Thinking about all the writing advice I don't follow. This should mean I’m a literary failure. Instead, my stories are published around the world.
So what writing advice have I failed to follow? Let’s count down the greatest hits of advice I’ve ignored.
- “Write what you know.” Didn’t do that. I write science fiction and fantasy set in imaginary worlds I’ve never known. I create what I know!
- “Don’t shift points of view too often.” Ooh. Done that many times. If your story needs a POV shift just do it.
- “Show don’t tell.” I’ve shown many a thing in my stories and also told many a thing. No one path here is correct for every story.
- “Write every day.” Nope, don’t do that either. I write when I want to and live my art exactly how I desire. Don't dare tell me otherwise.
- “Write for yourself.” I write my stories for others. Sure, I’m the first person to read my stories so they must always please me. But I still write for other people.
- “Begin your stories with action.” Except when you don’t. Or don’t want to. Or don’t care to. Whatever floats your storytelling boat.
- “Write novels instead of short stories because no one reads short fiction.” Nope, failed that advice and still doing great as a writer.
- “Avoid clichés.” Please, every aspect of life and language can be a cliché under the right circumstances. Instead know when to use and subvert clichés.
My point with all this is there’s no one set of writing advice which works for everyone. Plus for every “rule” there’s a rule breaker. And by “rule breaker” I mean writers who defy all the common writing advice and still create captivating stories.
Instead of blindly following writing advice, try finding yourself. Find your voice. If your voice leads you to be a writer, then write away. The rest will come.