Rules of Writing: A Manifesto

Arguably my greatest thrifting purchase of all time, my Tower typewriter.
Arguably my greatest thrifting purchase of all time, my Tower typewriter.

1. You must be awake to write. Caffeine is important.

2. You must write for others when necessary but, more importantly,

3. You must make time to write for yourself.

4. You must write under the impression that time is something that can be made; therefore,

5. You must forget everything you learned in grade school, if only for just a moment.

6. You may write in any font, as long as it is not Comic Sans.

7. You must write with a good pen. The kind that makes you want to keep going.

8. You mustn’t think twice about what you’re putting on paper — at least not now. So,

9. You must put off revisions, but never put off the first draft.

10. You must write about what you hate.

11. You must write about what you love.

12. Especially when those two are the same thing.

13. You must drop everything when the time comes, open your notebook, close all tabs; shut the door, shut out the sounds, shut down your inhibitions; reconnect with you, not “you,” but the real you, the one you knew when you were young, who wasn’t afraid to be tell it like it was; forget everything they say, but recall it in your words; your own words, because if you don’t say it now, now, it will remain unsaid forever.

14. You must write.

3 thoughts to “Rules of Writing: A Manifesto”

  1. Hi Allison,
    I love this manifesto. Definitely resonated with all fourteen rules, but I especially liked #12. It’s so funny how sometimes writing about something can bring up so many conflicting emotions that you never knew you had about a particular topic. I think we lose sight of the purpose of writing quite frequently, and it’s really good to keep in mind these rules so you don’t lose perspective. Also, Comic Sans is for squares and Times New Roman is where it’s at. Best of luck with all your writing endeavors!

  2. Allison,
    I really enjoyed reading your manifesto on writing. I like how you mentioned writing for others but also making time for yourself. Many times I get so caught up trying to please an audience that I forget that writing makes me happy and that I write because I love it. I also really liked #13. I find especially when using the computer that I get distracted easily and spend hours doing everything except for the writing assignment I’m supposed to be working on. Did you invest in a typewriter to minimize distractions? I also need to follow your advice about shutting down inhibitions; I frequently get writer’s block because I worry that what I am trying to say doesn’t make sense or isn’t perfect. I will definitely try to let things go and reconnect with myself on future assignments. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hey Allison – your manifesto was awesome and really resonated with me. I thought it was pretty cool how, even though it was a list, you still found a way to connect the different items to one another. My favorite part was #13. I completely understand what you’re talking about – going to a place when you write that is only you, and that makes you able to connect with the world and the words you put down on the page in such a unique way. I kind of myself feel that this whole other voice comes out when I write, where I’m able to project my thoughts in a way I never could otherwise. Also agree with the caffeine part – absolute necessity. Great post!

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