Don’t get me wrong, I hope you listen to SOME of my advice. I’m just here to help, after all, and I want nothing more than for you — a hopeful, hard-working aspiring writer — to succeed.
But the more this blog grows, the more people I seem to encounter who don’t understand my “my way is not the only way” mentality. I get the confusion and I know people’s short attention spans aren’t making things any better, but I thought I’d greet you on this fine Monday morning to remind you what to expect when you come across writing advice on the internet, whether it’s mine or someone else’s.
Every writer has different experiences they draw from. Every. Single. One. So when I talk about my own experiences working for a magazine, for example, in hopes of giving you some advice on how to get your work published online, I’m only dishing out advice from my perspective. I’m telling you what worked for ME. I’m not going to have all the answers to every question and I’m definitely not going to be able to speak to every experience any writer has ever had. So maybe my perspective is different than yours. Maybe things worked out differently for me than they did for you. That doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, it just makes us two different people who had different experiences. I’d love to talk about that in a civilized and respectful manner.
My way is not the only way. Again, in case you skimmed that heading: MY WAY IS NOT THE ONLY WAY. This means that when I use words like “should” and “can’t,” I’m not actually trying to tell you what to do. I’m just trying — to the absolute best of my ability — push you in the right direction. I don’t know how we got to this point where a suggestion needs to be torn apart (and the person making the suggestion along with it) if someone else has a different viewpoint, but here we are. If a different writer has suggested a method to you that you like better than mine, I don’t have a problem with that. You do you. There is more than one way to succeed in writing
You can — and SHOULD — pick and choose the parts of writing advice that do and don’t work for you. I am currently single and child-free, which means describing my writing schedule and how I work around issues and distractions might not work for a mom with three kids or someone in a serious relationship for the first time. I can’t cater every piece of advice to everyone on the internet all at once, it’s just not possible. Take my advice or leave it. I leave it up to my readers to decide which pieces of advice they want to take to heart and which ones they would rather not pay attention to. My suggestions are for you to do with whatever you may please, and that’s the way I’ve always wanted it to be.
Don’t agree with my opinions? Cool! You don’t have to! Tried one of my suggestions and it didn’t work for you? That’s to be expected — I’m giving advice to thousands of people every day. It’s not going to work for everyone and it’s not supposed to! Think my advice is invalid because I haven’t published a book yet even though I deliberately don’t give out publishing advice for this precise reason? You’re entitled to your opinion!
If I have learned anything from 10 years of sharing my experiences as a writer, it’s that it’s impossible to make everyone happy at the same time. ESPECIALLY on the internet. I’ve wasted a lot of energy over the years caring about people who don’t care about me. That’s silly. I’m done with that nonsense.
The less energy I waste worrying about the drama other people create, the more energy I can put into creating blog posts and other things that have the potential to help people who actually want to be helped.
So if you’re here because you genuinely want to put more of your ideas into words, I’m glad you’re here. I hope you’ve found some helpful tips here. And if not, well, I can try to help if you alert me to your problem areas, but there are never any guarantees on a platform like this. I’m a one-woman show and I’m doing the absolute best I can with the time, knowledge, and resources I have.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given? What’s the worst advice you’ve heard? A lot of advice is all in how you interpret it, but I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.