Ten Commandments of Richard Bausch

1. Read: “You must try to know everything that has ever been written that is worth remembering, and you must keep up with what your contemporaries are doing.”

2. Imitate: “While you are doing this reading, you spend time trying to sound like the various authors — just as a painter, learning to paint, sets up his easel in the museum and copies the work of the masters.”

3. “Be regular and ordinary in your habits, like a Petit Bourgeois, so you may be violent and original in your work.” — borrowed from Flaubert

4. Train yourself to be able to work anywhere.

5. Be Patient. “You will write many more failures than successes. Say to yourself, I accept failure as the condition of this life, this work. I freely accept it as my destiny. Then go on and do the work. You never ask yourself anything beyond Did I work today?”

6. Be Willing. “Accepting failure as a part of your destiny, learn to be willing to fail, to take the chances that often lead to failure in the hope that one of them might lead to something good.”

7. Eschew politics. “You are in the business of portraying the personal life, the personal cost of events, so even if history is part of your story, it should only serve as a backdrop.”

8. Do not think, dream.

9. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, and learn to keep from building expectations.

10. Be wary of all general advice.