Writing is an interesting profession.
It occupies a funny place as it an activity done by both amateurs, hobbyists, and professionals.
Often the lines are blurred between the categories.
It is also an activity that everyone has a lot of experience with between school and writing emails, work correspondence, and social media. So everyone can make a claim to being a writer at some point.
This also means that there are an abundance of advice bandied about by both seasoned professionals and amateurs alike. This is a bit funny and really only a few disciplines occupy this space.
This isn’t to say that one needs to be a professional writer in order to give advice. There are scores of amateurs and hobbyists that are incredible writers, and there are professional writers that should never give advice of any sort other than how to fail upwards.
It’s also a bit of a trick that one learns when he or she first endeavors to begin a writing career that shortcut to get some early success is to write articles about writing.
I’ve seen writers who haven’t written for more than a week already giving advice.
I’ve seen people whose first work is an ebook about writing.
This isn’t to say that one can’t develop in the shadows and come forth a glorious font of useful and practical knowledge but its rarer than a blogger who doesn’t overshare.
I believe this is the reason that the same writing tips seem to float around the Internet like a escritorial phantom.
Is escritorial a word?
Oh well it is now.
Write Every Day
What a gem.
This bit of advice always makes me laugh.
Write every day.
Do you think people tell farmers to farm everyday?
Sometimes things are so obvious that ceases to be advice and is just something you do.
It’s like saying advice for life: breath in and out.
Also, many times it’s wrong. Plenty of writers don’t write every day. But they do write often. So you can take a day off here and there if you’re getting the words out.
Having said that. if you are starting out writing every day is a good practice to get into. If you make it a habit then it gets easier to stick to.
Some Version of Write Short Sentences/Paragraphs
Every once in awhile some write will stumble over the maxim that writing on the Internet should be brief.
How to Write for the Internet
There are two things that I know how to do well. One is how to write, and the second…actually I really only know how to…
They will write the article that everyone has read before telling people of their discovery.
I know. I’ve done it.
Though, this advice might have become too prevalent.
There’s a bit of an arms race in who can write the shortest sentences and the most paltry paragraphs.
I understand the basic idea.
You need to create some white space. This the Internet. If your article doesn’t have enough white space that if looks THX 1138 no one will read it, but sometimes minimalism goes too far.
Heck, the scourge of productivity writers that bang out articles are less articles and more lists of words.
Honestly the other day, I say one that was only headings.
That’s really all people read anyway. Reading died a long time ago. Skimming is all the rage.
Statistics show that 80% of you are skimming this right now.
Write What You Know
This is a bit of advice that far too many writers take literally and it holds them back.
They think they can only write what know.
What happens is the writer pigeon holes themselves into a niche too early and will only write about a certain topic.
Yes, some writers need to do this. Personal essay writers by definition need to this.
But, one of the greatest parts of being a writer is getting to learn about different things. One of the reasons I became a writer, besides the complete lack of being good at anything else, is that I have a wide range of interests.
As a ghostwriter I’ve written about the military, business, science, and sometimes I’m asked how I can write about these different topics. It’s really not that hard. Look up what you don’t know. Mix it with what you’ve already know and keep going.
So, write beyond what you know. Just do your research.
You Won’t Get Rich/ Don’t Write For Money
One of the first things you’ll hear is not to expect any money.
And that you should just write for the joy of it.
Therefore, many writers don’t enter the field because there’s no money in it.
This isn’t true. There’s plenty of it for those who know where to look. Ghostwriting is very lucrative for some people, and it’s rather easy to start doing.
The same applies to fiction.
Everyone will tell you you can’t make money doing it, but if you’re smart about it it can work. I write predominantly short fiction and it does quite well.
Half the time, you’ll be getting advice from people who aren’t great writers themselves so they’ll you it can’t work.
Don’t listen to them. Let them go back to their productivity articles.
Write For Money
Screw you. Don’t tell me what to do.
You Need To Love Writing
I write A LOT. Thousands upon thousands of words a month.
I’m going to tell you a secret. I don’t really even like writing that much. I never have. I detest typing and the act of writing has never come naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong. I like my stories after I’m done, but actually writing them is boring and tedious.
I like having a flexible job that let’s me live in the middle of the woods. I can make my own schedule.
I make money doing something I don’t mind doing.
So you don’t need to love it.
Here’s What I’d Do Instead of Reading Writing Advice Articles
Just read the writers you like.
Read you favorite authors. Yes, having some general tips will helps but you could end up spending years reading writing advice and never moving onto writing.