When it comes to writing advice, one thing is certain: There’s no shortage of writing tips, tricks, hacks, and grammar rules. Some of this advice is presented as “must do” if you want to succeed as a writer and get published. But at Writer’s Relief, our experts want you to know that not every writing tip should be followed without question. It’s not that these suggestions are wrong—they’re just not essential for success. In fact, there are three pieces of writing advice that you can safely ignore right now and still create great work that literary editors, agents, and readers will enjoy.
Writing Advice You Can Ignore
Should You Write Every Day? Not Unless You Want To!
This is a so-called “golden rule” that pops up left and right when you start researching writing tips or advice. For some writers, this advice helps them stay on track and produce work. But not everyone has the same amount of free time. Some writers may have an hour or more each day when they can write. Other writers may have multiple distractions pulling them away: painting the kitchen, picking up the kids, laundry, day jobs, and more.
While you may not be able to write every day, you definitely should write on a schedule that works for you. Determine when you’re most likely to have time and for how long, whether it’s thirty minutes every other day, two hours every weekend, or forty-seven minutes every other Tuesday. A flexible writing schedule might also work well for you.
Must You Avoid Adverbs? Not Always!
At some point, every writer hears this advice about tossing aside adverbs. And this isn’t bad writing advice. But should it be a blanket rule? Not necessarily. If an adverb adds something to your writing, then you should use it! “He walked quickly” could be replaced by “he sprinted” or “he hurried,” but “he walked mournfully” tells another story entirely. And readers would much rather hear what she “shouted” than what she “said loudly.” When you use an adverb, it should modify the way your readers understand the action.
That being said, all things are better in moderation—don’t go overboard with adverbs. As Ursula K. Le Guin said, “Adjectives and adverbs are good and fattening. The main thing is not to overindulge.”
Should You Research Markets On Your Own? Not Necessarily!
Some authors think they’re not a “real” writer unless they pay their dues and do their own research to determine where to send submissions. But sifting through countless possibilities can take hours and hours over the course of many days—there are literally thousands of markets where you can submit your short story, poetry, creative nonfiction, and book manuscripts. And while verifying the right places to submit your writing is important, establishing where you should NOT send your work is even more important. Meanwhile, all that time you’re spending researching could be spent writing. And when you finally do complete a new piece, you have to start researching all over again.
At Writer’s Relief, we have expert researchers who can do all that busywork for you. With over twenty-seven years of experience, we can help you target the very best markets for your work and boost your odds of getting published. Our clients include experienced, award-winning published authors and new writers looking for their first publication credit.
Getting published is hard: The competition is fierce. Give yourself an edge and let professionals pinpoint your submissions to the very best markets. Our strategy has worked for hundreds of happy writers like Kathleen, Evelyn, Joseph, Sam, and many others (you can see many more of our clients here!)—and it can help you too.
Remember, what makes you a writer is writing—not spending hours researching literary journals or literary agents.
What writing advice you follow and which tips you ignore is entirely up to you. Every writer is different, and there are no “one size fits all” answers. Learning about your craft and the writing life can be helpful, but be sure to stay true to yourself, your voice, and your writing.
Question: What writing advice do you regularly ignore?