Writing-advice and the Internet

The internet is known for having endless amounts of information on nearly everything, and, when it comes to writing, not all of it is completely useless. If there’s a downside to it then it’s the amount of info it possesses when it comes to advice on writing. Still, it’s not only the extent of it that can make it difficult to search.

What I find most irritating is not having the certainty that what I have stumbled across is the best advice out there, and that’s where my beef with the internet lies. There’s not much more annoying than spending an hour, or more, reading advice on writing in front of your computer only to discover something better later.

Before the start of this year, I searched for the best way to open a story, and the results were fairly similar, which led me to think that the most common suggestion must be the best guidance to follow. I gathered that the most effective opening paragraphs start with getting straight to the point and that the first sentence is always powerful. I agreed with this at first, but as I thought about it I decided that it wasn’t that straight forward. Not every writer starts their stories along those lines, but it is useful advice.

A while after I searched for ten tips on writing, and the amount of results alone that came up in Google made me wonder if my desire to write was too ambitious, but that was harmless compared to The Guardian’s 10 rules for writing fiction. After I looked at it I considered stopping writing completely. In it they have several tips suggested by various authors, one of which, by Will Self, was to stop reading fiction. I found some of the advice to be a little extreme – and humorous – but if that advice has worked for them then of course it makes sense to offer it to others.

Today, when it comes to searching through the web for whatever reason, I look up only the smallest thing such as the correct use of the semicolon, or the meaning of a word that I can’t find in my dictionary. If I do come across an obstacle in writing – which is something that will always occur – I simply just figure out how to sort it myself.

Featured image by Viktor Hanacek

  1. Good advice! I was actually just thinking about this the other day while using an online thesaurus. If nothing else, the Internet has really sped up the writing process. Just think, as early as ten years ago, writers would have to spend hours pouring through texts to enhance their craft, now it’s only a click away…if you know where to look.

    1. It definitely has supplied useful information on writing, and it being online can save time. But whether the advice on writing is digital or physical, it all depends on how the writer chooses to implement it and how much time they take into polishing their ability. Without that then all the info on the writing craft on the web might as well be ignored.

      The internet won’t prevent bad writing, even if help is only a click away.

  2. Great post- I think the most important rule is to check the author or blog author’s credentials. I always ask – why should I consider this person’s advice as valid for me? I do agree that advice from writers you admire is a good starting point and that genre specific advice is most useful. I read this book Write like the Masters and it was a great explanation of famous authors style techniques.

    1. I agree those are good questions to ask yourself. Write like the Masters? I might give that a look, thanks.

      I’ve actually taken a look at your site and the advice you have on there is great. You know what your talking about, and it’s very easy to digest. It has a large scope rather than constantly focusing on single aspects of writing, such as opening sentences or whatever, which is good as it makes it more accessible. Thanks for reading as well.

  3. The most important bit I got from your post was “Not every writer…”. Not every writer does anything the same. Figuring it out yourself is probably for the best, and in my opinion, second best would be seeking advice from writers who’s style and content you really appreciate. Most writers seem to have done at least one advice article at some point, so you should be able to find something from the people you respect.

    1. Wow, if I’m completely honest, I never thought to check if any writers I admire may have written something about the writing craft and its process.

      Thanks for stopping by and I’ll make sure to use the advice you’ve just mentioned. Funny, I write a post about advice on writing and end up receiving a good piece of it myself.

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s