Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On giving advice

One thing that I tried to stay away from during my early blogging months was giving advice. For some reason, doling out advice as if I were "experienced" felt pretentious, especially given my age. Why would adult writers listen to anything I have to say?

As an unpublished writer, I've never seen myself as adequate enough to give advice to others who are unpublished. But lately I've been ignoring my long held rule. After all, I enjoy reading advice posts from other authors, even if they aren't published or agented yet. We all learn things during our writing journeys, and sharing tips and tricks allows us to connect with one another.

It's hard to shake that pretentious feeling. Even so, as I read the blogs of other aspiring authors, I find advice that's both inspiring and incredibly helpful. What do you guys think? Do you take author advice more seriously if it's written by a published author, as opposed to an unknown? Do you place greater value upon the posts of bestsellers compared to the posts of small-press authors?


  1. Yeah, I feel the same way. If I have any "advice" I just try to put into context of what I've noticed personally and what works for me. It's like you said, every writer's brain works differently.

    I don't know if I really think in terms of people giving advice. I think writers are generally pretty open to hearing other writers' opinions and ideas about things. It can be fun to hear what's going on with published authors, but some of my favorite blogs are people just like me--"unknown." =)

  2. Writing isn't an exact science. And being published doesn't mean you've solved the equation.

    Advice is only as valuable as its worth to the individual getting it. If you tell a plotter to write like a panster, it's useless advice. Doesn't matter who it comes from.

    Don't feel pretentious. Think of it as you telling us what works for you. Will it work for everyone? Who knows. But it might work for -one- person. And if you ask me, that makes it advice worth giving.

  3. I know what you mean - feel totally the same.

    I know people say that blogs need to offer something that others don't and there has to be something "in it" for the reader. But that is totally not the reason why I read other blogs.

    Yes, I like advice, but mostly I just enjoy reading about other people - finding people with similar opinions and generally just thinking about stuff. Blogs are great for that! They get me thinking.

  4. I struggle with this as well. I try not to give out "advice" per se, and rather just share the things I've learned during my own journey, and the things that I've found work for me. Because who knows? Maybe they'll work for someone else, too. That's great! And maybe they don't work for anyone else, and that's okay too.

    I read pubbed author and industry blogs, but I also read blogs from other fellow aspiring authors. And I've found really helpful advice from both. I think it's up to us as writers to try out things until we find what works for us, regardless of where we get the idea. I mean, if it doesn't work, just try something else!

  5. I think that any advise that is given honestly by someone is helpful. Even though you're young, if you are giving advise about something you've experienced that I haven't experienced then I would consider it good advise too.

  6. Your advice sucks, and I'd never listen to you.


    That aside, I LOVE hearing about the writing process from anyone. Except you, of course :p

  7. I actually think some of the best advice comes from aspiring authors. They're in the midst of their learning process so when they have an "ah-ha" moment, they can more readily articulate it and share it with others. On the other hand, some more skilled and experienced writers might have a hard time giving advice. Their process has become so subconscious they probably have a hard time really putting into words what they do so well. So I like your advice, but I also know that you're a good writer, so that does help.