14 Pieces Of Writing Advice That Are Wrong

The common wisdom is often just that: common. When it comes to writing, these pieces of advice can keep you from being your best writer. 

And while they may have made sense in one context, they’re not as useful as we think. Here’s a list of 14 ways people might tell you to write that is just throwing you off the trail completely.

10 Pieces of BAD Writing Advice to Avoid – YouTube
1. Beware of one-size-fits-all writing advice.
2. Focus on your unique writing process and style.
3. Don’t prioritize quantity over quality.
4. Editing and revision are essential for polished work.
5. Ignoring grammar and structure can harm your writing.
6. Good writing requires patience and practice.
7. Authenticity matters more than trying to sound smart.
8. Don’t shy away from rewriting to improve clarity.
9. Writer’s block is conquerable with the right approach.
10. Avoid using unnecessary jargon or complex words.

1. Don’t Write What You Know

There is a lot of advice out there that says, “Don’t write what you know.” Now, this can be taken in a few ways:

If you’re writing a nonfiction book about your own experience, then the rule applies. You don’t have to have experienced everything firsthand. However, if you’re writing fiction and want to use your own experiences as inspiration for characters or scenes in your story go ahead!

If you are writing an autobiographical story about yourself or someone else’s life 

don’t do it (unless it’s nonfiction). It’s too easy for people who read those kinds of books to see through them because they know where the author lives and how long he/she has lived there; where he/she went on vacation last year; etc. 

This just makes the whole thing seem fake and uninteresting because we’ve all read so many stories about people living their lives in ways that we would never choose or understand (i.e., “We bought our first house at age 28!”). 

What would make an interesting story? What would compel readers? Maybe something like: “We lost our home during an earthquake when my husband was away skiing.” Or maybe not even so dramatic: “My dog slept next to me every night while I battled cancer.” 

The point is that writers should dig deep into their own experiences and find stories worth sharing with others

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2. Only Write When You’re Inspired

You know all those times you’ve thought to yourself, “Ahhhh, I’m not feeling inspired right now”? There’s a reason for that. Most of us are conditioned to believe that inspiration will strike at the oddest of times and we need to be prepared for it. 

We wait around asking ourselves if we’re going to be inspired today or not before sitting down and writing anything at all.

However, if you want to write consistently, then this is one piece of advice that needs to change. Writing only when you’re inspired won’t produce much work because inspiration doesn’t always come knocking on our door — sometimes it takes time (and effort). 

So instead of waiting for inspiration before putting your pen or keyboard down on paper/screen, set aside time where you do something else that inspires you but doesn’t require too much energy from your brain (watch TV shows/movies).

So that your subconscious can still think about what exactly it was that made watching those shows/movies so good–that way when inspiration does finally show up again he’ll have some new ideas waiting on him!

3. A Writer Must Suffer Desperately To Be Any Good

Although this is a common belief, it’s simply not true. Writing isn’t a job, it’s something you do because you love to do it. If your writing becomes unenjoyable, or if you feel like you’re working too much, then take a step back and reevaluate what’s going on in your life. 

Maybe make some changes take up a new hobby or sport, or find something else that interests you more than writing does.

But don’t beat yourself up over it! You’re not failing at writing; there are just other things in life that are more important for now (your family and friends being at the top of that list). 

Don’t let anyone tell you that “You have no choice but to sit down and write every day.” That may have been true for their goals but might not be true for yours.

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4. Write Every Day

Writing every day is a great way to stay on track with your writing goal. But if you’re going to write every day, the only thing that matters is consistency. You don’t need a different routine each day or even week you just need one routine, and it needs to be consistent.

You might want to write in the same place every time, but maybe you feel like writing at home makes you too distracted by your roommate and pets and television. 

Or maybe you prefer writing outside because there’s less noise around, or because being surrounded by nature helps inspire your creativity more than staring at the walls of an apartment building does (or maybe both). 

Whatever your personal preferences are for where and how often you do this thing called “writing” as long as those preferences are consistent then they’re valid choices for structuring the habits of a successful writer’s life!

That means that if I told someone I was going camping this weekend and asked them what their favorite place was on earth, but then said that next Tuesday we’d all meet up at my house again so we could discuss whether camping was worth doing? That might not go over so well…

5. Find Your Voice

“Find your voice.” This is something every writer hears at some point in their career, and it’s a piece of advice that can be taken literally or figuratively. 

By “voice,” we mean the way you write the way your sentences sound when they come out of your mouth, or the way they look when they’re printed on paper. 

It’s also the most important thing to consider while writing because it will get readers to engage with what you have written in a personal way. Your voice needs to be unique and noticeable; otherwise, no one will care about what you have to say!

Your style is an extension of your voice: It’s how much effort does it take for someone who has never met him before?

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6. Everyone Has A Book In Them

All too often, writers think that writing is simply telling a story. It’s not. Writing is a skill that must be learned. If you want to write well, you need to develop your craft and become the best writer you can be.

It’s important to remember that writing isn’t just a hobby or something fun to do on the side while you figure out what else you want to do with your life it’s an art form in itself, akin to painting or sculpting. 

Just as those artists must put their heart and soul into every brush stroke or chisel stroke (or whatever), so too does a writer have to put everything they’ve got into their work if they’re going to make it out alive as an author with any semblance of success.

7. Don’t Tell, Show!

Telling is one of the most common means of conveying information in the literature. The trouble with telling is that it can be dull, especially for a reader who already knows what’s going on. Showing is a great way to keep your work exciting and interesting for everyone involved.

While it’s true that telling and showing are both important, remember that there are many ways to convey information beyond these two options. For example:

You can do both at once (telling while showing). This works better if you’re writing about something familiar or if your story needs some extra explanation for readers to understand everything properly; otherwise, it runs the risk of being confusing or tedious for them.

You can do neither (just leave people wondering). In this case, you’re trusting your characters’ personalities and actions alone will provide enough context without needing any additional explanation from yourself as an author! 

However, this approach isn’t recommended unless you’re sure it’ll work well if not then try another method instead!

8. Kill Your Darlings

The phrase “kill your darlings” is used to refer to cutting out the bits of writing that are overly clever or stylistic. 

For example, if you have a line that you think is particularly clever but it just makes the reader say “huh?” then it’s probably best to cut it. However, there are some cases where this can be bad advice.

For example, if you’re writing an academic paper about Shakespeare and you’ve written something like: “Shakespeare did not write Hamlet simply because he was bored one day.” 

That’s a darling because it sounds smart and funny but most people won’t understand what the hell is going on here and they should! If they don’t understand your point then how can they agree with it? 

In this case, killing your darling could mean losing the ability of readers who know nothing about Shakespeare to understand what’s going on in your paper (and therefore possibly lose them).

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9. Re-Write As You Go Along

Rewriting is an important part of the writing process and should be done throughout your story. The problem with this advice is that it can be interpreted as saying you should re-write your whole story before publishing it. 

This isn’t true! You will never know everything about what you’ve written until after the first draft is finished; so don’t worry about making changes at the beginning or during editing, because those are all still going to happen anyway. 

Instead of rewriting from scratch before publication, focus on making edits and adding polish as you go along because those are small changes that can make a big difference in how well your writing reads once published.

10. Disregard Punctuation Rules Wherever Necessary

Remember when you were in grade school and your teacher would say, “You know what they say: punctuation is important!”? Well, it turns out that’s not exactly true.

While punctuation rules are often taught alongside grammar rules, they’re not the same thing they’re just guides for how we should read a sentence. 

For example, the comma in this sentence helps us understand that I’m talking about two different things (one is a movie quote from 2001 A Space Odyssey and the other being my friend Dan). 

If I took out all commas from this piece of writing forevermore, it would still be understandable but with less meaning than before. 

Likewise, if you take away all exclamation points from every book ever written in history, our world would likely still be able to spin on its axis like before (maybe more slowly).

The lesson here is don’t stress about making sure every single punctuation mark is correct; instead, focus on getting across whatever point or emotion you want in your writing by using correct grammar and spelling as much as possible (without sounding robotic or stilted).

11. You Have To Have A Muse, Or Be Talented, Or Something Like That

You don’t need a mouse, or to be talented, or something like that.

The myth of genius is one that’s been perpetuated in our society for so long that it might seem like common sense to some people. 

But let’s look at what makes someone a good writer: hard work, practice, and revision the same traits which make them good at anything else! The only thing separating you from your favorite author is time spent working on their craft. 

And if you’re willing to put in the hours writing and rewriting, then who knows? Maybe someday you’ll become as skilled as they are!

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12. You Can Make Money Without Trying Very Hard At All

You can’t. You can make money if you’re really lucky and talented and publish something that becomes a bestseller, but most people don’t get that lucky or talented. 

If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying or they’ve been very, very lucky with one book or story and are now telling everyone else in the world how easy it is to make money from writing.

Because they want to keep their secret sauce to themselves so they remain the only person able to sell books in this manner.

Do not listen to these people! They will lead you down paths of misery and despair if you follow their advice; I speak from experience here when I tell you this!

13. Do Not Read Other Writers’ Work When You’re Writing Your Stuff

If you’re not familiar with the concept of the “idea,” it’s the little nugget that makes your brain light up and rolls around in circles like a hungry kitten when you read something really good. Ideas matter more than style, language, or any other element of writing. 

They can make even poorly written pieces shine through their sheer brilliance and I’m sure we’ve all had those experiences where we were reading something awful but couldn’t stop because there was just something so unique about it!

Ideas are highly contagious. 

If you surround yourself with other people’s ideas (or even just their work), you run the risk of getting infected by some terrible thing they created and then passing it on to everyone else who reads your stuff not to mention that those ideas might be better than yours!

But if this type of influence is bad for you as an individual artiste-persona, then how can we hope to achieve anything original at all?

14. Do Not Let Anyone Read Your Work Until It Is Finished And Perfect

You may be wondering why this is so important. After all, who will care if you don’t let people read your work until it’s finished? 

Well, here’s the thing: readers matter. Particularly in the publishing world where agents and editors are constantly looking for new material (and especially when they’re reading on their lunch break), they have very little time to devote to any given manuscript. 

If you show them something that isn’t ready if it hasn’t been polished yet or if there are glaring plot holes they’ll probably just toss it aside without another look. The key here is patience and perseverance: wait until your book or story is perfect before you share it with others!

Further Reading

Top Ten Worst Pieces of Writing Advice Short Description: Explore a list of the most detrimental pieces of writing advice and learn what not to follow on your writing journey.

Terrible Writing Advice Short Description: Dive into advice that you should avoid when writing, and gain insights into common pitfalls in the writing process.

Terrible Writing Advice on Self-Publishing Short Description: Discover advice you should steer clear of in the self-publishing realm, helping you make informed decisions about your writing journey.

Now, let’s move on to the FAQ section:


What are the most harmful writing tips to avoid?

Avoid following advice that promotes clichés or suggests shortcuts to success. Focusing on genuine writing skills and continuous improvement yields better results.

How can I identify bad writing advice?

Look for advice that lacks context, disregards individual writing processes, or offers guarantees of instant success. Trust advice backed by experience and learning.

Why is it important to be cautious of writing advice?

Misguided advice can hinder your growth as a writer, leading to frustration and subpar work. Seeking reliable sources and critically evaluating advice is crucial.

Can bad writing advice affect my self-publishing journey?

Yes, poor advice in self-publishing can lead to ineffective marketing, low-quality books, and missed opportunities. Prioritize research and informed decisions.

What steps can I take to improve my writing despite encountering bad advice?

Focus on continuous learning, seek feedback from trusted sources, and experiment with different techniques. Developing your unique writing style will set you apart.