Fixation Rules for Writing

Michael Atkins
4 min readJun 6, 2021

“He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” — George Bernard Shaw

A curtain slowly opens as soon as you find yourself able to see again. The shapes become recognizable, the colors become more vivid, and the light becomes brighter. Suddenly, life takes on a whole new meaning.

You are eager to relearn the things you had missed when you were wrapped in blindness. You are ready to relearn the rules of life. And when you do, you find that there are both many rules and there are no rules.

Whatever craft you wish to learn, you will be bombarded by people who will want to teach you what to do and how to do it. Nevertheless, don’t ever lose sight that you are an individual with a unique character and a rare spirit. You are different from me and, therefore, you will not hear me telling you about a set of rules that should apply to your life. Even the people in your industry will not have the same formula for success as yours.

In writing, I have observed that there are way more writers teaching others how to write, passing down the so-called rules to writing than writers who actually write. After all, it is easier to teach than to do, and it feels like a nice shortcut towards success.

I try my best not to teach anyone “how” to write. I want to believe that what I’m describing is my own process of writing. If you find motivation or inspiration that you can apply to your own writing process, that’s great! If not, then that’s okay too.

Let me share with you the first rule that I’ve learned. This rule applies to almost any field or career.

Rule #1: Practice makes perfect!

Everybody tends to acknowledge this rule, yet it’s surprising to observe how many people still try to cut corners and seek out shortcuts. They want instant gratification even if they already know there are probably none to be found. It takes constant effort and practice to improve your craft. You may have some magic up your sleeves, and if so, that’s fortunate for you. However, I have found through firsthand experience that if you want to be good at anything, you need to practice and practice consistently.

Practice does not necessarily guarantee success, however. There will always be people who are better than you and vice…

Michael Atkins

Technologist and life-long language learner. Speaks fluent Japanese and Indonesian among other languages. Inspiring the world through love of language learning