Just to be clear: I’m not here to hand out writing advice. I don’t consider myself qualified to do that. Though, in truth, anyone writing can also give advice on writing. I mean, you write and inevitably will have thoughts about writing, the process, getting ideas, sentence structure, use of adverbs, editing and whatnot. After all, we read about writing and consider all kinds of writing advice in the hopes of becoming better at what we do.
Ultimately, we also form opinions on the things we learned and have been told, the advice we have received. Some of it we end up using, some of it we consider utterly useless.
The thing about writing advice is this: listen and then discard anything that is of no use to you. We all have to figure out what works for us. Do you need an outline to move through your story? Do you write haphazardly any which way the ideas come to you? Do you wait for the first, perfect line to form itself before you get going? Do you know the ending before you have any idea about the middle part? Do you know how to show rather than simply tell?
Everyone has their own preferences and style. Just as we all have our own voice. What works for you may not work for somebody else and no rule is set in stone.
Well, perhaps there’s one, or maybe two:
- Keep writing – no matter what
- Finish things
You’re only a writer as long as you actually write. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been published or not, or whether anyone has ever read a word you’ve written. As long as you write, you’re a writer. So, keep doing that. It’s what I need to tell myself as well. Though, I do write every day, because I’m lucky enough to be able to work as a freelance writer. But more on that another time.
Also, finish what you started. It may never be any good and may never see the light of day either, but it’s important to make a habit of finishing things.
Personally, I suck at that. Really, terribly suck at it. I am working on it, though. It’s the one rule I have to follow above all others: I need to finish things.
There are likely rules that you will hold onto as well because they are of particular importance to you – for whatever reason. And those rules that are not working for you? Discard them. That’s okay. It’s important to know all the rules, but we don’t have to be married to them.
So, don’t consider this a blog about writing advice. Consider it my sharing of my experiences. You’re invited along for the ride if you like.