Writing

Author’s manifesto for 2021

This manifesto has imbibed the experience and principles of the best Russian editors. I collected them for four years and presented them today as a list of 25 theses. These rules help me not to do bullshit and protect me from bad projects.

Editing

  1. Before you start writing a copy, think about how not to make one.
  2. Your text will not change the world. It’s just another text.
  3. Don’t play with the words, don’t move them around. It doesn’t change much.
  4. Don’t grind your copies to perfection. Perfect things exist only in your mind.
  5. Publish your post while it’s burning and exciting.
  6. Hire a proofreader so that you don’t have to argue with the client about spelling and punctuation.

Service

  1. Take responsibility for the result you provide, not for separate words, sentences, or the number of characters.
  2. Ask questions and listen carefully to the client. He has answers and solutions.
  3. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t go missing, and warn about troubles as soon as they arise.
  4. Don’t teach your client how to write texts, and don’t be stubborn like a ram. Don’t argue about your unique vision of writing and style. No one is interested in it.
  5. Solve the task and do not try to prove to the client that you’re the boss here.
  6. Leave emotions behind the door when you enter the meeting. Reschedule the call if you are a little off the rails.
  7. Don’t grovel and don’t settle for bad decisions. You have to defend your principles.

Money

  1. Always work on a contract, take an advance payment.
  2. There is no such thing as a fair or average price for a text. A fair price is the one that suits you and the client.
  3. It’s hard to make a living on plain texts. To make more, sell the service, not the text or the number of characters.
  4. Develop skills in related areas: layout, management, design, code, typography, illustration, negotiation, law.
  5. Never work with urgent tasks. You won’t make much money, but you’re guaranteed to eat some shit and be left holding the bag.
  6. Work only on the projects you would not be ashamed of and that you can put in your portfolio.
  7. Don’t get into a project with a bad context out of need. You won’t be happy with the money.

Strength

  1. Remember you’re great. You make a living with your mind. Not everyone dares to do this.
  2. When you don’t see a way out, go back to the initial brief and the task your client brought in. Usually, there’s an answer or a hint.
  3. See all projects through to completion. Finish all your projects. In a difficult moment, remind yourself why you got into this project and keep the goal in mind.
  4. Take care of your health: sleep at night, exercise, eat well. Make 10,000 steps a day, eat fruit, vegetables, and greens, drink more water and less coffee.
  5. Be honest and frank with yourself. All problems begin with lies.

P. S. This year I’m going to talk to the authors, writers, and editors, even more, to fill the manifesto with new principles that I consider crucial and useful. I hope that in five years, when the fifth version of the manifesto comes out, we’ll be able to trace how the profession of the writer has changed.