Monday, September 21, 2009

Best Writing Advice You'll Ever Receive

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

One of my writing groups posed this question the other day. You will have your own answer to this question and I'd love to hear it. But here's my answer.

Anytime I speak, I am usually asked a variation on this topic. Advice has come from many venues, but I believe the most useful I received has come by way of quotes. I love quotes. They inspire and motivate me. The best advice I ever received came from a quote by Raymond Chandler. I can't find the exact quote, but the gist of the sentiment was to write as quickly and as passionately as you can without stopping to see if what you're writing is any good. There's plenty of time for that later.

That is how I strive to write. Without editing. Without second guessing myself. Without worrying if it makes sense or if anyone will pay good money to read it. Just get the words on paper and worry about how it all turns out later.

Sounds easy enough, but it's quite difficult to put into practice. One of the hardest things for me to do is shut off the inner editor and get down to writing. I typically hate every word I write while I'm writing. It isn't until after I'm finished, usually with the entire book, that I read a passage and think, "Hey, this is pretty good. I don't even remember writing it."

That's when writing is fun and worth all the fear, frustration, and doubt that goes along with it.

So get to it. The story idea that’s been pestering you, the article you should’ve written last week, the blog post you meant to write but can't quite remember the point you wanted to make-- whatever it is--write it quickly and with passion. Don’t worry that it’s too long or too short or not original enough for anyone to want to read. Just get it down.

You've got a lifetime to edit. Now have a wonderful writing week.

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