(Or recognizing bad advice.)
For nearly fifteen years I’ve read good and bad writing advice on the internet and in writing books. Some of it is downright alarming what people pass off as sound writing and publishing business advice. So always question everything! Do a gut check! (This includes anything I say….)
Here are some ways to validate if the writing advice is worthy.
- It doesn’t stop you from writing actual manuscripts. Sometimes we get advice that either (a) scares us out of production or (b) sucks our writing time away. These can include social media posts/comments, blogs, platforms, writing conferences, and etc. Use your time to first write regularly on your WIP then let all else writing-related work come after. You may read or hear something that scares you into thinking you’re doing it wrong. If this debilitates you, also trash the advice. In fact, disregard anything that scares you out of writing actual words. There’s only one thing that will keep you from failing at becoming a writer and that’s not working regularly on your WIP.
- You see other writers you admire using it. Every author’s path is different, but you CAN try and emulate those you look up to. For example, I have a couple authors I really admire career-wise. I can’t control when I’ll get a book published and I can’t control how that book will do once out in the world, but I can control how often I finish a manuscript, how I treat others within the writing and reading communities, and how I portray my online presence. I use these ladies as guideposts to have the career I want. (Which, if you’re curious, is writing a manuscript a year, being generous regarding my face-to-face time with writers and readers, and having an authentic but only weekly online presence.)
- It lights a fire within you. Sometimes I hear advice and I get so excited to use it, I have to implement it right away. I’m especially that way about plotting tips. I’m not the same way with most revision advice. Revision is harder for me than outlining. Every writer is different. If the advice revs up your desire to try it, go for it. That fire will die pretty quick if it doesn’t resonate with you for long. Don’t keep using the advice if this happens. Let it go. This is another mistake many people make: working with the same ineffective tools over and over again. Set that dull saw aside and find new, sharper implements more to your fashion.
READING ASSIGNMENT: Brody pgs. 3-8; Cron pgs. 1-5 & 19-32; Kress pgs. 1-4 Take notes. What did you learn? Do you agree/disagree with the authors?
WRITING ASSIGNMENT: See if you can write a step by step plan of your general method when starting a book. Is there any inefficient steps that would should be removed from your process?
COMMUNITY SHARE: What is some writing advice you’ve been given that does or doesn’t sit well with you? Leave your answer in the comments. (For me, it was to do the pages and pages of character sheets and forms. I never remember what I write down anyway so they’ve never helped me get to know my character. Instead, focused understanding of a few important hallmarks of my character are best for me… but more on character development another day….)