Is too much (writing) advice a bad thing?


Is too much writing advice a bad thing? My current answer: yes. And I think this is true for many things. Eventually too much advice becomes, well, too much.

The last few months I’ve been actively soaking up advice from innumerable sources (blogs, articles, social media, books, people in real life *gasp!*) both about writing in general and writing picture books specifically.

Here’s what I’ve found. Some of the advice has been super helpful, insightful and inspiring. For instance, some of the quotes and articles I’ve found through @AdviceToWriters, Stephen King’s excellent book On Writing, and (especially) feedback from my awesome critique group. On the other hand, some of the advice I’ve found seems misguided and conflicts with other things I’ve heard/read…which is frustrating.

I think the most prevalent advice I’ve found is that if you want to write, WRITE. And I think this can be applied to anything. If you want to paint, PAINT! Stop merely thinking about it, worrying that what you’re doing is not good enough, distracting yourself, etc. and hone your craft. You’d think this sage advice would be obvious, but these universal hurdles are clearly thwarting people on a daily basis. (I can personally attest to this!)

So I’m not saying we should shut ourselves off from advice or not be open to advice. There are bound to be golden nuggets, especially from the right sources. And it’s up to each individual to find those sources and filter advice into two categories: useful and not useful. But I think too much advice can bog a person down from their actual task, project or goal at hand.

What do you think? Can too much advice (writing or otherwise) be a bad thing?