This is the best advice I’ve ever seen for those whose ambition it is to be a writer. I’m sorry, but I don’t know the author of this short list. But I can promise you this: You can buy and read all the “self help” books on writing in the world, and they can all be condensed into these few succinct rules.
- Write 50 words, that’s a paragraph.
- Write 400 words, that’s a page.
- Write 300 pages, that’s a manuscript.
- Write every day, that’s a habit.
- Edit and rewrite, that’s how you get better.
- Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.
- Don’t worry about rejection or publication. That comes with being a writer.
- When not writing, read. Read from writers better than you. Read and perceive.
Really, those eight rules are all you need follow to become a writer. Will you become rich and famous and drive a Mercedes and live in a mansion? Probably not. Those writers who reach that plateau are so rare, they become celebrities and news items.
Most people are not disciplined enough to follow these simple, but imperative rules. Those that are will find the time, before work, after work, on the bus or train, instead of watching TV, those who are driven to become a writer will find a way to write. I remember well, John Grisham commenting on his first successful novel. He said, “I wrote a page a day. At the end of a year I had 365 pages. That was a book.” He’s now written 35 books, several of which have been made into major motion pictures. At the risk of using one of the oldest (and corniest) clichés of all time let me say, “The longest journey begins with the first step.” You’ll never know what you can do, until you start.