Writing Advice: Take it or toss it!
“Never take advice, including this.” I love that quote from the author Katherine Anne Porter because it is so dang true! We all need advice, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s good from what’s bad. Have you ever taken the wrong advice regarding your writing? I know I have!
Most of the bad writing advice I get falls into 1 of 3 categories:
1. “You know what you should write?” I bet I’m not the only one out there who is constantly being told (usually by non-writers) what they “really should be writing.” This is amusing most of the time, especially when complete strangers suggest that I write their biography! And, sometimes (especially when it comes to offbeat travel destinations and overlooked history) these unsolicited leads turn into something interesting!
2. Well-intentioned but misguided advice: A friend called while I was wrapping up Unexpected Texas. It was my first book and I was so excited! My friend, however, was extremely skeptical. She told me writing books was wasted effort and that I should put my energy back into writing magazine articles. By the time I hung up, I was riddled with doubt! After sleeping on it, though, I realized this particular friend is suspicious of anything new, even in her own life. (In fact, she’s been “stuck” in a job she hates the entire time I’ve known her!)
3. Advice that is secretly meant to cut you down: This is the most damaging advice of all, especially when dispensed by a supposed friend, someone you thought was on your side, but who secretly wants to discourage you. I’ve fallen prey to this several times because it can be so hard to spot! I often see other writing pals fall prey to this poison, too.
I know people who have given up writing completely due to such malicious advice. It’s nasty stuff, but the best antidote I know is to find a group of supportive writers such as IWSG, ROW80 and #StoryDam. As a creative person, you must be careful who you take advice from, and pay attention to how it makes you feel! What about you? Have you ever fallen prey to misguided writing advice?
What is IWSG, anyway?
IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:
“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh
To read other people’s IWSG posts, Insecure Writers Support Group.
Want to read more?
To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best selling travel guide: Unexpected Texas.
For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best selling travel guide to haunted places: Paranormal Texas.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out: The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber. Happy travels!
Hey, you! Want to come along for the ride?
For updates on my offbeat travels, books, & other fun stuff (such as postcards from the road!) subscribe to my author newsletter using the form below: