Sunday, April 3, 2011

bad advice

Today is Sunday…a day off from the A to Z blogfest so technically I could just kick back and let things go for a day. But there’s something I just needed to say…and it has to do with accepting bad advice.

We’ve all been given bad advice at one time or another. Perhaps it kept us from pursuing a dream, ie. “There’s no money to be made in …[you fill in the blanks] writing, painting, cooking, acting, singing, dancing, etc. You need to get a ‘real job’.” Or maybe we were told not to waste our time, effort, or money on a workshop or retreat or start-up. Perhaps a “well-meaning” teacher or friend (?) or co-worker came right out and said, “You have no chance…or no talent…or no ambition…or no right to pursue your dream.” Maybe you were told it was a selfish thing to do.

Chances are you’ve told yourself some of these same things.

Last week at the GLVWG conference I had the opportunity to listen to Writing the Breakout Novel guru, Donald Maass ( , even though I wasn’t able to attend his workshop. A while back someone made the comment to me that if he were so good, we’d be inundated with breakout novels, given the number of people who attend his workshops…so why bother? I’ve resisted buying his books on craft ever since. Last week I learned that I’d received some bad advice.

Donald Maass’s books are full of specific examples and observations about what makes a novel great…how to take your story to the next level…what it takes to capture and hold a reader’s attention and interest. This is stuff we can all put into practice in our own writing. It’s great advice and I don’t know about you…but I can use all the great advice I can get.

Whose advice have you rejected lately?
“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer
but wish we didn't.”
--Erica Jong--
Tomorrow’s A to Z post will be C for Connections.

1 comment:

  1. An online friend said that he thought I should be putting all of my energies into learning about how to get published and pursuing publication, instead of networking with fellow writers, spending lots of time on revisions, or trying new creative outlets.

    I'm trying to take part of the advice to heart, and be bold and unafraid when it comes to my desires to be published, but I also think that there's a lot this friend doesn't understand, both about the publishing industry and my own priorities.