Welcome to 2 Rules of Writing!
What We Do:
This website serves two functions:
We are a school whose aim is to help you write better.
We are a gallery for displaying good writing, both our own and that of friends, students, and guest-authors.
So how do we help you write better?
Learning a skill (such as writing) can be enormously helpful in promoting mental health, career advancement, and other tangible benefits. But that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Think back to when you were young. We all learned our first lessons through fun. We played games, assembled alphabet blocks… Why did we stop? Why do we now learn almost exclusively through practice and memorization, and almost never through fun?
a. For some of us, learning itself is fun.
b. If we need to know something, we can motivate ourselves to learn it.
c. Let’s be real. We stopped having time to learn the fun way. We started having deadlines and fun became something we do on nights and weekends, if at all.
It’s good to be an adult who can learn things quickly and efficiently. But that doesn’t mean we never get to learn by playing again. And what about areas of life where the best way to learn is by playing?
I’ve been teaching writing for over 10 years in one form or another. I’ve taught individuals, small groups, large groups… and I can say that if you’re not having fun, not only are you missing out, but you’re not learning to write as well as you might otherwise learn. Society agrees with me. Why are people learning foreign languages from a green owl wearing a mortarboard? One reason is: duller methods of study are not ideal if you’re holding down a job, raising children, doing volunteer work, dealing with chronic health-issues… whatever your main occupations and concerns might be. But another reason is: if you enjoy the learning process, you’ll seek it out. So even if you learn faster from memorizing charts and doing repetitive exercises, you’ll do it less frequently because you’ll find it dull. Or you’ll do it for a shorter period of time because you’ll burn out, lose interest, etc.
Here’s a simple deduction:
If you enjoy something, you’ll do it more.
If you do it more you’ll get better at it.
If you get better at it, you’ll do it more.
Ergo, the way to get better at something is to do it in a way that brings enjoyment.
That’s where the 2 Rules of Writing come in:
- You must make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks. People buy skis and lift tickets and so on to experience the thrill of taking risks. But by opening a word processor window, you can take even greater risks, without so much as leaving home.
- You must finish something. We’re not saying that you have to finish everything you start. Start a few things, in whatever genre you want–poetry, drama, memoir. Decide which of your projects you want to pursue. Then finish the one you’ve chosen. Will there still be mistakes in the finished story (or essay or poem)? Probably–a character you didn’t handle just right, a sentence you didn’t construct just right… That’s okay. No work of literature is perfect. The important thing is to trust, and enjoy, the process.
If you follow these two rules, you’ll find that writing gives you a sense of freedom, of control, of fun, that you don’t find in many other places in your adult life. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll write something amazing.
So go ahead. I invite you to read around the site and see if there’s something that catches your eye. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Adam Katz, Ph.D.
Who We Are:
Adam Katz, PhD (he/his) Born and raised in New York, Adam is a teacher and tutor with over ten years’ experience. Shortly after graduating from Columbia University, Adam began to tutor young people one-on-one, usually in English, Writing, Math, or standardized testing. As part of the PhD program at Stony Brook, Adam taught intro-level classes in Poetry, Fiction, and Drama. In recent years, Adam has been developing a curriculum based on the idea that creative writing is a better tool for learning how to write than the formulaic essays one practices in English and History classes.
Erika Grumet, MSW (she/her or they/them) was born and raised on Long Island. She earned a Masters in Social Work from Stony Brook University. Erika’s work with Adam began in 2020 when she she sought out Adam’s guidance with one goal in mind: “Become a better writer,” and since then she has been writing soul-searching essays and poems about mental health, physical disability, sexuality (particularly bisexuality), rape and sexual assault, the writing process, and a variety of other topics. In addition to writing and managing content for the blog, Erika brings her experience as a social worker and educator to the website where she develops instructional tools, and manages forums and writing groups to enhance the collaborative learning experience for students and to help showcase the work of guest writers.