Writing Advice: Take It With a Grain of Salt

Over the years, I’ve seen and tried to follow an abundance of writing advice or “rules,” and when you’re new to writing, some of these hints and tips can either encourage you or greatly hinder your writing.

Recently though, and much in part thanks to my journey writing my debut YA fantasy novel, Fire and Flight, I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of advice and rules you’ll stumble across while perusing the internet are complete hogwash.

Yes, hogwash.

Granted, there are definitely technical and grammatical rules that should be practiced (although the exception to this tidbit is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road—an interesting read if you haven’t read it), the vast majority of writing posts are the author’s personal preference on a particular tool or style of writing—this blog post included—or something contradictory to another piece of advice you’ve seen.

With that said, those are two reasons or conclusions I’ve come to that have led me to believe it’s best to take any and all writing advice with a grain of salt.

More importantly, it’s best to find the pieces that make you a better writer and bolster your work. I think the best piece of writing advice I can give to fellow writers or up-and-coming writers is to write freely.

Write with abandon, get your story on paper and worry about the rest later. First drafts are meant to be messy, a reminder I’ve seen in the writing community numerous times across a multitude of social platforms, including quotes attributed to previous generations of writers. It’s my experience that you will never complete anything if you keep fixating on the “right way to write” something, especially if you’re still getting it on paper for the first time. I’m also guilty of this as I am currently ignoring at least four stories I’d started as a young writer and quickly abandoned because they became too taxing when I was hyper-fixated on getting a perfect, albeit first, draft.

If I actually continued to follow a lot of the advice or tips I’ve seen, I probably would’ve abandoned writing a long time ago for something more structured and consistent. All of my stories would be in various stages of incomplete because I’d focused too much on writing correctly and fixing the mistakes in every sentence as I wrote them, or given up on an idea because “it’s been done too much.”

If you’re told a trope is tired, ask yourself why? How can I do it differently? Aren’t my characters, plot, style, etc., unique enough to entice readers? Why can’t I use this trope anymore just because it’s been used by others? Don’t just accept the fact that a trope is deemed “tired” because someone else says it is.

Write the story you need to write, and do it your way. If you want to use all the “tired” tropes in one novel, be my guest. Just remember to write from the heart—your heart, and not anybody else’s.

Happy writing!


  1. […] my last post, I wrote about why I feel its best to take writing advice with a grain of salt. Through my […]