In all my life I’ve had plenty of advice coming my way, some asked for, some volunteered, but nevertheless, plenty of advice. Some I remember till this day, some are vague wisps or memory clinging like gossamer in my mind – irking me and making my skin crawl even though I cannot see them.
What do we do with all the advice, from family, relatives, friends, or occasionally from strangers? Do we take them all in and mold ourselves around them? No, we don’t, do we? So why then do we as authors in our struggle to be recognized as such, feel that we need to take all and every advice thrown our way in a desperate hope that it will help our luck. Yes, luck! For that’s what is in a write’s favor mostly, the luck of a good story, the luck of a good editor, the luck of having some financial support because let’s face it, every service out there charges an arm and a leg – proof reading, typing, editing, formatting etc.
Please take what I’m about to tell you as seriously as you can – and yes, it is a piece of advice from a stranger, but still. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TAKE EVEY ADVICE YOU GET ABOUT YOUR OWN WRITING!
I’m being serious. Your writing style and preference may differ from mine, and from another, and yet another writer, published or otherwise. Just like we are all genetically different and versatile in our looks etc., it’s the same for our writing and our passion, including what interests us. So how an advices dished out into the masses be expected to fit every member of a mass? It’s impossible. Learn to choose which advice best suits you and your writing and the aim you have in mind.
I was once advised by an editor that since the market is in high demand of ‘vampire’ stories, that perhaps I should cash in on the opportunity and write one myself. That advice didn’t care whether I was interested in that genre at all, nor accounted for the fact that the market was over saturated with that topic and slowly consumers were branching out.
Luckily for me, another prominent editor happily took my book on because she ‘welcomed’ something ‘fresh’ for a change – she was tired of the over done genre. I took her advice and am now almost able to see the finish line on my second novel.
People will take all the opportunity to give out advice till they are blue in the face. It may be good advice, it may not be. What matters more so is whether it suits you at all. Decipher these free gifts carefully and choose to keep the ones you find useful. The rest, let them free.