Writing advice…it’s everywhere!
Buyer or, in this case, reader beware. Writing advice is like assholes people, everyone has one and sometimes it’s full of bull****. That’s what I found out.
As most of you know, I’ve been writing a story on this blog for the last couple of months, (I’m turning that story into a book). Just finished it last week. It was wonderful having you all come along for the ride!
I’ll let you in on a secret though. I almost didn’t finish it. If you were reading along as I posted you would have noticed me getting slower and slower with my story posts. That’s because I made the fatal mistake of reading articles and posts on writing. How to do it, what not to do, the mistakes amateur writers make. So forth and so on…..
Reading all those advice postings made me stop writing! Seriously, it did. They scared the crap out of me! So I’m writing a post of my own as a warning to all you writers out there.
DON’T READ POSTS OR ARTICLES ON HOW TO WRITE!
Just don’t do it if you are writing a book. They will fill you full of doubts and stop you in your tracks.
Why? Because they are so contradictory! One article will say do this in your writing….then the next one will say DON’T do that!
I read one post the other day on what beginning writers should do. They said we should always write an outline of our story. ALWAYS. A full and detailed outline of our story. Um, no. I can’t and won’t do that. That’s what writing the story is for! I tried it once. Once. Never again. I wrote that detailed outline and couldn’t write the book. Why? I already wrote it! Why write it twice?
Now I know some will say I wouldn’t have written it twice. The outline is the guidelines of your story. The more of a guideline, the easier to write the book! Now, it might work for some people, but not for me. Because I lose interest after writing the outline. I feel like I’ve already written the first draft, kind of. One with lots of space to fill in. Why not just write the damn book?
Besides, my characters high jack my story to write their own. I’m just the tool they use to write it down. I’m just the pen. They are the writers.
So that’s what I do. Now, I admit I do write a rough outline. Very rough. So rough that most people wouldn’t even call it an outline. That’s ok. I understand it and that’s all that matters in the end.
You know the ones that scared me the most? The ones full of ‘rules’. Who makes up these rules? Writers do! Yes, other writers make rules for writers.
I understand having to use good grammar, good punctuation. That just makes sense. Who wants to read a book full of mistakes? Not me! Then I read rules that say something like this:
never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
Well, I know I broke that one. A lot. And I will keep breaking that one.
Oh, also I’m not supposed to use exclamation points. Yeah, well stuff it! I’ll use it if I want to!
Now not all advice is bad advice. I’m not saying ignore it all, just ignore the ones that don’t work for you. The best piece of advice I saw is attributed to Margaret Atwood;
Hold the reader’s attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don’t know who the reader is, so it’s like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off B.
Now that makes sense to me. All readers are different. They will take different things away from a story. They won’t all like the same things, but they also won’t all dislike the same things.
So my piece of advice is just write what pleases you. Or just write. Ignore all the advice out there. Writers don’t all write the same, thank goodness. Wouldn’t it be boring if they did?
I sent an email to a very special friend of mine. I told her, I’m scared to write anymore, I’m doing it all wrong according to writing rules I’ve read. People will hate my writing! Why am I even trying? You know what she said? QUIT READING WRITING POSTS! Just stop it!
She was right too. I stopped reading writing advice articles and just got back into writing my story. I found my joy again in the story and my characters.
My advice to you? You want to write, just write. Sit your butt down and write that story, that book, that poem, whatever it is you want to write. Don’t let anyone take that joy away from you!