One Good Reason to Dismiss Writing Advice

Today, I am DONE…with writing advice.

All writers know that writing processes are uniquely moulded to specific writers and that no two writers are exactly the same. So, why oh why do writers insist on inflicting their advice on others?

Haven’t we all heard some of the classic evergreens?

Write every day – Don’t write everyday

Write faster – Write slower

Outline your novel – Don’t outline your novel

Write to market – Don’t write to market

AND SO ON AND SO FORTH…

Today, I have had positively ENOUGH! My head is spinning, my wordcount is the lowest it has been in weeks, and I am no significant step closer to finishing my manuscript than I was a week ago.

Throughout my writing days (an impressive 24 years of writing, trashing, and re-writing the stories that I burn to tell), I have learned a number of good lessons on writing.

They were mine to learn and they might be mine to share but they are lessons that I learned by going through a process of writing (and re-writing) and they are unlikely to be of value to anybody else.

You learn to write by writing.

That’s another of those old writerly pieces of wisdom, but you know what? I actually think that’s the only thing you need to know.

I sometimes wonder how many short stories, novels, and novellas I could have completed in the last 24 years if I had just written. Period.

Instead I have read countless books, and blog posts on writing, changed my process at least 10 times, re-started several writing projects – gosh I even started a blog of my own.

There is plenty of advice that writers can usefully share. But how to write – that’s one thing that every writer should work out for themselves.

So, from now on I won’t try to dissect, memorise, and imitate the writing processes of others. Instead I will concentrate on constructing a writing process of my own.

And whilst I will gladly share my new (hopefully freer and more inspired) writing procedures, please don’t try and learn from me. Learn from yourself. Learn by writing.

 

Oh and don’t forget to let me know how learning about writing by writing works out for you. Let’s be brave and just try things. I wish you nothing but the best in discovering what works for you. Happy Sunday to you all and sorry for the rant!

 

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