terrible writing advices

7 Terrible Writing Advices That You Should Not Follow in 2021

Writing is an art that comes straight from the heart! So, what matters is your inner voice whenever you are about to draft a copy. Alongside, seeking advice from the experts could also be helpful in your efforts. Nevertheless, prescribed medicines that suit one’s body system, may not be efficacious for others. The same holds for writing advice as well. Of course, each of us possesses a distinct writing style and genre, so one’s advice might not work the same way for all. Conditions Apply! 

To become a good writer, you need a lot of practice and several other ingredients to master the art. We all are humans, and improving your writing skills is a continuous process to follow. Our recent guide on common grammar mistakes revealed how small details could help you become a good writer.  

In this post, we look at some of the avoidable suggestions or terrible writing advices you often get from your critics, well-wishers, teachers, maybe grammar nazis – or call them whatever. 

7 Terrible Writing Advice You’d Receive From “The Experts”

1. Write only as per your knowledge

Why? Writing only according to your knowledge will limit your abilities, thus leaving the creative writer inside you to sit idle. 

Especially, if you wish to pen down a nonfiction story such as something close to Star Wars or a similar Sci-Fi that requires immense imaginations, restricted knowledge would be a big turn off. Even if you are writing a fiction, exploring things further would only help you develop relatable content. It is, therefore, wise to evaluate your writing style and then find out if you really need this terrible writing advice.

2. Write in the manner you speak

This bad writing advice has a high chance of spoiling your writing skills. This is because verbal communication is not as formal and polished as in the case of writing. While speaking, you hardly care about grammar, sentence structure, punctuations, etc. In short, things are spontaneous. The use of slang terms is also quite a norm in verbal communication, which would appear weird if used while writing.  

For instance, using ‘dude’ is fine while speaking, but it is better to use ‘man’ or ‘person’ while writing. Likewise, ‘I am screwed up’ would give way to ‘I made a mistake’ in writing. 

Notice the difference in both the instances. Your motive should be to write in a friendly and engaging yet professional tone.   

3. Write 100% correct grammar

Being a Grammar Nazi could often prove to be detrimental to your brainstorming ability. Likewise, while writing a poem or a story, you might have to take some liberty with respect to grammar. Well! It is fine to break the grammar rules unless you are not committing silly mistakes and repelling the readers from your work. Being obsessed with perfection can only harm your writing style and hence is not good writing advice. 

At best, you can fix all the possible mistakes by leveraging a combination of editors and tools. Using software like Grammarly, Ginger, Hemingway App, and more can help you to: 

  • Track and correct the errors
  • Take a closer look at loose sentence constructs
  • Turn passive voices to active and so on. 

For longer projects, you can send your draft copy to your editors and proofreaders.

4. Adverbs are unnecessary

People mostly avoid using adverbs, citing them useless and fillers in a copy. Had they been useless, they would not be an inevitable part of English speech. Indeed, they do hold high importance, provided that you do not use them excessively. Hence, if someone asks you not to use adverbs, it is bad writing advice (at least for me), for sure.

Consider this example of Merriam Webster: “almost three o’clock on a very hot day.” Now let’s remove almost and very from this sentence. As a result, you get “three o’clock on a hot day.” Notice the change in the meaning of both these sentences. 

You might come across countless such examples, which will ultimately point toward the significance of using adverbs in English writing. So, the suggestion of avoiding adverbs is a bad writing example, if you are not overusing it.

5. Avoid describing characters 

The verbose depiction of characters lays the cornerstone of a gripping story. Indeed, the use of appealing words and sentences goes a long way in infusing oxygen to your story’s characters. Avoiding this powerful part of English writing will make your creation look ordinary and is therefore not the best writing advice you’d get.

Consider an excerpt of this short story from a lesser-known writer:    

“She was looking chick and trendy in her denim jeans and white top with designer buttons tucked in the queue from neck to navel. Her lipstick was not that loud either, and her curly hair strands gave the appearance of continuous waves in a sea, ready to hit the shore.”  

Can you imagine portraying the beautiful lady without such an exclusive description? However, make sure the description does not go too long to fend off the readers from your writing. 

6. Keep editing while you write

If someone gives this not so cool writing advice, the person would surely have a lot of time to waste. In fact, if you follow the practice of editing while writing the initial draft, your efforts will be as slow as a snail. Switching on from writing to editing and vice versa will also increase the chances of errors to manifold. 

Psychologist Susan Weinschenk opines a loss of 1/10th of a second every time you make such a switch. Moreover, multiple writing to editing switches can decrease your productivity by up to 40%. 

If you still believe editing to be a good practice while writing, it’s your choice. But this multitasking is beyond doubt a bad writing advice. A recommended practice would be writing the entire draft at once and then donating the editor’s cap. 

7. Seasoned writers do not follow baby steps

Basics are for everyone, no matter if you are an established writer or a newbie. Eschewing the important elementary steps is bad writing advice, and is better not to follow. Instead, here are some of the prominent must-follow rules:

  • Read your creation loudly: It will help you to catch awkward instances of writing in your draft.
  • Avoid longer sentences: The shorter, the better. Omitting redundant words is good writing advice.
  • Re-wording: The success of your draft depends largely on the choice of your words. So, if you find any word awkward in your draft, it is good to replace it with a simpler alternative.
  • Remove the redundant phrases: If, while editing your copy, you find an unnecessary sentence, there is no harm in removing it.

My Two Cents on Writing Advice

In order to overcome the writing hurdles and succeed as a seasoned writer, it would be advisable not to take up any writing advice as bad or terrible – but remain focused. They could come from anywhere – from a writing expert, a teacher, or even via the internet. But you need to be attentive enough to choose your path and do not get carried away with the wind. 

Now that we live in the modern era, there are plenty of tools to help you become a good writer. My advice is to do some quick copy-paste in Hemingway App to check your styling. And if you’d like an AI to correct grammar errors and beautify your content further, try Grammarly!         

Don’t stop writing & typing – and let the world know how good a writer you are!

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