We’ve all received advice over the years on how to improve our writing, how to approach writing, and on how to be a writer. Some of this advice has had a positive influence, while other pieces of advice were more worthy of the rubbish bin. We all go about our writing in very personal ways, and every writer knows the ups and downs of this craft. Writing advice comes from many different places: teachers, editors, publishers, critics, peer groups. It’s sometimes hard to know what advice to take and what to ignore, and what works for one writer might not work for you.
Here are 10 common writing myths, as identified in the video series “Shaelin Writes”. Geared towards younger writers who are just discovering their passion for writing, Shaelin Writes offers a candid breakdown of advice she’s received and how she handles it. We’ve summarized her tips below, and for a more detailed understanding of these 10 points, watch the video. We’d love to hear advice, both bad and good, that you’ve received as a writer.
10 Writing Myths Debunked
1. Read everything, even stuff you don’t like.
Shaelin Writes says: READ, but don’t read stuff you don’t like.
2. Write every day.
Shaelin Writes says: says: This is good in theory, but not in practice. Write as often as you can, or at least get something done every day (brainstorm, think about characters, etc).
3. Don’t start writing novels, start with short stories.
Shaelin Writes says: Write what you want to write!
4. Take all advice with a grain of salt.
Shaelin Writes says: Take some advice with a grain of salt.
5. Dialogue should accurately replicate how we speak.
Shaelin Writes says: Characters can speak however you, the writer, wants them to speak!
6. Don’t worry about grammar, you’ve got spell check!
Shaelin Writes says: You should know basic grammar rules, don’t rely on an editor.
7. Write what you know.
Shaelin Writes says: Write what you’re interested in and use your imagination.
8. Don’t use the word “said”.
Shaelin Writes says: Use said!
9. Characters are tools, not people.
Shaelin Writes says: Treat characters with respect, as someone you truly care about. This will make those characters relatable and believable.
10. Don’t aspire to be a writer.
Shaelin Writes says: If you want it, go for it (but have a backup plan too).