I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post for some time now. Most days the subject doesn’t bother me and I don’t even think about it. Other days it makes me want to bang my head against the wall just so I can avoid it with a concussion.
The topic is one of advice blogs for writers.
I love advice. I do, despite the title of this post and the first few sentences, I really do like/read/benefit from advice blogs. My problem with them is my own. I become addicted and then overwhelmed. It goes from catching an interesting title on Twitter and checking out what a fellow writer has to say to reading every single piece of advice out there and trying to shove it into my novel with every sentence. It’s not pretty.
I ran into this brick wall this past weekend. I was finally (FINALLY!) ready to put some words down on paper. The time came to give a voice to the characters that have been only talking to me for the past few weeks. I sat down in front of the computer and I froze. I couldn’t find the right words for the opening.
I kept hearing different voices in my head and they weren’t from my characters. It was the voices of “they.” (Cue the loud, shrilling scream here)
You know who “they” are; everyone talks about them. They say you should do this and they say you shouldn’t do that. Did you read what they posted today:
“The first page, no, the first paragraph, no, the first sentence is the most important in your book. You must get it right or no one will buy your book. Ever.”
“Don’t use a Prologue, no one reads them anyways.”
“You shouldn’t use flashback scenes to explain histories.”
“Only use adverbs when you’re writing on Tuesdays at 7:23pm and only then if your protagonist has blonde hair, green eyes and a slight hangover.” (Ok, I made this one up, but you get my point.)
It was as if all these advice posts were floating around in my head leaving no room for my characters. I needed to make a change.
I started noticing that a lot of the information from these posts would help me during the editing process, not necessarily the writing process. That’s where my problem came in. I would read these posts, get excited about writing and want to use what I’ve learned right away.
Only when I would go to write I couldn’t find a way around the mistake so I would just stare at my screen waiting for inspiration to hit. However, my inspiration was hanging out with the adverbs in the flashback I was going to write. I would get frustrated making it ten times harder to write. I’d end up closing my computer to go read a book or watch tv.
Now, I just write. Sometimes when I write something that I know someone has advised against I note it so I can come back and check it out later. I feel that right now my job is to get the words down on paper. Editing while writing just isn’t for me; its too much pressure. I am, however, looking forward to using all the things I’ve learned when it does come time to editing.
I still read a lot of advice blogs, just not as much as I used to and it involves a lot of skimming. I usually tend to read the ones that really catch my attention. For instance, there was one on adverbs I read and bookmarked. Have you noticed that I use a lot of adverbs? Seriously, I need to watch that. 😉
Do you guys read a lot of advice blogs? What are some of your favorite blogs for advice? Does it help or hurt your actual writing? How do you handle incorporating advice into your writing?