So… for your challenge today, I want you to write a post giving your very, very best writing advice. Pretend you’re speaking to the writers of tomorrow or your younger self… or whatever you need to do. Put a lot of thought into it, and make it more than a few sentences!
Giving unsolicited advice is not my usual thing, but since it has been requested by my quest giver, Amanda, I will do my best to play the sage.
As a writer, especially a new writer, you hear lots of different tidbits of advice, half of it seeming to contradict the other half. Even after publishing my short story and then the novella, I have heard advice from nearly all corners. Most of it was well-meaning and the intentions were to help me grow and improve as a writer.
Still, it can be hard to figure out which bits of the advice apply to you and which parts you should smile politely then chuck it when they aren’t looking. There is, however, one bit of advice that I am fairly certain all serious writers will agree with. And it’s a very simple piece of advice, you ready for it?
Here it is: READ.
Yes, read. I know that many will tell you to write every day or to write even when you don’t feel like it. Some will tell you to set a daily minimum and create a habit of it. All of this is great advice and certainly worthy of your consideration. However, I think that reading is where it all starts.
Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Find out what you enjoy and what you don’t. Look, at what others write and how they write it. Find those truly terrible stories and consider why it is terrible. Find those masterpieces that have stood the test of time and look at them, really look at them and see what makes them such enduring stories.
As you can see it’s not just reading, but reading actively and thinking about what you read. The first step is to read, then to think. Every author has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the craft. Yes, even those great authors whose names everyone knows. Steinbeck, Twain, Bronte, Dickens, and so many others. They were amazing, fantastic, masters of the written word, but they were not perfect.
By reading you will find that you are exposed to a wide range of topics and styles. Sometimes our style changes over time, this is not a bad thing. It just means that we are growing as writers. And growth is the goal, growth means that we are learning and improving. It means we are striving to reach our goals.
And it all starts with one very basic thing. Reading.
Want more advice? Take a look at what other authors have to say: