Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seeking Advice

In writing (or other aspects of life), there are inevitable questions that come to mind. Sometimes, we can find answers through books or articles, but there are cases when we just need guidance from others.

A basic principle to follow is this: don’t seek diet advice from a fat person. In the writing world, this translates into not following the ideas of people who aren’t where you want to be. For example, suppose my goal is to get a novel published. If I post a question about how to make this happen on a writers’ message board, I’ll get a lot of answers, but of those answers, few (if any) will be from authors with published novels. It therefore makes little sense in following the majority of the posted advice.

Even with an understanding that inexperienced people won’t give the best advice, I’ve made the mistake of asking a wider audience anyway, hoping that I might be able to count the most popular answers as wisdom. Unfortunately, people often share the same misconceptions, so the popular answer might not be helpful either. Again, the best source of wisdom is experience.

General questions are great for general audiences, but for specific answers, seek specific counselors. Don’t waste your time elsewhere.

No comments: