For any writer actively seeking to improve their craft, newbie or established author, it’s easy to drown in the swamp of writing craft advice.
So many voices out there, and all with their own take on the craft, life and calling that is writing. And not all of it works for everyone, this is no one size fits all world!
‘Write what you know’ vs. ‘write what interests you’
‘Use setting as deftly as a character’ vs. ‘be sparing and tight in your usage of words’
‘Outline’ vs. ‘write by the seat of your pants, it’s good for your creativity’
‘Focus on producing the story’ vs. ‘market, market, market’
Whatever you’re looking for advice on in this crazy writing world, I promise you’ll find a conflicting piece of advice for it somewhere.
Which leads me to wonder if we should have some sort of literary floatation device. In my case, it’s a time limit. I can only read writing advice for so long before I feel my eyes glaze over and my mind slip away to Pinterest.
I admit this because I know I can’t be the only one out here that faces this.
I set myself a time limit, maybe two hours in the morning, and with specific aspects, let’s say outlining for example. So for two hours, according to my plan, I look up various bits of advice on outlining, structure…whatever aspect I’m working on at the time. I weed the helpful from the bullshit, save the stuff that I want to read again, make actual physical notes with pen & paper and at the end of those two hours I go on to something else. Walking the dog, breakfast or maybe even writing. I didn’t always approach it this way, but when I noticed myself getting overwhelmed, floundering and not learning a damn thing, even I knew it was time for a change.
So I did. And I’m happier for it.
I like to think my fiction is too. I’ve certainly learned far more since I changed my approach.
If you or someone you know is drowning in the sea of helpful writing advice, I recommend a controlled, focused and limited approach similar to mine. Adopt it if you’d like, tweak it, personalize it, whatever works for you. Because it must work for YOU, otherwise it’s no good to you at all. And then it might as well be yet another soul-sucking, brain-numbing episode of reality television.
And there’s no brain calories in that at all.