Writers teaching Writing


I get it.

I do.

You struggle through three novels: learning as you go, learning about plot, about character, about pacing.

You publish. You market.

You start to sell a bit.

And you read other writers’ work and notice some of the same newbie mistakes that you used to make and you think “Oh. Someone should tell them all the stuff I wish that I’d known at the start.”

And you go out and make seven videos showing how these writers should write.

Month after month, yet another writer on the many writing groups I belong to jumps on line announcing that they have a new suite of videos designed to teach any ignoramus on the planet how to write flawless prose/guaranteed bestseller.

There are already literally millions of videos out there for this.

Type “writing advice fiction videos by indie authors” into Google’s search bar and you will get over 5 million pages listing for your result.

Five. Million. (and counting).


Some of these might be good. Some might not.

There’s no way to tell, even by watching, because the very definition of inexperience pretty much assures that the would-be writer does not yet know what their own specific Achilles Heels are.

The video you make is (by the law of averages) very likely to be either already covered about five million times already, or focused on the wrong things.

(You need to understand that just because your books suck a lot less than they used to, it does not follow that you know anything about how other people should write, much less that you are capable of teaching anyone anything.)

You know how to make YOUR writing better than it was three years ago. It does not follow that any other writer suffers from the same problem(s), and moreover, that the way you fixed your problems is not really likely to be the only or even the most efficacious solution for anyone else.

Most of the videos are presented by people with absolutely no verifiable claims to expertise of any kind at all. Where they get the chutzpah to be writing gurus, I do not know. Cereal box-tops, perhaps.


Frankly, this is another example of the old adage “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.


And you know what the worst part of this is?

Most of them, even if they perhaps have a nugget or two of wisdom to impart, proceed to deliver the most self-indulgent, overwritten, under-rehearsed, talking head generalities in the most boring manner possible.

If you really believe you are ready and able to tell other people how to do this stuff, you might want to consider learning about the medium you are using to deliver this information with.

And if you are a beginner looking for advice, try your public library, where tons of editors and writers have how-to books that you can borrow. Books written by people with some background and some history, and some slightly more believable credentials.


4 thoughts on “Writers teaching Writing

  1. One of the other things I hate about how-to videos by amateurs (amateur video makers, I mean) are the long, long, long intros where they tell you in detail why they made the video, and what they will cover in the video, and a lot of humming and hawing, dressed up with a few irrelevant and self-serving statements.

    Most of the intros are longer than the informational part, and nine times out of ten, the video title alone says exactly what problem they are going to address, which is why you clicked on it anyway, so the intro is completely unnecessary from start to finish.


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