When I started writing creatively some years ago, it was magical. I adored my characters and the story I was trying to tell. Since I knew so little about craft, there was nothing to weigh me down. The hours I invested were pure joy.
Unfortunately, all that magic went up in smoke when I enrolled in a workshop. I realized how much I had to learn. Opening work up to readers (and their criticism) will do that, and it hurt. I missed my safe, solitary writing world.
Still, the workshop taught me a lot about rules every writer should follow: show, don’t tell; limit adverbs; open with a strong hook, and on and on.
Besides these hard-and-fast rules, there’s no shortage of advice for writers, and much of it’s conflicting. What works for one may not work for another.
For example, author Kourtney Heintz blogged about a no-no she lives by in Confession Time: I Revise as I Go. Her post illustrates how individualized the writing process is. There’s really no right or wrong way to go about it.
Write every day is an axiom many embrace, but I can stick to it for only a short period of time. I inevitably burn out and need time away from the laptop to recharge. And that’s okay. It’s what works for me.
How do you know which advice to follow and which to discard? Maybe it’s as simple as knowing your writing self and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
A tip I recently discovered in Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron, has become one of my favorites:
Whether it’s your first draft or your fifteenth, relax. Instead of thinking each draft has to be “it,” just try to make your story a little bit better than it was in the previous draft.
What’s the best advice you’ve received? Is there a tip you value above all the rest?
Please share in the comments!