The Best Writing Advice Anyone’s Ever Given Me

So I got this idea from the Confessions Of A Writer Tag I did last week. The tag was created by my dear friend and fellow blogger, Nicolette Elzie, where you answer 20 questions about your writing and reading habits/preferences.

One of the questions was “What was the best writing advice you’ve ever received?”

My answer: Write the story you want to read.

I’ve mentioned this tidbit a few times in previous posts, but I want to expand on it because it affects more than one aspect of the writing game…

Here’s the long and hard truth of it: your novel, the thing you’ve been slaving over, may very well not get traditionally published. It sucks and that’s awful, but if you started writing for the monetary benefit or the “prestige,” this may not be a good venture for you to jump into.

AND even if you do get traditionally published, rest assured you will still spend more time with your manuscript than anyone else on this globe. So you might as well enjoy it.

Reason No. 1 – Fads are fickle beasts
So this first one applies more to YA than most audiences because the age group itself is in a constant state of flux. It’s that brilliant time in one’s life where you get to decide what kind of person you’re going to be, along with finding out what appeals to you on both superficial and deep-rooted levels. Granted, I wasn’t following the industry prior to Twilight (was in high school at the time), but since then, there are clear cut “fads” that have run through the YA SFF genre.

In a nutshell: Vampires >> Angels & Demons >> Dystopian

Of course there were sprinkles of mermaids and zombies in there, but the above ripped through the industry in a way that left some agents and editors “done” with the topic. But the important note here is that it commonly (there are outliers based on cultural prevalence) takes a minimum of two years to get from acquisition to bookshelves in traditional publishing. Basically, the books being acquired now [will be] published late 2017(ish).

So by the time you realize a “Fad” and decide to write to fit what’s “popular,” odds are you’ve already missed the boat.

Reason No. 2 – You’re going to be rereading the MS again and again and again.
I’ve said it before: your first draft is not you final draft. You’ll be rewriting and revising that thing a few times before you’re even ready to query, let alone go on submission, so don’t write a story you hate. Create a story and a world that you want to get lost in for hours. Create characters you want to spend days/weeks/months/years getting to know. That passion will shine through in the work and those who read it will pick up on it. 🙂

Reason No. 3 – You can’t please everyone.
Whether we like it or not, everyone has their biases. Because I write YA F, I’ve dealt with my fair share of up-turned noses by people in and outside the writing community. LitFic people scoff at genre. Adult genre scoff at the audience. Civilians (non-writers in this context) ask “oh, like Harry Potter and Twilight?”

hulk smash

^^How I feel when confronted with these situations…

Point is, prior to submission, the only person you need to worry about pleasing is yourself. Any advice/criticism you receive should be filtered through your wants for the story. No one knows the story better than you. No one knows the world better than you. No one knows the characters better than you.

No one can write your story but YOU.

So write the story you want to read and enjoy the project you’re working on.

Happy Writing!

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17 thoughts on “The Best Writing Advice Anyone’s Ever Given Me

  1. I love this! You are so right and I love how much encouragement and positivity you pour into all of your posts about writing. You bare your soul and it is such a reflection on the type of writer you are.
    I honestly can’t wait to read your story, I know it is going to be amazing. Anything that you put this much devotion and love into is amazing, just like your blog, and I can’t wait, just can’t wait to see what you bring to life. You are so talented and gifted. *hearts*

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad I could help! And welcome to the blog, thank you for commenting!

      I once listened to a podcast where an author wrote a novel, received representation, but when the MS was never acquired, her agent told her to take a year off writing and just read. Then at the end of the year, place all the books that you enjoyed the most out in front of you. << That is what you should be writing.

      If you're struggling with starting a piece, maybe do this exercise? I can't wait to hear what you come up with!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally love this and totally agree. I tend to write what I want to write, which is what I want to read but mainly it’s what I really, like really, want to write. It’s what makes me passionate about telling stories and what makes my blood boil. It’s like an impossible to resist urge. The rest will sort itself out. I know that if I go down the route of writing what people think sells, I’ll ruin it for me as a writer, which means I’ll ruin it for my readers too. I consider myself my first customer. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

      • I say meh to what sells. Stay true to who you are and tell the stories you want to tell. I strongly believe that honesty and authenticity is more important and I also believe that people tend to appreciate honest and authentic people, especially through their work. Just keep being yourself and everything else will fall in place. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Er ma ger! :p I love this! ^.^ Haha! The whole: ‘don’t join because it’s a fad’ and then listing dystopian and I’m just like >.> Haha! But I love the dystopian world because it fits well with my darker style, even if I didn’t really get into it until the fad struck. (Granted I didn’t read much at all before the fad struck… heh.)

    I love #2 because it’s what I’m facing right now with one of my revise drafts. I’m reading it and going -.- I totally can’t see myself wanting to read (probably why I haven’t touched it in a few days) and that’s a total ringer to me that it needs some work! If you don’t like your own story, odds are other people might not either… So sad, but a great indication of what to work on.

    Finally: HULK SMASH!!!!! Hee hee.

    P.s. This post really makes me want to build a fantasy world with you… the desire hit me suddenly. Weird, yeah? 0.0

    Liked by 1 person

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