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

hemingway quoteWe all know that “write every day” isn’t everyone’s rule. For all the writing advice available there is a counter argument. Many writers have said there are no rules to writing. Elmore Leonard tries “to leave out the part readers skip.” And if you have writers block Hemingway says “you have always written before and you will write now.” And if you’re feeling like a novice Margaret Atwood says “writing, like everything else, improves with practice.”

So how do you know what writing advice to take?

Anne Lamott is one of my favorites on the subject:

“Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.”


Q: What’s the best writing advice you’ve read or received? Write every day? Finish what you start? Write first revise later? Share yours in the comments below…

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

33 thoughts on “What’s the best writing advice you’ve received?

  1. Spend money on your craft. When I realized I had no problem spending $500 a year on clothing but I wasn’t willing to spend that on a writing class I knew I had to step back and really consider what was important to me. I enrolled in a class, and even before it started, I had a huge boost in my writing because I was telling myself that my dreams were worth it!


  2. Never stop writing when you’re out of ideas. Always push through that until words start flowing again, and THEN stop. Stop while there are more ideas left in your head so that you will always have a reason to start again.


  3. Get thee to a critique group.

    I didn’t know what I didn’t know until I got solid feedback from other people. After finding and attending a good group, my writing improved at warp speed. Not only did I learn from getting critiqued, but I also learned from having to figure out why something worked for me (or didn’t) in someone else’s piece so I could give a critique, and from watching one person critique another. Light bulb moments all over the place. And the emotional support from fellow writers is priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carly, you’re right that Bird by Bird was full of inspiration. The best writing advice I’ve read is: Just show up and write, regardless of how you feel. Some of my most rewarding writing times have happened when I just showed up anyways.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Before you can break the rules, you have to know the rules. I want to continue learning as much as I can about different forms of writing. I need to read as much as I can, learn about The Greats, and understand the “rules” of writing before I can break the rules.


  6. “Write what you know.” I begin from this starting point. However, characters often require me to learn something new…which in times becomes ‘stuff I know’, and that just gives me more to write about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Two tips from Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron:
    1. There is no writing; there is only rewriting.
    2. Instead of thinking each draft has to be “it,” just try to make your story a little bit better than it was in the previous draft.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. First, I must tell you how your guidance has impacted my writing. Wow. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I am a better writer because of it. Now, to answer your question –

    I follow two conflicting pieces of advice: (1.) Stop Editing or you’ll never move past your first three chapters. (<— You may have said that!) The goal is to finish your first draft, i.e., your Book!

    – VS –

    (2.) every 2,000 to 3,000 words, print your story, sit down with a good cup of tea and a red pen. Insert those changes into your manuscript. Otherwise, you might end up with hundreds of pages to revise and a story that has gone off-track. I tend to work according to (2.), while being dogmatic about (1.). Albeit, there are many days where I am weak and find myself editing as I go.

    I don't know if it's because I like the tea, or the red pen.


  9. Bestselling Author Vince Flynn (May he rest in peace) once told me, “Just write a good story. If you do this, people will want to read it and it will get published.”


  10. “Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of a writer.” – Kurt Vonnegut

    My response: Ouch! That hurts me.


What do you think? I love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: