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To Prescribe or Not to Prescribe: My Unsolicited Writing Advice

swarthmorephoenix.com – Thursday February 28, 2019

There is no one way to write. End of sentence. Fullstop. The level of self-righteous prescriptivism within the realm of writing frustrates me to no end, and in my experience as a writer, absolutist advice is oftentimes the worst advice of all. In fact, absolutist advice isn’t advice at all, but rather, a command, as if to say, “You have to write in a certain way to let me justify my own beliefs about the proper way to write.” To express my frustration at literary prescriptivists, I compiled this list of the five best and worst tidbits of writing advice that I’ve ever received. (A bit hypocritical? Maybe.) Of course, not every piece of advice will suit every person’s writing, but following the good tips and maintaining a level of skepticism for the bad ones has allowed me, personally, to develop my craft.

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