This week I got an Instagram message from a man selling his copyediting services and there were five incredibly obvious typos in his pitch. I’m talking about two words combined, misspelled words. Double punctuation at the end of a sentence.
It was sad.
So, there’s another guy on the internet who makes a ton of money helping other people be writers and I’m sure he’s lovely, but I find him incredibly frustrating.
He has a page all about writing advice and in that advice he has bullet points to make things simple because apparently people who want to be writers need things simple? Who knows.
But in those ten bullet points he has contradictory advice. In one bullet point he says,
Don’t be lazy. Don’t sound stupid.
In another he says,
Don’t worry about being good. Just write.
In yet another he says,
Don’t be a perfectionist.
Look. I’m sure he’s helped a ton of people and his bullet points must have deeper meaning and insight, but here’s the thing. Writing isn’t about bullet points. Writing is about soul and depth. Writing is about communication and building worlds through words that create image and resonance.
How To Survive Stupid Writing Advice
1. Sort the good from the bad
Remember a lot of people are just trying to make money off you. Sad, but true. And some of these people are amazing and professionals and some aren’t. You have to sort the good from the bad.
2. One Size Does Not Fit All
Does your brain work exactly like your BFF’s? Your mom’s? You’re dog’s? No. It doesn’t. All advice doesn’t work for everyone. It’s okay to be the writer who works in spurts, who doesn’t outline, who writes every day. There’s no one right way to write anymore than there is one right way to human.
3. Believe in Yourself
When you get really crap advice at your writing critique group, or workshop or from your mentor or even your agent? And it just feels wrong?
That probably means it is. Don’t let group think or even an expert sway you from the truth of your story.
4. Try not to compare
Here’s the thing. If one writer publishes 100,00 copies? That doesn’t make them a better writer than the one who publishes 10. There’s a lot of stuff called marketing that goes on behind the scenes that makes one author have high sales. If one author always gets invited to conferences and you don’t? It doesn’t mean you suck. It might be that other author is good at schmoozing. Be proud of who you are and be who you are. Don’t try to emulate the people who you think are successful. Emulate yourself.
5. Blow it off And dig deep
Seriously. Blow off the comparisons, the advice that doesn’t work. Study the craft, the books YOU love, notice sentence structure, discover why you like the stories you like and then think about why YOU want to write your story, dig deep into why it matters to you.
Writing Tip of the Pod
If you’re going to pay people to help you, please do it with someone reputable. Please do it with someone who can spell. And please do it with someone who gives you consistent advice that resonates.
DOG TIP FOR LIFE
Some people suck and just want to use you for money or cute Instagram pictures. Avoid those people.
IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, PREORDER NOW!
My next book, IN THE WOODS, appears in July with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
You can preorder this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
HEAR MY BOOK BABY (AND MORE) ON PATREON
On February first, I launched my Patreon site where I’m reading chapters (in order) of a never-published teen fantasy novel, releasing deleted scenes and art from some of my more popular books. And so much more. Come hang out with me! Get cool things!
WHAT IS PATREON?
A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you.
HELP US AND DO AN AWESOME GOOD DEED
Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness on the DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE podcast as we talk about random thoughts, writing advice and life tips. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of. Please share it and subscribe if you can. Please rate and like us if you are feeling kind, because it matters somehow. There’s a new episode every Tuesday!
You can buy some of my art. I paint to help inform my stories and some of the prints are available now. There will be more soon. You can check it out here.