How Some Writing Advice Can Actually Hurt You


by Chloe-Anne Ross

What Should I Write About?

Whenever I’m listening to another writer’s Q&A on writing, this question seems to pop-up every now and again. I never understood why it would be asked or what kind of answer was expected until I got stuck.

I would love to be a writer and I would love to be published so it’s important to me that I remember it’s not an impossible dream by listening to those who have done it. So I listen to their advice, I learn that I should know my target audience and my genre and if I want to be a writer I need to engage with writing communities and get my name out there. 


I’ve given this advice and I have taken it, now I wish I’d never heard it.

I’m an introvert and I also struggle with social anxiety so creating a social media page with my own work, life and personal struggles on it is something I’d always stay clear of. Personally, I’m quite happy living a quiet life with minimum social interaction. Right now I’m happy working in retail, even though it is a dead-end job. I like my space, I like that most of my time is spent in my room it’s got books, it’s green, it’s my school (since I study online) and it’s my gym (ever since I started Insanity).

I’ve heard from a lot of writers that I should break out of my comfort zone and join social media but when I was writing daily quotes for Instagram I didn’t love it. I hated what I was writing and I know it sucked. If I didn’t love taking pictures and designing the composition for each photo I would have quit a lot sooner. It’s such a small thing but I would get panicked over what I would do next, I felt like I had to do more and I always had to change to be better.

It was stopping me from writing, I was getting stressed. I’d spend days lying in bed and not doing anything until I went to work and there I had a job and I could get distracted until the next day when the same thing happened. I stopped studying for my final exam, I got convinced my entire life was running into a brick wall and my life was screwed.

It seems unpopular advice but if broadcasting yourself doesn’t make you happy or you have to change what your writing for your audience or genre to something that you don’t like, don’t do it. 

Deleting Youtube and my Instagram, putting facebook in a separate folder on its own page on my iPhone so I don’t just look at it and jump right in all the time has made me so much happier. If I’m not writing for myself then I’ll be miserable and I won’t want to be writing at all but now writing has become fun again. I can only write about things I want to write about.

There’s so much advice to take on and things that I, as a writer, should be doing that it’s easy to forget self-care comes first. Even at the cost of your marketing. I’m a writer, my mind is kind of the core of my creativity,  I should be thinking about that.




Alternately titled “What Should I Write About?” and the Reason Behind My Writer’s Block.

27 thoughts on “How Some Writing Advice Can Actually Hurt You

  1. I love this post. I’ve done this to myself many times. Even sometimes with my blog. I worry that if what I’m writing about is interesting to other people, if it’s too dark or too funny or not funny enough. Worrying about what other people think can really hurt you as a writer. A friend once told me to write what I would read. “If you don’t want to reread it, you didn’t write it for you.”

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Hi Chloe-Anne (beautiful name!),

    Sure, self-care is numero uno on any to-do list. Because from that, all else follows. However, isolating yourself? Not a whole lot can come out of that, in terms of your goal of being a writer.

    One of the best sources for writing is our experiences and our feelings around those experiences. But what you seem to have now instead are your feelings of anxiety and isolation.

    I see that you’re also limiting your exposure to social media. Okay if that’s what you want, but…

    I met a man on Twitter who struggled so hard for many years due to his severe OCD and ADHD, he even attempted to end his life. Now he has (gradually) come back from that and written two books about his experiences. He has over one million Twitter followers! His name is Jeff Emmerson – @IAmJeffEmmerson – in case you want to look him up. Very inspiring guy.

    Anyway, you’re not me, I’m not you, I gotta remind myself!

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever you can manage for yourself, Chloe-Anne. Take care. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post because I think some writing advice is too generic. I detest “Don’t take criticism personally,” as if I’m choosing to do so. I’m introverted, too, but pseudo-extroverted in terms of social media. Since I’m not forced to face people and I communicate better in writing it’s not as daunting; however, I hate any “Do this every day!” advice. It creates an obligation that leads to stress. I think comfort zones should be stepped out of when you’re ready, and you’re the one who’ll know when that is 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve found it’s important to keep checking with yourself after reading advice on how to be a writer. Everyone has their own reasons for writing, and their own measures of what constitutes success, so those “rules” don’t always apply and sometimes do harm if accepted uncritically. I notice you mentioned advice to know your target audience. I’ve always disliked that one, because many of us start writing from a creative impulse, without any particular audience in mind. We may develop an audience in time, but otherwise, that advice may be useless, or worse.


  5. It has always seemed daft to me that writers are advised to spend so much time on social media and ‘getting their name out there’ that there is so little time left to actually write!


  6. Fantastic post–I’m seeing a lot of writers in wordpress and elsewhere getting fed up with social media and starting to disconnect. I only have Facebook because it’s the easiest way for my workplace and best friend to get in touch with me if they need to (and they can send blanket announcements and see who saw the posts–which makes it useful). Otherwise I am so tired of it I am barely on more than 5 minutes a week. I never did twitter, instagram, snapchat, any of that, and I don’t care to. I don’t think we’re missing as much as we think we are, and our pressure to speak and announce ourselves doesn’t help in the long run if we have nothing to say…then it waters down the good stuff we could be saying if we really want to say it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so easy to see someone else and want to “be like them”, but in the process we forget who we are. There are many paths, and often it’s because someone walks a different path that their results feel new and interesting to others. “Sameness” is rarely the way, despite how frequently societies encourage it.


  8. Completely agree! I tried to be everywhere at once because that’s the advice I got. All I got out of it was stress and the feeling that nothing was any good. Make your own way – that’s the best way ❤️


  9. I am also at the point of only keeping FB active. We have been advised to get our name out there by posting everywhere, that takes us away from writing, which is what we LOVE to do. To be honest, I am not very good, okay real honesty, most of it is way above my head and can only have minimal success with posting ads on any media. So I am going to focus on writing and will only do FB, blog, and Quora.


  10. What I’ve found much of the writing advice works for other people. When I try to do stuff that’s not “me”, it always works out poorly. I”ve also learned to look beyond the advice at what it means in practice. For example, if one post advised to do XYZ to become noticed and most followed that advice, then no one would stand apart from anyone else. Everyone would look the same XYZ. It seems the writers who have been successful did so by finding ways to break the molds. And once others started copying what those writers did, those became the new molds.


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