Counterintuitive advice – what writers should not do

I mentioned a book I sold recently by Amy Morin based on her viral article 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, which resonated with so many people from around the world. One of the things that people mentioned was how she positioned the piece in the negative, from the perspective of things people don’t do, which highlights a different thought process than what we are used to when we think about things we should do to make ourselves better.

When I found this Writer’s Digest piece that offers advice with a similar interpretation, focusing on 15 things writers should not do, I thought it was worth sharing. In fact, there is overlap between Amy’s article and Zachary Petit’s. For example, Morin suggests mentally strong people should not resent other people’s successes, and Petit claims writers should not be spiteful about another writer’s success. Take those positive success stories and use them to motivate you, to try and learn something from them so you can apply them to your own work and eventual success.

Some of these traps are easy to fall into, like not wanting to give up on a particular piece that isn’t working, but if you can think about breaking the patterns, focus your energy on positive thoughts of looking ahead and learning and growing, you will be a better writer, and ultimately one with greater mental strength.

Are there any things in this piece that you struggle with? Personally I think there are many negative ideas in here that we’ve all experienced at one time or another. If you have any thoughts on how to take this advice to heart, please share. I’m sure there are other writers who would benefit not only from knowing what not do to, but learning more about how not to do it (therapists, feel free to chime in)!

4 Responses to Counterintuitive advice – what writers should not do

  1. Lynn says:

    Number 12 (Don’t forget to get out once in a while.) is a problem. I feel guilty when I’m walking around or sitting at a café having a glass of wine with friends rather than spending those hours in front of my computer screen. Then I tell myself it’s not only necessary for my physical health (Yes, wine is good for you!) but it’s also good for my mental and spiritual health.

    At the moment, I’m doing my final revisions. At least, I hope I am. I’ve thought this twice before! I plan on spending the next three or four days locked away, reading my ms out loud and doing last minute edits before giving it to beta readers.

  2. Joelle says:

    I have trouble remembering to get out once in a while. It’s not that I feel guilty when I do it, it’s two-fold, really. First of all, I live on a small island, so there’s not many places to “get out” to unless I remember to do it before five o’clock. But the other thing is that I really like my home/writing cabin/deck with lounge chair. It’s really easy for me to just tuck myself away and write for a while, then read for a bit, then cook, then read…and the next thing I know, I haven’t left the house in a week! Especially in the winter when it gets dark about 4:30 and there’s a fire in the wood stove!

    I’m trying to combat this by making actual plans with friends…instead of just saying, “Oh, we should get together next week” I am saying “What about Thursday at 3:30?” It’s working!

  3. Joelle says:

    Oh, and for all of you reading my post thinking, wow, she sure uses a lot of !!!, I’m trying to get them out of my system so they’re not in my writing!

    • D. C. DaCosta says:

      Don’t sweat the exclamation marks. If you’re enthusiastic, let us know.
      The older I get the more convinced I grow that there are no rules.

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