Free advice often gets a bad rap, and there’s usually a good reason for it. The whole get-what-you-pay-for thing. But I’ve found that there are actually two kinds of free advice out there.
Okay, that’s not true, there are actual several different kinds of free advice, but I’m just going to go with the whole “There are two kinds of …” thing because reasons.
The first kind is the also the most common: the personal opinion disguised as advice. It’s the anonymous internet comment person who says your video would be funnier if it had more cats. The guy who’s been sitting on the couch for the last five hours shouting that the defense needs to “GET MORE PHYSICAL!!!”. The helpful emailer who points out how much better your book would have been if only you’d had car chases instead of character growth.
In other words, it’s noise from people who don’t actually have any expertise in whatever field it is that they’re commenting on. And usually they’re not even dispensing their sage advice to you for your own good. They’re doing it for their own good. It makes them feel better.
There is another kind of free advice, though. It may be rare, but it is precious. It’s the kind you can find from the grizzled vets who’ve Been There. The men and women who’ve actually gone out there and Done It, who’ve suffered the cuts and the slights, who’ve sweated the sweats and bled the bloods and who once in a while, out of the goodness of their own hearts, take a moment to remember what it was like when they were first getting started.
And if you’re fortunate, you might remind them of their younger selves, and they might just pull you aside and drop you a choice nugget of wisdom. It might not even make sense to you at the time, not until you hit the situation they warn you is on the way. But if you sit up and pay attention, you just might find that you don’t have to hit all the same roadblocks that everyone else does, or that when you do, you don’t panic and give up like so many that have fallen before you.
(I won’t comment on which variety you’re likely to find around here of course.)