Bad Writing Advice


We've all been the recipients of bad advice, and someone always seems to know how to be better than you, don't they? And sometimes, those people are idiots.

To honor those idiots, here are the five worst bits of writing advice I've ever heard, followed by why that bit of advice is stupid.

  1. Only write about what you know. If authors only wrote about what they know, how could there ever be fantasy books? Imagination is a gift---use it!

  2. Try for a while, but if it doesn't work out, move on. To some degree, you do have to be practical about making a living...but that doesn't mean you give up writing indefinitely. You can still make time to write novels. If you are rejected, keep trying. That's a major difference between published authors and authors-that-could-have-been...one group didn't give up.

  3. Fantasy? Well...I guess it's okay you're going into that genre, but why not go into respectable writing? A genre doesn't define quality. Write what you're passionate about. Don't write dry textbooks if you really want to write an enthralling murder mystery.

  4. The best work is almost perfect right up front. Editing takes away from the art of the written word. Yes, believe it or not, I have heard someone say this. Given, it was a freshman in college and we all scoffed at her in class, but someone still believed it. Yes, writing is an art, but it's also hard work. Part of the hard work is realizing there are places to improve, and going over your work again and again. Revision is vital to a story going from readable to decent to great.

  5. Only write when you feel inspired; if you force your writing it won't be authentic. You can wait forever for inspiration to strike. Sometimes---most of the time, actually---you have to take control and make yourself write. Be in charge. Make the story speak to you, don't wait around for it. And if it won't speak, write anyway.

What's some bad advice you've received on writing or in other aspects of life? Post it in the comments!


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Utah, United States