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Advice Shmadvice

March 1, 2010

I’ve noticed that a lot of other writing blogs are actually useful in some way. They list currently running poetry contests or give advice on how to write believable dialogue. This is a far cry from my blog, in which rants, half-assed jokes and pop culture references all run around the page willy-nilly.

I thought about this apparent lack in my blog long and hard and came to a decision: I don’t care. I don’t like giving people advice about anything that isn’t nice and concrete. I can tell you how long it will take to bake a pie, but I don’t want to council you about your woefully bad relationship with Prince Not-So-Charming-Anymore or explain to you how you should write your story. People don’t take this kind of advice, unless it reinforces and justifies the actions they were going to take anyway.

Most writing is a creative process (with the possible exception of dull technical writing, but I don’t actually  know because I haven’t done any…yet). Every person approaches it differently. Therefore any advice I give to another writer is worth exactly a big ol’ goose-egg. I can’t tell anyone else how to be creative. Hell, I can’t even tell myself how to do it on days when I feel blocked. Part of the wonder and joy of being a creative person is that you can’t describe your own creativity to others; it’s just something that happens. I’m always surprised when a famous author is asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” and responds with a prepared answer. The only answer to this question that seems feasible to me is, “Everywhere,” or alternatively, “From my head.”

I understand that writing isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. There aren’t any shortcuts one can take to make it easier. Writers seeking advice strike me as people who are looking for an easy way out: a fool-proof formula for creating plots, a tool that will help them envision great characters, a book that explains how to paint a setting, a website with step-by-step instructions on how to write the Great American Novel.

These things don’t exist.

With that in mind, I will now contradict everything I said before. Here’s my advice on writing:

Write. Write about what you know and what you don’t know. Write about international intrigue and that empty packet of corn chips about to fall out of the garbage can. Write about superheroes and that funny thing your cat does when you run the vacuum cleaner. Write without thinking. Write, write, write.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 8:50 pm

    I like your style and I’ve subscribbed to your blog.

    There is a lot of advice for writers in the blogsphere. Heck I’m guilty of giving it and I’ve never had a thing published For the most part I’m a fairly crappy writer.

    But there is one thing you said that really stands out as truth and for me strikes home –“Write, write, write”. After all, how could I call myself a writer, even a crappy one, if I didn’t take the time to write.

  2. March 2, 2010 8:57 am

    Cool, thanks for your comment and subscription!

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