The Greatest Piece of Writing Advice Ever

Have you ever wondered what the greatest writing advice is? David Chitty has the answer.

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The world is filled with advice on how to write well or how to get the first draft of your novel finished. Reams and reams of guidance from countless other people that you have to wade through. I have boiled all of their advice down to three simple steps that, if you want to write and write well, this is all you need to do.

Step One: Sit at a desk or computer or laptop.

Step Two: Write stuff.

Step Three: Repeat until done.

In all seriousness, though, that is generally the advice I would give to people. There are dozens, hundreds even, of guides and tip lists that claim to teach you how to write. Tips like structure and being disciplined are common; they’re good advice but they don’t always apply to everyday life. You can read Luke Edley’s article about the difficulties in actually following these guides.

I’ve experienced just about everything you’ll probably experience when trying to finish that first draft. I’ve written when I was unemployed and had all the time in the world, I’ve written when I was employed full time, I’ve written when the only thing keeping me conscious was such a high level of caffeine coursing through my blood that I was getting heart palpitations and generally felt like dying. And I’ve experienced the darker sides of writing. Hating your craft, hating the work you’re producing, hating yourself for failing, physically being incapable of writing for two years. I’ve been there, worn the t-shirt, and I’m a better writer for it. I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy, or even fun to write a book. I’ve published six books but, at last count, I’ve written about nineteen. It’s hard and it’s draining. And there is no magic pill for you. If you want to reach into the deepest recess of your subconscious and pull out a mystical tale, you need to figure out how. The only piece of advice I will give you, and it’s something that I wish someone had given me, is this:

It’s okay to give up.

I’m not talking about entirely; never give up on your dreams. What I mean is that there may come a time when every fibre of your being is begging you to stop, to move on, to not spend years of your life forcing a story that doesn’t want to be forced. The feeling is hard to describe but you’ll know it when it comes; you’ll want to ignore the feeling. Don’t.

Stop and take a breath. It may be that you need a short break from the project or writing in general, but you need to take a break. If you don’t, you’ll grow to hate whatever it is you’re producing. And that’s a challenge to get over.

Once you’re finished taking a break and you’ve recharged your batteries, or you’ve finished one project and are ready to move onto another, it’s simple.

Step One: Sit at a desk or computer or laptop.

Step Two: Write stuff.

Step Three: Repeat until done.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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