Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth

My favorite game to play at wedding showers is the one where you give the new bride the best (or worst) love advice you have ever received. I win at this game, if people are looking for the worst, because of what my uncle told me: follow your dreams now because you won’t be able to do it once your married.

Yes, he really said that. Yes, he was in front of his wife and kids when he said it. No, I’m unaware of what dreams he left behind. If anything, he’s a role model for me of following your dreams. He and his wife are successful artists and business people. He wrote a children’s book that his wife illustrated, and he is currently in a project taking some of her pieces through the years and writing stories and songs to go with them. Oh yeah, he’s also in a band.

The best advice I received is the best only if you’re a cynic, which I am. In high school, when my guidance counselor saw which universities I was applying to, she told me to move to Wyoming. The theory being, I think, that schools want diversity. I used this advice, in a way, when applying to law schools. I didn’t move to Wyoming, but I applied to schools all over the country. I found I was more likely to get into better schools further way than I was to lower-ranked schools nearby.

Right now I’m getting my book back from some beta readers. I can’t overstate how grateful I am that these strangers took the time to read for me and let me know what they thought. Sometimes the advice is helpful in an unintended way. For example: a reader will suggest a word change that will make no sense, but it will let me know that there was an error in my clarity. Other times the advice is completely ridiculous and seemingly unrelated to what they read. But most often, the advice is helpful, and I’ll use it to make a better book.

What is the best (or worst) advice you have ever received? How about the best (or worst) advice you have ever given? Do you like giving advice? How do you take advice that you receive?


About emmawolf

I'm a freelance writer living in Baltimore with my husband, son, and two cats. I'm working on editing my first novel. I love reading, traveling, and the cello.
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