One Piece of Indispensable Writing Advice: Don’t Take Advice from Writers



I mean it.

I hate it when writers give advice on writing, as if we were all the same, and what works for one will work for another. I see it all the time on the Internet, and it drives me crazy. Writers are the most capricious, unreliable, fickle, and inhomogeneous set of professional people in the world. They share not a single particular except the physical act of sitting down to write (and some not even that: Hemingway wrote standing up.) Some, like Fitzgerald and Parker and Lardner, were dissolute sots,  and some, like Leo Tolstoy, were clear-eyed, sober and austere. I once saw Andrew Piper and Lisa Moore on stage together at a festival in Ottawa. Piper said all writers are moody and troubled. Moore was quick to disagree (although I’ve met Moore on several occasions, and I would be hard-pressed to call her lighthearted and generous.) My…

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