The Ten Commandments

A list of general ethical principles given to humankind by God, which can easily be twisted to apply to anything you like – even writing.

Here’s helpful list of things you can do to successfully navigate the writing process:

  1. Worship no gods but God. If you want to create something worthwhile, something that will set the world on fire, then you’ll need to focus. Whilst in the throes of writing your masterpiece try to avoid doing things like falling in l0ve (again), moving to a house in Belgravia, climbing Everest, ballooning around the world in 80 days, training to be an astronaut or learning how to cook lasagne. The exception is, obviously, if your book happens to be about any of these things.
  2. Do not worship idols. Read a variety of good books before you start to write, and make a list of all the books you’d like to read after you finish, but do not read whilst you are writing. If you do, it will tend to confuse you (for we are bears of very little brain) and you need to maintain focus on keeping your plot, structure, characters, dialogue and message straight in your head as you do this. It is possible to read other books as you write, but that will inevitably detract from the purity of your message.
  3. Do not blaspheme God’s name. Whilst writing, you need to be kind to yourself and your nascent book. Try to avoid telling people that your tome is utter rubbish. You need to have loads of self-belief, and talk like this can utterly destroy it. What you write is the best that you can write at the time and it will be improved later, during the editing process. If you can’t keep this straight in your head then your manuscript is destined to play with the socks, in the very back of the drawer.
  4. Remember the Sabbath. All writing and no eating pizza and chocolate can make Jane a very dull girl. Give yourself a break every now and again so that you can pull your creative juices together and then roar back into it with renewed vigour. What are we at now? Number four? Okay – time for me to take a break. Back in a sec. (soft music plays whilst you wait patiently for my return and you start to feel refreshed yourself too as you mind idles thro …) Okay, I’m back, and raring to go – what’s next?
  5. Honour your parents. Remember when I said to read books before you start writing? Well, specifically you should read books that will help you with your own writing project. There are several categories to focus on: books similar to yours in terms of genre, books giving extra information about your subject of choice, books that are exemplars of the kind of kind of writing you want to do and general books about creative writing. People have done some good work before you came along. Use it.
  6. Do not murder. Never, ever throw anything away, for those are your darlings of the future. If you write something that is good but does not quite fit into the context of your current project then save it because it just might form the basis of a new book. If you write something mediocre, then save it because you will be able to make it shine in the editing process. If you write something that you think is rubbish, then save it because you can always insert it in as a bonus feature – the bloopers reel.
  7. Do not commit adultery. Sneaking into another person’s library, under cover of darkness. Silently lighting a lamp to reveal the spines of books that are not yours. Taking those books from the shelf and lovingly caressing them. Opening them to reveal the tender delights of those words. Moving your eyes back and forth across the page over and over again. Turning the page, and again your motion begins. Faster and faster you read until you reach the climax of the story and … Creepy – right? Desist.
  8. Do not steal. Plagiarism is acne on the face of creative writing. Make sure that you own every single word of your writing and do not be tempted to cut and paste the work of others. Even if you edit it until it is unrecognisable – it is still not yours. You have your own beautiful style (and grace) and so have no need of the words of others. And, at the end of the day, it feels much better in your heart to know that everything you did, you did by yourself – without any help. Make something you can be proud of.
  9. Do not bear false witness. Irony is incredibly funny when used by skilled practitioners of the art, but when abused, it can be rather damaging. If you gain a reputation for being knowledgeable and then write something that sounds learned, but is, in fact, the opposite of truth, then it will still be believed and acted upon by those who are gullible. Be very careful about what you write. This principle can also be seen in interpersonal communication where sarcasm can damage relationships.
  10. Don’t covet. What you have created is beautiful. What you will create in the future will shine like the stars in heaven. You have no need to look at the works of others and wish to be different. You are tremendous just the way you are. When any doubt enters your mind, don’t let your eyes stray outwards, let them go within to find the splendours of your own heart where God has made a home. Take courage that God is with you at all times, whether you feel it or not. Let God inspire your writing, always.

I didn’t imagine that these ten commandments would be as useful as this when applied to writing, but I’m amazed at how timeless and beautiful this guidelines are. Just by writing these tips and, in the process, thinking about the meaning and implications of these rules has helped me to grow immeasurably.

I hope that these words contribute to your development too. Happy writing!

