The Worst Writing Advice That Brings Down Even the Greatest of Writers
Play • 22 min

Carrie got really confused this week because she went on YouTube and looked up "Writing Advice" and there was a really popular vlogger who gives a ton of writing advice, but she's not published things. 

She is, however, really definite on her views on how to be a good writer, which is lovely. It's lovely to be so confident.

But it made us think about what the worst writing advice ever is.

It's not:

Write every day.

It's not even:

Write what you know. 

It's not:

Write for you and if you like it, that's all that matters. 

It's not any of those one-size fits all tidbits.

Here's what it is:

Don't write. It's a waste of time. 

I don't care who is giving you this advice. It might be your mom, teacher, bff, your life-partner, kid, an evil bastard who lives next door, a published writer. Or worse, it could be your own inner-critic, which lurks like a demon of self doubt in your frontal lobe.

That advice? It's crap. It's jealousy or stupidity or self-doubt. If you want to write? Write.

Don't believe me that everyone deals with this? Or almost everyone? Here is a quote from the man, himself.

The problems of success can be harder because nobody warns you about them.

The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now, they will discover you. It’s Impostor Syndrome—something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police.

In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don’t know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn’t consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don’t get to make things up anymore.

—Neil Gaiman, Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts Class of 2012


Author Matthew Kessel has some pretty cool adviceabout what he does when he's overwhelmed by self doubt. 

He writes through the doubt.

He reminds himself of all the good things he's done as a writer.

Incorporates that doubt into more emotionally resonate characters.

Talks through it with other writer people who know how it is.


Dude. Be who you are. Embrace it. Don't question it. Go with the flow, man. Don't let others label you or diminish you, but most importantly YOU don't diminish you.


The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.

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