If You Want My Advice

Write what you know.

Show don’t tell.

Write every day.

Avoid the passive voice.

Know your audience.

Revise, revise, revise.

Do a quick Google search for writing advice, and you’ll still be reading a year from now. Writers love to wax eloquently on the craft, the publishing process, and the writing life in general. I’ve written a book of advice myself on how to live a life of words.

But the thing about writing advice is that it’s a lot like advice in general. As Charles Reade said: “Good advice is like a tight glove; it fits the circumstances, and it does not fit other circumstances.” Even when we ask for advice, what we are really looking for is an “accomplice,” according to Saul Bellow.

I’m not saying we can’t learn from each other. We can. What works for you might work for me, too. Or what inspires me may bring inspiration your way, too. We are connected like that.

But we aren’t the same, our circumstances differ, our energy levels vary, and our writing lives don’t look alike most of the time.

So you want my advice? Listen to the advice you hear from other writers. Adopt what works for you. Shed what doesn’t. Above all, trust your own instincts about your writing life. Chances are, you already have most everything you need to be successful.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

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