Jeannette Winterson is an English author, whom I not heard of until I came across her 10 rules for writing. Now I want to read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl.

Meanwhile, her writing tips are terrific. The admonition attached to the first item on her list – “No discipline equals no freedom” – seems particularly apt. Not only can it be applied to writing, but it also makes sense for life in general.

Winterson offers:

  1. Turn up for work. Discipline allows creative freedom. No discipline equals no freedom.
  2. Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether.
  3. Love what you do.
  4. Be honest with yourself. If you are no good, accept it. If the work you are doing is no good, accept it.
  5. Don’t hold on to poor work. If it was bad when it went in the drawer it will be just as bad when it comes out.
  6. Take no notice of anyone you don’t respect.
  7. Take no notice of anyone with a gender agenda. A lot of men still think that women lack imagination of the fiery kind.
  8. Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.
  9. Trust your creativity.
  10. Enjoy this work!

Photo Credit: Neven Krcmarek 

I lead writing workshops in the Bay Area, and spend much of my so-called free time writing. To support my avocation (and my family) I sell residential real estate in San Francisco; for more about that visit or