Menu Close

A World of Advice

In my ten years writing, I have encountered an abundance of advice. Some of it I sought, but others come without prompting. I love both types because they provide either “ah-ha” moments or “ha-ha” ones. This week, I started thinking about all the advice I’ve come across. I decided to share it along with my experiences.

1. Use as little adjectives as possible. This advice may also come in the form of taking out all the “ly” words. I have rejected, accepted, re-rejected, and grudgingly admitted the value in this thought. Those who criticize these words claim the sentence has better imagery without the passive words. They say those who use them are either being weak or lazy in their writing. I don’t think I would go that far. I am not yet willing to sift through my words to remove all adjectives just yet. But, I will concede that there are often stronger sentence structures and descriptive words.

2. Write every day. This one is an ambition of mine, but one I find myself battling. I have heard anywhere from ten to thirty minutes set aside to write. Marry Higgins Clark got up two hours earlier to write before her kids awoke. I contend that, in a world that asks me to get up earlier and earlier to fit in daily habits, I just don’t think I can convince myself to wake up at 4:30am every morning. Yet, I do see how rusty my writing becomes when I have large gaps in between writing sessions. I have written about this topic often. I think it’ll remain valuable, but still difficult. Yet, I know the results are worth the effort to figure out how to write every day.

3. Build a platform. This advice is given to those who haven’t published yet as well. It also goes along with knowing one’s audience and the trends of their genre. Basically, I always think this advice boils down to knowing your business. I think writers tend to forget their passion is actually a business in which we are selling a product, or at least I do. That’s not the fun part. But I would hope a realtor knows the trends in the market before trying to sell my house. I think writing is no different.

4. Create memorable characters and an action-packed plot. I always love this type of advice. This is a “no-dah” type of advice. Create a good story people want to read. Doesn’t seem like it needs to be said, but I have heard many story pitches that may need to understand this advice. You may love frogs, but can you really make others love them, too?

My advice? Know everyone has an opinion. Writers can’t please everyone. There will be someone who will put my work on their hate list and others who will put it on their “can’t live without” list. It’s all subjective and that’s okay. It’s all part of the joys of writing.