Recently, I was scrolling through Twitter (as I do several times a day) when I came across a post from either someone I follow or someone who had been liked, retweeted or commented on by someone I follow. (It’s hard to tell sometimes.) The poster essentially said that unless you were Stephen King or some other bestselling writer, then he didn’t think he should read or follow any advice you might have about writing. Most of the comments agreed with him. Some even thought that the only way to improve was to write more (but not to listen to advice on how they might be able to write better).
I have no problem with Stephen King. I have his book On Writing. I’ve read it. I don’t consider it a Bible on the craft. I’ve written and published two books on writing myself. I’m close to completing a third. I don’t consider any of them definitive guides on writing. (Obviously, if one of them was a Bible on writing, I’d be a lot more successful than I am now and I wouldn’t have needed to write the other two.) I have many books on writing. None of them render all other books on writing irrelevant.Continue reading
I don’t claim to know everything. I hope everyone who reads what I write understands that. I hope people who read what I write understand that I’m just trying to help by putting what I do know and more tenuously but less definitively what I think into words. I hope everyone else out there understands that they don’t know everything either. No one does. No one can.
And yet there are some who feel sure that their way is the right way with no room for deviation or difference. And they have no second thoughts about telling everyone who will listen and the vast majority who don’t want to. I get a bit tired of being told I’m living my life wrong. If it’s true, then I will be the one who ultimately suffers. If I’m not (and even if I am), I don’t want to listen to other people’s judgements on actions that only affect me.
So let me say this. (No, actually, I don’t care whether you let me or not, I’m going to say it anyway.) Stop telling me what to do.Continue reading