Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Best Advice Ever?

At a recent library visit, a young reader asked me the following question:

What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?

I love this question, but it’s sort of massive, when I think about it. I mean, the best advice ever? Wow. My first thought was that Don’t run into traffic was pretty decent advice once upon a time, when I was five-ish. Now, though, it sort of seems like pointing out the obvious.

Since my library visit was an author thing, I answered in terms of writing. I said that the best advice anyone ever gave me was to read as much as possible and to write just as much--all while being persistent about going after my dreams of having my writing published.

This is the best piece of writing advice I’ve received. Without a doubt. But on the way home from my library visit, I kept remembering other bits of wisdom thrown my way: My grandmother warning me to NOT get too involved with a certain guy (because, she thought, he had a weak handshake), my mother advising me about the pitfalls of blindly following a crowd, a sales lady pointing out that wearing yellow or orange of any shade would not be a good idea for me, other voices pointing out the benefits of staying away from certain drinks and junk

food. All great pieces of advice that rescued me at one point or another. Still, since writing is my love, I think I'll stick with my original answer as the best piece of advice ever. Being persistent about going after your dreams isn't such a bad idea, is it?

How about you? What is the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?


  1. I've gotten a lot of great advice, but the one writing advice that has stuck with me, was one that YA author Lauren Kate said to me when I asked her for her advice to aspiring writers: "Never give up, it only takes one person to say Yes."

  2. Great post, Cynthia! Along these same lines is the piece of advice I sometimes have to keep in mind - and that is "Believe in yourself."

  3. Believing for what I want to achieve has worked for me. In terms of my writing, a critique partner once told me that no matter what I was to put my work ahead of reading other people's writing. That advice has proven invaluable.

  4. Nutschell, I really like " only take one person to say yes." That really puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

    Thanks, Linda. "Believe in yourself" is great.

    J.L., putting your work first is something I often have to keep in mind when things get hectic. Great advice!

  5. The best advice ever:
    Don't give advice and don't take advice!

    Sorry, just trying to be humorous....

  6. And actually, that's not bad advice at all. : ) Thanks!

  7. Great story - kids always ask the best questions!

    I don't think it was directed at me personally, but I love Dory's advice to Just Keep Swimming! (from Finding Nemo :))

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  9. The piece of advice you posted is wonderful.

    The best advice I received was to work on plot since that can be a weakness of mine.

  10. Gosh, those fries look DELISH! :)

    My best piece of advice came from a writing mentor in her first writing class: "Write in the moment."

  11. I love these bits of advice!

    Jemi, "Just keep swimming" is always great advice, I say. Thanks for this! I love that movie.

    Ahh, Medeia, I hear you about plot. I can't get enough good advice on plotting.

    And Karen, writing in the moment is great, too. Oh, and I'm sending you some cyber fries. They do look yummy, don't they?

  12. This is sort of a stump-rific question to answer on the fly, isn't it? I think I would have answered very much the same--that if you want something, go out and get it. It aligns well with my personal belief system of not living with regrets! :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  13. Stump-rific--I love that, Angela. : ) Lucky for me I'd been asked the question before, so I was sort of prepared.

    And I'm totally with you about not living with regrets!