Thursday, March 13, 2014

Teresa Slack: The Best Writing Advice You Ever Received

Nearly every time I speak to a book club or writers’ group I am asked a variation of the following question:

What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

I understand the interest in knowing what inspires writers to produce. But it’s tough for me to nail down the best writing advice I’ve received out of twenty-plus years of looking for really good advice.

Whether it’s the best or not is debatable, but this advice inspires me every time I think about it. It came from a quote by Raymond Chandler. Anyone who’s read anything about this writer or his writing discipline knows he wrote all the time. I mean all the time. In fact he wrote so voraciously he couldn’t understand writers who didn’t produce as much as he did. He couldn’t figure out what they did all the time.

He once said, “Write as quickly and as passionately as you can. Don’t edit. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t worry about how pretty it is. Just get the words on paper and then worry about how they look.”

We writers can edit ourselves so much that we dread our next session at the computer. Our story is never satisfactory in our eyes. Since we can’t make it perfect, we do all the things Mr. Chandler warned against.

I don’t know about you, but I am my own biggest roadblock. Or should I say my doubt, fear—and dare I say it—laziness are my biggest roadblocks. But they shouldn’t keep me from finishing the stories I believe I was called to write.

Whether it’s a story idea that’s been pestering you for years, the article you should’ve written last week, or the blog post you put off for too long, write it quickly and passionately. Don’t worry if it’s too long or too short or not original enough. Don’t wonder if anyone will like it or if the market will support it. Just write it. Get those words down. Like the old Nike ad says: Just do it. 

What about you? What’s the best writing advice you ever received? Share it here and let us encourage one another.

Note: One commenter on today's post will receive a copy of Runaway Heart from Teresa. Don't miss this opportunity!

Author bio:
Teresa Slack began creating stories and characters about the time she learned to hold a pencil. Her first novel, Streams of Mercy, won the Bay Area Independent Publishers’ Assn award for Best First Novel. The third book in her Jenna’s Creek Series, Evidence of Grace, debuted nationwide according to Christian Retailing Magazine. Her latest novel, Runaway Heart, is set for official release March 7, 2014.  She grew up in rural southern Ohio, which provides the background for much of her writing. Her down-to-earth characters and writing style have endeared her to readers and reviewers alike. Teresa believes people who think nothing ever happens in a small town just aren’t paying attention. She loves writing in many genres, especially suspense, mystery and romance with a touch of humor stirred in. Someday she even hopes to write a historical.  

Teresa's links:

About Runaway Heart:
Running at the first sign of opposition is nothing new to Kyla Parrish. She’s never held onto a relationship for more than a few months, and she’s quit more jobs than most people apply for. Until Will Lachland. He’s the first man who ever made her think of getting serious about something, about putting down roots. He seems like a dream come true, but like every other man she’s ever met, he expects more than she’s willing to give.
Kyla is determined not to end up like her mother with a string of bad relationships and dead end jobs behind her, but she can’t find a balance between trusting someone with her heart and losing control of her life. But she’s tired of running. Running from life and running from love.
A new man and a new life on the farm where she spent her childhood summers seem like the answer to her prayers. But things are never as simple as they seem. Her heart yearns for love and security. Can she find it even though she can’t forget Will? Or is something else, something greater, calling her heart toward home? 


  1. I like this nugget of wisdom. Gonna file it away for future use!

  2. Welcome, Teresa! It's always a pleasure to have you visit. And your advice is excellent. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great advice...I definitely need to get back to "just writing".

    And Runaway Heart sounds like a great story!

    Thanks for the post - definitely got the message!

  4. Good advice. I enjoy editing my work, but it does slow getting down the story. I allow myself to edit what I did the day before and then move forward. Zoe M. McCarthy