You Don’t Have To Do Anything As A Writer

You Don’t Have To Do Anything As A Writer


Are you tired of all the rules? In this post, we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to do anything as a writer.

I have have to fatigue. We have to do this, we have to say this, we have to write like this.

So, 2020 was insane, and 2021 seems to be series of curve balls that just keep coming. We’re only halfway through and I’m over it all.

And then I see, these dear writers staggering under the weight of have to. You have to show. You have to use everything but an adverb. You have to write every day. You have to ‘King Lear’ it. You have to plot.

You Don’t Have To Do Anything As A Writer

Well, I’m here to tell you: you have to nothing.

Just write. Write the story that is in your heart. The story that is bouncing around in your head. Write it wonderfully, wobbly, and adverbially. Write it with robust nouns and thundering verbs, just bloody well write it.

Write it at 5 a.m. if you’re in the club. Write all three pages first thing. Write it at midnight or at 3 a.m. or in a bathroom stall during lunch hour. Write it when you’re high. Write it when you’re low. Write it when you’re drunk. Write it when you’re sober.

Don’t write it if you’re in a funk. You don’t need to add to the pressure. Write it in rhyme. Write it in your own time. There is no expiration date. If deadlines work, milk them for all they’re worth. If they don’t, look at the moon and wait for the muse to descend. Just bloody well write it.

Write it on a computer. Write it by hand. Chisel it on a rock. Write things that would scandalise your mother but delight your grandmother. Write it with a literary slant and yes, you can chuck in a vampire if you want. Write it for yourself. Write it for the world. Write it for your children. Write it for no one. Just bloody well write it. Or don’t. You don’t have to anything.

And if you are a little unsure, I have gone full teacher mode and included a permission slip for you. Print it out and fill it in.

You Don’t Have To Do Anything As A Writer - Permission Slip

Download it here: Permission Slip – You Don’t Have To Do Anything As A Writer

Watch the post on YouTube or watch it here:

The Last Word

I hope this post shows you that you don’t have to do anything as a writer.

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

Mia Botha by Mia Botha

Buy Mia’s book on how to write short stories: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice

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Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

This article has 7 comments

  1. Anne

    That’s the most valuable post you’ve ever written!
    I write my first novel knowing nothing about the ‘rules’, and the story poured out onto my screen. Then I started finding out that a writer must do this and must not do that. I rebelled at first. At one event I attended I was struggling with “show, not tell,” and I challenged the guru who was running it. “What government has enacted this rule and passed it into law?”. She did not understand my question.
    Finally the pressure of others’ opinions overwhelmed me. By the time I was writing my third novel, I froze. My muse (Thalia) had gone on strike – even a glass of wine no longer moved her.
    Fortunately, my rebellious streak had never really been quelled. After some months of stagnation, I surfaced from the miasma of Musts, and my muse and my creativity have returned.
    That’s not to say that I’ve learned nothing from the ‘rules’, but I’m now relying on my own intuition and relishing the freedom of expression which self-publishing gives.
    If in the process I shatter a few shibboleths, so-be-it.

  2. Laurie

    Thank you, Mia! I’ll forever hang onto that Permission Slip. Maybe I’ll actually write something now.

    • Mia Botha

      Thank you, Laurie. Print it really big. xoxo

  3. BLFeaster

    THANK YOU. While it seems like such simple advice, I admit, I’m paralyzed with “have to” stuff. I’ve barely written a word because every writer guru says -LIKE THIS, LIKE THAT, NO, no NO you cannot do that. I have stories to tell. I just want to tell them without worrying about what voice I’m using or if I’ve done an outline or have every chapter planned out on a white board and hanging in front of my face.

    • Mia

      Write the story that is in your heart. Just get it down. The rest will come later.

  4. Rhonda Handyside

    I LOVE IT! I have been going around in circles trying to follow all the rules, thinking I wasn’t a ‘proper writer. You have set me free. 😁

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