I'm linking up with Five Minute Friday, writing for five minutes on a given prompt.
This week's word is ONE.
Earlier this week there was a piece published in the online magazine LitHub by author Jonathan Franzen:
It wasn't a very helpful list, to be honest.
Some of the "rules" sounded more like fortune-cookie proverbs: "You see more sitting still than chasing after."
Some were vague: "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting." Uh ... ok ... would you like to proffer, bestow, or furnish some examples, Jonathan?
And some were just head-scratchers: "It’s doubtful that anyone with an Internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction." First of all, what if you have a job as an accountant and then come home and work on your novel: how does having WiFi at work make you a poor fiction writer? (Why not just say, "Stop surfing the net when you're supposed to be writing your novel," if that's what you mean?) Also -- "his workplace"? What is this, 1950? Or does this rule only apply to male writers?
I just have One Rule For Writing, and it's an adaptation of a quote attributed to Mother Teresa talking about prayer:
WRITE AS YOU CAN,
NOT AS YOU CAN'T.
I don't mean "You're as good a writer as you're ever going to be, so just churn out whatever comes easiest and don't challenge yourself."
What I mean is, find the time, place, style, tone, voice, genre, or structure of writing that works for you. If you can't get up at 5 a.m. to write for two hours, don't. If it isn't possible for you to write every day, don't worry about it. If your style is earnest and thoughtful, don't try to write light, quirky material just to cater to popular audiences.
And the paradox is: as you focus on writing "as you can" -- finding your unique style and gift -- one day you'll look back and see that you are writing more and better than you ever thought you could.