This is the first principle of writing. The page is blank. Can you fill it up? Can you fill it up with something worthy of space and time? There is a reason to get religious.
2. Persistence. Tenacity. Perseverance.
If you are not in this for the long haul then you will bust before you get there. You might bust anyway. Can you write through that? Can you write when you have everything else? Can you write even if you will always have something else?
3. Clear Vision.
What do you have to say? Why do you have to say it? When will you say it?
What else can you be doing? Everything. Everything will always want to come first. Everything will seduce you. Everything will tell you that you should not be writing. You should be living, or having friends, or buying books, or talking about books with other people who should be writing. If you let it, everything will get in the way when you put everything first.
5. Thick Skin.
No one wants to read your stuff. Not even your mom. You are too politically incorrect. You can’t write. Who do you even read? “I think _______can always write better than you, all the time.” Stephen King already wrote that and he will never die. And even if he does, he will still pop out 100 books a year. P.S. Annie Dillard will always be smarter than you.
Words are not words. They are sound. Sound is not sound. It is meaning. Meaning is not meaning. It is idea. Ideas are not ideas. They are the universe. The universe is not the universe. It is words.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1
7. Scheduled Pragmatism
Schedule your dreams and they’ll show up. But the Muse will never give a damn about you unless you gave a damn about your time in the chair. Quit devouring screens to be entertained and lulled to sleep. Schedule your writing time and don’t let anything else get in the way, except other people’s screams. No, not even then.
8. Another Writer’s Advice
You are a writer. You are remarkably insightful. Sometimes you are, even, brilliant. You can write better prose than anyone.
You are a writer. You don’t know anything. Your writing sucks. You should never write again.
You create in a vacuum that is on a roller coaster. Sometimes your own screaming scares you to death. Paralysis should be countered with advice from other, better writers. Breath and talk to another human. Get that much needed perspective.
If you do not read you have no business writing.
10. Passionate Love
No one loves your writing more than you do. You do not hate your writing, or even better, you are not agnostic towards your writing. Other people will always do both. If you don’t love your writing no one will. You do not want to become agnostic.