Six Writing Rules I Live By

Great Rules Writers Should Live By

All the great authors have rules they live by.  It just makes writing that much easier and helps to discipline yourself.  If you write everyday, you know that it can get hard sometimes to focus in on what you want to write.  Staring at a blank screen or paper (for all you authors still using a typewriter) can get you crazy but here’s my first rule.

# Rule 1 – Take A Step Back Once In A While To See What You Are Writing

If you are writing a book, no matter what it is, you need to allow your words to breath so step back and clear your head.  Come back to what you were writing and see it from a fresh perspective.  getting it done ASAP is a recipe for disaster in your writing and not what you want to do.  When you do come back to it, whether a day or week later, you can pick up your train of thought and carry it to a direction first intended.

# Rule 2 – Immerse Yourself In The Writings Of Others

As an author, your job is to write words that tell a story, inspire readers and write what is in your heart but if you don’t take the time to study what others have written before you you cannot hope to understand what writing is all about.  Knowledge is key to being an author, knowledge of how other go about their work, how they express themselves, how they make use of the written word.  If you write then study the greats as well as those whose writing, to put it kindly, sucks.  Why?  To understand what makes a story or a written passage or even an article really leap off the page.

# Rule 3 – Know Exactly Who You Are Writing For

Writing for children and writing for adults are two different entities.  You wouldn’t use words that kids don’t understand while writing for adults  can get boring if you try to explain everything in layman’s terms.  Know what your audience is looking for, what they are reading and how those words are written for them.  I’ve read so many stories where I wondered if the author knew who he was writing his story for because I couldn’t figure it out.  You waste your audience’s time as well as your own if you can’t pinpoint exactly who this story will be written for.

# Rule 4 – Inspiration Is Everywhere

Don’t go looking for your inspiration when you can find it out in the open.  Some of the best stories I have read have been about subjects that I don’t really know much about nor wanted to know but the author brought out the best parts of the subject that it really intrigued me.  Everyone has a story and it should be told.  Look for that inspiration in everyone you meet or everywhere you go.  You will see these stories being played out on the stage of life.  It’s there for the picking so grab it now!

# Rule 5 – Don’t Overwrite

Words are great and us authors love to use them but there is such a as overkill.  Use only enough as you need.  Sounds easy but it isn’t.  What i mean by that it is, don’t tell the entire story all at once, leave some things to the imagination.  Let your reader in on some of the story then let their imagination run wild and expose them as you go along.  You keep the reader interested and the story more interesting.

# Rule 6 – Focus On The Story

Don’t ramble on… and … on… and on.  Focus on what the story is about.  tell it… and get the hell out of there or you will mess it up for everyone else.  When I write I tell the story and get out of the way of the characters.  I focus on what they story is about, how the characters interact with each other and let the story tell itself.  Trying to be too cute by using flowery language or implementing improbable plot twists only weakens the story and gives you a bad name.  Focus on what the story is about and then go on to your next written work.

I hope you enjoyed these rules for writing.  It can mean the difference between a good story and a great story.  For some great children’s adventure stories click here.


A. J. Westin is a children's adventure book author who specializes in writing stories kids really want to read. He has written over two dozen books and has dedicated his life to helping kids become better readers through his inspirational stories.
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