Roberta Jean Bryant’s “Seven Laws of Writing”

Hi Folks,

Recently I pulled a scrap of folded, crumpled, mutilated paper out of my desk. I opened it and found Jean Bryant’s Seven Laws of Writing.

I had actually typed them on a sheet of typing paper, then cut out around them and saved them. I don’t know for sure when that was, but I’m certain it predates the book in which they’re now found (see below).

Anyway, now and then when I look back on this I am amazed it took me so long to learn these incredibly straightforward guidelines.

These “laws” are excerpted (now) from Roberta Jean Bryant’s Anybody Can Write: A Playful Approach (2002). You can find it at I recommend it. Of course, the book contains a great deal more than these laws.

But for now, here are the Seven Laws of Writing:

1. To write is an active verb. Thinking is not writing. Writing is words on paper.

2. Write passionately. Everyone has loves and hates; even quiet people lead passionate lives. Creativity follows passion.

3. Write honestly. Risk nakedness. Originality equals vulnerability.

4. Write for fun, for personal value. If you don’t enjoy it, why should anyone else? Pleasure precedes profit.

5. Write anyway. Ignore discouraging words, internal and external. Persistence pays off.

6. Write a lot. Use everything. Learning comes from your own struggles with words on paper.

7. Write out of commitment to your ideas, commitment to yourself as a writer. Trust yourself.

There you have it. Writing into the dark, anyone? Add this to Heinlein’s Rules and it’s all you need. Well, that and a keyboard.

Happy writing!


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