Bad advice

There’s a lot of bad advice out there about writing. The antidote to bad advice is the truth.

No one can teach you how to write a story. They can tell you the elements that separate a strong story from a weak one, but they cannot tell you how to get that story out of yourself and onto a page. They can only tell you how they do it or how other people have told them they do it. But what works for them might not work for you. If they believe their way is the one true path, you’d better run, and run fast, because there is no one true path to writing a story. You’ll waste a lot of time beating your head against that wall if it isn’t the right process for you.

You have to figure out your process for yourself.

Do you sit down to a blank page and start writing with no idea where the story is about to take you, and end up with a finished story you’re happy with? Good. Do more of that.

Do you create the bones of a story and then go back and fill it in and then fill it in some more and some more until you have a finished story you’re happy with? Good. Do more of that.

Do you read back over your story as you go and tweak and fix and expand and contract the words on the page until you have a story you are happy with? Good. Do more of that.

Do you write like you’re afraid to look back because you’ll slow down and second guess yourself and lose all momentum and finally get to the end with a sigh of relief, happy that you’ve done it, and quietly sure that this is the best story you could have written and certain that nothing you could do now would change that? Good. Do more of that.

Do not let other people’s opinions about how you should write a story have power over you and your process.

Do what works for you. Seriously, this is the most important writing rule you will ever learn. :D

It’s the only rule you should follow.

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