Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing

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Neil Gaiman is without a doubt one of the most imaginative writers on the market today, so when he comes out with writing rules, you want to do exactly as he says.  I love that his suggestions are not really “secrets”, but rather no-nonsense approaches to writing, with the first rule being to sit down and do it.

Check out all of Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing below, then tell us your favorite one:

Neil Gaiman 8 Rules for Writing

And to make it easy, the rules in text format:

  1. Write
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
  6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
  7. Laugh at your own jokes.
  8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Want to read a couple of Gaiman’s best books?  I suggest starting with either Neverwhere (Kindle/Hard copy) or American Gods (Kindle/Hard Copy)


9 thoughts on “Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing

    krispiescifi said:
    October 10, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Most likely the best advice I have read as an aspiring writer. Thx

      jlawrencesmith said:
      July 7, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      I believe the best advice Mr. Gaiman gives is “1. Write”, For without following this suggestion all others are nil.

    […] have posted a lot of writing tips on here recently, many from great authors such as Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon.  And searching for all of these got me to thinking about my own writing, and the […]

    […] make no secret that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, especially when it comes to modern fantasy.  He not only has one of […]

    Lynn Reynolds said:
    August 15, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Reblogged this on Lynn Reynolds – Author and commented:
    So I was going to write a blog about writing today, but I was busy writing. And then when I checked Pinterest this evening, I found that a friend had posted a link to this. You’re welcome.

    Deb Stone said:
    November 1, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    Great rules!

    jrobindalton said:
    November 1, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Reblogged this on Robin Dalton and the Dream Running Ahead of Me and commented:
    Great wisdom here.

    Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing « ornakits said:
    December 12, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    […] Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing. […]

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