Let’s Talk About Writing – New Writers: Stop Taking Writing Advice and Just WRITE

I love writing advice. I love writing advice blogs (like mine), I love writing advice YouTube videos made by AuthorTubers, I love writing advice Twitter threads by authors and agents… I love it all. However, I also think it can be detrimental to new writers. Let me explain why.

When I was young and just learning how to write, not worrying about being published someday, I was experimenting. I was writing the stupidest plot lines, with the weirdest story structure, and the worst grammar you’ve probably ever seen. And, yeah, the result was some pretty cringy material I’d probably never show anybody, ever. But I’d argue that my cringy writing from back then is what helped me eventually develop my own personal writing style. I was able to discover my own writing voice, and learn about the stories I enjoyed telling, all on my own. I didn’t have any social medias, I wasn’t watching writing advice YouTube channels… Hell, I didn’t even read books about writing craft. All I had was the library of Young Adult novels I was reading at the time and my own intuition.

But what about new writers today? The ones who, unlike me, are exposed to the constant barrage of other people’s opinions. On the surface, it may seem like a good thing that they’re getting what I never got: Advice from experienced–maybe even professional–writers. They won’t have to make the same mistakes I did. They won’t have to spend years learning the lessons I learned from trial and error. But… like I mentioned earlier, it was that trial and error that created my own personal writing voice and style. It was that trial and error that made me the writer I am today.

Now, new writers aren’t experimenting for themselves. They’re going to an influencer (who may or may not actually know what they’re talking about), asking that person’s opinion on a writing question they have, and then taking that person’s opinion as gospel. They aren’t deciding for themselves what things they do or don’t like to write, or how they like to write those things. Instead, they’re letting someone else decide that for them. And the thought of that makes me sad.

I’m not saying you should never listen to writing advice. At the beginning of this post, I even said I loved writing advice. I think the internet is a great tool, and that it’s wonderful that experienced writers are giving advice to those less experienced. But I don’t think beginner writers are the ones who should be taking that advice. I think that advice should be for the intermediate writers. The ones who have experimented, and are now ready to really hone their craft and take their writing seriously. The ones more prepared to decide for themselves if a piece of writing advice is good or bad. It just feels like newer writers don’t know enough about writing to know when they should or shouldn’t take certain pieces of advice.

Who knows. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m worrying over nothing. I just don’t want new writers to try and grow up too fast. I want them to enjoy where they’re at, and take things slowly. Fifteen-year-olds shouldn’t feel like they have to worry about writing a publishable draft of their novel. Someone who’s only been writing for a year shouldn’t be preparing their query. These people should be learning and growing and experimenting. They should enjoy the experience of learning how to write.

So, to all of the new writers out there: Please, do yourself a favor and stop taking writing advice. Stop trying to write the perfect story. Stop listening to these other writers just because you think they know more than you. If you listen to your own instincts, I can guarantee you’ll surprise yourself. After all, you’re the only you out there. Why try and write like someone else, when you can write like you?

Because, personally, I think you are pretty great.


Book Review – Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

This will be a spoiler-free review.

If I had to summarize this book in only one word, it would be “clever.” I mean, how many Cinderella retellings are there in the world? About a million, if I had to guess. But this one really stood out from the crowd, and I had a great time reading it. So, with that said, let’s jump into this review!

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Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Writing Books

  1. Looking in the mirror is just like reading your WIP for the millionth time. You know the story, so now all that’s left for you to do is nitpick. You start to doubt yourself. To see the flaws. But, to others, you’re something unique. Maybe you are flawed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be a bestseller, or someone’s favorite book. In the end, you truly are your own worst critic, and the best thing you can do is learn to stop overthinking and just love yourself.
  2. It’s okay to restart. Just like with your manuscript, if you’re not happy with what you’ve written in the past, you can start over. You can change your mind about what to study in college. You can decide to find a new job. You can choose to grow and be a better person. Your life is your story to rewrite however you want.
  3. You can’t worry about what other people have accomplished, or compare your journey to their successes. Doing this is like comparing your WIP to a published novel. Just because you’re not there yet, doesn’t mean you won’t get there. And, until you do, you’ve got to enjoy where you’re at and take in every experience along the way. After all, the journey is half the fun!
  4. You have to let the story of your life surprise you sometimes. Because, no matter how hard you try, you can’t outline every little thing that’ll happen in your life. Things will pop up that you weren’t expecting, and sometimes the best thing you can do is roll with it and see what amazing new doors they can open up.
  5. You need to write your life story for yourself, and not for anyone else. Because, the simple fact of the matter is that you can’t please everyone. No matter what you do, someone will doubtlessly have a problem with it. But so long as you are happy and fulfilled, it won’t matter if you get negative reviews every once in a while.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

