I was deleting old emails from this blog’s contact form, and stumbled upon an email from a young lady stating that she hoped I was a friendly variety of writer, and asked, “Do you have any writing advice for me?”
I checked my email archives, and was happy that I wrote her back. Her question, after all, was very easy to answer, since I feel like I have to continually advise myself every day I write. My emailed response to her was this…
I don’t really have much advice in the way of writing, since I’m still learning myself! The best advice that I’ve read for any writer is something that Stephen King said: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” That’s pretty much all you need to know and do, especially while you’re still in school. Read as much as possible. Read read read. While you’re reading as much as you can, write write write. When you surround yourself with words, you’ll be able to use them more creatively.
On my blog, I chronicle my writing journey. Feel free to poke around there, and glean any learnings as I stumble around on my own writing path. Though my goal is to be a published author one day, the skill/art of writing is a talent that I believe needs to be strengthened and sharpened continually. It’s like a muscle that way. You use it or lose it. My blog is my way of keeping myself accountable to “using” my writing skill.
Oh, one more thing: as you write, remember why you’re writing. I truly enjoy creating stories, and I love getting lost in the creative process. Sure, it gets frustrating sometimes, and I get tired, but in the end, I write because I love it.
…and re-reading it now, my advice wouldn’t change if she asked me again. The best part? Seeing my old words, “Sure, it gets frustrating sometimes, and I get tired, but in the end, I write because I love it,” and knowing they’re still as true today as they were six months ago.
Friendly Variety of Writer
There was one point in her email that stuck out to me that I didn’t notice the first time I read it six months ago. (Possibly because I was still amazed that anyone would ask me for writing advice, and was distracted by making sure my answer made sense.) (Also, what a great argument for letting a manuscript rest before revising it.) The young lady hoped that I was a “friendly writer.”
Of course, because I’m me, I’ve wondered all morning if she had encountered many unfriendly writers to have phrased her sentence that way, and moreover, if I lived up to her expectation of being a friendly writer.
Anyway, I didn’t write this last part to garner any words of sympathy or encouragement. Only that the realization gave me the opportunity to reflect on my writing journey and public persona, and to hope that I can be a support to my writing peers. (After all, writers provide me with books, my drug of choice, and I need to support my addiction.) 🙂
So, what one piece of writing advice do you share the most? What recent epiphanies have you had that caused you to reflect on your writing journey?
PS: One of my favorite author role models is Beth Revis, and she wrote a blog post HERE that stayed with me long after reading it.