Pursuing an English (creative writing) degree fills your mind with a great deal of advice on crafting and orchestrating characters, plots, and words. But the most valuable tidbit that I received in college didn’t come from one of the advanced classes but from a grumpy, strict, old Comp 1 professor at a community college.
Between precise guidelines for how our first paper was to be formatted and what the content should consist of, he uttered these words:
“Write what only you can write.”
Anyone can write about urban sprawl. But it takes on a whole new meaning when it’s encroaching on your backyard and you see a rare panther dead along the side of the road. Anyone can write a story. And even though all stories at their most basic level follow a handful of patterns, there are elements and messages that no one will ever arrange the way that you do.
Usually subconsciously, these words have been like my imagination’s Jiminy Cricket. A gentle reminder to always let what makes us unique shine through in everything.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?