It is late at night. As I often do just before bed I was reading whatever of my old blogposts had been accessed on the Internet in the last six hours. I don't trust that actual humans read these old posts of mine, but something somewhere does because there they are in my blog stats, in the "Now" traffic tab.
I read a five year old post called "Advice".
It concluded with this line:
Don't hand out advice unless you're prepared to have a couple of bites of the horrible stuff yourself.
I liked my quote so I wanted to put a kind of marker for myself to come back to later. I tracked down the post (now in the 'writer' part of my blog tools instead of the 'reader'), and I made my little fix. Then I noticed right before the post "Advice", was this post, "Writing advice to change your life!", the one you're reading right now.
It was written more than five years ago.
However this blog post was just a draft. It had never been published. I opened up the essay of "Writing advice to change your life!" and it had no text.
I thought "Well that's disappointing." How will I get any writing advice to change my life now?
So I figured I'd better finish writing this blog post now.
I recently watched a documentary about one of my favorite authors, Ursula K. LeGuin. In an author talk in the documentary she said, unlike the many writing advice books, she doesn't offer a lot of writing rules to share. She said you make your own rules for each thing you write, she said, but then she added emphatically:
You have to follow them.
What do I believe?
It turns out that I believe you shouldn't hand out advice unless you're prepared to have a couple of bites of the horrible stuff yourself.
But I only know this because once I wrote it down somewhere.