You see it everywhere. Writing advice abounds in books, in blogs, even on social networking sites like Twitter. In fact, there is so much of it that, were you to sit down and try to read all of it, you may never get around to writing at all.
While it is important for writers to take their craft seriously, taking too much of this plentiful advice to heart can be discouraging. Some say write from an outline; others abhor outlines. There is a school of thought that warns of failure if you do not write every day. Yet another insists that being omnipresent in social networking is essential.
With all of this to sift through, it can be easy to forget why you ever wanted to write in the first place. Regardless of which advice you choose to take, the bottom line is this: writing should be enjoyable.
My goal in the following three tips is to offer some help to those who wish to break the cycle of frustration and potential guilt that strict writing advice can cause. As writers, we need to take our craft into our own hands again, and enjoy what we are doing!
Tip #1: Avoid the “All or Nothing” Attitude
Some writing advice is presented in a “do this or you will fail” fashion. Even if the ideas offered are helpful ones, this stance can be intimidating. No one likes to be told up front that their personal technique is setting them up for failure.
Be wary of any tip warning that your writing life will crash and burn if you do not follow the advice to the letter. Take any such advice with a grain of salt and be flexible in what you take away from it. If the technique does not work for you, your writing life will go on.
Tip #2: Know Yourself and Your Style
Have you tried outlines and found they do not work for you? Or does your story fall apart without one? This is just one example, but it applies to all facets of your writing life. If a technique has always worked for you, use it! Abandoning a tried and true method because a blog post says it is “wrong” will only frustrate you. On the other hand, if you constantly find yourself struggling, it may be worth it to try out a new method or two. You know yourself better than anybody; use your discretion.
Tip #3: Understand the Basics
This may sound obvious or even boring, but it is one of the most important things a writer can do. Having a working knowledge of grammar and spelling means that you can spend less time questioning the mechanics of your writing and more time crafting great content. Being confident in the basics will help quiet your “inner editor” and let you focus.
Above all, enjoy what you write! You can create amazing stories, articles, poems, and whatever else you desire without driving yourself crazy. Just be cautious when choosing which advice to follow, and know when to put the advice aside and be yourself.