Heart Rules for Writers

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When we start writing a book, we need to put our souls into it. But that is scary, for there is always someone who has something to say about your writing, your grammar, your theme, your lack of . . .

My cookbook, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, has a lot of folktales in it, and some of them have bad grammar in them, but that is what the authors of those folktales intended. It is what gives the book its color and its flavor. Remember the book, The Color Purple? Can you believe that people actually wanted to ban the book for its ungrammatical language! What would have been the fate of that book if they had been allowed to ban it? It’s being true to the times and to the characters of the people and the place is what made it the great book and movie it has been. People tend to lose sight of the necessity of being true to a type of writing, the times, the people involved in the story, and the intention of the story. I remember when the book-banning people wanted to ban The Nancy Drew stories. Nancy Drew stories were ahead of their time. Empowered young women driving cars (alone too!!!) and solving mysteries and generally being interesting people. I don’t think The Hardy Boys mysteries were ever banned.

The basic thing is that this is your soul speaking. And of course we all want to be read and to have our books selling really well. But if anyone changes anything in the book other than an unintentional error in grammar or spelling, just say no. The editor will not “make” the book; your writing will. And if you don’t believe that yourself, how can you in all truth become a published writer? If you are honest with yourself, you can tell if your book is dry or lifeless, too “unlived,” or perhaps too unreal.

Great books don’t need to have fantastic events and people in them. They can be very ordinary, everyday people like the boys and young men in the movie, “Stand By Me.”

If you still don’t feel comfortable or sure of your own writing, go to the library and pick 10 books you have never read, authors you don’t know, and read each one of them. Write down your impressions of each one and his/her writing, but be fair to the times and the place and what those people are doing.

At the end of each day you write, pat yourself on the back, and say to yourself when you go to bed, “Good job! Well done.”

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8 thoughts on “Heart Rules for Writers

  1. Thank you kindly, Maggie. I had a good lesson in how to keep going from my Little Man chihuahua today. For a little old man dog who is at the last days or months of his life, he got himself up and even though he is fixed, he chased (slowly) after one of our females who is also old and not neutered (all the boys are though as all the girls are now old). Anyway, Richard and I laughed at how one tiny old man dog could be so alive when he has been through so much! He has such a beautiful will to live! It makes me glad to be alive too, and to be able to dream of the future and fully enjoy the present. He also continues to leap like a little deer from the door alongside us when we return home from even a short trip. That makes anyone feel great!!!

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  2. Every word one writes, whether for a book or on their blog has a tiny part of their soul and heart attached to it. That’s what makes it so wonderful. Writing and getting your work out there, whether it is published in book form or in blog form takes a tremendous amount of courage I think, because at some point, people reading it are seeing the depths of your heart and soul.

    Great post Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

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