• WBN Writing Coaches Share Their Wisdom

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments 6 comments

    About a year ago we gathered together some excellent advice for beginning writers from our writing coaches and consultants, set them to some fun Muzak, and offered them as Parts 1 and 2 of a video series called “Words of Wisdom For the Aspiring Writer.”

    OK, so what? So, since those videos posted we’ve taken on even more wonderful writing coaches, and they too have some hot tips for those of you us looking for a little writing inspiration. “Show your work!” they tell us. “Read and live!” “Engage in the process!

    And, of course, do that thing with your butt.


    Advice for writers from Resa Alboher “Let yourself love writing for itself and in and of itself. Love the narratives you want to create, the stories that are burning in you to be told, the rhythms of the sentences, the feel of the words on your tongue, the music of the syllables, love these for their own sake and allow yourself to step out of the way and give the process permission to happen.”

    Resa Alboher


    Advice for writers from Tom Andes“At the risk of stating the obvious, write. Like Maupassant said, ‘Put black on white.’ I don’t think we really figure anything out unless we’re engaged in the process, since for many of us, the process of writing is actually the process of deciphering the process itself, of learning how we write.”

    Tom Andes



    Advice for writers from Carolyn Cohagan“Get your butt in the chair.”

    Carolyn Cohagan





    Advice for writers from Lydia Conklin“Write as much as you can until you get something decent. Then revise it and revise it and revise it. Put a piece away for a couple months when you finish a draft. Have several pieces going so you can always have something to work on while other projects are incubating. Whenever I look back at something I’ve put away I can’t believe I ever thought it was finished.”

    Lydia Conklin



    Advice for writers from Chris Mattix“Don’t be afraid to show your work to others! I meet a lot of people who tell me they write, but never show it to anyone because they feel it’s no good. I always tell them the only way to get better as a writer, other than writing a lot, is showing your work to others and getting their opinions. Workshops are the single best thing for me as a writer. They force you to not only produce more work, but to let go of your writing and allow others to critique it; and other people always notice something you don’t. So show your work!”

    Chris Mattix


    Advice for writers from Tatiana Ryckman“Read and live. I find it impossibly difficult to write what I know when I don’t know anything.”

    Tatiana Ryckman





    To learn more about Resa, Tom, Carolyn, Lydia, Chris, Tatiana, or any of our other talented writing coaches and consultants, visit our Staff page, where you’ll find bios and Q&As for every member.

    What about you, WriteByNighters? What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever received? Let us know in the comments below!


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    Scott McClelland

    The best advice I received in 2015 came out of an interview I did, for The Review Review, with WriteByNight coach Steve Adams. The question was, “How would you explain the concept of ‘showing’ the story versus ‘telling’ the story to a new writer?” Steve said, “I think with first draft of any story, we tell the story. When we revise, we begin to find ways to show the story.” That answer had a profound effect on the way I write. I used to move forward, sentence by sentence, trying to balance narration, dialogue, imagery, metaphors and similes as I… Read more »

    That’s awesome, Scott. You found valuable writing advice when you weren’t even looking for it! And that’s solid advice, too. We can’t worry about craft while drafting; that process should be fun and unencumbered. I’m so glad it is for you now.

    Glynis Jolly

    I don’t know if it’s the best advice I’ve received but it has stuck with me for years. It comes from an instructor I had for a free college course in writing when I was still in high school. He said —

    When you have the passion, don’t let it slip away. Write. And when you write, be authentically you except for using correct grammar and spelling.

    After hearing that, writing didn’t seem as scary.

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    Anything that makes the work feel more approachable is worthwhile. Writing is scary, no doubt about it, as is being authentic. If you can overcome the fear and be yourself on the page, you’re on a path to success.

    Thanks for sharing, Glynis.


    I liked what these writers had to say. And I find your service always positive and supportive. I am certain the aspiring and the active writers need this kind of support you offer, especially these days in the world of writing and publishing. I’ve never found anything you guys present here in your blog or person to person coaching to be anything but professional. But sometimes people who come to the site are unhappy and need to use you in the form of venting. It’s like psychologists, and transference, sometimes what’s inside gets projected onto you. You are not always… Read more »

    Justine Tal Goldberg

    What a lovely comment! Thanks so much for being a WriteByNight cheerleader. It’s our pleasure to help you and your fellow writers accomplish your goals. That’s what we’re here for, and we’ll keep supporting you for as long as you’ll let us. Onwards!

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