Writing advice: Personal quirks and preferences are not “rules”

A man after my own heart. Eschew the writing groups and damn the outline!

Eric the Gray

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’m not big on writing rules… unless they are backed by evidence. I’m a science-brained person. If you tell me all writers should do X, please show me some stats.

I’m going to steal an example from myself: I while back I blogged about how so many experts say, “You must join a writing group.” In my post, I asked why. I didn’t say writing groups weren’t good for some people; I merely wanted evidence that being in a writing group increases my chances of publication or makes me a better writer. Because if it doesn’t, why must I join one? Statements aren’t proof of themselves.

Ok. In the world of science, it’s standard practice to back up statements with hard data. Since the goals of writers vary so much, and “better” isn’t a concrete measurement, let’s expand the…

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10 thoughts on “Writing advice: Personal quirks and preferences are not “rules”

  1. It’s true that what works for one writer won’t work for another. We have to figure out what works for us, but that’s by trial and error. You don’t know if a writing group will help you until you try a few and see what happens. It’s a great post and I’m so glad you shared it. I have one reservation, though, and that’s that there is a lot of talk on blogs about getting published as though that is the main goal. Anything that leads to that goal is what counts. But for me the goal is to write the best book I can possibly write. I definitely want to publish it, if possible, but I wouldn’t want to rush something out because it was publishable if it wasn’t the best I could do. Does that make sense?


    1. Perfect sense and I completely agree. One problem though is how to know when you’ve done the best you could do. I suspect with much of my own writing, that, for example, no longer how complete my short story may seem, I know I can always “improve” upon it. Trying to find that sweet spot between publishing too soon and not publishing at all because I never feel my best is never good enough to me.


      1. My best IS never good enough haha. But I think I’ll know when I’m ready. When there is still stuff that isn’t right or that feels less than I know I have to keep going. Good luck to you with knowing when to stop!!


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