3 Rules For Good Writing
- Is it true?
- Is it helpful?
- Is this the best way to say it?
If the answer is yes to all three, publish it.
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Why Do You Write?
I once asked myself that question. Here’s what came to me:
Forget about your reputation. Forget about trying to sell your ideas or promote yourself. Just express yourself. Just share yourself. Just give to others what you want them to have. It’s none of your business what they think of you or your ideas. Just put it out there and let them do with it what they want.
Your books and your blog are not the whole you. They are just expressions of your experience in life and they don’t belong to you. You don’t own life. You don’t even own “your” ideas. You are an expression of life, just as everyone else is.
What’s close to your heart? What do you want people to know? And how can you be of service? That’s what you should write about. Put your material out there, but don’t try to get “followers”. Let whatever happens happen, even if nobody reads it or “follows.” How do you know it’s not meant for one person to discover? What would you want your old self to discover? Isn’t it worth your time to write to only one person. Especially when you obviously have an irresistible itch to write? Remember, “no one lights a lamp and hides it.”
“To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A Case Against Arguing Online
Getting into arguments and debates online will get you nowhere. If you have a blog and you can’t keep yourself from engaging in such arguments, it’s best to not have a comment section.
If the reader really wants you to know what they think or wants clarification, they will email you (most people won’t bother, therefore it’s not that important to them). It’s probably better to have such interactions privately anyway, because people tend to be more civil when there isn’t an audience.
Since when do people change their mind because of a conversation they had online anyway? Even if they do change their mind, they are not going to admit it. They will keep arguing, or stop responding.
If you are going to leave a comment online, do it because you feel compelled to tell the writer that they made a difference in your day. If you can’t do that, then it’s probably better to say nothing. If it’s really important, send them an email instead. Or try to arrange a Skype call, or if you live in the same city, a coffee. It’s harder to be uncivil when you are face to face.
It’s altruistic not to embarrass someone in a conversation, especially a public one. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you want someone to embarrass you publicly, even if they were right? It’s better to discuss it privately or at least in a way that allows the other person to save face.
You don’t build yourself up by tearing other people down. You’ll only attract cynics. You build yourself up in the mind of others by being gracious. This is how you attract the right people, and maybe sow a seed in some others.
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You Don’t Have To Write Everyday
Don’t buy the idea that you have to write everyday. You don’t. Isn’t the point of being a writer to share an important message that’s near and dear to your heart? Don’t you also write because you enjoy it? When you force yourself to write don’t you find yourself straying from your message? Doesn’t it suck the joy and flow out of your writing and make it feel like a chore?
When I come back to my notepad after being away from it for awhile my pencil can hardly keep up with my thoughts. Because I have so much to say.
When I force myself to write everyday, I hate it and think about not being a writer anymore. Then I remember that I’m not a “writer”, I’m a person with a message who enjoys sharing it.
“Writers” are people who are about the money and attention first, the message second. That’s why they force themselves to write even when they don’t want to. If you enjoy writing you can’t stop yourself from doing it. If you have an important message you can’t stop yourself from sharing it.