Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Who should you listen to?

An interesting viewpoint about listening to "unsuccessful" rather than famous writers for advice in Salon.

I think this article has a valid point but would caution readers to know the difference between writers who aren't "successful" and writers who haven't  had any success at all: the know-it-alls in advice chat rooms who've never been published but know how everything works.  Or the grammar enforcers who don't understand style.

So, rather than unsuccessful, I would say look to the yeoman writers, the people slogging away in the field every day. The people who are working hard but not (yet) raking it in.


Bonnee Crawford said...

I like to think that everyone has a little bit of valid advice to give, but of course the best people to ask are those who are experiencing it. Thanks for sharing :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Damn that Janet Reid, I’m supposed to be paying bills and cleaning closets.

Jeez Janet just when I promised myself that today was a no-writing day, (yes, 1 out of 365 is needed right now), you post a point I could pontificate on ‘til the cows come back to Capistrano. Yes cows fly and so do pigs.

To disseminate advice is to prove significance regarding one’s effort. If we’ve made a buck we want to share how we did it. As an infinitesimally successful writer, as a minnow in a mud puddle, (with a short term goal which took twenty-five years to pop), I have two pieces of advice.

First piece of advice:
Never underestimate the magical power of chance, but do not depend on it.
Second piece of advice:
Don’t take advice from anybody; find your own way.

Okay, checkbook and closets are next.

Craig said...

It doesn't matter where you go or what you do, there are trolls under the bridge.

Because of that hazard you have to learn whose advice is worthwhile. You did pay for it if you posted something online.

Our dear Query Shark hit it on the head. Some advice can be very dear to you. However a detrimental dear is had to tell from a beneficial dear. Use care. If you find a good formula please share it.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Perhaps it's time to update that old saw. In the Internet age it should read – Those who can, do. Those who can't, dominate chat rooms and discussion boards and pontificate.

Elissa M said...

John "Chumbucket" -- you made me laugh because your comment is way too true.

Terri Lynn Coop said...
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Terri Lynn Coop said...
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Terri Lynn Coop said...

Out of nowhere I had someone ask me for writing advice yesterday. Also for advice on promotions.

All I could do was tell her (a) what has worked for (and on) me, (b) what has not worked and everybody laughs about in private groups, and (c) here are some people that I really respect (at least one of them has fins, don't stare) who are doing it everyday and you should consider getting to know them.

I've been tapped to write a blog about the writing life for a local paper and I've just summed up what the guys of every column will be from now on.


PS: I also will add, don't be afraid to delete your post, correct the stoopit typos, and repost (twice if need be.)

Stephanie Faris said...

I once knew a blogger who spoke condescendingly about those who wrote commercial fiction, even knowing that was what I wrote. Yet he always put an apostrophe in "ours" and "yours." I found it ironic--Mr. Literary didn't even know basic grammar!

Anonymous said...

Best advice: Don't read Salon.

Anonymous said...

What "Ol' Chumbucket" said.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Salon article. Some of the best advice I've gotten in my career has come from my friends who are a bit ahead of me on the writing track. And it's not just what they say, it's observing what they do.

Not to say that very successful writers don't also have tips to share -- and I think Berlatsky was a little unfair with the examples he chose. But working writers who are still trying to break out - or even those who are content with the life they have right now - also have a lot to offer.