I can’t stop writing. Whether I write well or not, I will let others decide. All I know is that I am a writer—because I have the two things that make someone worthy of the title “writer”: (1) deadlines and (2) a paycheck. And I offer what little advice I can give to aspiring writers. In ten maxims.
1. Good writing is truth through personality.
In normal circumstances, you’ll never hear me say anything close to “Be yourself.” Our culture says that often enough; the few people who need to hear it can hear it from others. But as a writer, you do need to find your voice. An old friend in college told me, “When I read what you write, I can hear you saying those words.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but that praise would become an ideal for me, a goal to shoot for. I think it also shaped the way I talk, made it a bit more formal, more like writing.
I had a brilliant, witty friend in grad school, an English teacher, and he made a similar…