Today’s ThinkKit prompt is to write about a piece of advice one has been given during the year and to be honest, I’m struggling with what to write about. It’s not that I haven’t recieved any advice this year. On the contrary, I’ve recieved loads. When you’re a writer who follows a lot of other writers on Twitter, at times you sort of feel like you’re drowning in advice. Frankly, it can get a bit tiring sometimes. It’s not that all of the advice, or even most of the advice, is bad. It’s just that there’s so much of it.
I think wanting to give advice is natural. You do something and get great results, so you want to share that with others. I’m sure I do that myself quite a bit without realizing it. And I enjoy partaking of other people’s experiences and tips and, if I see fit, trying them out for myself. But some people, and this is when advice starts to rub me the wrong way, get so dang evangelical about their advice. They have found the One True Way™ of drafting/publishing/using Twitter for marketing/writing strong female characters and now the whole world must be told about it and about how any other way of doing it is wrong and bad. I can’t help but feel that this particular style of advice-giving has a kind of egocentricity at its core. It’s saying “hey, this worked for me so if it doesn’t work for you either you’re doing it wrong or you’re lying about it”. As writers, and I think this goes for msot lines of work and most hobbies too, we all have different ways in which we approach problems and projects and different strategies work to differing degrees of success. Advice that fails to take that into account and assumes that everyone who writes should do it in the same way as oneself, and (perhaps more importantly) that everyone who writes must have the same goals and desires as oneself turn me off. And that’s a shame, because the advice itself might be good, but if it’s wrapped up as proselytizing I probably won’t finish reading it. There’s a lot of reasons why I’m not into organized religion, and an aversion to being preached to is one of them!