Tony's Writing Rules

Every writer has a bunch of rules they stick to. Here are mine:

1. Find the time that is conducive with your best results and make it strict routine. For me that’s 5am until 2pm. If I go to bed at 10pm, I get up at 5; if I go to bed at 3am after a ‘70s British gangster film marathon, I get up at 5. After 4pm I am a big ginger zombie and have no business writing so much as a shopping list.

2. Facebook is the work of the devil. Attach electrical probes to your testicles that are set to go off every time you check in to see amusing photos of cats or what someone is having for lunch.

3. Put your shoes on. You’re going to work – dress like it. Pants are optional.

4. Tell people you trust to give you honest feedback about your project. Tell people you trust to boost your ego about your project. Make sure you know the difference.

5. Accept that there is nothing in the fridge. There wasn’t anything there half an hour ago, nor half an hour before that. There won’t be now.

6. Take naps. Set an alarm for 20minutes. If you sleep for as long as your body wants, you’ll get groggy and never go back to work. You might even tune in to Ellen DeGeneres and that’s your day over.

7. Take walks. It’s amazing how much writing you do when you’re not sitting at your keyboard. Make sure you don’t walk too far from your keyboard.

8. Pick up where you left off the day before. Don’t go back to the start or you’ll never get as far as the second act.

9. Finish the draft even if it’s crap. Better to have a complete pile of crap than a collection of incomplete piles of crap. Trust me, I know – I have a folder entitled, ‘Incomplete Piles Of Crap’.

10. A script is never finished. The trick is to know when to interrupt it. 

12. Read the books by the experts. Embrace everything that feels right. Disregard everything else. It’s your project and said experts are unlikely to ever read it.

13. Read as many scripts as you can in a variety of genres. Read the bad as well as the good. You can learn a lot from a complete pile of crap. Not so much from an incomplete one.

14. Grammar is important. English is the tool of your trade. Would you trust a carpenter who doesn’t know which end of the hammer to hold?

Anthony VercoeComment