As a new writer, I tend to surround myself with all sorts of writing advice in the form of books, blogs, and podcasts. I’m sure that all writers do this or had during some point in their careers and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing; everyone needs to learn somehow and should always look to improve in some form.

What I do find absolutely annoying about the advice given to writers is that certain mediums like to supersaturate you with that knowledge on a daily basis. Many writers that I see in forums cling to it all as if it were equal, then collapse under the weight of the ‘knowledge’ dropped on them.

It isn’t all equal, folks!

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve been burnt out of writing on many occasions because of the  multitude of blogs, tweets, and so on that I used to read on many aspects of writing. If it isn’t burning me out, then I find it to be a complete time waster. Many times I’ve hit an overlap of knowledge that I have already sucked up somewhere else or find information that completely disregards what I have learned somewhere else. Talk about confusing!

Now I’m not going to tell you what I think is necessary or unnecessary in terms of advice, but in these short months that I’ve researched information I have created a standard for myself when it comes to taking in someone’s rules, advice, and etc. You most certainly do not have to follow it, but I would suggest that all new writers create one for themselves so that they can focus on what is truly important: writing!

My Personal Guidelines to Advice!

  1. Limit your sources. For example, I use Writing Excuses, SFWA Worldbuilding Questions and many of their other helpful posts, and Lisa Gardner’s Writers’ Toolbox (I’m a sucker for PDFs!). Anything else is for specific inquiries.
  2. Create a toolbox, like the above, to compile your references. The less time you need to research, the more time you have for writing. Books, blogs, podcasts… whatever helps you.
  3. When in doubt, just read a book from your genre. The best learning tool is another writer’s prose. If it is great, then you know what to do. If it isn’t, then you know what not to do.
  4. Shut up and write! It is okay to screw up a little. Make your own rules through revision, rejection, and success. How do you think these rules were created anyway? Divine mandate!?

All advice isn’t good advice for you. What helps someone else may shoot you in the foot or throw you for a loop that delays your future success as a writer. So find what works for you, compile it, and settle down with your work in progress.