3 Common Pieces of Writing Advice
Crafting a story out of nothing but the writer’s imagination, passion, and time is one of the most difficult things in the world. Sure, it can be simple to start writing. Just pick up a pen and away you go.
Of course, many beginners who start writing want to do it right. They seek out all kinds of writing advice from the Internet and books and other people, and maybe some of those other people are writers too.
Yet, there are so many common pieces of writing advice around that, in my opinion, deserve to be ignored.
Write Every Day
Establishing a writing habit and routine is a great idea. However, sometimes writing every day is not realistic, especially for those who do not write full-time.
Writing only improves with practice, yes, but it is also something to be enjoyed. If trying to write every day is unrealistic or makes you feel burned out, take a step back. Write as much as you are able, but know that breaks are important as well.
Write What You Know
Writing what you know for fiction does not mean that you should only write about financing if you’re a banker. You certainly can, of course, as being an expert on a topic helps with non-fiction pieces, but with fiction, the advice to write what you know sounds as if it’s trying to box you in on only a few topics and themes.
One of the most powerful aspects of being a writer is trying to answer the question, “What if?” While most fiction does have some root in reality, it’s the writer’s imagination and craft that makes people want to keep reading. Do research when needed, but allow yourself to write your ideas while only being limited by your imagination rather than reality.
Write what you know in regards to abstract terms. Write what you know in regards to your feelings and passions and transfer those onto the page. Your writing will come alive.
Finish What You Start
This piece of advice I take with a grain of salt. Perhaps it’s because I’m so much more of a pantser than a plotter when it comes to writing, but I do not think it is necessary to finish every story that you begin.
Sometimes the story you were writing is not heading in the direction you envisioned. Sometimes you just realize that the story is not working out. Sometimes you outgrow the story, and that’s all okay.
Instead of spending time and frustration on trying to force a story to work, take a step back and write something else. Alternatively, stick a transition sentence in the story that allows it to easily go down a different route.
I do recommend keeping everything you’ve written, even if you have a separate document on your computer for “story scraps.” You never know when a piece of dialogue, a description of setting, or a side character may fit well in another story.
There is no right way to write a book. As long as you enjoy your process and are able to get your story down as best you can, you’re on the right track.