When you start writing, you'll likely find yourself buried beneath a growing heap of writing advice. Some of it is designed to make your prose better.
Some of it is designed to motivate you during those really dark times.
And some of it is merely designed to make you put your butt in that chair and write.
But some of it is just bizarre. One of the first how-to writing books I read was written by Rita Mae Brown. Rita Mae Brown is a very talented author best known for a 1973 book called Rubyfruit Jungle. I was looking for a writing book in a bookstore in the early 90s and I stumbled on this:
It was the first how-to anything I ever read about writing. She did warn us in the title that it was a different kind of manual. Different it was.
The one thing I remember from the entire book was that this talented writer told her readers that if you want to be a writer, you have to have a cat. Not a dog, a cat. Miss Rita Mae loves her cat.
Okay, so her advice is to get a cat. But here's the part that devalued the rest of the book. She said if you weren't willing to get a cat, you didn't want to be a writer badly enough and you may as well quit now.
Reading over the Amazon reviews for the book, I realized I was just young and new. I didn't know to recognize this "how-to manual" as the whackadoodle mess of words it was. As one reviewer describes it, the author spends the first part of the book bragging about herself before launching into a list of "musts" that all writers have to have if they want to be a writer.
We must study two years of Latin.
We must get a PhD in English.
We must read a long list of books recommended by her.
The list goes on. And on. And on.
Don't want to do even one of those things? Guess what...you'll never be a writer. It's her way or no way.
So at this young age, I read the worst writing manual ever written. I learned right off the bat to listen to the advice of others and do this to whatever doesn't apply to me:
To this day, I still don't have a cat. And not only am I multi-published, but I make my living writing. So put that in your hat, Rita Mae Brown!