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The Sciences

Rules for Writers

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollFebruary 24, 2010 6:42 PM


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Everyone is linking to this Guardian article collecting advice from fiction writers. My favorite list comes from Richard Ford -- not that I necessarily agree with every rule:

1 Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer's a good idea. 2 Don't have children. 3 Don't read your reviews. 4 Don't write reviews. (Your judgment's always tainted.) 5 Don't have arguments with your wife in the morning, or late at night. 6 Don't drink and write at the same time. 7 Don't write letters to the editor. (No one cares.) 8 Don't wish ill on your colleagues. 9 Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself. 10 Don't take any shit if you can ­possibly help it.

There's an entire blog devoted to listing the daily routines of writers. It's a funny business -- the people who do it can't imagine doing anything else, but they still rely on all sorts of gimmicks to keep their work flowing smoothly. Maybe that's part of the difference between styling one's self as a writer and actually writing.

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