Rules for writing

The responses to Scalzi’s talking about whether writers should be married or albino or live in igloos or smoke crack have flooded the internets. It’s so out of control I’m not even going to link to any of it. I am merely going to offer my own rules for writing:

  1. Write.
  2. Try not to procrastinate too much in your efforts to avoid 1.
  3. Unless procrastinating really helps with 1.
  4. If procrastinating to avoid 1. doesn’t help with 1. then never give me your IM handle.
  5. Don’t even give your IM handle to someone who might give it to me.
  6. Memorise Matt Cheney’s rules for writing. They totally will ensure that you do lots of 1.
  7. Split as many infinitives as you can.
  8. Always add at least one zombie—even if it’s not to your writing.
  9. Seriously, giving me your IM handle will ensure that you never write again. Don’t do it.

There’s no rule no. 10 because I’m living in a barbaric country that doesn’t have metric. Whatcha gunna do?


  1. rebecca on #

    dude, my entire flist is nothing but the zombie contest. zombies have taken over.

    matt cheney is my new hero. best. rules. ever.

  2. Laura on #

    10. To better avoid #1, keep a daily blog!

  3. Eric Luper on #

    For Justine, I suspect your #1 actually falls under #3.

  4. Justine on #

    Well, I actually suspect 1. and 3. are the same thing . . .

  5. Eric Luper on #

    I meant the #10…sorry, I’m zero impaired today. The #10 that Laura put up.

  6. C. Cooper on #

    Happy V-day to you and the spouse!

  7. chris. on #

    No metric. Hee! That had me giggling aloud and getting weird looks from my co-workers.

  8. Dave H. on #

    I’ve written 5,000 words of fiction in the last three days, and I’m enjoying it, and I like the story, so I should probably jinx myself as quickly as possible:

    davehogg56 on both Yahoo! and AIM.

  9. Kadie-Wa on #

    I love them. Sooo true.

  10. Mary Elizabeth S. on #

    When I was little I learned the metric system. Then I went to school, and they taught me about Twelves. I was scarred for life. Now I frequently fixate on elevens.

    Quick, I’m almost out of blogs to read, somebody IM me and help me procrastinate on 1!


  11. Danica on #

    I’m sorry, Justine, but when I read “whatcha gunna do?” I started singing My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas.

    “Whatcha gunna do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk?”

  12. Justine on #

    Why are you apologising? Is best song ever.

  13. Elodie on #

    I’m LodSchmod — we all know you’re secretly hinting to get them! 😉

    And Danica– obviously, she’s going to feed all that junk inside your trunk to the zombies! Hide!

  14. rebecca on #

    “Is best song ever.”

    seriously?! you are the only person i’ve ever heard speak of that song without saying it makes them want to gouge their eardrums out. 😉

  15. Tim Keating on #

    Should have written #7 as “Try to always split…”


  16. Rosalie on #

    When you start publishing novels do you just, like, attract writer friends and stick them to you like fly to flypaper? Because you seem to have an awful lot of them like Holly Black and Cassandra Clare and Libba Bray and Scott. . . . Geez, you are like writerpaper. (Ha, ha. My jokes are always cheesy.)

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