Thirteen Writerly Advice That Irritate Me.

Writers all like to get tips on how to be a better writer.  Here’s 13 of them that are reeeeeeally annoying.

1.  Writers Write.

This cliche is, of course, meant to inspire writers to put words to the page.  Unfortunately, I often see it used to bludgeon those with writers block over the head.

2.  Write Everyday

Again, wonderful advice encouraging a writer to be committed.  But to use it to say one person isn’t committed because they only write on the weekends is pretty annoying.

3.  A Professional Novelist writes 7 hours a day

This was apparently an adjunct to advice given to put your child in day care because, after all, a REAL writer will write all day and kids are a distraction.

4.  If you’re not making a living wage from your royalties, then it’s just a hobby.

I heard this used in conjunction with advice to quit your day job to write full time.

5.  If you’re not published, you’re not really a writer.

There’s so much wrong with that statement and when I saw it, I had to shake my head.  Perhaps this one bothers me because my father wrote several novels but never published because he thought it wasn’t “good enough”.  I still consider him a writer.

6.  Writer’s block is a myth

To the person who’s got it I can assure you it’s very, very real.

7.  Writers set aside the same time every day to write

While this can be awesome advice, it’s also used to beat people over the head who are a little less structured.

8.  Writers plot

Some do.  Some panst.  Some don’t realize they HAVE a plot until midway through the book.  THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY

9.  Set a goal and achieve it

Well meaning advice. However, it’s really okay to set a goal and then revise it.  There is, I think, too much emphasis on getting to some mythical milestone that now means “success”.  Set goals, yes.  But continually and have patience with yourself.

10.  The best way to publish is _________

One thing I’ve learned is everyone’s journey is different.  Whether someone wants to be published with one of the Big Six in NY or with a digital publisher or self published.  Rather than question each other’s publishing choices, we should help get the word out about dangerous publishers that can hurt an authors career.

11.  A real writer writes ___k/pages a day (or ____ number of books a year)

Again, one journey doesn’t  negate another.  If you set a goal to write 50K in a month, AWESOME!  That doesn’t mean that there is a set number or a magic bullet for success.  Beware of people who say that success lies in how many words on a page you have or how many books you write.

12.  If you’re not submitting, you’re not committing.

This one went around for a while and I think it’s bullshit.  I know a lot of writers who write a LOT that doesn’t get submitted.  I know writers who are stuck and have to work through it.  Believe me.  Submitting to a publisher is not a sign that someone is working their ass off.

13.  The way to get published is ______________

There IS NO MAGIC ANSWER!  Publishing is a fluid, ever changing environment.  I believe that your journey is your journey and it will not look like mine because you’re not me.  People are always looking for the quick and easy answer to the question of how to be successful.  I just don’t think there is one.




Filed under Thursday Thirteen, Writing

6 responses to “Thirteen Writerly Advice That Irritate Me.

  1. Yeah, number 11 is one that gets under my skin, I must say. It takes me a long time to get a book written and edited, and I know the best I’ll ever be able to hope for is probably one book per year (at best). To say I’m not a writer since I’m not cranking them out is pretty insulting.

    In short, I agree with much on this post. 😉

  2. Yeah, most of this is so laughable I wouldn’t even consider taking it seriously. If I were going to give myself advice, I’d say, “Give in to it. Quit worrying about how hard it is or how good it is, and just do it.”

  3. Yep, I agree. These are all very annoying and #4 is the worst, in my opinion. And it’s amazing how non-writers are so easy to tell writers how to do their job. Grrrrrrr. I hope you’re having a great Thursday, Jen! 🙂

  4. Awesome post, Jennifer. Finally some realistic advice. I’m featuring groundhogs this week. ☺

  5. I think human beings like to compare themselves to others in order to gauge their journey and how it is going, but everyone is different and especially in writing. There is no one size fits all, and IMO that’s a good thing!

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