The Worst Writing Advice? Guest Blog Post by Dr. Michele Eodice


After reading Rebecca Schuman’s column titled The Worst Writing Advice in the World in the Chronicle of higher Education, I just have to offer some, errr … advice: Don’t take advice. Please don’t take advice about your writing habits. Schuman means well when she tells us not to fall for another writer’s work habits; we all can’t get up at the crack of dawn to write. That is true. But what might be truer (and is a source of irritation for me and others who research writers) is that these self-help columns are part of the problem.

One problem is the focus on productivity. Thinking about the product, the outcome, places a Fordist framework on something we love – our subjects of inquiry. The second problem is that instead of walking or talking and thinking about your work, you are trying to find the answers in a column or self-help book. Some guide book are good; the good ones push you to know yourself better (see, for example, Writing No Matter What).

When the writing coaches I know work with writers, they place the emphasis on the writer getting to know themselves and their writerly identity. What writers learn is to integrate the writing self holistically – not cultivate a separate self or even separate clock times necessarily away from the other part of their lives. The buzz and hum and flow of intellectual engagement keeps getting artificially interrupted when we try to force and schedule writing times. More importantly is getting comfortable with yourself as a thinker and researcher – that you is happening all the time.

If you want to move in that direction – to engage in conversations about developing your writerly identity, contact Quick Brown Fox Consulting. A cornerstone of their work with writers is on “coming out” as a writer.

Carrie Gillon