What *Not* To Do If You’re Looking For Writing Advice

I remember when the Internet was a baby–a brilliant, wide-eyed, baby with limitless potential for positive growth.

The Internet was born to Scientific and Military parents. It soon showed its independence and became the playground of creative, intelligent folks who took its potential and shaped a carnival of information amazement.

One of the most famous slogans back then was, “Information Wants to be Free …”, and this leads me to the first thing I feel you should not do when looking for writing advice.

Don’t pay anyone a penny until you’ve written the equivalent of a novel and even then you should probably wait much longer.

There’s a growing trend [in some fields, it’s a cancerous riot] of people with no credentials to speak of trying to woo unsuspecting novices into costly nets of stolen information–advice that could have been found for free.

If you’re the novice’s novice, you might start your explorations with our recent post, Resources for Writers ~ Readers Welcome 🙂

My second suggestion for what not to do is:

Don’t listen to people who are willing to give you free information until you’ve read some of their writing. { blogs actually count as writing 🙂

When it comes to blogging-writers who give advice, you may find some who don’t have a ton of published work. Still, you have their blog as evidence of how they handle words. If they’re fiction writers and they don’t have examples of their fiction in the blog or available through a link, you could, if you appreciate the things they say, ask if you could review some of their work.

My third thing to not do is:

Don’t get caught up in reading writing advice until you’ve given yourself the chance to write what you feel is the best work you can produce.

This may be a small collection of poems or three novels. If you’re really listening to yourself and letting your resident spirits guide you, you should know when you’ve produced something good. Sure you may doubt it’s “good enough” but that kind of thinking is married to the need for approval. You need your own approval for your work before you consider changing it based on others’ opinions.

And, because the Internet has grown into a many-headed, commercial beast and we all seem to love looking for approval and there are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, when you do have some work you feel good enough about to have other minds check it out and offer advice, put it aside, resist the temptation to get advice, let it sit a month or two, and work on a new piece. When you come back to it, you’ll probably find things that you feel need changing. Change them and then, maybe, offer it for critique.

I know at least six writers who regularly read this blog and I trust they’ll offer their advice in the comments 🙂
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