Why have I never heard of half of the people who give writing advice?


Advice (Photo credit: mpclemens)

I always used to imagine that writing (if you do it properly) is a free and easy creative rapture, where I sit and the words effortlessly flow from every pore like some sort of wordsmith disease. I have discovered Dear Reader that anything worth doing is difficult. Now, I’m not talking brain surgery here, I am talking about effort….

I’ve also discovered a direct correlation between how difficult it is and how likely I am to complete it. Is half of this about showing up and writing stuff down? Stuff that isn’t just about how hard it is to write stuff. I’ve tried that tactic recently and I have managed to complete 3/4 of my novel.  It’s still not finished and nowhere near a publishable or ship-able format but it is 3/4 done and I’m patting myself on the back for that.

It also resulted in a six month gap in my blog writing. I love blogging due to instant gratification, I press the little publish button and voilà someone is potentially going to skim read the first few lines.  However, I have noticed how much writing blogs  and a lot of the advice being extolled,  is from people who have no more right to give advice than I do…

Have they written a bestseller, maybe but not one that I’ve ever read….

So is that what happens when your novels don’t make it? Do you just write about writing instead…..

Your thoughts are welcome friends…

P.S If you fancy a very commercial laugh. Try #danceponydance

P.S.S Do not drink any kind of liquid whilst doing this.

P.S.S.S The Findus one is genius! For all my American friends – Google recent press in the UK regarding Findus after watching. It will make perfect sense.

13 thoughts on “Why have I never heard of half of the people who give writing advice?

  1. I’m not much one to write on writing–other than to recommend a book by a more accomplished author on the matter, and then only briefly–but I have given solicited advice, and this is my experience: no one wants to hear it. Not really, and they won’t regard it. They will begin compiling a list why all this does not apply to their writing style.They’d rather hear they are brilliant from the get go–as I myself did–and like a person who wants to lose weight via lap-band surgery, or quit cigarettes without suffering–until you’re open to the idea you are fat, and things must be corrected about your behaviors by applied effort (or the story is fat, in this case) you are doomed to maintain a status quo.

    Does that make sense?

  2. I’ve never read any writing ‘advice’ – i know when my writing is the best it can be and when it isnt. if i get to the point where i have an agent or editor i will listen to them but till then i trust my internal editor.

  3. Yeah, what is that? You may have the means to tell the world what you think, ie a blog, but that does not make you an expert on whatever you wish you were an expert on. It’s downright embarrassing sometimes.

  4. Pingback: Why Should I Listen To You? | Lori's Inner Goddess

  5. My ears turned a bit pink reading this, though most of the advice I offer is intended to stimulate discussion more than provide enlightenment. But like was said, lately I have focused on my own writing and the blog post I manage to get up are definitely not advice related. And, oddly enough, that seems to be working for me.

    BTW, congrats to tryingtowriteit on getting 3/4 of the way through your novel. Keep up the hard work!

    • It wasn’t really directed at any one in particular… So, sorry for making your ears red! We all have soap boxes, I have just stood on one about Freshly Pressed. I quite like the discussion type advice blogs, nothing wrong in that. It’s the lecture ones. The ones that say “This is the only right way”. Thanks for the congrats, I’m quite pleased with it too….

  6. No worries. I’m as guilty (or guiltier) as anyone of getting an inflated ego. I like to think I’m better about hiding it but who knows, that might just be that ego talking again! So a little reminder every now and again is more than welcome.

    I definitely agree with you about the “This is the only way…” types. One of the things I like about Dean Wesley Smith is despite his passionately opinionated lectures, he is fairly consistent in the “This is my opinion and what works for me” disclaimers. Of course, it doesn’t hurt I agree with him a lot… 😀

  7. Even as someone who offers writing advice (for people who request it), I appreciate your rant. I am only an expert in what works for me — and I make certain that I let people know this. Congrats on seeing the light at the end of your novel-writing tunnel!

  8. I think Adam makes a great point. People who give writing advice are experts (or think they are) in what works for them and extrapolate to the rest of the world. I am also reminded of some great life advice I got years ago: what people say to you says more about them than it does about you. I think many of these “experts” are telling the rest of us what they need to hear themselves.

    I have edited a few books professionally and have worked with first time authors quite a bit, and I can echo the first comment — people don’t want advice. Not even when they pay for it. And not just for the writing process. I also managed the publication process, both for a small publisher and then later as a freelancer working with self publisher. And I taught a community ed class on self-publishing. There was always some push back on why *this* book was special or *my* process was different and so none of the rules or advice applied.

    Having said that . . . .it is WAY easier to give writing advice than to actually write a book (she said guiltily). Congrats on getting as far as you have on your novel!

    • Hi thanks for the comment, I think you’re right to an extent. I might be the exception to the rule but I love constructive criticism. Everything is a chance to improve. Just as an aside when you edited was it in a particular genre? Can’t blame a girl for asking?

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