I often think that the problem with contemporary fiction writing is that there are too many rules to contend with. Writing communities are stiff with them. People constantly ask for help with them and enforce them on others. Most of the time, whenever someone asks for a critique, it boils down to, “Am I following the rules properly?”
What about creative passion? Idealism? Soul expression? Where do those fit in?
Why do people ask, “Is this something that others would read?” instead of, “Is this something I care deeply about?”
When it comes to writing, the single most important thing is to have fun. Enjoy it. Randomly burst into laughter because you thought of something funny to write while waiting in line at the grocery store. Cry when your characters are sad. Ride the roller coaster of emotion that comes from being a writer, and revel in the intensity of life. It can be so blissfully wonderful.
Tell as much as you want instead of showing it. Use the word ‘said’ exclusively. Describe everything with adverbs. Neglect world building. Write only subplots. Use your favorite cliches. Include funky colloquialisms.
Just be you.
Don’t copy someone else. Don’t seek out everyone else’s approval. Don’t slavishly follow rules and formulas because someone wrote an article about it. Don’t follow bad advice from the internet.
Figure out what you like, and do it. Perfect it. Develop a strong voice and your own unique style.
I believe that there’s an empathic transfer that happens between author and reader. If you aren’t madly head over heels in love with your own story to begin with, then no one else will feel that way either. If you don’t care, then no one else will care.
You can’t please everyone.
But you can certainly please yourself. So isn’t that where you ought to start?
(And yes, I know I’ve written a similar post before, but exposure to writing communities always puts me on this train of thought)