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By Bhalachandra Sahaj

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“A little less conversation, a little more action, please…”

Do you remember these words? This phrase belongs to The King: Elvis Presley. I remember them, although I am not that old, haha—I just like rock ‘n’ roll. You should carve, as a writer, these words in gold where you live, work, rest, or write, because it is one the most valuable pieces of advice one can get in any sphere of life. For us, it is important from the perspective of writing.

On the Internet (including this website) you have found lots of materials on writing; be it creative or academic writing, there are always people ready to help you become a better writer, find inspiration, hone your skills, and so on. At the same time, there is the fact that a decent theorist is not necessarily a decent practitioner. And this is why I cited Elvis; instead of learning theory, you should write instead.

Sometimes I think writing advice usually has little sense to it—meaning that people mostly learn from their own mistakes rather than follow the advice of those who have already made the same mistakes and walked the same path. One slice of advice, a piece of theory, a hint—all of these are products of an experienced mind who knows the obstacles and knows how to omit them. But how often do you listen and follow the advice other people give you?

Moreover: do you believe famous writers like Ernest Hemingway or J.D. Salinger while working on their novels were like, “Okay, and here I’m gonna use a cliffhanger, yeah,” or like, “Dude, alliteration here would be awesome?” Most likely, they wrote based on their practical experience, inner dramas and conflicts, and real feelings. This is the reason why books by great authors are so sincere and touching—and not because they used a cliffhanger or alliteration properly.

So, the final piece of writing advice for this month is to pay more attention to writing rather than to studying theory and trying to apply it in practice. As you get more experienced in writing, you will start using various techniques and methods on your own. It’s like developing an artistic taste: at first you believe the colorful paintings of kittens and sunsets are beautiful, and they are pure art. However, the more artists (preferably great ones) you see, the more you start to understand about art, the more sophisticated your taste becomes. Once you’ll realize you understand Picasso or Pollock, you will never return back to cute painted kittens. Writing is the same; the only difference is instead of looking at the work of others, you work yourself.

So, “a little less conversation, a little more action, please.”

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