Over at the Pub(lishing) Crawl blog, which I HIGHLY recommend, there was a recent article written by Julie Eshbaugh that had to do with managing all the writing advice that's available on the internet. Yes, holy cow, there's a ton. And that's exactly what Julie was saying, along with her thoughts on getting and following suggestions and opinions of other writers.
As not just a writer, but a newbie writer, here's my two or three cents from that perspective.
I found it as a surprise that the thought of not getting writing tips from a writer was even mentioned. My first thought was, "Wow, so someone who wants to be a writer is chatting it up with plumbers and financial advisers? That's odd." The analogy I used in my comment to Julie's post about a chiropractor at a proctologist convention nailed it. I thought so at least. That aspect just seems so obvious, I won't waste your reading time on it.
Hi, I want to learn how best prepare and cook fresh lobster. I'm meeting with a chef born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming tomorrow. WTF!?
Okay, ending that rant.
My fellow writing-newbs... holy shit, there's so much advice out there for us! It's amazing and overwhelming at the same time! Between getting this new path of mine started and still holding the full-time job to pay the bills (which to remind you, has nothing to do with writing), it will take me a whole week to get through all the info I find regularly. And even then, I've found 6 more blog posts that each have their own recommendations after that for the next week. It's the Neverending Story Part IV, and Falcore's luck with finding all these tidbits is getting ridiculous. I feel like I know so much but have actually written so little. Oh wait, that's because it's true!
One thing I have stuck with (oh no, more advice!) is researching in order. There are posts about world-building, character sheets, finding an agent, finding a publisher, ways to plan a novel, ways to plan flash fiction, how to market your novel, designing a cover, software, pens, notebooks, it's insane. In my case, I am wanting to prepare for NaNoWirMo this year. I know I want to plan my novel out and not "pants" through it because I know from previous experience, I suck at it. If I see a blog post in my feeds about how to write a query for the novel I haven't even frickin' written yet, I'm not going to read it. Sure, I'll flag it to read another day, because I love the information I get from that blogger, but I'm not going to read it when I'm still defining my novel planning approach.
Once I've survived NaNo, because I'm going to, I will focus on the articles I've found about revising and first drafts and that shit storm. Then I'll work on the confidence to get critiques. Then I'll do whatever a suggested next step with my novel would be.
This way works for me between the ADHD and the OCD, so it nails my productivity right on the head.
So long story short, never fear, my fellow writing beginners. There is an endless supply of knowledge out there. The best way to sort through it is trial and error. I've felt I've wasted time stalking some blogs after discovering it's nothing but word count updates and no substance, or forums that haven't had a discussion in the past two months. We'll all find our little nook and cranny that we'll fit into like the Missing Piece and the Big O.