Today is 2017’s first instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.
For this month’s post, IWSG members are talking about the writing advice they wish they’d never heard. There’s so much advice out there about how to write, what to write, where to write, when to write, even what to wear, eat, or listen to while you write. It’s confusing, to say the least.
There is good advice. There is bad advice. And then there is good advice that’s not necessarily good for you. It can be hard to tell the difference, and the only way to do so is by experience.
I’ve always been an advocate of trying something once, but, in the early days, as a new writer, I took the advice of experienced writers as gospel. Worse still, advice from writers I admired became my mantra.
It was such a piece of advice that I wish I’d never heard. It stated that anyone who didn’t write every single day, writing in hours similar to 9-5, treating it like a day job, would never, ever be a serious writer. I fretted for several years over this advice, berating myself for not committing regular and laborious hours to my craft.
I can laugh at such naivety now, but, much like maturing into adulthood, it took me years to realise the most important thing. Everyone works differently. It doesn’t matter if I skip a day or two, or a week, or a month. It doesn’t matter if I write during the day, or at night, or in the short snippets of peace and quiet my young children allow me. It doesn’t matter if I write while hanging upside down from a trapeze. It doesn’t matter, because everyone has to find their own way.
There is good advice. There is bad advice. And then there is good advice that’s not necessarily good for you. Find your own path, and don’t feel guilty because your methods are different to someone else’s. Don’t try to fit in their shoes. Do what works for you.