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111 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments

  1. Thank you for these wonderful tips. It is indeed the 10 commandments to writing! I am so glad I had stumbled upon your blog! I love the way you have added in humor with your tips on writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! This is brilliant!!! It’s amusing how effortlessly you blend ‘writing tips’ with great philosophies, yet make so much sense!! 🙂 The hint of humor added couldn’t get any better! 😀 “All writing and no eating pizza and chocolate can make Jane a very dull girl.” 😀 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! 😀

    Liked by 6 people

    • You are wonderful.
      I know that you are ‘an Indian living abroad’ but I don’t know where. Right here in England it is minutes to midnight so I’m going to say goodnight now. Sleep well when your time comes and hopefully I’ll speak to you tomorrow. 🙂
      Kind regards – Robert.
      Oh, and I really appreciate your kind words. Make sure and have a piece of chocolate for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you can get abundant chocolates, for your writings. 😀 I know I’m replying after days and weeks and I’m assuming you must be heading home after work now. Or are you up to something interesting? 🙂
        I live in the Midwestern United States, with highly unpredictable weather scenes. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right now? I’m sitting on my bed trying to catch up on comments – I try to reply to everything. It’s very nearly bedtime again. Mid West is quite big. I hope you are in a good place there and that you have good and safe shelter from the weather.
        Yes, hope you have a good weekend too, my friend. Blessings to you – Robert.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, sorry about that. I’be tended to think of myself as shy and reclusive and so I tend to overcompensate for this when I write. I’ll learn.

        I’m at a car-boot sale at the moment. Just picked up a whole box of books for nothing because they decided to give them away just as I arrived. Also got the entire set (nine series) of Smallville DVDs for 15 pound (with a free book thrown in). More lazy evenings coming up for me. 🙂
        Do you read much? And if so – what’s your favourite?

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      • Sounds like you hit the jackpot! I enjoyed the Smallville series for a while but in the end I got kind of aggravated with the writing because the characters were always afraid to cross certain lines. It dragged out too much and I somewhat lost interest. But you may see it from a different perspective as you’re famous for doing so I expect to see a few posts with your quirky twists thrown in for our edification and humorous enjoyment 😁

        As for reading, I’m a slow reader thanks to a bit of dyslexia, so I usually have to stick to small books so I won’t lose interest. Amazingly though, my current read of choice is the Bible. I started from the beginning and I’ve just finished Joshua and currently on Judges.

        I’m learning a lot, some of which has reflected in a few of my posts, but for the most part I’m on a journey of self discovery and on a quest to unearth my purpose in God’s master plan.

        Outside of that, the last book I read was Inside a Poet’s Cage: Collection of Poems, by Brad McNerney.

        I’m into non fiction, self help, philosophical type books. I’m fascinated with how the human mind works and with how certain mindsets shape the way we relate to each other. I’m a also a bit advocate for communication. I’ve been in too many situations or relationships where things ended due to lack of proper communication.

        So much of what happens in the world starts of with a single thought. The human mind is amazing!!!

        But now it feels like I’m writing a post so I’ll stop here lest I’m banned from commenting on your feed for all eternity lol 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will never ban you from this feed for long comments. I love to hear what people have to say about themselves and I share with you a fascination with the human mind. For you to share with me about your own mind is the best thing that could possibly happen.
        I agree, the human mind is truly amazing. When you think of the range of our thoughts, about how we can go from the sweet songs of the birds in the trees above our heads to an alien civilisation at the edge of the universe within a single heartbeat (see – you just did it), then it really is rather awesome to behold.
        I was thinking last night about the things of the world and about how they are just ephemera compared to the beauty and intense silence of being in God’s presence. The world, no matter how big a noise it may seem, is just a tiny speck of mud compared to the immense ocean of love that is God. If only each one of us could keep God’s presence strong in our heart then the fussing and fighting that our relationships with each other sometimes become would just fade into a background hum. To be becalmed in God’s love is just … yum!
        And now I feel like I’m slipping from comment territory into full-blown post territory.
        Thanks for inviting me into your mind and for letting my thoughts mingle with yours. 🙂
        Kindness – Robert.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Smiling ☺️☺️
    Now I need a holy writer’s confessing booth.
    Oh look I found one:
    Please forgive me Father Robert for I have sinned. I’ve murdered many, haven’t always kept my sabbath, have not always loved my mother an father… What should I do?
    Dajena 🌙😎🌙

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  4. Not only are you a fun and entertaining sort of person to go back and forth with here but my goodness! You are a brilliant writer as well! im so pleased to be able to read what an absolute gift it is yes?! just sayin i loved the whole thing but no. 7 was my fav….. Creepy–right? Desist. Brilliant absolutely brilliant! seriously! you make me want to read more and more!

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