The Worst Good Writing Advice I’ve Received So Far

There are many rules about writing prose fiction. Any creative writing course will drill those rules into you. But don’t be fooled. These “rules” are merely guidelines that help you focus your prose. But they aren’t commandments. I think there is only one real rule so far as prose construction goes:

Rules about writing should be followed, unless they shouldn’t.

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Not So Much Writer’s Block More Writer’s Freeze

In the latest post on LionAroundWriting, the subject of “writer’s freeze” is addressed.

Specifically, this refers to a total writer shutdown when panicking about word counts and trying to keep your subject as brief as possible without cutting everything interesting out of a story.


This is more than a post; this is a conversation. So please join in the talk!


writers freeze chemistrydotabout

ANYONE ELSE GET THIS? Maybe this terror of going over a word limit began at university with 2000 word limits on essays. I get the freeze when I’m writing a short story. Maybe freeze isn’t a great word for it but I’ll explain. Sometimes I will be writing a piece and I’m so conscious of word count that I end up writing lazy sentences, freezing up; instead of describing the world and filling in those all important details that bring a story to life, I’ll write stubby sentences, providing a skeleton but little else as a result of being way too mindful of the number of words. It’s some form of mental block.

And if I plan to write for a WordPress post, I’m always trying to keep it snappy, under about 5-600 words, and the freeze begins again. I’m so habituated to strive for 500 words online…

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This Smells Terrible! Here, Smell It!

Bad writing.

I mean really bad writing.

I love it.

I find it inspirational. Whenever I read a terrible published work, I step back with a little reverence and more awe than I anticipated.

Discovering really terrible writing is like discovering a smell so bad that you have to share it with family and friends. It’s so bad that it becomes a bonding experience.

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A Quote About Writing

“Writing is a sacred calling — but so are gardening, dentistry and plumbing, so don’t put on airs.

“Writers are journalists before they’re anything else. You keep coming back to journalism, which is continually hard work, to describe action, to narrate a sequence of events and somehow keep your own fine sensibility out of it, to simply say how the game progressed.”

– Garrison Keillor

GAH! Second Passes Pass So Slow! Bonus: Poetry!

QUESTION: When do you as a writer decide that a work is finished?

I am still going on my second pass on the novel. I have jumped around as needed. Second drafts are writing triage. I have to decide what can be saved and what isn’t worth the time to fix.

What I have to beware of is constant polishing. There will come a point where I have to “abandon” my novel. That isn’t to say that I am quitting. It means that I have to declare it “finished” and move on to my many other projects.

Continue reading “GAH! Second Passes Pass So Slow! Bonus: Poetry!”