Writing advice

There was a thread on Reddit I posted on earlier tonight, on the /r/WritersGroup subreddit, asking posters to offer their advice on writing.  I like my post, so I've decided to repost it.  You can find the thread here.

I think I accidentally just deleted my first attempt at this post, which was quite long. But I'm going to try again, because (a.) this is a fun post to write, and (b.) I think it's good advice, that doesn't get given very often.

  • Develop a philosophy of writing. Mine is that writing creates similarities between the individual networks of logic and emotion in each person's mind, allowing us to empathize and communicate better as a species. Alan Moore's is that writing is magic. Whatever your philosophy is, knowing it will help you figure out what you want to accomplish in your stories, and evaluate whether you've succeeded at accomplishing it.
  • Learn to say/write exactly what you mean. When people talk, they usually say something that's only close to the thing they mean. The person they're talking to then usually interprets it as being something close to the thing they heard. This works fine if you're talking to one person or a few people, especially if they're all from the same cultural background as you. But if you're trying to reach thousands or millions of people, from a variety of social or economic backgrounds, those gaps are going to create huge holes in the readability of your story.
  • Blog. (Shameless self-promotion.) I've been blogging every day at various blogs (this one's a few months old) off and on for almost three years now, and I don't think anything has had a bigger effect on improving my writing, except reading a lot. (Read a lot really is the #1 thing you can do to improve as a writer.)
  • Connect the story with your own experiences. I don't mean "Write what you know," in that I don't think every story needs to be a veiled memoir, but if there's something in the story that draws directly on your own life story or current experiences, you can use that element as a bridge over writer's block. Then, if you want it gone, just take out those elements in the next draft.