The No B.S. blog about Travel, Writing and Life

The Writer’s Bill of Rights

Over the last week I have been writing and thinking about how to promote creativity and inspiration. I started by quoting Chick Corea and his advice for Creating Space. I followed this advice up with a rambling pile of my nonsense that genuinely hoped to explore removing the unnecessary in Taking Out the Trash.

Today, as I sat at my computer with a little more zest, this list began to come out. I have to acknowledge that I sometimes do not give myself permission to write everything down. If you feel like I do, take my list as permission to explore the nature and power of your being as a brilliant and fearless writer.

The Creative Writer’s Bill of Rights (or The Creative Bill of Writes)

1. The artist can turn off all filters and say anything about any subject, at any time, for any reason.

2. No subject matter, no how uncomfortable or offensive to self or others, is off limits

3. No single word: expletive or other no-no should be avoided due to political correctness or fear. If the word is appropriate in the context of the writing, it should stay. *

4. Any random thought should be written down by the writer, especially when the writer’s internal voice says, you can’t say that!

5. No matter how perfect a writing is, it could be edited down further or expanded upon.

6. Sometimes a writer will have to kill his or her babies. This means some great ideas/lines/articles will have to be removed, taken out, destroyed, sacrificed or edited in order to make the writing better. It can be a painful process.

7. Making changes that others have suggested, after careful scrutiny, gives the writer more authority as a writer.

8. Ignoring changes that others have suggested, after careful scrutiny, gives the writer more authority as a writer.

9. Getting a big authentic reaction is good – whether the reader liked the writing or not. Big reactions like “You suck,” is not a good reason to rewrite.

10. Taking a risk is a good thing.

11. Making a difference takes risk.

* Writing for shock value: using words and topics to offend for the sake of being offensive, is not creative. It is divisive and outside the scope of this sacred document — where is good parchment when you need it?

I figured that there must be other Creative Bill of Rights. I looked it up. I was right so I am calling this the Creative Writer’s Bill of Rights, even though the lists I saw seemed to need some help. If I missed something that as creative people we need to hear. Please add to this list in the comments section.

8 Comments

  1. I love this Devin! Take a look at # 11. Is it me?
    Making a difference, yes, you are.

  2. Hey Kat,
    Thank you so much for the support.

  3. #7 and #8 appear to be the yin and the yang!
    I especially think the points regarding editing are important. And feedback, especially discerning constructive from “you suck” is also good.
    I’m wondering about the word reaction –response? feedback? a critique?
    Anyway, nice start. I’m sure you’ll play with this a bit more.

  4. Hi Kanani,
    No question. I will just keep picking at this one. It is the beauty of the Internet. Not sure if I understand you, “response? feedback? a critique?” but it’s still early for me here and could use some breakfast.

  5. Oh, reaction…the word just brings about so many images from extreme to calm. Most people call it feedback or a criticism. But reaction is more on a gut level, so maybe that is the right word. Though perhaps you should put something about “responses from your parents, girlfriend and best friends aren’t always the ones to rely on.”

  6. Thanks Kanani,
    Yes, I get what you’re saying and I would agree word choice is always key for nuance and mood and getting it right. As for critiques from family and friends usually doesn’t help much — although I love their support. I always recommend getting feedback from someone you respect, reads a lot, you don’t know really well, but gets you as a person. I have some pages out right now with a writer friend who matches my criteria.

  7. Hello there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks!
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  8. I think that writing, and creativity should come from the heart instead of the mind. A person writes about what they know the best, and try to inspire others, that’s what i do anyway.
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