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Craft: My Best Practical Writing Advice

Written by Vicki Hinze

On December 28, 2010

Vicki Hinze © 2003-2011

My Best Practical Advice

1. Write stories in which you have a personal, emotional investment.

2. Write only works you love; others are a waste of your precious time–your life.

3. Understand your purpose as a human being, and fulfill it through your work.

4. If you deem a work worth starting, deem it worth finishing.

5. Never settle for anything less than the best work you’re capable of producing.

6. Embrace the truth that you can never master craft and constantly study it.

7. Ignore naysayers and cull negativity–and negative people–from your life.

8. Respect your creativity and continue to feed it or accept that it will stagnate.

9. Break wise writing rules only with purpose and never out of ignorance.

10. If your goal is to sell your work, never give up. Stick with it until they buy or die.

11. Give yourself permission to fail your way to success.

12. Keep rejection letters in perspective–as an invitation to submit somewhere else.

13. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to go about writing; just write.

14. Read voraciously–fiction, nonfiction, opinion pieces, essays–it’s all fodder.

15. Believe–in yourself, in your work, in what you’re trying to accomplish through it.

This is my best practical advice to writers, regardless of where they are in their careers.

It’s also helpful to adopt a personal philosophy that captures the essence of what most matters to you in your work and your life. It keeps you focused.

For example, my personal philosophy is: Ich Dien. (I serve.)

I have it written down and taped to the rim of my computer monitor, so I see it all the time. I also have a few other sayings taped there that remind me of who I want to be.

Dum Spiro, Spero. (While I breathe, I hope.)

“All the darkness in the world cannot dim the light of one candle.”

“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received–only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” –St. Francis of Assisi

Interesting aside: Other than the one by St. Francis, I have no idea who originally wrote any of these sayings. As the years have passed, I’ve forgotten the authors, but I’ve never ceased to be grateful to them for the gifts they’ve shared with me through their words.

And lastly, my personal power card, which focuses on building my character so that I’m the best person I can conceive of being.

All of these things are constructive and empowering to me.


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