Monday, March 23, 2015

The 10 Commandments for Writers

by Alycia W. Morales

1. You shall have no other gods before Me. Simple translation: Don't put your writing or career before God. (Or your family.) Who or what is your priority?

2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. Editors, publishers, and agents are not God. They don't control your career or your calling. They are imperfect, just like the rest of us. Don't put them on a pedestal. And when they reject your writing, don't take it personally. God knows when and where and if your work needs to be published. Trust Him. Not the chariots and horses we expect to get us "there."

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. Don't say God gave you the words if you really know He didn't. Trust me when I tell you that the gatekeepers will recognize your misrepresentation. Instead, tell them why you're excited about what you've written and why you think readers would be too. (And make sure you do your market research and do it well.)

4. Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. Don't forget to rest. Take a break. Recharge your creative juices. Honor the Lord. Give Him your time too, rather than spending it all in front of your computer screen. Remember, a relationship requires interaction and intimacy.

5. Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you. Honor those who are raising/training/mentoring you as a writer. Follow their advice. Listen to their wisdom and apply it to your own career. They know what they're talking about or they wouldn't be where they are in their own careers. PS - Don't give them a hard time. They talk with one another, and word gets around when they've had to deal with a difficult author.

6. You shall not murder. Jesus says that if you hate someone, you commit murder in your heart. Don't talk badly about another person in the industry. It'll kill your own career.

7. You shall not commit adultery. Jesus says that if you lust after someone in your heart, you commit adultery. Do you desire a publishing contract more than you desire the Lord's will? Have you ever "haunted" a particular agent or house editor, stopping them every chance you get at a conference? You don't want to know how many times I've seen women stalk a particular male agent at the conferences I've attended/taught at. Beware.

8. You shall not steal. Plagiarism. Copyright. It's hard to steal an idea, since we all have similar thoughts at times. But don't stoop so low as to copy someone else or claim their blog post to be your own. If you want to share their work, do so via social media. If you want to use their post, ask them for permission or ask them to be a guest on your blog. If you're writing a similar post, come up with your own twist to the idea. You may even consider quoting them and including a link to their original post that inspired you.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Don't lie about someone else. It's not cool. If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it. Again, people are listening. And word travels fast.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's anything... Don't wish you had someone else's career. Or could write like someone else. Or could do anything someone else does. Be you. Write with your voice. God made you uniquely you. He has a plan and a purpose for your writing, just as He does someone else's writing. Keep your eyes on your path and allow God to lead you down it. His word never comes back void.

To sum it all up, present yourself professionally and allow God to move on your behalf. If He truly has called you to write, He will make a way for you on your publication journey.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent!!!
    (Except the part about editors being imperfect...let's just keep that among friends.)

    ReplyDelete

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