Desiderata for Writers

(written for a young friend at Breadloaf)

Go placidly amid the digital and techno worlds, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be generous to other writers.
Write your truth quietly and with persistence, and read others? work without envy.
Avoid loud and egotistical writers, they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with other writers, you may become vain and bitter; for there will always be greater and lesser writers than yourself.
Enjoy your own completed writing as well as new.
Keep interested in your own writing career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of the publishing world.
Exercise caution in your writing affairs, for the internet is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is, many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of people who are writing and reading more than ever before.
Be yourself. Especially do not copy another author?s voice or style for too long ? keep a journal to develop your own voice.
Do not pretend passion where there is none, neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all criticism and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of editors and workshop peers, gracefully surrender that which is unclear or superfluous, but remember that your own opinion is irreplaceable.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you against harsh or inept criticism from graceless or misguided writers. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Their opinion, whether accurate or not, is not final.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. Write from gratitude whenever possible, and walk with friends each day.
Remember there are endless types of writers, all with different processes. You must seek your own way of working.
You are part of the digital universe, no less than iTunes and Amazon, you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Each new story leads to the next.
Therefore be at peace with the divine in your writing, whatever you conceive ?divine? to be, and whatever your choice ? self-publishing, agent, traditional publisher ? in the noisy confusion of the digital revolution, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world full of stories.
Be careful with your energy.
Strive to do your best writing and be happy.
With thanks to Max Ehrmann, who said: “I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift; a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods.”