I started freelance writing in May 2018. Most of my work falls under content writing for B2B companies.
Contrary to my assumptions, writing non-fiction is hard. Like really hard. Every client you write for has unique requirements, highly tailored writing guidelines that you must stick to, and a brutal editorial process. A simple rule such as every sentence you write must take the narrative forward has had me in tears countless times (Read: every single day).
All these things have made me think if becoming a writer was the right choice. But now that I’m in my fifth year as a writer and have clients paying me to write means, I’m doing something right.
I thought quite a bit about it, and I could identify a few rules I unconsciously followed. Simultaneously, scouring Twitter over the years gave me a few gems of advice. And lastly, there are some aspects that I need to remind myself of constantly.
I have compiled all of these rules, ideas, and reminders into the following 17 precepts, which I like to call The Writer’s Manifesto:
- Believe in the importance of routines as a writer. Establish a schedule and stick to it.
- Get up from your chair every 45 minutes or so.
- Don’t let your inner critic think when working on the first draft.
- The key to the flow state is to stave off distractions. It isn’t easy, but don’t cut corners on it.
- Your writing doesn’t have to be the best. It just needs to be good enough.
- Don’t judge your writing too harshly. There will always be people who will find tremendous value in it.
- Know how to put yourself into a happy state before getting to writing. There can’t be better advice than this. A happy mind leads to a relaxed brain. A relaxed brain is like an assembly line for great ideas.
- When the temptation of spoon-feeding information is just a few clicks away, learn how to think as a writer. Let your brain sweat. It is perfectly fine to cry at the desk. Just don’t let the tears get on the keyboard.
- Analyze great writing. Understand the significance of words great writers use and the sentences they write. This is how you understand how different folks think.
- Writing needs an abundance mindset. You can NEVER run out of things to say. You may hit a wall, but that’s just temporary. You can always express even the aridest stuff more simply, beautifully, and elegantly.
- Writing is brutal. It can be a struggle to get started when the cursor is blinking intensely at you. The way to beat this inertia is to verbalize whatever comes to mind in its rawest form, no matter how far from the beauty it may be.
- The craft of writing is just one part of you. It doesn’t entirely define you as a person. You could produce substandard stuff at times, but that is in no way a reflection of your worth as a person. YOUR WRITING != YOU
- Spend time with art, people, and anything that enriches your life experiences. These eclectic experiences make your writing more beautiful.
- Reading books, watching TV shows and movies, and listening to music is essential. This is how you inspire yourself every single day.
- Do something besides writing. Practice art, play music, or step outside. Let your brain breathe.
- Writing is the output. Reading, observations, and thinking fuel your writing. Make sure to keep a note-taking system handy. Take notes abundantly.
- Don’t let your side projects and unfinished drafts die.
I may revisit the title later and hope to expand upon these guiding instructions. In the meantime, I hope you’ll also get some value from it. Feel free to print the doc, pin it up to your board, or share itwith people.