How to Write: You’re Doing it All Wrong
You should write every day. Learn the rules then break them. Variety is the spice of life and you’ll get stuck if you only have one project. You need a routine. Write whenever you feel like it! Write one thing at a time and make sure you finish it. Do 500 words a day and never end on a preposition.
There’s so much writing advice out there that it sometimes feels overwhelming.
I spent my first ten years as a writer feeling that I was Doing It Wrong. I don’t write every day, or write X number of words. I don’t really plot. I don’t have a routine. I just write as I want to, rather than analysing the language and trying to develop a feel for my themes. I don’t follow genre rules, I play fast and loose with my characters, and I don’t worldbuild before I write.
I felt inadequate, amateur, and frankly as if all of my writing failings were stemming from my inability to follow several hundred pieces of contradictory advice.
You know what? Screw it.
It’s YOUR talent.
Try things. See what works. People work in different ways – what works for someone else, even if they’re a best-selling and world-famous author, might not work for you. Experiment. Find your groove and make it work for you.
If something isn’t working – if you’re not writing, not finding the time, haven’t got the inspiration, have an idea but don’t finish it, can’t get over that blank page feeling – then that’s the time to be looking at the advice. See if working for an hour in the morning makes you write. See if a routine helps. See if having six simultaneous pieces and working on each of them in turn means you Get Writing Done. Ask for help: there’s writing groups and forums that are always happy to offer advice, and there’s inspiration sites and writing exercises.
But in the end? It’s your message. It’s your work. The words are coming out of your head, and you’re the only one that can make sure they get onto the paper when you want them to. All those nice pictures of famous writers, all those lists of writing rules that you’re not obeying? Well…they’re more like guidelines.
It’s your talent. Find what works for you, and then do it.
Green Sky & Sparks
by Kate Coe
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