Well, I was going to give the obvious answer, but since I’m the only guy on this site, I’m going to err on the side of caution.
This week’s topic is the best advice I’ve received about writing.
I’ve had two pieces that really hit home with my writing – one professional and one for my fiction.
Professionally, I remember my college journalism instructor who told me “You’re going to make mistakes. Just learn from them and move on.”
It really helped my journalism, especially that time I quoted a coach who said her high school volleyball team’s loss was the fault of one player (I got suspended by the newspaper). I still write sports, but am a lot wiser since then. I still follow the advice, though I wish certain parents and coaches would have listened to those words of wisdom, as well.
But, anyway, what has stuck with me for my fiction writing is something my father told me: “If that’s what you like to write, then write it. Don’t let anyone change your mind.”
The cause of the advice: some, no, many of my friends and relatives had been on my back about giving up on science fiction and horror. According to them, science fiction wasn’t profitable. I would be better off writing regular fiction or children’s books (for those that know me, that’s a frightening prospect) or sports books (aside from the fact that I was already writing sports several hours a day). Black people don’t write science fiction.
I was really getting discouraged and then I got the advice from my dad.
I buckled down and plugged away at doing science fiction. It led to my short stories being published and to my novellas. It also led me to discovering that black people do, indeed, write science fiction and horror – Tananarive Due, Samuel Delaney, Octavia Butler, Maurice Broaddus and George Schuyler, to name a few. They kept my dream alive.
And, now, I have not only published science fiction and horror, but I also get to blog about it.
To this day, I’m glad I followed my dad’s advice.