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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why The Best Writing Advice You Can Learn Is Also The Worst

Why The Best Writing Advice You Can Learn Is Also The Worst

In the movie Ruby Sparks, a writer is so stricken with writer's block that his psychologist gives him a writing assignment. Can it be bad, the writer asks. The psychologist replies, "I'd like it to be very bad."

All too often, aspiring writers (and even established writers!) feel the need to get it right the first time. But most writers will tell you that no one ever gets it right the first time. You see, the secret to writing is simple: write. It's easy to write, but hard to write well. Once you accept this basic truth, only then can the writing process truly begin.

And writing is just that: a process. Writing isn't just about writing. The real work comes after you write that first draft. Rewriting. Editing. Styling. Whatever you may call it, that is where the real magic happens. And believe me, that is what will take up most of your time while in the process of writing.

So yes, in some sense, telling a writer to write badly is bad advice. You don't want writers to take it literally and write something not fit to be seen by humans. But when taken in the right away, then it becomes the best kind of advice, the kind that sets you free.

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