Thursday, May 29, 2014

Advice for New Writers

If you asked one hundred writers to give you their best piece of advice, many of them would contradict each other. What should a new writer do to work through the glut of advice on writing? If I could only give one piece of advice to novice writers, it would be to not worry about how other people work and to find what works best for you.

Every writer has a different path to follow. We all work differently, which is why there is so much contradictory advice out there! For example, some authors suggest scheduling a time every day to write while others only write when they are inspired. It can be frustrating as a new writer when two established authors are telling you to do opposite things. This is why it's important to discover your own work style.

Many writers have told me that I should outline my stories and novels before I write them. However, I have never been able to work like this. My writing ends up feeling flat and I lose the excitement that I have for the story. I find it easier to develop a good character or two, and let the story take me where it will. This approach may require more editing in the end, but it is what feels right to me.

Besides, everyone has different taste! Fictional elements that one person might not be able to stand are another person's favorites. Personally, I hate Hemingway's novels. I have read several and had to force myself to get through them. I can see why other people might find his work successful, but I think his characters are flat and unrelatable. However, he is my best friend's favorite writer. If a new writer was trying to please both of us, they might rip their hair out from frustration!

When you are presented with a new style or technique, try it out! Experiment with a variety of processes and see which one feels the most comfortable with you. Don't feel bad if someone's advice isn't right for you. Focus on making your writing time the most productive that it can be.

Do what works for you. You will never be able to please everyone or take all their advice, especially when it contradicts! Listen to established authors and learn from them, but don't feel obliged to walk someone else's path. It would do a disservice to your writing.

No comments: