• Abigail Linhardt

Writing Advice: Stop Writing

The thing about people who want to be writers is that they want to be writers. They write query letters, write for four every day (because that's what This Other Writer does), go to workshops every week...It's exhausting and it is so bad for your writing.

The thing is, you need something to say. I have a lot to say and I have a lot in my head I want people to see. A lot of it is inspired by things I went out and did, saw, read, or experienced. Or felt.


You have to stop trying to be a writer (what the heck are you writing about any way?) and stop trying to edit beautiful, flowing, technically proficient prose. You know those weird tumblr posts that make you smile, laugh in commiseration, or go "aww, faith in humanity restored"? Those are not Good Writing (TM). They are often filled with typos, bad spelling, no periods...But it's good stuff. No one is going to love your sump pump writing.


Here is the second part: Write about everything. This is where your writing is going to be good. Yes, write often, but it has to mean something. Write about walking your dog. Was the weather nice? What did it make you think of? Why do you love your doggo? What is something he does that makes him the goodest boy? What was a memory you have from when he was a puppy? Think about the day he will die. You have to go deeper than you think. And you have to write from something you did. What did the wind feel like when you dropped on that world record breaking roller coaster? Take that stomach-flipping sensation and describe it when your dragon rider slips out of the saddle.


This may seem like an oxymoron and it is. But that's life. Writing is about life: every thought (dark and scary, or light and nonsensical), feeling, action and reaction. You need to stop writing and go out and do a thing. All summer I wrote and I felt it. My writing was getting stale and gross. I needed to go do something so i could write about it: and I did! I went for an accidental all day march to water falls and cliffs with my mom. That was a small trip. If you can't take a trip, focus on your every day life. What exactly is your grocery store like? Is that one worker always there, filling the shelves with bread? Do they have a tattoo? What do you do to avoid those mall hunters who want you to buy weird stuff you didn't even know existed? Don't rush through these places: it's your life, go slow. Look, see.


Stop writing and go do something so you can write.

 © Copyright 2020 by Abigail Linhardt