Louie Cronin has a great article on Writer Unboxed’s website, “Stupid Advice I have Taken about Writing.”
Cronin is very open about the bad advice she received, and I would like to address some of it. The first and most important thing you need to know, though, is that any advice that discourages your writing is bad advice.
One thing Cronin says is that a boss accused her of not “owning her job” when he found out she was a writer. This is a toxic environment for anyone, not just writers. If you are going to work every day, taking responsibility for your duties and actions, and giving your all to your job when you are there, no one should ever accuse you of not “owning” it. No matter what you do with your off-hours. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t write during your free time.
Write Every Day
A stranger on a plane made her feel guilty because at the time she didn’t write every day. This is a common misconception and it is some of the worst advice you could take. Yes, you should do a writing-related activity as much as possible, and every day is preferable. But, that does not mean you will physically sit down and write every day. Nor does it mean you should feel guilty if you don’t doe something writing-related every day. Sometimes life and the need for sleep get in the way. But, if you can’t write you can observe the world around you and tuck it way for when you can write. You can read. You can research. You can look at different publishing and editing options. All are things you can do when you can’t find the time or energy to write.
No One Reads
I actually had someone, who literally doesn’t read, give me this advice, so I know how it feels. This woman assured me that I did not need to write books because “everyone” is reading online now. Advice that no one reads, or any version of it, has been proven false time and time again by research and statistics. Readers are still reading, and they are still buying hardcopy books.
Cronin is right–very few professionals or hobbyists get told they are too old to start something as a new venture.
If you find you are getting a lot of negative feedback about your desire to write, the first thing to do is ignore it. If you find that you just can’t, leave those people behind. Go out and do the writing you want to do at the pace you want to do it.