Okay, guys, I have a confession. I don't read books on how to write. I quickly flip past blog posts that give any indication they're going to tell me how to write. And I'm sure if I ever met other writers in person, if they started to talk about how to write, I'd stick my fingers in my ears and say 'NaNaNaNaNaNa I Can't Hear You'.
It's not that I think I already know everything there is to know about writing. Gads, that would be stupid of me. I know I don't. But I also know from experience that any advice I see or hear about how to write completely derails me.
I read something like that and one of two things happens: 1) I start to implement their advice to the exclusion of my own common sense and writing voice. 2) I begin to doubt my own writing ability.
Eons ago, I was reading a Writers' Digest article about inserting brand names into your writing to make it more connectable to your readers. You know, instead of saying 'shoes' say 'Nike'. The next time I sat down to write, my passages were so filled with product identifiers, you would've thought I was a PR person for every brand name out there. "She grabbed her Adidas and ran across the Pergo floor to grab her Gucci bag. Hopping into her BMW, she raced toward McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin before getting gas at the Citgo..." Bleh.
Can you say 'OVERKILL'? I knew you could. (And yeah, that sentence sucks anyway, but you get the gist.)
Somewhat more recently but still years ago, I picked up a 'how to' book on writing. (I won't name it here because it really is an excellent book and I don't want you to think it was the book that did this to me.) I got about three chapters in before my self-esteem was all shriveled up and dessicated like a grape left in the desert. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to implement any of the advice this wonderful, intelligent person was offering, so why bother to try. I was hack who didn't even deserve to have other people's books in my house.
Yeah, I never finished that book and I haven't touched one since.
I hit the same problem - albeit on a smaller scale - when I stumble across 'how to' blog posts. So, I've learned to avoid them. (Okay, so maybe I run screaming in the other direction...) It's not that I don't want to learn. It's just that I don't process knowledge that way. I have to come upon it slowly, on my own. Yeah, it's like re-inventing the wheel, but it's better than the alternative - which is being so afraid the wheel's going to run me over that I never try to invent it in the first place.
If that makes any sense.
So, I won't ever be able to discuss 'On Writing' with you. I can't give you hints on which are the best blogs to garner information on the hows of this business. And no matter how much I might love you, if you write a brilliant post on how to do any of this, I won't be stopping by. Sorry.
And now for the million dollar question: Is there anybody else out there afflicted with this advice aversion malady, or is it just me?