The Ten Commandments For Bad Writers

By Antonio M. D'souza (aka digitalboy)
  1. Practice writing as little as possible

    Do not write anything unless you absolutely have to. You only have a limited amount of creative talent to exploit, and every time you produce a fine piece of writing you diminish this talent reserve. Therefore, it is essential that you keep your writing activities to a minimum, lest all your talent goes to waste. People who advise you to practice writing are generally former writers who have now exhausted their literary genius and wish to ruin your career out of jealousy. Just ignore them and remember that for truly exceptional writers, such as yourself, magnificent work is simple to churn out. It is a mere matter of transferring the clever thoughts in your head onto paper. And we all know how little expertise that takes.

  2. Read as little as possible

    Avoid reading too many widely recognised literary works. Your unique writing style is the essence of everything that makes you a writer. Perusing the works of other accomplished writers tends to contaminate your originality of thought. Due to this you must take great care to refrain from letting the styles of other writers taint your core outlook and perceptions. In fact, you ought to make every attempt to expel from your mind any influences that have resulted from previous reading. Your ultimate goal should be to arrive at a state of pure thought without any traces of ideas propounded by others. It is a well known fact that the closer you get to this condition, the more original your style of writing becomes.

  3. One draft is good enough

    Resist the urge to go through several drafts of your work-in-progress. Drafts are for amateurs. Real writers do not revise their work. Make any required changes as you write. The whole concept of reworking and editing has been popularised by careless neophyte writers who feel the need to prove that they have actually been doing something during the long periods in which they painfully craft a piece of writing. Eliminate your need for any such approval seeking measures so that you can be a more efficient writer. After all, there is no benefit to producing more written content than is required, especially if it is never going to be published. So get it right the first time, even if this means that you have to stare at a blank sheet for hours before putting your thoughts into words.

  4. No experience is necessary

    You do not need a plethora of unique experiences under your belt to be able to write convincingly. This is just a myth perpetuated by writers trying to cover up the fact that they have spent too much of their lives engaged in frivolous pursuits. Imagination is a wonderful substitute for experience. If you are unaware of the facts, simply make them up. Admittedly, this is easiest when writing fiction. However, most readers will blindly accept anything they see in print, so feel free to contort the truth as the need arises. If anyone should challenge this practice, refer them to an escape clause known as Creative License.

  5. Begin at the beginning

    The best way to produce a piece of outstanding writing is to adhere strictly to the writing process. The systematic method of writing works, as evidenced by the successes of countless modern pulp fiction authors. You should stick to the system, no matter what your instincts dictate. Even if you have a great idea for the middle of your piece, make no attempt to write it down until you have finished the beginning. The chronological sequence of your work is vitally important to the writing process and anything that disrupts it must be weeded out. Using the formula consistently will lead to commercially viable material. Straying from this path may have the unfortunate effect of allowing you to construct a piece of writing that deviates from your usual style. To prevent this disastrous state of affairs from being realised, it is crucial that you never plunge into the middle of your writing project. As you can see, spontaneity has no place in the art of writing.

  6. Edit as you go

    It is better to write nothing than to fill the page with tripe. A collection of sentences that crave proofreading is pathos personified. Perfect each sentence before moving on to the next. This measure will eliminate the possibility of someone reading your unfinished work and, heaven forbid, having a critical thought about it. The very idea of someone coming across an unfinished piece of work is enough to make one shudder. In your quest for perfection leave no sentence unpolished. To be a truly exceptional writer, you need to fashion each sentence like a virtuoso, breathing life into the inanimate words that lay dormant in your vocabulary. Well, either that or you can resort to using the spellcheck.

  7. Stay focused

    The most efficient way to write is to concentrate on one writing project until it is complete. Do not, at any cost, divert your energies from this project while it remains unfinished. The human mind is not accustomed to dealing with more than a couple of tasks at a time. Taxing your intellect by piling on more work than you can handle is a surefire recipe for mediocre results. Keeping this in mind, remember to toil away at every writing project, without losing focus, until you have produced something worthy of being read. The worst thing you could ever do is to work on more than one writing project simultaneously. Doing that might actually allow your mind to relax and release some of the stress that you have laboured so hard to build up. This practice could have grave consequences, such as giving you a fresh perspective on something that you have already gone through the trouble of taking a stand on.

  8. Use as many words as possible

    It is very important to impress the reader with your high level of diction. In order to accomplish this, use as many long and complicated words as possible. Besides, short sentences will make you seem incapable of expressing complex thoughts. This mandates the need for extremely long sentences with an abundance of commas. Another trick to consider is using several words in the place of one. Employing this little strategy can easily expand a piece of writing by up to 25%. Pumping your sentences full of adjectives and adverbs has the added benefit of letting you get across the exact shade of what you want to say. If the reader cannot comprehend your work because your sentences are too elaborate to grasp, it is not your problem. Reader ignorance is not your responsibility. If the only people who can make sense of your writing are lawyers, then consider yourself a very exclusive writer.

  9. Never change your perspective

    After you have been writing for a while, your readers develop a taste for the way you write. In a sense, they become addicted to your writing style. At this juncture, a change in the way you write can alienate the reader base that you have built up. This phenomenon is not hard to understand. Readers, being human, are hard wired to crave consistency. So when change is thrust upon them, they instinctively head the other way. Therefore, if you intend to have something approaching a successful career as a writer, then you had better not disregard this little detail. Authors like P. G. Wodehouse, who exploited this human weakness, enjoyed tremendous commercial success. Mr. Wodehouse discovered that it can be very lucrative to recycle the same plot, using different characters in each iteration. Changing your perspective regularly however, can devastate your readers and plunge your career into a downhill spiral. As a writer, it is not your job to introduce fresh ideas to the world.

  10. Stick to what you are good at

    If you are a left brained person, do not waste your time trying to be artistic or intuitive. If you are a right brained person, do not squander your time attempting to be logical or rational. It will not get you anywhere. You should channel your energies exclusively into cultivating the talents that you have been naturally endowed with. If you choose, instead, to explore your less dominant side then you could end up a more balanced person. That prospect alone ought to be sufficient to deter you from getting too curious. Imagine that, eh. A mentally balanced writer! Whoever heard of such a thing?


This is an original work of mine.

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