by Justin McLachlan
1. Writing and having written aren’t the same thing — be sure you want both, because the former is a lot of work.
2. Real writing is actually a lot of rewriting.
3. Your friends won’t be as impressed the second time around. Don’t let it stop you.
4. Grammar, punctuation, spelling — it’s okay if all these things come last.
5. First drafts universally suck.
6. Avoid the advice of those who tell you otherwise of #5.
7. Stopping early helps you to start early the next day.
8. Trying to edit while writing is like trying to chop down a tree while you’re climbing it.
9. Sometimes it’s good to take a break.
10. There are no rules to how, when or where you write, as long as you write.
11. You’ll never catch a trend — write what you want.
12. Writing can be lonely. Very, very lonely.
13. Inspiration will never strike when you need it to. Just write. Do the work.
14. Complex construction doesn’t equal complex though. Simplify.
15. Published ≠ success.
16. Why would you want to write only what you know? Discover something new instead.
17. The best writers are usually voracious readers.
18. And the best of the best read outside their preferred genres.
19. You can, most definitely, split an infinitive. In other words, you may have a lot of bad advice and rules to unlearn.
20. Deliberate practice will make you better.
21. People who act like writing is easy probably aren’t really writers.
22. Don’t compare yourself to writers.
23. Ideas are everywhere, yes — but that doesn’t make them any less elusive.
24. You’re not the next Hemingway or whoever it is you admire, so don’t try to be. Just be you. You’re great.
25. Deadlines. Goals. Set them, and stick to them.
Justin is a writer and actor in Washington, D.C. His non-fiction stories have appeared in Wired, Popular Science and San Diego Citybeat among authors. He’s the author of the Station One Series and Treknology: Star Trek’ Tech 200 Years Ahead of the Future.