My worst personality trait has always been my need for instant gratification. If I don’t get the thing I want the second I want it, I go berserk. Not in the crazy, screaming, throwing things way (well, maybe once or twice), but in the frantic, anxiety-riddled way. If I see something I really want to buy, I’ll think about it night and day until I finally get it. If I set a goal for myself, I’ll let it consume me and get down on myself if I don’t accomplish it right away. And if I develop a crush on a guy, I’ll go crazy thinking about him, wanting him to be my boyfriend without the fuss of having to flirt with and impress him.

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Let’s Talk About Writing – Use Your Scenes (And Use Them Well)

Scenes. I love ’em. I love reading them, and I love writing them. My favorite thing to do is sit down and write out a random scene from one of the many story ideas kicking around in my head. It’s almost like a stress reliever, and it’s a surefire way for me to push past any writer’s block I might have. However, during my time at Columbia College Chicago, I learned that, for some people, scenes are difficult to write. It shocked me to learn that some people actually prefer summary to scene. I mean, don’t get me wrong, summary can be a great tool. We all know that not every moment in a story needs to be a scene. The last thing I want is a step-by-step account of how a character gets ready in the morning. But to write a story entirely in summary? Well, I’d argue that’s not really a story at all.

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Why I Keep Losing NaNoWriMo (And Why I Just Can’t Quit It)

Remember last October, when I made 31 posts about prepping for NaNoWriMo… and then promptly lost NaNoWriMo? I do. And you’d think I would’ve learned from that experience. But, no. This year, I got all jazzed up about it again, did some prepping for a new book idea, hammered out about 30,000 words, and then dropped the ball. So what is it about NaNoWriMo that just doesn’t work for me? Why do I do great for the first half of it, and then just… quit? Case in point:

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Long Time, No Blog

Sooo… It’s been a while. A long while. About four months, actually. And I’m really sorry about that. I mean, I never meant to neglect this blog the way I have. In my defense, though, I was sort of going through a quarter-life crisis. Graduating college and entering the real world hit me a lot harder than I thought it would, and I’ll admit that I started to flounder. I started second-guessing everything, which led to me overcompensating in some parts of my life while totally dropping the ball with others. But no more! We’re going to get things back on track.

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Let’s Talk About Writing – Creative Writing Degrees: Yay or Nay?

When you go to Google and type in “Are creative writing degrees…”, the very first auto-fill that pops up is “worth it?” And, it’s a legitimate question. If you’re going to go to college and spend tens of thousands of dollars on a higher education, you want to make sure you’re getting some bang for your buck, right? Because the last thing you want when you leave college is to feel like you not only wasted your money, but your time. I get it. And, having gone through four years of college to graduate with a BA in Fiction Writing, I feel pretty damn qualified to help you make that decision. So, with that said, let’s get started.

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Don’t Let the World Bring You Down

The best thing I’ve ever done for myself is getting off of social media.

I know, it sounds crazy. How can an aspiring author exist in this world without social media? How can they live without scrolling through the bookstagram tag or retweeting helpful threads written by agents? If they don’t stay up-to-date on the publishing world every minute of every day, how will they know if it’s the right time to query their debut novel? I wondered all of this at first, too. I believed the lie that the modern professional had to spend hours of their day on social media, or else they weren’t going to get anywhere. But I’m here to tell you that it simply isn’t true.

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