Thursday, November 24, 2022

Be Kind to Yourself by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey




Writers are sometimes hard on themselves when it comes to their writing. As a writer I can be my own worst critic. One moment I think I am writing something great and the next it will seem like the most boring stuff. Sometimes I look at other writer’s books and wish I could write like them.

Over the years I’ve tried to keep to the following rules. These might help any new or experienced writer.

No. One: Remember every writer, whether a best seller or a working-hard-at-becoming-a-best-seller, started their very first book with a blank page.

No. Two: Don’t try to write your novel in one sitting, or one month, or even one year. Give yourself time to enjoy the experience, to change the story line, if need be, as you progress, and to get to know your characters. I attended a romance writing course and the speaker, who wrote for Harlequin, said you should know everything about your main character, even what type of toothpaste she uses.

No. Three: Sometimes, now is not the time to write the book you’re sure will be the next great best seller. Sometimes you need to put in more time learning the craft, like how to write good dialogue, how to flesh out your characters, and how to decide which is the best location to set your story.

No. Four: It is nice to have a set schedule for writing, whether it’s from 5-7am before work, 8-10pm after the children are in bed, but sometimes that won’t always work. Some authors write twenty minutes here and there throughout the day. Some try for two hours Saturday morning and an hour Wednesday evening. Find what works best for you and try to stick to it as best you can.

No. Five: Whatever language you write in, make sure your language skills are up to par. I write in English and all my life I knew that when a person nodded their head, they agreed and when they shook their head they disagreed. In some books I’ve seen where the character shook their head yes and nodded their head for no.

No Six: Try to have a separate space for your writing even if it is a corner in your dining room or bedroom. That way when you are there you know you have replaced you mom or dad hat, or your friend hat, or your working hat with your writing hat.

No. Seven: Back-up your work whether it be on a thumb drive, or the cloud, or even an email to yourself. I’ve read of many writers who have lost whole chapters or multiple chapters due to their computer crashing. Don’t let that happen to you.

No. Eight: Most of all be kind to yourself. Not every word you write is going perfect, not every story your write is going to be a masterpiece. But each time you finish a project you can tell yourself: “You Did it!!Good Job!!”


  1. Thank you for the permission to not be perfect. This whole list is so helpful in how it simply breaks the art of writing down into manageable elements. Now, I have some research to do on toothpaste. LOL

  2. Excellent advice for any writer. I'll have to reorganize my old writing schedule next year, having a regular time to write is very important. Your brain gets into the writing groove. Thanks for sharing.


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