The Best/Worst Writing Advice We’ve Ever Received

Question Everything

I’m not much of a creative writer, but, as a journalist and a reviewer, I’m always thinking about something one of my professors — the great Dr. Lee — once told me (and still does). It’s the fact that you can never afford to take the opinions, perceptions or definitions of another as gospel. And this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. As writers, we’re always exploring new mental terrain, but we’re also observing the actions and ideas of both our contemporaries and those who came before us. When we have to draw conclusions or ask questions — whether it be through fiction or essays — we can’t avoid encountering responses already given and solutions already put forth. Linking ourselves to the great and ancient chain of human knowledge — and subsequently drawing from it — can be a beautiful thing, but only if we take the time to balance the pieces of that puzzle with our own inquiries and with a keen eye for the ignored. Question everything, whether it’s some mundane fact you’re sourcing for a news article or an abstract train of thought you’ve just begun upon reading that new novel. In the end, idol worship, in any form, too quickly becomes idle worship. And finding the answers — or just asking the questions — yourself is worth much more than any quick theoretical fix. It’s about finding your own truth; and one of word of truth, as Solzhenitsyn said, outweighs the whole world.

-Sam Spokony


  • TS Tate

    Tee received a Master of Arts in English in 2008 from Southeastern Louisiana University. She has studied under Edgar nominee Tim Gautreaux, Booksense Pick novelist Bev Marshall and Clarion West graduate and World Fantasy nominee, Cat Rambo. She has more than ten years of documentation and editing experience and is currently the Editor-in-Chief at   She has spent the past nine years in the corporate environment as a Technical Editor and has previously edited for Christine Rose, Phoebe North, Heather McCorkle, Laura Pauling, Anne Riley, Christine Fonseca and UF writer Carolyn Crane. With Heather McCorkle, Tee co-founded the #WritersRoad chat on Twitter.  In addition, she is working on several creative projects, including her second novel and various short stories. Her flash fiction, "Street Noises," was included in the Pill Hill Press anthology "Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Dark Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition)" and her short "Til Hunt Be Done," was included in the Winter Wonders anthology from Compass Press.  A diehard New Orleans Saints fan, Tee lives with her family in Southeast Louisiana.

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