Thursday, April 22, 2010

zadie smith's rules for writers

1 - When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2 - When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3 - Don't romanticise your "vocation". You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no "writer's lifestyle". All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4 - Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can't do aren't worth doing. Don't mask self-doubt with contempt.

5 - Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6 - Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won't make your writing any better than it is.

7 - Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.

8 - Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9 - Don't confuse honours with achievement.

10 - Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.

See it officially here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/22/zadie-smith-rules-for-writers