Let Me Give You Some Advice: Don’t Take My Advice

Let Me Give You Some Advice: Don’t Take My Advice

The other day I received the following email from Medium:

 
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Um. What?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered. It’s super cute that Medium considers me a Top anything. But Top Writer in Advice?!?

I spend minutes every morning digging through my purse and yelling that I can’t find my f’ing keys, only to then realize they’re in my hand. I can’t find my way home from anywhere without GPS. I once sent my child to a birthday party wearing sneakers from two separate pairs.

And both shoes were for the right foot.

Really, You Don’t Want My Advice

Yes, I’ve written posts offering guidance on writing and publishing. Meant to inspire, they say things like, “Your voice matters, and your words matter” and “Take a moment and appreciate the recognition for a job well done.”

But I need to let you in on a little secret: those posts aren’t meant for you.

I wrote them for me.

Don’t get me wrong — I hope you read them, and if you’re inspired to write because of them, great!

But the reason I write these posts is to remind to myself to write. To stop procrastinating and do the damn work. To silence my inner critic. And to publish often, regardless of how scary it might be.

 
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Really, You Don’t Need Anyone’s Advice

I love to read other writers’ work about their journeys. Everything from Stephen King’s On Writing to Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art to blog posts — I take it all in and highlight entire passages, hoping they’ll lead me to be a better/happier/more successful writer myself.

Sadly, they don’t.

The only way to get better is to keep writing. The only way to become more successful (depending on your definition of success) is to publish and share your work. The only way to become happier is…well, I haven’t figured that out yet. (Told you I’m not good at doling out advice.)

And I’m guessing that a majority of writers out there don’t know what they’re doing either. We’re all just getting through our days and trying to stay sane and create work that doesn’t suck. Sometimes we’re successful, sometimes…not so much.

Point is, if you’re like me and you live for titles like “How to Get a Bajillion Readers in Five Days” or “You Too Can Be a Super Successful Millionaire Author,” then go all in. Read them, highlight them, share them.

But know this: until you put in the actual work of writing and editing and publishing, you won’t be better/happier/more successful. You’ll just be another person reading about someone else’s triumphs.

So, take my advice. Stop reading and start writing.

(I wrote this post for myself, too.)

 

A version of this post first appeared in Writers Guild

 

Wallowing in Self-Doubt

Wallowing in Self-Doubt

Publish Your Writing. Please.

Publish Your Writing. Please.