Today I would like to welcome guest writer, Mint Miller. Enjoy!
Terrible writing doesn’t always come easy. Your good writing instincts can keep kicking in and helping you write well. What’s a wannabe terrible writer to do?
Well, I’ve got a few tips for what you should do if you want to be an awful writer. If you want to write well, then maybe you should do the opposite of these steps. But if you dream of writing the world’s worst bestsellers, I’ve got great advice for you.
Always Compare Yourself to Other Writers
It’s important to measure your own success by constantly comparing yourself to other writers. The feelings of jealousy and inadequacy this makes you feel will motivate you to success!
If you look around, I’m sure you’ll find many writers your own age or younger who are more successful than you. They started writing when they were five. They got their first novel published at fifteen. They write 5K words every day. They have a Big Four publishing deal.
Tear into yourself over this. Why didn’t you start writing sooner? Why isn’t your word count that big? Why don’t you have a big fancy publishing contract?
Ignore the fact that these people are living completely different lives and struggling with their own problems. Forget the reality that every writer’s journey is different. Don’t think about how writers can achieve success by a million different paths.
Instead, let the shame of not measuring up to your peers push yourself to write harder.
Don’t Befriend Other Writers
Befriending other writers is a common trap you need to avoid.
You see, most people think befriending other writers is a great idea. They can share feedback, connect you with agents and editors, offer motivation, and so much more. They can turn into beta readers, talk about annoying writing problems, or even become writing partners.
Writing friends will usually be happy to offer advice, promote your writing, and discourage you from quitting. They’ll inspire you with ideas and readily collaborate with you, and you’ll want to do the same for them. Every writer needs a writing community—or so they say.
Don’t fall for all that. Other writers are the competition. Your ideas are so brilliant and original, anyone might steal them. Worse yet, hearing about all things other writers are creating out there might confuse you. Our brains latch on to story ideas and narrator’s voices easily, and you might start writing more like other writers by accident. So, avoid these very real dangers by being a solitary writer.
Avoid Original Ideas
Of course, it’s also important to ensure your own writing isn’t too original. Some people may tell your story can never be too original or too creative, but they are wrong. Publishers thrive by releasing the same stories with new covers year after year, and they definitely reward writers who submit the same story again and again to them.
Forget about writing stories from your own unique perspective, benefiting from your personal experience and one-of-a-kind voice. Ignore the popularity of OwnVoices narratives. Avoid stories that build off genre traditions while breaking new ground. Throw out any ideas that people tell you sound totally new and like nothing they’ve ever read before.
Instead, look at the blurbs of the top fifty titles in your genre and copy those stories as closely as you can while still obeying copyright laws. Publishers will love your strict adherence to trends.
Don’t Learn About the Craft of Writing
The best bad writers write by instinct alone. Learning about the craft of writing dulls your naturally perfect writing instincts. Writing is a lot like painting. Anyone can make a decent painting, even without training. A few people can even make a great painting without going to art school.
But most painters spend years learning about shading, anatomy, color theory, and perspective. They hunt down books, wrangle teachers and mentors into helping them, and practice their art for years in school. And as they gain plenty of knowledge about their craft, they begin to create better and better art. Learning about your craft equals getting better at your craft.
For writers, this means learning about structure, language, plotting, world-building, and more. It means understanding acts, rising, and falling action, beats, and how to maintain tension. It means knowing how to structure your chapters and your prose in certain ways to create certain effects. It means understanding how language sounds and looks, the way certain syllables play off each other to make your writing sing. It means having a load of techniques for making great characters, good plots, and memorable settings.
Of course, that all sounds nice, but the problem is that learning about craft will taint your naturally perfect and untouched writing style. It will shape your raw prose into something far too refined, and that is why you should never, ever bother to learn about the craft of writing.
Refuse to Get Feedback From Others
Same problem: Reacting to feedback from your readers will corrupt your naturally great writing style. Trying to fix your mistakes will only lead to ruining your beautiful prose.
Critique partners, alpha and beta readers, and anyone else you solicit feedback from can give you solid advice on how to improve your writing. Entertaining and educating readers is the point of writing, so you might think listening to feedback from people who have read your book might help. But, if your writing is already wonderful, how can you improve it? Don’t fix what isn’t broken.
Don’t ask family or friends that you trust to look at your writing. Don’t join writing groups and find yourself critique partners. Don’t swap feedback with other writers. And definitely do not seek out beta readers so you can know how your audience will react to your writing.
Editors can’t be trusted, either. They just want to cast your work into their mold of conformity. You don’t need things like readability or grammar. And you certainly don’t want an editor telling you where your work is weak and where it shines.
Don’t show anyone your work until it’s ready to roll off the presses. Don’t listen to any feedback you may stumble your way into getting. Avoid feedback on your writing at all costs.
So, there you have five steps to becoming a worse writer. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to making some terrible stories. Don’t heed my advice, and, well, maybe you’ll become a better writer. But you’ll never make the New York Times Worst Seller list.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mint is a freelance and fiction writer, lifestyle blogger, and lover of pretty words. She enjoys crafting playful short stories and awesome blog posts for a living. Her hobbies include reading, running, drinking too much chocolate milk, and snuggling dogs. She talks about writing on her blog, Mint Miller Writes, and writes on Medium.