Books, tweets, blogs, rock carvings, panels, lectures, and interviews over the centuries have provided all us lovely and mystical creatures known as writers heaps of wonderful contradicting advice.
This is a collection of my favourite bits of writing knowledge.*
*These are solely from my time as part of the Twitter writing community thus far.
“Slow down where it hurts.” -Steve Almond paraphrase via @wrefinnej
“Every story needs to end in a win, lose, or draw. The MC needs to win or gain something, lose something whether that’s what they’ve been struggling with or the goal they’re trying to attain, or their struggles end in a stalemate.” -a writing professor via aleishacleo
“Self-doubt, elation, despair, boredom, hope, and other emotions, are just weather systems blowing through the landscape of writing. Pay them no heed. Sure, look out the window, then back to the page and work in hand. Don’t be blown over by the weathervane.” –@siobsi
“You can’t control how people will react to your work or what they will do with it. So just write it and let it go.” –@knownforms
“Slow down and focus on learning the craft.” –@begngohs
“The piece in your imagination will always be better than the version you create.” –@nalo_hopkinson
“Sketch pictures before you write the words. Mentally tell yourself the story before jumping onto a blank page.” –@beth_vrabel
“Don’t listen to those who haven’t made it because they’ll tell you all the ways and reasons why you won’t make it. Listen to those who have made it because they’ll tell you that you can.” –@byjeanettehurt
“Write until something surprises you. That’s when you’ll know it’s good/right.” –@lesliepwriter
“Most really sensual writing—the stuff that gives you the feeling that you were there and tasted and touched and smelled everything—is accomplished in careful rewrites. It’s engineered, not flowed.” -Poul Anderson via @johnbarnessf
“If your sense of what would really happen in the circumstances of your novel violates your politics, violate your politics and make them grow. Don’t violate your novel and stunt it.” -John Brunner vie @johnbarnessf
“Write for yourself. Edit for your reader.” –@itsjustnobia_
“It might be hard to believe but someone somewhere (sometime) out there is holding their breath for your story; it fits like a puzzle piece into their jigsaw heart. So please write it.” –@visvap
“Change your manuscript’s font before you sit down to edit. The words will look completely different in another font, which will help give you fresh eyes for spotting mistakes!” –@surrealcmlucas
“Reminder: First drafts are supposed to be garbage fires. This does not mean you’re a bad writer.
Note: It’s also fine for your second, third, and fourth drafts to also be garbage fires. You’ll get there. Edits take time, patience. It gets easier the more you do it.” –@deapoirierbooks
“Keep a list of your accomplishments: things you’ve created, art you’ve made, things published or just finished. This is your shield against any number of creative anxieties. Being able to point to something and say ‘I did this’ is an absolute truth.” –@samsykesswears
Tomorrow, you can make excuses.
But today, start.” –@toddbrison
“You can skip the boring parts!! If you’re not feeling a scene you can just summarize it in a sentence of exposition and move on! Just hit fast forward! Readers can tell when the author is bored so only write the stuff you’re really feelin.” –@kuangrf
“A reminder: Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not writing every day, or if you go for a long stretch where you just *can’t* write.
This doesn’t make you any less legitimate as a writer. There isn’t anything wrong with you. Sometimes your brain just needs a break and that’s OK.” –@brianna_desilva
“Remember it’s okay if some people don’t like your story, if not everyone connects with your characters, to embrace your favourite tropes, to not follow every suggestion or advice, to take days off, if your vision sometimes feels impossible to execute.” –@natephilbrick
If you find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle of constant revising without moving forward word count-wise, and it’s burning you out, try getting an alpha reader who will YELL at you to send the next chapter.
Sincerely, Writer Who Hate Drafting Less.” –@writerjunehur
“You’re made of so many possibilities. Don’t let your creativity be stifled thinking you have only one good story in you.” –@eloraflora13
“Does anyone else finish every major round of edits by listening to the entire manuscript with a text to speech program?
It catches typos every single time.
Also, if a scene is still exciting while being read in a monotone robot voice, I know it’s working.” –@ellenstonaker
“The internet will suffocate you with writing advice, rules, marketing must-haves, and dogmatic stances.
At the end of the day, these are my only rules:
1. Work hard.
2. Be genuine with you story and characters.
3. Pursue excellence.
4. Be patient.” –@natephilbrick
“Advice for new authors:
1. Don’t read every review.
2. Don’t hang all your hopes and dreams on a single book.
3. Don’t talk shit about other authors because the North never forgets.” –@veschwab
“Whether you’re painting or writing or whatever you’re working on tonight, I hope you keep at it. I hope you don’t get discouraged and give up on it. Your imagination is sacred, your passion is important and your vision is needed in a world starved for beauty.” –@sketchesbyboze
“I urge every budding writer to shut out the external. Stop comparing yourself to the market, published authors, plot comparisons, or even genre archetypes. Don’t punch that wall. Compare yourself to YOU a month, or even a year ago. Think progress. And keep writing.” –@ajuptonwrites
“If you’re ever struggling with fleshing out characters or making them seem more ‘real,’ have them talk to other characters about something other than the plot. What do they talk about? How does their reaction change based on who they’re talking to?” –@samsykesswears
“You are still a success if you:
didn’t publish anything
didn’t make any lists
didn’t get nommed for anything
didn’t get funded
didn’t write a damn word.
Keep going. We’re in the darkest timeline, and you are still absorbing and processing, even when not writing. You got this.” –@carleighbaker
Not exactly advice, but I making it one of my writing mantras:
“This book will be phenomenal. I don’t know if I’m worthy to write it, but it’s happening, so there ya go. (JK I’m badass, I totally got this!)” –@brimorgan
Through these people, I’ve finally found that my writing process and style are not only ever-changing, but that it’s absolutely and perfectly wonderful that I writing in those ways. I’ve finally started calling myself a writer even though I’ve only had one poem published and don’t write every single day. I’ve finally learned that supporting other authors is one of the best aspects of being a writer. I’ve finally accepted that comparing myself to others does only harm to my writing. And I’ve finally come to truly love writing, even when it’s the worst.
What are your favourite bits of writing advice? What have you learned from it? Let me know in the comments!