Five Mantras for the Amateur Writer

Left is Right is Left is UpI am not a professional, or even a proficient writer, but I am taking a moment to repeat a few things I learn, forget, then learn all over again… daily. Consider the headings below as mantras for the amateur writer.

Less is More

Sometimes you don’t have to describe everything in full, excruciating detail. Leave some of the work up to the reader.

It’s not about you, even when it is about you

Want to know just how boring you are? Go look at your writing, and count the personal pronouns. Nothing bores people like seeing/hearing “I … I … Me … I … Me Me Me!” Try rephrasing some of your sentences them without the personal pronouns.

Opinions: nobody’s asking

Opinions are like sandwiches: if somebody threw it at your head, would you appreciate the free sandwich? Same goes for opinions that pop into your blog feed posing as “analysis” or “discussion” or “facts”. Everybody can make their own sandwich anytime they want, they don’t need yours too.

Everybody likes their own cooking

Of course you like your writing. It’s a touching masterpiece eloquently phrased and humbly presented to worthy readers. What would a reader say about it, especially if they had never read anything by you ever before? If your stories/blogs/books are your children, then learn to look at it without a “parental eye”*.

Why aren’t you writing?

Experts agree, the number one cause of “no writing” is to not write. So close the browser, sharpen your pencil and open a fresh page in your notebook and get going!

* I once read that Stephen King, upon finishing a novel, puts a printed copy in a shoebox and stashes it under the bed for six months so he can read it as if he never wrote it.


About rocjoe

Once a full-time software developer. Chances are if you've paid for a beer or a sandwich on any major airline in the past 5 years, code I wrote has reached you. I shifted to part-time software developing about a year ago, as a step towards a better quality of life. I still code but the 20-hour work days are a thing of the past. Lately I amuse myself by pretending I am a witty and insightful blogger. All three of those things ("witty", "insightful" and "blogger") are totally false. My promise to you: nowhere in this blog will you see source-code or technical speak. This is purely a blog for personal fun and discovery. View all posts by rocjoe

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