Best Writing Advice?

I’m feeling a little lonely here lately, so I thought I’d post something you all might want to comment on.  I’m interested in hearing what is the best writing advice you ever received?  It could be from a book, from the web, from critique, or from a teacher.  What advice have you been given in regards to writing that has most impacted your work?

Mine would have to be, “If you want to write, just write.”  We hear that a lot, but it really does relate to me.  My best writing comes when I turn off my inner critic, turn off my doubts of planning or whatever and just write.  It may be crap at first, but it is progress.  There is no such thing as someone who wants to write.  You either write or you don’t.

Please post your advice in the comments of this message.

14 thoughts on “Best Writing Advice?

  1. Your advice is very good, I would second that. The best advice I’ve heard is that the best way to become a good writer is to write everyday. The more you write, the better you get!

  2. Hey sorry no advice. But I think I may try to write a story this weekend. Some catch-up.

    Thanks for the kind words on my blog the other day. I’m now at my parents house, we drove back yesterday from my Grandma’s after laying her ashes to rest beside my Grandpa.

    I’m going to attempt to heal my MP3 player to give you my top 5 best and worst tracks. On the long flight over from Glasgow via Amsterdam, I grabbed it out of my seat pocket to try and drown out the annoying people standing in the isle beside me that insisted on talking and talking and talking and talking I put on my headphones, pressed the on/off button to be greeted with the text ‘files not loading, please reformat’. It was long 9 hours.

    Hope your head is better, I suffer from migraines so I know your pain.

  3. Greetings. Found your site on the tag list. I’m not sure what the best advice is but I like the thoughts above, especially, improvement coming when we write every day.

    I also find writing with music drowns out the inner critic!

  4. hellojed – thanks for stopping by. i totally agree with the write every day thing. I even think the “writing” I do here has helped my fiction writing.

    Chris – I look forward to your post when you have the time. I also hope you can resurrect your mp3 player. I could imagine that would be a long flight.

    SurfaceEarth – music seems to distract me from my writing. I’m not sure why. It does inspire me, though.

  5. Best writing advice I ever received was from my 8th grade English teacher…she said “Write like you talk.” Which sounds like really simple advice but it’s amazing how so many people find writing difficult and think it’s entirely different from the way that they speak. They think it’s supposed to be all stilted and formal, and it’s not (unless you’re writing an academic paper I suppose).

  6. The best advice that was ever given to me is similar to your’s…just in a different form: “A bricklayer bricks…a writer writes…” There are several other analogies to this, but you get where it’s going.

  7. Some good advice above. I agree with those who believe in killing the inner critic. Sometimes you have to do it with extreme prejudice, though. Sometimes I tell myself that I will set a draft aside for a long, long, long, specific, period of time. This allows me to feel more comfortable writing something that I realize I’ll be critical of during the editing process. To take some risks. When I do go back to it (or if) I can almost feel like I am editing the work of a younger, more naive person.

    The only drawback is the motivation of being able to sell a piece or share it with others is diminished, because you hide the piece for a while. But sometimes it’s worth it, because practice is so valuable.

  8. I find different advice to be applicable at different times but one I keep coming back to is not writing advice but the slogan from the Nike (?) commercial: “Just do it”. I find that knocks away a whole raft of barriers to writing – no time, noisy inner critic, worries etc etc. I am having to say this one a lot to myself at the moment.

  9. Don’t doubt yourself by listening to the inner critic.

    If I get into “why am I bothering” mode, it’s usually because I listened to my head spinning off junk. I’m trying to learn to ignore it or push it aside and write anyway. I’m always glad I didn’t listen later.

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