Writing Advice: Take it or Leave it?

So it seems I’m super horrible at maintaining a blog. How do we know this?

Those are the crickets that have been chirping since my end of 2012 post that went up 18 days ago.

I have lots to say, really, I’ve always just been the sort that knows no one wants to hear it. Or, I should say, that’s how I feel about my blog posts. Most people are like, “Who the fuck is this guy? And why does he think we want to read his blog posts?”

Someone, I believe it was Jason Jack Miller **, tweeted (or retweeted, not sure) a bit ago (week, maybe two?) something about authors keeping their writing advice to themselves because no one cared. No one listened. I paused on that for a minute as it about sums up how I feel, too. But the more I sat and thought about it, the more I realized the statement was something of catch-22. Let me explain why, at least in my own personal terms.

Whenever an author I know and respect posts something intended as advice, I do read the post, study it, compare their advice/experiences to my own. I often share these posts via my FB or Twitter feed (or both) so authors can read. There’s a two-fold reason to that: the first being, mainly, exposure for them. Not that I’ve got any great following on either FB or Twitter, but any sharing is better than no sharing; the second reason is that other people very well may find use in the advice given. It’s not my place to judge the usefulness of anything for anyone but myself (and my children for the time being). That post might contain the one nugget some writer needs to boost their confidence, get their writing to the next level, whatever.

Now, what makes this a catch-22 for me is that while I read and share, I almost never follow any of the advice. So, for me, Jason’s statement was hammer/nail/head. I don’t follow other writer’s advice, and if all the people whose advice I did share suddenly stopped, it wouldn’t faze me. I’d probably not even notice. I’ve mentioned that I’ll read their posts, compare what they’re saying to my own experiences, but that’s about it. I don’t implement new ideas into my writing schedule or style. More often than not, I find I’ve already tried their way and it didn’t work, or their way just wouldn’t jive with what I do and how I do it. And, there are also those times, when I read something and I’m like “Who the fuck is this guy? And what thell is he talking about?”

I suspect, and I think this holds true for most writers, that I just need to get better at the way I do things. I’ve published, I’ve been paid; I’ve gotten positive and negative feedback from readers. There’s not much more for me to do, other than more of the same. Maybe win some awards or make a ton of money, both of which would be nice, but aren’t necessary.

All that being said, what does everything think about writers giving advice via blogs and posts, tweets and FB updates? Do you like it? Do you want it to stop? As always, the comments on this post will be open.

** My apologies if this wasn’t Jason Jack Miller’s tweet, but my mind is linking the two. If you know who tweeted it, let me know!

One response to “Writing Advice: Take it or Leave it?

  1. Very interesting thoughts there. I don’t read a ton of “writer advice” blog posts and articles, but I do read some. Now that I think of it, I don’t actively seek to act on that advice. If anything, I think I may subconsciously soak up what the article is saying (a technique for showing backstory or what have you), but I don’t consciously think to myself the next time I write “hey, do it this way because that article said to!”

    I have the same reaction to that self-editing workshop we attended at Context. I thought as I took all those notes that I would go back and study them and use them. I did once. After that, not at all. But I did learn — tactics and things to do and not do that I use subconsciously without thinking where they came from. As I’m editing, I’m thinking “dang, there’s a lot of looking here and looking there”. And I cut it. And I don’t usually think “oh hey, I learned I should cut this at Context!”

    Anyway, that’s my lengthy silly answer. 😀 Good post!

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