Writing Tip #12

Read about writing. This includes grammar and other boring stuff.

Recently, I paid for the Writer’s Workshop subscription on Litreactor.com. By doing this, I gained access to about 36 essays written by Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve been working my way through them over the last 24 hours, and it’s been an incredible experience.

Now, I’ve read a lot about writing over the years. Bird by Bird, Room to Write, Wild Mind, currently The Right to Write. All good books for when a writer needs a hug and a gentle pat on the butt on the way back to the desk.

These essays kick you in the ass. They make you consider picking up a bottle. Whether that’s a vodka or wine for some heavy drinking, or just a weighted item to chuck at your computer, or a plastic container of something very flammable for your pile of writing…well, I guess that just depends on how creative you are.

They also make you think. They make you recommend them to other writers who are serious about making their work better.

Read as much as you can about your craft. For every flowers-and-rose-scented-Muse book you read, go through a desk manual on grammar. Start with the Elements of Style.

Most importantly, don’t freak out. Even if you’ve been breaking every other rule since you started submitting work, and a voice inside of you says of course nobody has accepted submissions from a hack like you. Take a breath, then carry on dancing.

Living is about growing. And that goes double for writers.

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