Sometimes my head hurts from reading all the how-to blogs, books and emails on how to write.
This morning I scanned my emails and spotted one from my sister, mentor, critique partner, tense monitor and friend. Her emails take priority over the latest opportunity from a prince in Nigeria.
Okay, back to her email. Sheila wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed Chuck Wendig’s post about writing advice. We both love his blog. Chuck keeps it real. If you don’t get his posts, you’re missing out. Be sure and hop over to Sheila’s blog Cow Pasture Chronicles, you’ll be glad you did.
What is the matter with me today? I keep veering toward the ditch as wobbly as an old Chevy truck with bald tires.
Any who, after reading his post, I wondered if Chuck had tapped our phone lines. Sheila and I had just had this conversation. Cue the twilight zone music.
We talked about all the confusing, and sometimes nutty writing advice that floats around like party balloons. I don’t know about y’all, but my Kindle has more books on writing than any other subject. The worst ones are the books that insist their way is the only way to write. I agree with Chuck, bullshit!
If you write, you are a writer. Good, bad or mediocre, but non the less a writer.
Me, my name hasn’t shown up on the NYT Bestsellers list, (but hope blooms eternal) nor am I an expert on anything other than making mistakes. Although, I’m quickly becoming an expert on rejects but that’s for another post.
Here on this blog, I do my best to post Writing Tips that I find interesting and helpful. I hope my readers feel the same. But as Chuck points out, all advice, tips or opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Pick what works for you and throw out the rest.
Just keep writing.
That’s why I’ve only read a few pages of many of those books that clutter my Kindle and bookshelves. Some just aren’t for me.
Head over to Terrible Minds and read Chuck’s post, Writing, Advice is Bullshit, for yourself.
What do you think? Is most writing advice a waste of time? Does it confuse you more than help? What is your favorite how-to book on writing?
Let me know what you think in the comments section and join me @jeancogdell on Twitter and jean.cogdell on Facebook!
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The labor pains have been exhausting for this little guy, but he’s almost here.
5 thoughts on “Is all the advice confusing?”
Hi Jean, what you say makes a lot of sense. I keep Chuck on my Kindle as my go-to when I need a kick in the pants re writing. He says it how it is. Really glad that Ben is nearly here, good luck!
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Hey, thanks sis for the shout out and you already know my thoughts on the subject of writing advice. But, what do I know?
Ben looks great! Love the blurb, too. Congrats sis, well done.
My least favorite piece of modern advice is “try to remove the narrator.” That’s just not to my taste. Sure, I don’t think a narrator should editorialize, but getting “deep in to the character’s head” can be just as guilty of telling the reader what to think and feel as an omniscient presence spelling it point blank. This self-insert fantasy fad really gets me. I think we should see characters as our friends and enemies, not as people we wish we could be, or a vector to put ourselves in the story.
Obviously that depends on what kind of story you’re writing, but yeah….I depended a lot on writing advice in the beginning, but when I started seeing this crop up over and over again I had to put my foot down and say “No. I know what’s best for me and this is one piece of advice I am not taking.” Personally, on my blog, I try to avoid the word “advice” totally and prefer the word “philosophy.” I share what works for me, and how I approach writing, but I never prescribe that my ways are The Way.
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Great response! That’s why I use the word tip, but I like philosophy better. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a good comment.