I pinched this idea from recent articles in the Guardian where a number of writers are penning their ten rules for writing. I thought I'd add mine.
1 Always have a pencil and paper with you, in every handbag, shopping bag or pocket.
2. Travel by public transport, you see and meet some great characters for novels.
3. Earwig other people's conversations in cafes, bars, buses, trains. You can collect some wonderful ideas for stories and some fantastic anecdotes.
4. Watch people's body language, it adds colour to your characters.
5. Write for yourself first, it will help you to find your own distinctive voice, rather than trying to write to suit your publisher, agent, readers and ending up with something watered down and weak.
6. Don't read reviews, or if you do learn to take the rough with the smooth and then carry on writing for yourself and for enjoyment, not to please a reviewer.
7. Back up everything, regularly.
8. Have a spare computer, laptop or netbook and if one fails, and you've backed up, you can always continue writing.
9. If you get to the stage in your novel where you're bored with the story, then your reader will most certainly be bored too.
10. Writing is hard work. You don't get a pension plan, and you don't get a regular salary cheque. Nobody is forcing you to do this: you chose it, so don't moan, enjoy it and if you don't enjoy it, don't do it.
Needless to say I love it.
What are your ten rules?