The Only Writing Advice You’ll Ever Need


oh, and you should read a lot, too.

Just write, really. If you need encouragement, business advice, or criticism of your work, that’s something else entirely. I’m only being somewhat facetious here. If you write, you’re a “real writer.” You’re not going to find magic on a blog or a Twitter account. And why take advice from someone like me who’s been in the biz for only a few years? It makes no sense. How about a pro who knows both traditional, “indie” and hybrid?

For practical writing advice and some business advice, I usually recommend Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block, but he recently updated Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel (the original didn’t have the pixels). LB began sending out stories, then wrote speedily under pseudonyms, then wrote stand-alones under his own name, then wrote series, improving all the while, until his series characters kicked off. He certainly was born with innate talent and has spent years honing his skill, so don’t expect to emulate his success; but you can emulate his hard work, and that often bears tasty fruit. (In fact, he may have written Tasty Fruit under a pseudonym. He keeps finding erotic books he wrote back when). The point is, LB has been out on the cutting edge of the writing scene for at least fifty years. His advice is up to date and practical.

If you don’t write as much as you’d like, or if you feel daunted, I might suggest Stephen King’s On Writing. But he began 50 years ago and hit it big on his first try, so his business acumen is not relevant to most of us. His writing advice however, is spot on.

If you find yourself “blocked” often, I won’t judge. You don’t have to write every day. You know who told me that? LB. On his Write For Your Life audio mp3. The book is worthwhile, too. If you want strong exercises that will break blocks and keep them from recurring, Jerrold Mundis literally wrote the book on it: Break Writers Block Now!

I get stressed when  I think that I have to write or edit every day. It is counterproductive. But if I don’t think about it, I usually write or edit every evening after dinner and before I allow myself time to read or watch television. That works for me. The thing is, there’s no one way. Anyone who tells you different is selling you their books on how to write.