The Worst Piece of Writing Advice

I think one of the worst pieces of writing advice is “Give yourself permission to write crap.”

Okay, first I get the principle behind it.  Writers can be so overly critical, saying “This is garbage,” that they never finish a project. I used to know a writer who would do three chapter, submit for critique, and then discard it when he got comments about needing work.

So this advice is supposed to help writers get through and complete the first draft.  But here’s where I find it really bad advice:

It encourages poor writing.  Poor writing encourages more work.

The attitude this advice promotes is to leave the problems until later, but there’s always a payback in time.

It’s a different thing to adjust as the story is being created versus trying to revise a story to fix a problem.  I’ve had problems with getting details into my story.  My tendency is to leave them ALL out.  I spent the better of a year trying to revise to fix other problems and add details into existing scenes of a fantasy novel.  It takes a lot of time!  It’s not a matter of simply filling in the blanks.  I have to pull the entire story apart and do a major revision that can take several years.

How does that help?

Whereas, spending a little extra time to pay attention to the where I’m weak means it’s already done.  One of the things I’ve learned in my quest to improve time management is not to make more work for myself.

What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve run into?

One thought on “The Worst Piece of Writing Advice

  1. The worst advice I ever got was “write to the market”. I killed myself trying to, first, discover precisely what the “market” wanted and, second, trying to be some other writer. Is was not a success.


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