Ten Rules for Not Writing

Ten Rules for Not Writing

So you want to not be a writer? It’s not easy. People tell you that all the time I imagine. “Oh you don’t want to be a writer? It’s tough. Everyone can be a writer, but not doing it, impossible.” I’ve not been a writer now for some time and I think I’ve cracked it, so below are my ten rules for not writing.

1. Don’t write. Sounds stupid and obvious I know, but you’d be surprised how many people who don’t want to be writers completely miss this. Just don’t write. Every second of every day, don’t do any writing.

2. Seriously, don’t write. Put that fucking pen down.

3. Watch a lot of TV. I would recommend beginning your first week of not writing with the pilots of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Soprano’s, Lost and Battlestar Galactica. By the time you start yelling at the screen when Helo kisses the Cylon or when it turns out that it isn’t Penny’s boat, writing will be the last thing you think about.

4. Go out. A lot. Writer’s don’t have friends. They certainly don’t have social lives. Go out and experience the world. Drink in a trendy wine bar. Try a pop-up restaurant. Go bowling? Laser Quest. The ballet. Stuff that real people do. But, keep in mind that…

5. Don’t be friends with other writers. You know what other writers are like. They tend to be those horrible inspiring types who make you want to knuckle down and get stuff on paper. They organise writing fucking groups, they give each other feedback. They go to literary nights and perform. They will encourage you to do the same. Being friends with writers will always result in you falling back into any bad habits you had. Unfriend them from Facebook, unfollow them on Twitter, if you see them about: tell them about the latest Dan Brown or better yet, flee to the other side of the road, press your face against the fall and sob uncontrollably until they leave you alone forever.

6. Never finish anything. You know who finished things? Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, JK Rowling, even Helen Fielding. Don’t get into that habit with anything. Leave work early, throw away the crust of your pizza, run 4.9k, and never watch the finale to Lost.

7. Know nothing. Write what you know. That’s what they all say. Clear your head. Go to your local Buddhist centre and meditate. Hit your head somewhere and lose your memory. Watch three episodes of Jeremy Kyle in an isolation tank. Lose all sense of yourself, your life and the people you know.

8. Remember, the sword is mightier than the pen. Take up fencing.

9. Use up all of your spare time. Take up a sport like caber tossing, curling or arson. Commit to everything you get offered. Go to weddings, birthdays, funerals, christenings, prison visits, ritual sacrifices and anything anyone you know in your new non-writer friends circle invites you to. Double, triple book yourself. Do not let yourself have a single moment of spare time.



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