The interpretation of these rules is mine, not the Dalai Lama’s, but I hope I’ve stayed within the spirit of his intention.
1: Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk
Yes, there’s a chance nobody will want to publish your book or buy your screenplay. If you self-publish, there’s a possibility few will buy your book. But if you are passionate about writing, these risks are worth it.
2: When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
Rejection is part of the writing process. Sometimes it doesn’t even take someone else to reject our work, we may realize when a project is done that it’s not our best work and put it aside. But there are lessons within each rejection, whether they be about writing or marketing, and if we can gain those, we’ve not lost.
3: Follow the three Rs:
Respect for self
If writing is important to you, go for it even if others are sceptical or unsupportive. Respect your dream.
Respect for others
There will always be people who don’t get it. These could be family members who don’t understand why you’re spending so much time on something they can’t relate to, or editors who fail to appreciate your work, or people who make rude or stupid comments on your blog or in a review. Don’t waste time trying to win them over. Respect their right to have an opinion…and your right to ignore it. But also be open to the possibility that sometimes criticism stated the wrong way may still have something useful at its core.
Responsibility for all your actions
If you’re not writing, it’s nobody else’s fault. Yes, you have pressures and demands but many who have had as many or more obstacles have managed to write books and scripts and plays.
4: Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
There are many successful writers who desperately wanted their first novel to be published and it wasn’t. Years later they look back and say thank goodness, because it wasn’t good enough. Had it been published, probably it would have failed and delayed their eventual success.
5: Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
The so-called rules of writing have evolved from the experience of many writers over many years, and they will stand you in good stead most of the time. Once you understand them, you can feel free to experiment and break them.
6: Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
Never ask for anyone's opinion about your work unless you're ready to hear it--good or bad--and not let negative feedback affect your relationship. As I said above, some people in your life won't get it. If you value those people for other reasons, keep your writing life as separate as possible from your interactions with them.
(next post: rules 7-12)