The Problem with Writing Advice

Sometimes, I fantasise about becoming a world famous author and being interviewed on television, or radio, or, more likely these days, on a podcast! Woopty-do, eh? Of course, in the interview I would be asked if I had any advice for writers. It would be a great opportunity to debunk the stock standard rules for writing such as:

write everyday,

read everything,

show don’t tell,


write what you know.

I would especially like to rapaciously ravage and eternally eradicate the slavish scorn for adverbs. I have no issues with abundant alliteration.

How smug I could be – arrogantly suggesting there are no rules for writing fiction. So, I thought about it a bit. What advice would I give?

Here’s one shot at it:

  1. Have fun – you’re alone, you’re free to write whatever you like, why suffer?

  2. Be bold – it’s not called creative writing for a joke.

  3. Be prolific – most of your stories will be crap, a few will be gems, do the maths.

Now, here’s the problem. Since formulating these rules, they have become a mantra that swims around in my early morning writing head.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.

Have fun, be bold, be prolific.


Consequently, writing has become a gloomy chore, my sentences are pastel, and the output is drier than the mouth of the Murray.

I ditch my three rules.

Advice to self:

Don’t fantasise about becoming famous and being interviewed and thinking that you have anything wise to say to anyone about writing – just write.

Here is a picture of my bedside table. These books have to be returned to the library tomorrow – proof you can’t read everything!

Bedside table