5 Writing Tips You Don't Have to Listen To

Bethany Dean By Bethany Dean, 22nd Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Writing

Writers get stuck, and there's some well-worn advice out there to help. But should you take it as gospel, or could it even be bad for your novel?

You Need a Writing Set-Up

Writing is a creative business, and the brain flourishes on triggers to tell it to get ready for tasks that require long focus. You'll hear a lot of authors talk about their set-ups, or their writing environments. These are varied as you like: some have sheds, some have offices, some can only write at their kitchen table, others only in longhand: it doesn't matter as long as it's exactly the same every time, otherwise no words get written. But is it essential? No! Increasingly (and unfortunately) it can't be. When writers are forced to juggle day-jobs, family and unstable economic circumstances, Virginia Woolf's Room of One's Own is a fond dream for many. It's more than likely you'll be stuck in a million different places just for a few minutes each day: on the bus, at your desk at lunch, in front of the TV, carving out a space on the floor while the kids sleep.

That's okay.

A writing set-up is wonderful to have, but not essential: just write, and edit when you have a little more stability. Or perform a portable ritual to trigger your creativity. Perhaps your writing set-up can be shrunk to just mean the software on your laptop, or the type of notepad you write in.

If You Hit a Wall, Put Your Project in a Drawer and Come Back to It

This is supposed to encourage you to refresh your mind, which is always a good thing. However unless you have whole days to devote to your craft, it's sadly unlikely for any but the most experienced of writers to hit burnout: the most common cause of hitting the wall is a problem with your story itself.

No matter how long you leave it in that drawer, it won't get better, and you need to seek help immediately from fellow sympathetic writers who can apply their own fresh minds. 'The mind can't solve a problem of its own creation' said Albert Einstein, a quote which blew mine when I heard it.

Write All Day Every Day!

Firstly, this is just one great big guilt trip. Again, writers have day-jobs, family and social lives. It's exhausting, and you don't really realise quite how taxed your brain is until you try and force it to invent things that never existed and translate that into good prose. Writers need to live, and what would they have to write about if they didn't? As long as you write often enough so it's not too hard the next time and puts you off, you can write a sentence a day and still have that novel - eventually.

Your Writing Needs a Genre to Sell

True enough. Whose genre, though? It is true that good branding lies behind most great successes: it's the art of knowing exactly what you're about and the ability to translate that into something irresistible to the target audience. Gone, however, are the days when you could label writing so narrowly into things such as romance, western and sci-fi - they might still be all those things, but now we have zombie-romance, Christian western and a myriad other hybrids, and more are springing up all the time. Create your own: as long as you know exactly what your writing's about, let it be itself.

You'll Get Better With Practice

You will, but you won't think so. Be prepared to think you're awful your entire career. Have you been a writer so long that you can dig out the short story you penned when you were nine, and felt that odd self-envy when you realise just how good you were when you didn't care what anybody thought? A publisher would probably never touch nine year old you's story, but he might give old you a chance. But you can still recognise the quality of your old writing. Have faith that you've still got what it takes, and hone your unique voice.

Good Rules for Writers:

Here's some excellent and refreshing rules for writers but, as always, cherry pick the ones that work for you: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/rules-for-writers


Author, Book, Creative Writing, Indie Author, Kindle, Narrative, Novel, Plot, Publishing, Self Publishing, Short Story, Structure, Writer, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback.
foxesandharts.com | @bethanyrdean

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author avatar Susan Jane
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Bethany - what a fabulous article - full of good sense and showing that writing can occur anywhere. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Lovely to see you again Bethany, and as always, a really informative and interesting article. Thank you for some wise and useful advice my friend.\0/x

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author avatar Bethany Dean
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Thanks everyone! Your comments always make my day! :)

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author avatar Delicia Powers
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

Very helpful...thank you.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Jun 2013 (#)

Timely! I also wanted to let you know I found you because you moderated someone's page, and I had about decided that the "female moderator" was a fantasy! So glad to know you are real and here and open and honest. The "book" I wrote when I was 8, _Weird Pie_, is still my absolute favorite. ;)

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author avatar spgreaney
3rd Aug 2013 (#)

Great advice for any new writer and told in such a nice way.

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author avatar Yvette van Niekerk
20th Apr 2015 (#)

I have learned something, great writing skills. Well done!

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