Rules for Writing: Chasity

It’s been awhile since our last post, but here are 10 more great rules for writing from one of our outgoing managing editors. Chasity St. Louis is a recent UNB Grad and off to teach English in Korea this coming Fall!

1)      Don’t worry about getting it done well the first time. That’s what editing’s for. This sort of anxiety can be paralyzing and get in the way. It’s best to just dive in, then before you know it, you’ll have something to work with. In other words: write now, worry later.

2)      Think of editing (cutting parts of a text, moving them around) as surgery. It’s more fun that way. You can also entertain the illusion of having a job where you make money. Scratch that, having a job in the first place. Textual excision is a useful metaphor. Use metaphors.

3)      Your eccentric family starts to look a whole lot better when you see them as material. Listen to conversations and take notes. Make sure to do this mentally. They might censor themselves if they see you with a pen and notepad.

4)       Know that you want to become a writer early on. Remind your family of number four. Your whole childhood could change. But then again, you might lose some important formative writing experiences.

5)      You don’t need a great imagination to be a writer —I’m proof. Start with tweaking aspects of real life, such as combining several people you know into one character. It’s amazing how creative you can be once you get going and how much a story that has its basis in real life can evolve over time.

6)      You may find yourself thinking about death and mortality a lot more than normal. It’s okay.

7)      Take breaks. Go for a walk or spend some time staring at a wall. It might seem counterproductive, but your brain needs time to unwind. This is a great way to get chores done.

8)      Sleep is important. So is coffee. Be awake enough to not fall asleep but not too jittery to focus.

9)      Write a business card that summarizes whatever project you’re working on. People will always ask what it’s about. You’ll get tired of explaining.

10)   Read Alice Munro with caution. When comparing your writing to hers, needless to say, you will always, always, always fall short. Admire her work, try to figure out how she does what she does, then move on. You’ll never figure it out. Resist urge to boycott due to jealousy.

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