Self-Publishing Sunday: Which Writing Advice is Worth Following? + A Freebie

Source: Antonio Litterio via WikiCommons

Source: Antonio Litterio via WikiCommons

This week, I’ve come across an article that offered advice on writing, and which received a lot of backlash from the writing community. One was a Huffington Post article where a writer advised other writers not to write more than 4 books per year, saying it would automatically lead to poor quality. This article isn’t the first that offers advice on how one should or shouldn’t write or manage their writing career. There are tons of them out there, and each time one is written, the author acts as if their advice is the end-all be-all of advice

Given all the advice out there, how do writers decide which writing advice they follow?

Ultimately, I think they need to follow advice that resonates with them and advice that works. Yes, that’s a two-pronged approach, but part one is at least as important as part two. While part of the criticism leveled at the Huffington Post article was that it was bad business advice. But, let’s separate out the business portion of it for now. Let’s just talk about the writing advice. (I think we need to follow more stringent guidance for deciding which business advice to follow.)

I say writing advice needs to go with what resonates with you for a couple of reasons. First, because writers are all different. While successful writers all have in common the fact that they write, that they produce a decent amount of published work that sells, how they write is often very different. It’s frankly, personal. And if the writing advice doesn’t resonate with you on some basic level, it’s going to be hard to follow. And I would venture to say, it probably doesn’t fit with your writing style, not even a little.

Now, once you find advice that resonates with you, feel free to Google it. What are other people saying about it. While we can’t live our life by committee rule, it’s important to know if the advice you’re hearing is more along the norm or if it’s an outlier. Outliers aren’t necessarily bad, but you should know that. If you’re happy with the advice, the most important thing to do comes next: try it. Does it work for you? If it doesn’t work for you, it may not be the best advice for you.  They say the proof is in the pudding. Well, I say, with writing advice, the proof is in what works. Writers are different. While someone may advise writing 2,000 words a day for a month, then taking a month off for editing, that solution may do bupkis for you. So, try it and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t work, take a moment to analyze why. If you think the advice was generally bad/not a good fit for you, dump it. If you think the problem was your implementation, then maybe try again, with a different implementation strategy.

Writing is both universal as well as very personal. As such, when you evaluate advice, remember to look at it on both levels, the universal writing level and the personal level. That will help you figure out if it’s a good fit for keeping you productive in the way you wish to work.

Last, but not least, in the headline, I promised a freebie. My book, The Self Publishing Road Map, is FREE on Amazon today. So grab it if you’re interested.

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

P. S. If you haven’t visited my Pinterest page, check it out. I’ve pinned some great writing advice quotes from many sources.

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at http://rjcrayton.com/subscribe.
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9 Responses to Self-Publishing Sunday: Which Writing Advice is Worth Following? + A Freebie

  1. Write what you know and write how you feel. Aside from basic grammar, punctuation and spelling, writing “advice” is purely subjective. We live in a huge world with many different types of people who bear a slew of life experiences. Someone somewhere will like what you write and want more from you.

  2. Dale says:

    Advice, advice advice! I think every writer has to go at their own pace. If you can write a novel a month, go for it, but if you can only write one a yer or less, do that. Me? I like to write something everyday, if it’s one sentence or thirty pages, it’s good for me. That way, I always feel like I’ve accomplished something.

    I wish I could write more, but my brain falls out after awhile. 😀

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Writing something every day is wonderful. I’ve been trying to reach a certain daily word count, but it can get hard when you’re busy. Today has been one of those busy days when I haven’t even had a chance to write everything yet. But, I like your style.

      • Dale says:

        I was doing that, trying to reach a specified word count every day, but when it didn’t happen, I’d beat myself up over it. So that’s why I changed my mind set. I figure even if I write a sentence or two, I’m thinking about the story and my mind works on it subconsciously in the background. The next day usually ends up being a great writing day. Anyway I work, sooner or later I’ll write ‘The End’. 🙂

  3. Charles Ray says:

    I lead a workshop on professional writing for Rangel Scholars each summer at Howard University. I remind my participants frequently that what I teach them are guidelines, mere advice on what has worked for me. I’m careful to avoid using the term ‘rules,’ because I learned the hard way that what works well for one person can be a bloody disaster for another. Whenever I encounter a how-to piece on writing like the ‘never write more than 4 books per year,’ I stop reading because I know it’ll just tick me off.

    • DV Berkom says:

      Exactly, Charlie. And thanks for posting this, RJ. After reading the original article and a fisking by an author (another whom I don’t know) I thought, why worry about anyone else’s opinion on how an author “should” write? I will probably never write 4 books a year but I certainly am not going to tell someone who can/does that they shouldn’t. Seriously-most of the hyperbole out there about writing is only an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions…

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Cool. I didn’t know you taught a class at my Alma Mater! Yes, writing advice is just that: advice. It may not work for everyone. The person who writes slowly is going to gravitate toward advice that you can’t write four books in a year. It may be where they are and how they work. But a person who regularly has 3,000 word daily writing sessions is going to automatically dismiss the not 4 books a day.

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