Monday, July 29, 2013

Writing Advice I’m Not Going to Take

When you’re a writer, people everywhere just fall all over themselves to give you advice (like, “Have you considered another career?” Ha ha ha). Not all of this advice is bad. Some of it is fucking great. But alas, some of it is terrible. Such as:

You must write every day.


You heard ‘em. That’s every single day – seven days a week, 365 days a year. Is it your birthday? Is it a major holiday in your religion, or a day when your religion proscribes any kind of work? Are you sick, hung over, tired, busy, comatose or in labor? Have your hands been recently amputated? Stop making excuses. Real writers write every day, no matter what.

Write in public.


Oh sure, that might be fine for you, Mr. Male Privilege. I’m not sure how writing in public is supposed to help, because I’m a woman, and when a woman writes, reads, grades papers, or engages in any kind of activity that is clearly requiring all of her concentration in public, she might as well be wearing a big Styrofoam hat that says “Hit on Me!” because that is what every other man who sees her will do.

You should only read culturally significant works of literature.


Because god forbid, if you picked up a Stephen King novel, you might learn to write books that people will actually read.

Exercise your other creative muscles – learn to paint, draw or play an instrument!


Excuse me, O Giver of Shitty Advice, did you notice how long it took me to learn to write? We’re talking years here. Add to that all the high-brow reading I’m supposed to be doing to learn how to write in a manner that I can be truly pretentious about, and the fact that I work on paid writing assignments 40-plus hours a week in addition to doing “my own” writing, and that I have a social life – how am I supposed to find time to master the guitar? Fuck off.

Don’t air your dirty laundry because you might hurt someone.


Spoken like someone who spends a lot of time hurting others and doesn’t want it to come back on him in any way. I’ll write about whatever I want to write about and if anyone doesn’t like it, then they shouldn’t have been an asshole.

But, be honest! Don’t worry about what other people think!


Wait, what?

24 comments:

  1. The only one of these agree with and actually do is number 1 - write every day. BUT, I'm a freak. I write in the bathroom, in the drive thru line, the pick up line to get my kids frm school and well, every where else. BUT, again, I'm clinically and thus technically insane.

    The other ones? Dumb.

    write because you love it. write because you want to. But for God's sake, write the way you want too. If you have rules, then you're doing it wrong, anyway.

    bTW, in middle of my comment, I thought of a cool line for a writing assignment I have tomorrow, so I stopped and jotted it down.....yeah, nuts, I tell ya

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    1. I keep having ideas and forgetting to write them down and then later, I'll be like, "Shit."

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    2. yeah, my mental instability won't allow that. You'll hear about me holding up a dollar store for pencils and paper if that happens.

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    3. The sad part is that I do carry a little notebook everywhere I go, but I mostly only use it when someone asks me for a scrap of paper. I do get most of my ideas when driving or asleep, though.

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  2. I'm with Lance, I do write every day, not that all of it is good, mind you. Gems might appear from time to time, or I may receive ideas for other writing when doing it. To me, it's worth it, even if only a few hundred words to keep that part of my brain engaged.

    eden

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    1. I like to think that copywriting assignments and Facebook statuses count.

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  3. I don't write every day - I hadn't written a thing all week up to today. Sometimes the creative mood is hard to find. What I think people mean when they say "write every day" is in fact "make room for writing to be important in your life", but three words is much more catchy. I totally agree on the culturally significant works front as well - Dickens is great but I don't necessarily need to know how to write like one good person did between 1812 and 1870. I need to know how to write to a good standard in the twenty first century. Most rules of thumb, in my experience, are just lazy short hand for ideas that are bigger and better than the short phrase expressing them.

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    1. I'm probably at the point now where I'm allowed to give bad advice of my own.

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  4. FUCK, yes. To all of it. You know why? Cause our best writing comes on OUR terms.

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  5. Oh god, if I can only read culturally significant stuff I'm in deep trouble. My fanfiction reading schedule is pretty gruelling.

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    1. The thought of reading fanfiction at all sounds grueling to me...

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  6. I have not read all the comments, so this might be redundant, but i think women get hit on even if they are not writing.. and i am one of those "male privilege" [cough] guys.. and whenever i write in public people find a reason to bother me as well. for some reason they think i want to be interviewed by them about what i am doing or something.

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  7. I don't write everyday, I've read enough culturally significant works in high school and college that to read more today would bore me to death already, I hate writing in public because I get distracted easily, I don't paint, draw or play any instrument and I'm not in the least bit interested in learning.
    It's my book, so I take full control - my terms. Clearly whoever gave these pieces of advice doesn't have a clue what writing is really all about.

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    1. They just want to drive traffic to their own crappy blogs.

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  8. I try to write every day, but I know it isn't going to happen and I'm okay with that.

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  9. The advice I get most often is, "Try another medium like writing your work in the sand at low tide."

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  10. Awesome.

    It may SEEM like I am writing's bitch sometimes, but I am determined that it's gonna be the other way around. I write when it suits me and read whatever interests me and if somebody claims I ain't doing it the right way, screw them and the pretentious horse they rode in on.

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  11. Awesome advice I definitely take these points while writing. Thanks for sharing.

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