“God has given us these fifteen – Oy! Ten…ten commandments!” – Moses – History of the World, Part I
For any writer, artist, athlete, musician, or human being with any accidental creative intent, I recommend the following list. In my limited, brief, relatively ridiculous experience, these etched-in-stone rules will help (or possibly confound) any man or woman who takes their craft at least somewhat seriously.
1. Thou shalt not have a but a shadow of thy former social life. – Seriously, who needs friends or lovers when you could be sitting on your couch in sweats, agonizing over how much your latest work sucks?
2. Thou shalt possess a cat or dog who sits on thine work and distracteths from the task at hand – Because, you know, it’d be too much trouble for them to sit on the fucking couch like most normal pets.
3. Thou shalt never clicketh on Facebook, Twitter, or any website ever – If you do, you’re fucked.
4. Thou shalt set aside one hour per day to exerciseth, lest thine body turn to jello – Unless of course you’re going for the George RR Martin look. (Because everyone knows success as a writer = scruffiness + BMI x beard length) Yes, for the ladies, too.
5. Thou shalt paint, write, and sketch while tipsy, yet fixeth it all while painfully sober(ish) – They say alcohol and drugs bring out the creative juices.
5.1 They’re wrong. It just makes fixing your F ups all the more tedious.
Look! A bamboo skull iPhone case! If I buy it, I’ll waste 20 minutes of productive time…and blow my profits from the last 700 books I sold!
6. Thou shalt be no less than three months late for thine deadlines – At best.
7. Thou shalt sleep no longer than five brokeneth hours per night. Three if you have kids, a spouse, or *gasp* a day-job. None if you’re attempting a social life.
8. Thine bank account shall never explodeth, nor erupt, nor even runneth over – Unless you’re fully decked out with the aforementioned beard, in which case you’ll be swimming in cash. And then, after you’re bearded and rich, you’ll never get laid again. (You’ve got a reputation – and a beard – to uphold.)
9. Thou shalt die alone – Relax. I’m kidding. (But not really.)
10. Thou shalt only know joy when thine project is completeth – And then, because you’re a masochist, you’ll start a new project, looking for that one sharp-as-a-sword ray of sunshine to gleam upon your work once again. Dumbass.
I could probably stretch this list to 100, but…
Until next week,
J Edward Neill
Author of the Tyrants of the Dead dark fantasy trilogy
Author of The Sleepers and Old Man of Tessera
Down the Dark Path