There are five creative rules I work (and live) by. I don’t expect you to agree with me on these and I do expect you’ll have your own.
Rule #1 Kill Your Darlings
When an article or post (or any writing) doesn’t work, the odds are there’s a word, line or paragraph in the post that’s wrong. And usually, it’s my favourite word or paragraph and I really hate to edit or modify it.
So I don’t. I delete the damn thing and be done with it.
And 99% of the time, this solves the problem.
Rule #2 Change Is Inevitable
What worked yesterday is no guarantee readers will like it today. Or, even that readers will find it today (I’m talking to you, Google Search.) Things change so fast online, I’ve finally given up even trying to figure it all out.
My change is not giving a damn what Facebook or Google (or even you) think about what I write. I’ve worked to be in sync with all those things for too many years. Now, I’m only writing and creating for me.
Rule #3: Leap and the Safety Net Will Appear.
This is a question of faith in your own abilities and making the decision that you’ll survive no matter what happens around you.
I’m in the middle of leaping (again) and it’s a gut-churning thing.
Rule #4: Stop Digging Your Own Hole
This can be a tough one. I lived with my gardening sites doing this.
- “If I try this one thing – Google Search will love me again.”
- “If I set up the website following these directions, I’ll increase my search engine traffic.”
- “I just have to pay Amazon more to sell more books.”
I dug that pit working to get things right for far too long and I do regret that time and misplaced effort.
Rule #5: Creators Set Their Own Limits
There’s no guideline that says, “Do this and wait X time and you’ll know.” We’ve all heard about the writer or creator that spent 30 years working away in poverty only to be discovered on his deathbed. And we’ve read stories about the wonder-kind that stormed the creative bastions as a teenager.
You’ll be the one to say “stop” or “full speed ahead” as the creative spirit moves you.
Post it Notes
I have these posted and stuck to the wall over my desk.
Feel free to copy these, edit them to suit yourself and work by them.