Copyright 2013 David Belt
I belong to a number of writing groups. I have participated in a number of writing workshops and panels, and the best advice I can give anyone about writing is… don’t take anyone’s advice.
It’s not that other writers don’t have really good ideas. It is that every writer has their own ideas.
As I draw nearer to my English degree, I realize that there are far fewer rules in the English language than I thought, a few years ago. The English language, however, is repute with options. As these options are so varied and irregularly used, many writers will jump on to the nearest soap box and brazenly declare their own personal rule of thumb.
Before you accept anyone’s personal rule of thumb as law, do a little fact checking of your own. Grammar rules are easy to look up on the internet. My personal “go to” site for grammar rules is grammarbook.com, but most any will do.
The other, and truly more important, reason for taking advice with a grain of salt, vice swallowing the tuna whole, is that it is your writing. You are expressing your self through your words. The moment you start using someone else’s words, you stop expressing yourself and start expressing someone else.
Now here is the real kicker to that last idea:
Until you start creating your own language and your own dialect, you’re going to be using someone else’s words, but the manner in which you do so, must reflect you, not someone else. Put yourself into your writing and let that medium of art portray your ideas to the world.
I may read a book written in a style I find grammatically distasteful… and there is nothing wrong with that. It is simply the manner in with that artist chose to express his/herself at that time, and I will be enriched, just the same, for the experience.