writing | writing tips and tools

Am I qualified to give writing advice?


A couple of weeks ago, my favourite writing podcast hosts Allison and Valerie of “So you want to be a writer”, were discussing impostor syndrome.

I’ve written about impostor syndrome as a writer before and it’s still something I grapple with now and then. However, the latest impostor syndrome that’s haunting me is this –

What makes me qualified to give writing advice?

Every time I post something about writing, that nasty little devil pops up on my shoulder taunting me with self-doubt. Questioning what, if anything, I have to offer when it comes to writing advice. “You’re not even published!!” he mocks. Still, I manage to press the publish button albeit feeling admonished as I do.

So, it was with great relief that Allison’s words came at the perfect time for me. She was specifically discussing author Vanessa Carnevale’s approach to building her profile before she had even scored a publishing deal. Vanessa did so by offering writing coaching, and mindfulness for writing workshops – because that’s what she knew.

The discussion continued and then something Allison said switched on a light-bulb for me:

“There will be something that you know more about than other people.”

And there it was. That’s it!

I’ve been on my writing path for a few years now, and I’ve learned truckloads. Along the way I have gained plenty of knowledge that would be helpful to those who aren’t as far down the track as I am.

I’m certainly not proclaiming that my knowledge is gospel, or even that what I’ve learned or experienced will be helpful to the masses. And I’m certainly not charging for my advice! But, if a few writers can take something away from what I’ve learned thus far, then for me it’s worth it. I mean, that’s a lot of how I’ve learned too – taking away snippets of advice and knowledge from other writers – that’s how we learn.

I’ve spoken before about how grateful I am for the Australian writing community. They are such a supportive bunch. Writers such as Allison Tait, Natasha Lester, and Vanessa Carnevale have been instrumental in inspiring me to continue to pursue what I love. And there are so many fellow aspiring and emerging authors on my social media feeds who are also amazingly supportive and inspiring of each other. One day, when I’m much further down the track, I’d love to combine writing novels with mentoring aspiring writers. To give to the industry as I have received. And maybe one day I will.

What I need to remember right now, is to give advice on what I know – that’s what I’m qualified to give. I’m not published, I haven’t done a master’s degree in writing or studied literature but that doesn’t mean I can’t share what I know so far. I’ve done my fair share of writing courses, I’ve finished three manuscript first drafts, two of which are in the latter stages of development, and I’ve done a tonne of reading, researching, and learning.

That’s what I can share.

As for that annoying little devil off my shoulder, I’m giving him the flick and will continue to share my knowledge, advice, and tips that I learn along my writing journey. Sharing what I know, as I know it.