On Writing Advice

waynes world br

I’ll be honest, the first bit of writing advice I’ve always given to people, especially now that I’m making the occasional appearance on convention panels is this:

Have fun with it!

No, seriously, have fun with your writing!  I could give you stodgy advice like ‘write [x] words a day’ or ‘read so-and-so’s book on writing’ or ‘you should follow these certain rules to be successful’ or something like that, but I won’t.  And I certainly won’t provide pithy quotes you can Photoshop against a picture of your local picturesque creek bathed in sunlight.

I don’t necessarily dismiss those things; if they work for you, by all means, keep using them!  They may have worked for me in the past, but I realized they really didn’t do enough for me.  It was a bit of cheerleading, but didn’t necessarily give me the drive.

No, I realized my drive came from having fun with it.  This isn’t just about breaking grammar rules, though.  I’m talking about all the parts of it.  Go places you (and your readers) wouldn’t expect to go.  Write something a bit outside your comfort zone.  I’ve said it before, my default reaction to writing rules is often: well, why not?  And then I’ll see if I can pull it off.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I’ll have learned something out of it either way.

I’m not saying be a rebel for the sake of being a rebel; this is more about making the process of writing enjoyable for you, the writer.  Go for what excites you about the craft, no matter how big, small, epic or esoteric.  Whether it be fan fiction, memoir, expanded universe, or experimental, it’s all about whatever enthralls you while you’re writing it.  The canvas is a hell of a lot more welcoming than you might think.