Advice that stinks…
I have no fear and the worst advice I was ever given was to look at my writing and analyse the content. It actually didn’t come from a person but from an article. Still I took it to heart and I ended up with two months of terrible writing.
I do understand that some people will hate my writing and some won’t, but trying to second guess the audience it a soul-destroying exercise. I found myself wondering if one character was too much like a family member and if it were, would they notice and hate me for the fact I’d turned that character into a serial killer. The result was that I down-graded all my characters making them ghosts of the original idea.
It just didn’t work. It was like I had put a ‘nice’ filter over my writing and then was surprised when the writing got either a nothing response, or people turned their nose up at it. I don’t blame them. I’ve had to re-write most of the things I wrote then, just to make the characters appear more life-like and not the wooden echoes that had become.
In writing you may upset people, but surely writing is meant to elicit a reaction. Hopefully it is the one you want but it could be the opposite. At least people are taking notice, the worst thing for a writer is to slip into obscurity and not get read. It is one of my fears – to become that book on the shelf that is never picked up and looked at.
So the worst advice I was ever given was to be careful what you write and try not to upset anyone. Bad idea. Stick your neck out, and if they hate it then at least they read it. After all no one is going to get 100% positive reviews.