If you’re a writer, you know how important the right advice can be. The right writing advice has saved me many hours and countless headaches. But, how do you know which pieces of writing advice are actually useful? Well, that all depends on which type of writer you are. Do you write better in the morning? At night? Mid-day? What type of content do you write?
One of the best “rules” of writing is to know the rules but also to not be afraid to break them. This came from a very cool and knowledgeable creative writing professor I had back in college. He also had many other solid pieces of writing advice that have stayed with me.
I talked to a couple of other writers I know to determine which pieces of writing advice are the most solid. I wanted to be able to give you advice that you can work with and that will hopefully benefit you throughout your writing journey. I also did my best to select pieces of advice that can be used across the board when it comes to writing. Fiction writers, non-fiction writers, journalists, bloggers, and so on should all be able to find these bits of advice useful.
Ready to hear some solid pieces of writing advice? Let’s dive in.
1. Read, Read, Read
Okay, so it’s no surprise that reading a lot is part of writing. You should not only be reading every chance you get but you should also be reading critically. Analyze what you like versus what you don’t like about what you’re reading. Notice the styles that you’re most drawn to.
As a writer, I try to read a little bit of everything even when it takes me out of my comfort zone. For example, I’m far more drawn to horror, fantasy, and science fiction than I am to romance or erotica. However, I do try to read that stuff as well. (The romance, for as long as I can stomach it). I also like to mix in some biographies, a good bit of non-fiction, and, of course, news & opinion pieces.
Expanding the type of content you read is going to help you write better because you can see what works for you and what doesn’t. We’re all different but one thing that all writers should do religiously is read, read, read.
Some Books About Writing I’ve Found the Most Helpful:
- The Writing Life – Annie Dillard
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King
- On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Non-fiction – William Zinsser
- Writing Down The Bones – Natalie Goldberg
2. Never Stop Learning
Nobody knows everything and no one person is ever going to know everything. Learning and the ability to keep an open mind is paramount when it comes to writing. The more skills and life experience you have under your belt, the more comfortably you can write about various topics.
3. Follow What Feels Right, It’s in the Passion
We have all passions – the things in life that make us feel vibrant and alive. When writing, be sure to follow your passions and interests. Hell, even explore new interests that may one day become passions.
When writing, if it feels “off”, chances are it probably is and your readers are going to pick up on that too.
For fiction writers, passion can be when you get that great new story idea or come up with a character that you just can’t seem to shake.
With writing, passion is always going to shine through your words and pull the reader in. That’s what we want, right? Just follow your passions and the writing, generally, will follow too.
4. Write Every Single Day
This can be hard for some and it was for me when I had a lot of other things going on. But, one of the most important pieces of writing advice you’re ever going to get is to write every day.
Some find it helpful to “schedule” time for writing while others just wait until a time during the day when it feels right. Whatever works for you, I implore you, as a writer, you need to be writing every single day. This will help perfect your craft. Just do it.
5. The Importance of “Pace”
Have you ever read something that just doesn’t flow? We all have. That’s a lack of pace in a story or piece and it’s one of the most noticeable writing flaws out there. It can either be rambling on and on, too much unnecessary detail, etc.
This is why reading is so important as a writer. You need to be able to spot that lack of pace in a story or piece so you can avoid making that error.
Identify the ease of pace in stories and pieces that you enjoy and analyze your own writing for pace quality. Does it flow? Is it consistent? Are there unnecessary details that can be omitted?
As you walk further down the path of your writing journey, you’ll begin to notice “pace” a whole lot more. Writing should flow. Remember that.
A very wise person once told me, “You’ll never really know what you like until you try it and either hate it, love it or feel indifferent about it.”
That single piece of advice, (however unrelated to writing at the time), has always stuck with me. We don’t really know we don’t enjoy something without experiencing it.
While you may feel that you’re destined to write opinion pieces, you may find joy in writing Westerns.
Perhaps most of your pieces are character-driven, but maybe you would enjoy a plot-driven piece.
My point is to experiment with all types of writing. You may discover a style you never even knew you had in you. Don’t be afraid. Remember, people only see your writing when and if you want them to. So, experiment – go wild!
7. Worry About Editing Later
This is more of a personal preference but it has saved me a lot of time and a lot of headaches. I have known quite a few writers who have the uncanny ability to “edit as they go.” Presumptuously, I thought I may have been one of those people. Man, was I wrong!
If you think you may be an edit-as-you-go type of writer, you probably aren’t. Write now and worry about editing later – but don’t put it off for too long.
8. Everybody isn’t Going to Like Everything You Write
While I believe that getting feedback as a writer is highly important, it’s also important to remember that everybody isn’t going to like everything you write. Thicken your skin because you’re going to get a lot of harsh words, especially if you put anything online. Different strokes for different folks – ALWAYS remember that and take that harsh criticism with a grain of salt.
I understand that everybody isn’t going to agree that these 8 pieces of writing advice are all that solid and that’s cool. If it helps one other writer, (even just one piece of advice), then I’m good with that.
I made a pin on Pinterest about the “rules of writing” with the final rule being, “break the rules” and I guess a lot of people didn’t understand judging by the many condescending comments I received. Again, different strokes for different folks.
Did you find any of these pieces of advice particularly helpful? Did you hate them? Which pieces of writing advice have helped YOU the most as a writer? Let me know in the comments!