Wednesday 17 October 2018

Dealing with advice

By Melissa Gijsbers @MissieK

I can remember when I was newly pregnant with my older son. Almost as soon as we started telling people, the advice started to come. Advice on everything from what to eat while pregnant to breastfeeding, to tips on how to handle a teenager! The advice would come from everyone, including people who had never had children.

One piece of advice that has always stayed with me came from my godmother. She said "Listen politely, smile, nod, and say thank you, then go and do whatever works for you." This is something that has stayed with me over the past 17 years.

I found something similar happening when I started writing. Everyone would give me advice on the 'right' way to write a book, especially when they had never tried to write one themselves! There is also a huge number of blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, books, conferences, workshops, and more that give us advice. Many of these are from fellow writers sharing their expertise and what has worked for them.

When I was starting out, I would follow every suggestion and idea, even if they were contradictory. I soon got myself into a mess and wondered if I should have even started writing! Then, I remembered the advice from my godmother.

I now look at the advice - whether in the form of a book, workshop, blog post, or whatever - and then continue to do things the way I know works. I will often pick up some useful information that will help my writing and my writing process become even better. I no longer try to do things that I know just don't work for me.

Along with my godmother's advice, I have one more piece of advice for you - there is no right or wrong way to write a book. Just do what works for you.

Melissa Gijsbers is an author located in Gippsland, Victoria, and has two teenage boys. She currently has three middle grade books published.
You can find out more about her and her books at


  1. Thanks Melissa - great advice! I keep getting myself in a mess trying to follow all the advice and it takes away the joy of writing, and as you say, it can be contradictory. Your post was very timely for me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jenny, I'm so glad this post was timely. It's something I've been reflecting on as I unpack my writing books in our new home. So many have conflicting information!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.