Today I want to talk about …. Writing advice. I think I’ve touched on this a time or two before, so bear with me. I had a small conversation with my friend Kim over at Silently Heard Once about writing advice. Oh, by the way, go visit Kim if you like poetry and good discussions on things that matter. She’s a wickedly good poet.
Anyway, we touched on reading writing advice and how much it scared us both. So much so we couldn’t write! We doubted ourselves so much because we couldn’t write like people would say we SHOULD write. So we didn’t write at all.
In my case, I was pretty much a newbie on blogging. Just starting out on this blog and wanting to write stories so much I dreamed of them. I was scared to write them down and put them out there. Sure I had a blog for cooking, recipes and such. I wrote on that for at least a year before I started this blog. To me though that was different. It was recipes. It was cooking. It was about food.
This blog was scary to start. Why? Because it was about writing. Writing stories. Writing characters. Writing something that someone else actually wanted to read and enjoyed the experience! I had kept the love of writing stories to myself for so many years that I was scared to death to put my work out there to be read by strangers.
I also had a conversation many months ago with my mentor and good, good friend Maddie Cochere from Breezy Books. (If you like funny books with a mystery go check her out!) I told her of my fears and she told me to stop reading writing advice! Which thanks to her I have. Whew.
Now, I’m not saying writing advice is a bad thing. Nor am I saying no one should follow it. What I am saying is this….read, apply and believe with caution. Don’t be like me. Don’t think all writing advice should be followed. Because if you try to do that you will just drive yourself crazy(ier) and come up against a wall you can’t climb over.
Take what writing advice makes the most sense for YOU. If you feel you can only ‘write what you know’, then go for it. Just don’t be afraid to write what you DON’T know. That’s what research is for.
For every ‘do’ in writing there is a ‘don’t’. Eh, DO what makes you happy and what makes you proud to put out there. DON’T be afraid to put your writing in front of people. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow as writers.
I’ve also heard this…When you are not writing, read!
Well, that is good advice if someone doesn’t have a life at all. Now me, I have the husband to take care of, the house, bills to pay, groceries to buy, people to talk to. I have a life! I can’t be reading as much as writing or nothing else gets done. Hell, some weeks I can’t even write because I have too many other things to do and it’s exhausting. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit and just read a book. It’s been that long.
Would I love to? Hell yeah! Do I have the time? Hell no! I do what I can. When I have time and the energy, I write. Because right now that’s what I need. I need to get my stories out. I don’t need to acquire someone else’s story. Sorry. Nothing personal. I’m sure many of you understand what I mean. I love books. I’ve read countless books in my life. I want to read countless more. But not right now. Sorry, Mr. King. When I become as rich as you I will hire someone to do all these other silly things. Until then, well, reading is not high on my priority list and I don’t feel bad for it.
So, what I’m saying is this….do what works for you. Don’t be afraid of writing what you want. Pay attention to the writing advice that works for YOU. Don’t follow blindly. You have a brain, use it. Just because some big name writer says it, doesn’t make it useful for you, just them. There will only ever be one Stephen King, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman. Thank the goddess’. And there is only one YOU.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?