I keep hearing over and over about how other writers force writers to do something like get a book doctor or rewrite or whatever. This advice (99.9% of the time) is coming from beginning or unpublished writers.
But these writers feel forced, like there is a gun to their head because it is their “community.”
For some reason I mostly escaped this silliness when I was coming in.
My mantra was always to learn only from those who were farther down the road than I was by a long ways.
I wanted to learn from those writers making a living, having long careers, and so on.
I sought out those writers, put myself in positions to learn from them.
I believed that from day one completely. It was a belief I never faltered from for decades. Long term writers were the only humans I would ever listen to or read for learning. Period.
I must admit, I was rudely dismissive at times of writers who thought they knew something, but only had a few books published. They were not worth my time to listen to. Now I listen and learn a lot from students and newer professionals, which is the main reason Kris and I teach, but I know how to filter and call bullshit or myth when I hear it.
I learn from the questions newer writers ask more than anything else, and from trying to explain something very advanced and complex such as information flow or tags.
Sadly, beginning writers these days do not have a filter and listen to everything by anyone who can talk louder than the next person. This is really present in all the marketing gurus who pop up, have a few books, then start teaching how they did their marketing. 99.9% fad stuff.
So how do you avoid other writers dragging you off the road and into the ditch? Simple. Only learn from long-term professionals. Get snobby.
Take classes, go to conventions where the professionals are, listen to blogs, read books they wrote or recommend. Only listen to someone who has a bio that makes you go “Wow, I want that career.”
Then, take even their advice and hit it with a giant salt shaker. If advice doesn’t make sense to you, for heaven’s sake, ask yourself why? Always question. If a long-term professional’s advice doesn’t make sense because it conflicts with something you learned from your English teacher, then question your own beliefs. Always question.
One more time. Always Question!!
But first and most importantly, get away from the train wrecks, the rewriters, the “you must get a book doctor, an agent, a dozen beta readers.” Those folks are death.
Why allow them into your life. Never read or write reviews, start building a belief system in yourself.
And then go for making your writing and learning fun. If someone is telling you, no matter who, that fiction writing must be work in some fashion or another, run, don’t walk away.
Clear out those who don’t have a clue what they are talking about and learn from long-term professionals. We all won’t agree, but we will have things that are similar. Figure out what works for you.
And remember, telling stories is great fun.
And making a living from telling stories is even more fun. You can get there if you get away from those who want to hold you down.