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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > November 2017 > WRITING WRONGS


Much creative writing advice is clichéd, ill-explained or self-contradictory. In the first of two articles, story consultant Jeff Lyons highlights the kernels of truth at their heart and which bits you can ignore.

We live in the age of clickbait, soundbites, and viral memes, reflecting our moods and emotional states, reinforcing happy thoughts, or confirming our darkest vulnerabilities. We read them, consume them, have a laugh or a wistful shrug of self-reflection, and move on to the next, invariably making a mental note to ‘remember that one’, then forgetting all about it.

But, sometimes these little fortune cookies solidify and take on a substance they were never meant to have, finding a level of acceptance and ‘truth’ that endures and endures. This phenomenon is everywhere, in all creative endeavours, but particularly in creative writing where, for many, clichés seem to underpin the entire creative process.

‘So what?’ comes the obvious reaction. Buying into the big myths and clichés of creative writing hasn’t done any real harm; people keep writing, books and screenplays are still being published and produced, more creative writing is happening now than at any time in human history – so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that lots of harm follows these myths and clichés: wasted time, pointless writing, lost money, unnecessary struggle, missed opportunities, just-plain-bad writing, the list goes on. Abandoning the myths of creative writing is essential to maturing your creative and practical writing processes. When you buy into the myths you go on creative autopilot and shut down the greatest gifts you have as a creative person: your ability to discern, your ability to assess, and your ability to make informed creative decisions. Reviving and relying on those abilities are at the heart of being a conscious writer: ie, a writer who knows what she is writing, why she is writing, and how she is writing. Being a conscious writer honours our true creative process and is the only path to achieve deep, authentic, and meaningful connection with readers. And busting the biggest myths of creative writing has to be one of the most important first steps on the road to becoming a conscious writer. So, let’s take that first step this month and start busting the myths of creative writing.

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About Writing Magazine

You've written your book - now it's time to sell it! Read our features on 7 easy ways to start marketing and how to boost your Amazon sales. We also look at what's really going on with those creative writing myths that seen to have become truisms. Check out what mythbusting story consultant Jeff Lyons has to say. Our star interview is with the hugely talented children's writer and illustrator Cressida Cowell, who has started a new series after the amazing success of How To Train Your Dragon. It was a real pleasure to talk to her about dragons, history, why children love magical creatures and, of course, writing! There's £37,700 to be won in writing prizes, pages packed with opportunities in Writers' News, and much, much more in this month's issue.
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