Posted in Writing & Publishing, Writing Tips

Why I Hate Writing Rules

There are eight hundred million and four writing tips out there on the internet (yes, that is an exact number). More than half of them contradict each other. Many of them only work for the people offering that particular piece of advice. And when I was a new writer, I ate those tips up. I read so many blog posts and articles and interviews about the right way to write. The right way to make a book. The right way to write fight scenes/dialogue/sex scenes/humor/suspense/description/an ending/etc/etc/etc.

I listened to the advice of my favorite authors most of all because, of course, I wanted to write something as awesome as their books that I loved so much.

So I tried writing a certain number of words each day. I wrote every day. I wrote at the same time every day. I wrote in a specific space. I followed an outline. I followed a formula. I plotted certain story points at 25%, 50%, 75%, etc the way through the story. I bent over backwards to follow these arbitrary “rules” because I wanted my writing to be good. And I wasn’t confident enough in my own writing to realize that it already was, and I didn’t need to mirror anyone else for that to happen.

So even though I have plenty of my articles here on this blog with writing tips and whatnot, what I’m trying to say here is that you don’t have to listen to them. You don’t have to listen to a single one of them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, it just means you don’t have to.

I think as writers we like to hear about other writers’ processes and methods out of curiosity. It’s interesting to see how people tackle the same task differently. But that doesn’t mean there’s one right way to do it. There’s a million ways to do it, actually.

The important thing is to figure out what way works for you.

So feel free to let writing tips and the writing processes of accomplished authors guide you, but always remember that in the end, you’re looking for your own process. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. And the only way you’re going to do that is by trial and error.

I don’t like writing advice because sometimes they imply that writing is a one size fits all activity. And it’s not.

So knock yourself out. Read every writing article you can get your hands on—I did, and sometimes I still do—but learn to take what you need from them and discard the rest. Find what works for you, and be confident enough in yourself and in your writing to know what’s right for you.

 

What do you think of writing advice?

Write on, friends 😉

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Posted in Food for thought Friday

Food for Thought Friday: What Are You Grateful For?

You may or may not be aware that I’ve been listening to a self-help audiobook–I know. Totally not my thing. But I’ve been doing it anyway because broaden your horizons and all that jazz. (The book is You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero if you want to check it out). But at one point in the book, it talks about focusing on the positive side of a situation and finding things to be grateful for, even when times are hard.

I’ve found a lot of the advice in this book to be sort of gibberish, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this chapter.

How many times have you thought yourself into a bad mood? I can only speak for myself, but I’m willing to guess it’s a lot. We micromanage and obsess over the bad things in our lives

I can’t believe I had a stain on my shirt in that interview! I’m never going to get the job. 

Of course I just tripped as I walked past a hot guy. Chance=blown

I can’t believe I just failed my math final. My life is over.

Freshman fifteen? More like freshman fifty! WHAT HAVE I DONEEEEE

And so on.

And I’m as guilty of doing this as anyone else.

SO. I’ve designed a little experiment for myself, and if you’d like, you are more than welcome to join me. Each day I’m going to take the time to physically write down (on paper–no typing!) 10 things I’m grateful for each day. And I don’t mean big picture things like I’m grateful for my family and friends and health–I mean little specific things that happened that day.

For example, here’s my first list:

I’m grateful for…

1.  How pretty the mountains looked on my drive home

2. How happy and giddy my grandmother was at her Mother’s Day present

3. How tightly she hugged me goodbye

4. How hard I laughed at my dad’s jokes

5. That we were all able to be together for Mother’s Day

6. That the rain on our hike only lasted a little while and I didn’t slip on the rocks on our way back down

7. That my dogs were so blissfully happy to see me when we got back

8. How quickly I managed to fall asleep that night (I’m usually a bit of an insomniac)

9. That my friend trusted me enough to call me and ask for my advice over one of her problems

10. How freaking fantastic the book I’m reading is so far!

 

So there you have it! I’m hoping this exercise will force me to be more positive and enjoy the little things more, and ultimately improve my quality of life. It’s something small, but I believe it’s something important.

Thanks for reading.

What are you grateful for?

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Posted in Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Reading

Book Review + Discussion: The Truth About Alice

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD.

Sorry, just had to put that out there.

Snapshot 1 (5-11-2016 9-04 PM)

So I made a video reviewing/discussing/fangirling over The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. PLEASE COME TALK TO ME ABOUT IT. IT WAS SO GOOD.

Watch it (and come discuss with me) here. I have a non-spoilers section and a spoilers section, so even people who haven’t read the book are MORE THAN WELCOME.

Sorry for all the caps. I just have so much enthusiasm for this book. 🙂

Posted in Reading

Thoughts on DNF (Did Not Finish)-ing Books

So I’m a pretty stubborn person. Okay, I may be the most stubborn person I know. When I start something, I am determined to finish it. That’s it. The end. No questions. For as long as I can remember, that’s been my mentality with books. If I pick one up, I owe it to the book, myself, the author, the universe, the muffin man, etc to finish it. I finish what I start. That’s just who I am.

Or is it?

Over the past year or two, I’ve been reading more and more. But that also means I’ve been putting books down with substanceless promises of oh, I’ll just come back to it later, and NEWS FLASH I never do. Why? Because if I put the book down, it was probably for a reason.

So even though I’ve always believed myself to be morally against not finishing books, I find that sometimes, that’s the answer.

Not every book is going to fit everyone’s fancy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea or size of shoe or cereal of choice or what have you. Just look at every famous book ever. There are 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews for every single one of them. Because what’s a perfect book for one person might be the worst book ever to the next. We all bring different backgrounds and baggage with us when we pick up a book that influences our reading experiences and in turn, determines whether or not we enjoy a book. And that’s just the way the world works.

So. What’s the point of this ramble, you ask?

I suppose I’ve decided that DNFing a book is not the source of all evil as I once believed it to be. Because the thing is, if I’m not connecting with or enjoying a book, and  I know that’s not going to change, no matter how much more of the book I read, what’s the point of forcing myself through it? Especially when I have 50 or so unread books sitting on my shelves, staring at me, waiting for their turn?

Life’s too short to read bad books.

If you’re not enjoying it, there’s no shame in setting it aside and picking up something else that better suits you. Give that other book to someone else, someone who will connect with it and understand it and believe it to be the best book ever.

Do you DNF books? Feel free to add your 2 cents to the comments. I’d love to discuss with you!

Write (and read) on, friends! 😉