IWSG: Advice Is a Form of Nostalgia


First of all, Happy New Year! And Happy IWSG Day!

Yes, 2017 is upon us. Maybe that’s why this month’s question of the month is making me think of nostalgia and the (in)famous quote that “advice is form of nostalgia.” Then again, maybe “bad advice” is a form of nostalgia.

The question of the month is “What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?”

My answer is none, or none I can remember. I mean, it’s all part of the learning experience. When I think of memorably bad advice I’ve gotten, it all comes down to stories. And, I love stories.

Like the time I was told to self-publish now and not later, by someone who’d done the same and then proceeded to hawk his book to friends and family. This guy was in charge of the local writer’s group and a real character. I’m never going to do that again, but I’ll never forget the kick in the pants he gave us.

Then there’s the writing prof in college who basically told me not to bother with fantasy, because it doesn’t sell, which is more or less true. But, she did push me to think out of the fantasy box, and she did convince me I was a good writer, deep down, maybe.

A third story, I remember talking to someone I know about bad writing advice I’d gotten, which I honestly don’t even remember, because it was bad. My friend was saying how art groups are just failed artists exchanging the same bad advice, and it can be like that, but I still think it’s better to have people you can talk to. On a related note, last I heard, years later, this person is still waiting for “inspiration”.

Long story short, in my opinion, it’s better to make mistakes than to be frozen in place waiting for the stars to align so you can get to work. Maybe the only truly bad advice is the advice not to write at all, to wait for inspiration, to wait until I “feel like it.” And yes, there are people who actually tell me things like that – because to them it’s just a hobby.

What about you? What’s one piece of writing advice you wish you never heard?

10 thoughts on “IWSG: Advice Is a Form of Nostalgia

  1. Never believe what people say does and doesn’t sell. In 2010 a friend gave up writing because she was writing dystopian and all agents rejected her saying “dystopian is dead.” Of course very soon after that we got “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” “Delerium,” etc. Dystopian is HUGE. Write what you love and know that there’s always a place in the market for an excellent book!

  2. Yep, mistakes…make them, lots of them. I’ve yet to hear a story about someone who reached some level of success (arbitrary as that word can be) without making many missteps.

    Oh, and also, our writing group rules. Wink.

  3. Writing is a passion, not a hobby! To some, it is a profession, but to be forced to write is not good either. Letting the juices flow and creating a fantastic story afterwards is a talent! No matter which rules you incorporate! 🙂

  4. In my post this month, I talk about wishing I had never heard the advice about just letting the words flow during your first draft and not going back and editing it until it’s all out on paper. I definitely agree that it’s better to just get on with it and make mistakes rather than being frozen in place.

  5. I guess it’s good to listen to advice, but then think on it and decide for yourself what feels right.

    I like adverbs. I end up killing a lot, but not all of them. LOL.

  6. It can be frustrating trying to sort out the actual good advice from the nonsense but I think it comes down to common sense like almost everything in life. The same with the rules, we always need to trust our common sense.
    Happy New Year to You!!

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