damn the dark, damn the light

Writers love to talk about writing. More than that, they love to talk about writing with other writers. Most of all, they love to give other writers advice about writing. I have some opinions about that.

First, writers who take other writers seriously are fools. All writers are full of shit, especially when it comes to writing.

Secondly, writers who give advice are usually only doing so as a way to avoid the problem of not taking their own advice.

I don’t give advice about writing, mainly because I think it’s pointless. The only knowledge worth having is that which you’ve gained through your own effort and through the long slow process of writing practice. Nothing else will make a difference to you, no matter how wise or insightful it may be. Therefore, in my opinion, seeking and giving advice is a waste of time.

So my advice is to ignore advice and just do whatever suits you, whatever fits in with your routine, whatever works for you personally. As long as you are developing your writing gift, in whatever way you can, then you’re doing all right.

And… that’s all.

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2 Responses to “damn the dark, damn the light”

  1. There are a couple of aspects of advice-giving that make me roll my eyes. The first is that just by giving advice (no matter how inane it might be) the advisor puts themselves in a position of authority. Now in some cases that might be earned, but in others it seems to be a way of controlling the conversation by minimising the advisee’s input.

    The second is when advice-giving covertly creates opportunities for schmoozing. I get a bit fed up reading advice posts on blogs which are swiftly followed by hundred and fifty obsequious comments below the line.

    But I’m OK with advice of the “this is my experience, take whatever applies to you” variety. If only because I’m nosy about how other people do things :)

  2. george says:

    Yes. I was in a very strange mood when I wrote this post, as it happened, and probably could have been a little more direct. I also quite enjoy reading about other writers’ experiences and thoughts – and that is pretty much what I write here myself. But I am so bored of reading the same advice over and over. And, like you say, seeing hundreds of comments about how wise and perspicacious the writer is for giving advice about writing that you can read basically everywhere you look on the internet.

    Well, some people are very good at giving writing advice, as it happens. Some writers (I can think of two) appear to have a gift for writing endlessly about writing, finding new ways to talk about craft and technique and voice and style. But most writers do not have this gift, and I really wish they would just stop. I would rather read about almost anything else. A daily journal of their dog walking trips. An entirely fabricated account of the trials of living secretly in someone else’s basement. Whatever, really. In fact that last one sounds quite fun.