A Writer’s Commandments

Should every writer take a sworn public oath and make a certified commitment to act out of a certain standard that serves readers, helps society, and shows respect for others? 

We are each, when called to testify before a court of law, asked to take an oath.  

When we are getting married by a religious leader, we commit before God to care for one another.  

If we sign up to serve in the military or certain civil service jobs, such as police or fire, we take an ethical oath to act a certain way.  

Is it time we ask those involved in the business of words — publishers, literary agents, promoters, book editors, advertisers, cover designers, and authors — to take an oath?  

Making a public declaration can be powerful. We do it with a New Year’s resolution. We do it before an addiction recovery group. We do it daily with promises and proclamations on our social media. So why not craft a document each of us can sign onto: A Writer’s Commandments. 

What might be in such an oath? 

How about this:  

I am dedicating my mind, body, and soul to be the best writer that I can possibly be. I am committed to learning, receiving criticism, and utilizing the help of others in order to improve my craft, the very art of using words to inspire, enlighten, inform, and entertain others. 

I vow to ensure my writings:

·         Are steeped in fact and truth.

·         Use a diverse array of credible sources.

·         Exhibit proper word usage.

·         Employ correct punctuation and proper spelling.

·         Make a commitment to being edited. 

I promise to:

·         Staunchly defend free speech.

·         Responsibly use my First Amendment right.

·         Speak out against, but not call for the cancellation of, books that I disagree with or feel offended by.

·         Write an original book.

·         Advocate for any silenced author, even if I disagree with their books or dislike the author.

·         Never plagiarize, misquote, or steal the creations of others.

·         Not defame or libel anyone.

·         Avoid using the power of the pen just to seek revenge against the innocent, do unfair harm, or disproportionately criticize another. 

·         Not misreport a source, invent data, deny facts, intentionally mislead others, or fake results.

·         Avoid suppressing or concealing a view or objection of any view that I believe I cannot rebut.

·         Not caricaturize, distort, or faithlessly undermine an opposing view.

Further, I will:

·         Commit to marketing my books and not leave that to chance.

·         Mentor others or share advice about writing.

·         Seek to write books of value to society and not just look to capitalize on purely commercial opportunities.

·         Push myself to write beyond my comfort level or the formulaic approaches of others.

·         Recognize my role as the guardian of the arts and use my creative talents to serve the greater good of the world.

·         Not allow for petty jealousy to lead me to act inappropriately towards another writer or member of the book publishing community.

·         Give back to the book world and society at large by donating books, funds, or services to those in need.

·         Take pride in my work but not act solely to serve my ego.

·         Sacrifice my time, money, and life experiences for the greater good of pouring my mindshare, energy, and body into writing my best work yet.

·         Respectfully and ethically use the power of the pen to seek justice — and peace, love, and democracy — in the world. 

As a writer, I believe we have a moral obligation to take the oath proposed here. If you disagree with it, tell me why.  If you agree, go and live this oath. Post it — with credit back with attribution to me, of course. Share it and encourage others to live by A Writer’s Commandments. Then go out and write, write, write.

 

Contact For Help

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at [email protected] He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in helping thousands of authors in all genres.

 

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a “best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.