How *Not* to Write (The bad advice thread)

Okay, this is silly, but we all need to let things out of our systems sometimes. This is how not to write. Add to the list…

  • Never open the file.
  • If you do open the file, stare at the blank document and watch the blinky thing blink endlessly… without typing anything.
  • Type and delete “the” several times in a row. Realize you need a snack after all that… hard work… because typing “the” several times in a row is exhausting.
  • Forget about writing by “researching.” Bonus points if that “research” is done on (It’s a trap!)
  • Announce your project on Facebook, then get lost watching all the videos and looking at all the memes
  • Look up how to do something on YouTube, then get lost amongst the suggested videos until you’re watching Dr. Pimple Popper or things getting smashed by hydraulic presses for several hours straight
  • Start your story with “once upon a time” or “it was a dark and stormy night”, then get bored of it
  • Make sure your writing environment is absolutely perfect: right chair, right desk, right instruments, right temperature, right noise level, right amount of snacks and drinks, then realize you took all day and have no writing time left
  • Tell yourself you’ll start writing mañana and will have plenty of time to catch up. (It translates to “tomorrow”, but it really means “not today”, i.e. eventually, if ever.)

Watch a cat video. Just one.
Okay watch one more. Just one more cat video.

  • Cleaning the whole house right now, you know, instead if writing.

  • After all that hard cleaning it’s good to start cooking a complex dinner, instead of writing

  • And of course after eating the good and complex meal, it’s good to sit down on a comfy place and relax, and to not write

  • Maybe some Netflix or other while relaxing, and ending up binge-watching THAT one serie for a tenth time.

  • And of course after all that relaxing and watching a good serie, it’s time to go to sleep, and to not think about writing. Nope. Not even looking that direction. Bed is your best friend now.


Worldbuild. Worldbuild some more. Do you know the exact species of the insects that have infested your MC’s third cousin’s stepbrother’s friend’s mother’s house? If not, you haven’t done enough worldbuilding. Have you created a language? Does it have a complete grammar? Does every word in the English language have a translation? Better translate a few novels into it to make sure you know it well enough (start with War and Peace).


“Oh, that’s right . . . I need a little piece of information from Wikipedia. Huh. I didn’t know that.” click “Neat.” click click “Interesting.” click click click “The Empire State Building is a unit of measurement? Ha ha, the caption says the Empire State Building is one Empire State Building tall.”

etc. etc. etc.


Let that inner editor back out just for a few small corrections oops a few thousand words are gone


…stay reading and commenting this thread instead of working with your writing.


Make sure you scroll through Pinterest to find new character sketches and writing memes to inspire you. Oh, and instant pot recipes.
And cute bunny pictures.


Backstory. You need to know everyone’s backstory - EVERYONE. That alley cat your MC just pet? How many kittens did its mother have? Do they all get along? What about that shoe lace vendor? Surely he has a tragic past that has kept him from rising above being a tiny market stall vendor? What birthmarks does he have?

How can your world feel REAL and FULLY FLESHED OUT if you don’t know that the town crier only wears mismatched socks?


Ah, the Hydraulic Press…


And swords, and picture of Scotland, and black Labs, and big cats, and horses, and… what?


Make sure every single one of your chores is done, your taxes for the next year are prepared and ready to send to the IRS, the siding on your house is re-painted, and most importantly, post on Twitter the ever-important #amwriting hashtag.

Because otherwise, how would strangers on the internet know that you’re writing?


Start reading everyone else’s writing. Bonus points if you choose masterful authors of genius prose. It’s inspiration, right?


Always write with an Internet connection and your favorite social media sites open in tabs.


Always text your mother/best friend/significant other/person you have a conflict with while writing. It’ll give you great focus… on the conversation.


And don’t forget to make absolute certain that you’ve seen enough Spider-Man memes. And don’t forget Loki- ooh, Iron Man! Dare this DC character show up in my feed. GASP Bring back Endgame feels and you DIE! Hmm, I should probably wri- IT’S GRUMPY CAT!!!


Go to Canva and make the PERFECT book cover for your book, instead of writing.


…or get out canvas and acrylic paint and try to paint an actual masterpiece as your cover…

(I’m doing so well at not writing)


You know, TurboTax releases in November. I’m pretty sure I did do my taxes during November last year, or at least estimate them… which takes longer than doing them properly…

1 Like