Unwanted Good Advice

A while ago there was a discussion on LinkedIn’s Fiction Writers Group about whether reading “how to write” advice is a waste of time. There certainly is a lot of advice to be had — books and courses and blogs dispensing shoulds and shouldn’ts, dos and don’ts and sententious pronouncements for those who aspire to be Writers — get a professional editor, rewrite no fewer than 55 times, bow deeply to the God of Marketing, blah, blah, blah. On this blog, I’ve dispensed advice as well as commented on it, so I’m as guilty as anyone.

The interesting thing was how many said they don’t bother reading blogs by “just anyone.” Ha! It’s kind of ironic that on a forum frequented by self-published “indie” authors there should be suspicion and distrust of advice from fellow indies. I’m not surprised though, being inclined to argue with such advice no matter where I find it. Statements starting with “You should,” or “Never,” or “Always,” trigger an inclination to challenge. Sometimes I argue myself around in a circle and actually end up agreeing with the statement. Another irony; life is full of them.

My advice to writers inclined to dispense advice — stick to your own experience, describing things you’ve done that worked or did not work. That might actually be useful to others, especially if you include the ideas behind the actions.

I suspect that 100% of writing blogs are written in order to draw attention to the bloggers’ own books. That brings up the final irony for today, which is that we are preaching to the choir — other writers. I’ll bet most people who don’t write, even those who read a lot, aren’t really interested in dissections of grammar or the details of how to write dialogue. Blog posts on how to write, therefore, aren’t very good for marketing, and if other writers ignore them, what’s the point?

That said, practical advice from someone with credibility does have value. In that spirit, I endorse a post on proofreading from Michelle Proulx, a fellow WordPress blogger whose first book is due out in January. While you’re there, check out her post from December 13, featuring a first try at a book trailer for her book, Imminent Danger.

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3 comments

  1. Thanks for the mention 🙂 Not sure how credible I am, lol, but I happily share whatever meagre knowledge I possess. Also, I just noticed your ebook is free — how did I miss that? Bad, bad, bad Michelle. Anyway, the reviews look phenomenal, so I’ll give a read through. More on that when I’m finished!

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  2. I like this…I read as I wander, I pick a topic ( or date LOLs)
    as I read where Edgar Cayce did that when he wanted a question answered, but instead of a book( though I do that too)
    I pick a blog that feels good, energy wise…and I think, well where do I stand on writing these days,and poof I landed here…I don’t give advise…I do get a lot and more try to save me…and I am known to make a fool of myself…but writing? I write because I hear what i call whispers…and I enjoy writing..sometimes I think some actually understands…
    I have no education so to speak…or knowledge of what a prose, poem or Haiku is…I read because I am drawn there for some unknown reason,
    which my mom was a English Lit major and Music…. I didn’t take after her…
    Though she does enjoy my writings, and she is the first to say she doesn’t understand when i fall down one of those rabbit holes…(my grandmother always had journals and wrote poetry, but I never saw any of it, someone decided they needed it more than me)

    I like your blog, it takes me a while to find my way to one..I am glad I stopped in on your December..( it was a rough month and year for me is why I picked it)
    Thank you for your thoughts…..I enjoyed them….
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

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    1. I’m glad you could relate to this post. I didn’t study writing formally, just wrote the usual essays and papers while going to school. Then in 2000, I decided to write a novel, and didn’t stop until I had written 3 more. When a really good idea comes along, writing is easy. Thanks for reading my blog.

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