I'm reading Crush It, by Gary Vaynerchuk. In case you haven't heard of him, he's the marketing genius who built his father's liquor business from four million in sales to fifty million in sales in just eight years. How did he do it? Mainly through video blogging, with his show, Wine Library TV, and the use of social media.
His book is a quick read, and essential if you've not yet dabbled much in social media. If you have, you'll probably get more in the way of inspiration than new information. But hey, I'm all for inspiration! And one of the things that Gary wrote about inspired this post, so there you have it. Specifically, in chapter one, he writes about the three rules by which he lives. His are: love your family, work super hard, live your passion.
I've been thinking about this three rule thing a lot lately. I'm really attracted to the concept of living life by a set of rules, which is odd, because in general I'm a rebellious type. Years ago, in a critique group (which I seem to be thinking a lot about lately, since I wrote about it here, too) we talked quite a bit about characters with moral codes. You know the kind–the detective who may, to outside appearances, seem to be completely insubordinate and anarchic, but when you dig deeper you learn he's got good motivation and a strong compass to guide him. A current example of this on TV would be, of course, Dexter, who is a serial killer who kills serial killers.
So, I decided to assign myself the task of coming up with three rules by which I live. I approached this by thinking about what my absolute, bottom-line, bedrock beliefs are, and by how they get played out in my day to day life. Oh, and by the way, you'll see that these are, because of my very nature, writing related, but as far as I'm concerned writing bleeds into life and life bleeds back into writing, so the two are inseparable.
Ready? Here goes:
Three Rules for Living
1. Always Connect. In my Writing Abundance workshops, I always, always, always begin by talking about the practice of connecting. To me, this means connecting with something bigger than you, most likely the divine, in however you view it. Take time to meditate or pray, in whatever form this takes for you, every day. Beyond this absolutely crucial practice, you can view this rule in other ways, too, as in connect with friends and family to get their support for your writing, connect with others via social media, connect with writers through critique groups or other networking opportunities. Connecting is vital.
2. Give it All Up, Get it All Back. This also translates to, put it all on the page, always. I just wrote a whole blog post about the practice of letting go. It is a worthy thing to aspire to in life, and it will serve you well in writing, too. Put everything you have on the page every time you sit down to write. Fling your whole self on the keyboard or paper. Don't hold back, don't back off. You can–and will–edit later. Fling yourself at life, putting everything out there, without worrying about what will happen. Remember, we only think we know what is going to happen tomorrow. I've learned the hard way that plans can change in an instant. So don't waste time trying to control what you can't (and this includes reactions from agents, editors and readers).
3. Write or Create Every Day. I am a firm believer that writing every day is the best way to establish a prolific and prosperous writing career. It is incredibly difficult to maintain momentum on a project when you are only giving it sporadic attention. Yes, there is something to be said for taking breaks, and I'm a fan of downtime (I love me American Idol) and self-care, which I deem to be essential. But there are 24 hours in a day, in case you hadn't heard. Couldn't you spend just 15 minutes of them with pen and paper?
So there you have them, my three rules. Ask me about them same time next year and I might well have a new set. But these are mine for now. What are yours? Do you like the idea of having rules to live by?
**Photo by DrewMeyers, used under Creative Commons 2.5 license.
0 thoughts on “Three Rules”
Being a rebellious sort of person, my rules are there to challenge me, so I tend to set up a way of life living by very much what you have said in this post, but I need to be very careful with the word “rule”, because if the ego hears may saying something like that, he has a rule of his own. He calls it procrastination! 🙂
I love to connect. Probably as a result of my zazen (Zen meditation) I have trained my mind to be that way – so I am already looking at how my rules – shhh.. ways of life – act synergically.
Writing every day. Well, I may cheat on this a little. I am writing, but responding to blogs and forums I belong to and e-mails. I always feel inspired when I hear one of my friends reading out his fictional creations and think to myself, I will really need to get a story going. But then blogging and forums take over. But I think… As long as I am writing every day, what difference does it make? Zen is always giving me questions to answer like that.
I think you may have inspired me to spend 10-15 minutes today and create a character for a story. Now I am staring at the last sentence in black and white and as crazy as it sounds, there is a slight panic inside.. So thank you for the challenge.. Just what I needed! 🙂
Hi Derek, Well, I hope that you took those few minutes and created yourself a character. If not, you are correct, what does it matter what you are writing, as long as you are writing?
I almost forgot! But just as I was about to quit for the day, I found this note to myself on my desk. “Create a character”. I did so. It didn’t work as well as I thought it would as he was a bit cliched.. But I did it! I will have another look at him today..
Derek, Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you create has to be perfect. Your character might seem a bit cliched but the more you work on him, the more he will come to life.
And most of all, hooray that you did it!