Do This, Not That

I see a lot of writerly advice links floating around, mainly via the Twittersphere. Never do this! they say. That doesn’t work! Do this instead! And a heck of a lot of the YOU MUST DO THIS advice is contradictory.

My advice? Read it, sure, but take all of it with a nice, big grain of salt. Spend your time and effort figuring out what works for you.

Every writer is different, and every story is different. What another author does may not fit your schedule or your style. A short story isn’t a novel. Plots and characters can run away from you. Nothing is 100% for anyone.

Unfortunately, there’s no blood test for this. No one’s going to be able to look you over and tell you what you should do. Sure, there are clues here and there—How organized are you? Are you a computerphile or a technophobe? What’s your home life like?—but what it comes down to is trial and error.

Experiment. Try writing early in the morning or late at night. Challenge yourself to write for a certain length of time or certain number of words. Write in your living room, in bed, outside, longhand. Listen to different types of music while you write, or try silence. Write out character bios or build the world of your story before you write the story itself. Outline, or write a detailed summary, or just start writing and see what happens.* Write in present tense or omniscient or whatever your characters want from you.

[*Okay, one specific piece of advice: pantsing generally works better for short stories than long!]

In conclusion: go on already! Quit reading this and get busy writing! Sheesh. 😉

2 responses to “Do This, Not That

  1. I just read an article by Grammar GIrl about the very same thing. You both have a very similar point of view.

  2. Funny, I blogged on this exact topic on Friday 🙂

    find what works for you… really, that’s all you can do 🙂