken.
- I am kinder to other writers than I am to myself.
- The hardest thing about writing is believing you can make it whole.
- Laughing out loud while writing is good, even if it’s not during the funny parts.
- Typos magically appear a nanosecond after you send off the piece.
- I’m a better writer than I used to be.
- Writer-friends. Necessary.
What beliefs do you hold about writing? Do they help you? Or hinder you? Share your thoughts in the comment section.