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Dear Abby

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.

When we give advice, it’s because we care about the recipient. When we ask for advice, we seek knowledge from peers and mentors that we respect. When we receive it, well, there’s no guarantee that it’s good or welcome. We all have expertise to share, and our blogs act as an ideal forum for dishing out our hard-earned knowledge. 

We may be about to embark on a new adventure in our careers, and turn to a respected colleague for tips along the way. Or a sibling may be going through their first heartbreak, and come to us for encouragement. Or, of course, we may be targets of the classic unsolicited advice, in which our inner bliss is interrupted by random bits of how we could do XYZ better. Nevertheless, as community members and writers, as family members and friends, the giving and getting of advice is part and parcel of our lives.

Questions and Answers

According to the New Yorker, the first advice column dates back all the way to 1691. For more than 300 years, people have been writing to relative strangers to get impartial feedback on the trials and tribulations of their daily lives.

Fast forward to today, and the Internet gives us one of the most vast and varied audiences for budding advice columnists. Dear Sugar, included in the New Yorker article linked above, is just one of many. With the swoosh of a sent email, we can anonymously ask virtual experts about any question that pops into our mind.

For this week’s writing challenge, channel your inner Abigail Von Buren. Experiment with the question and answer format. Taking inspiration from a question you’ve been asked recently, whether in conversation with a friend or sent in from a reader, don your best counselor hat and share your expertise.

Not up for kickstarting your career as an advice columnist? We’ve got a few more ways to help get you involved with this week’s focus on advice.

  • What’s the best, or worst, piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
  • You’re the most important writer in the world, and everyone will be tuning in to your blog to listen to the one bit of knowledge you most want to share. What is it?
  • Do you live by the advice you give? Sure, it’s easy to dish out opinions, but are you a pillar of your own beliefs?

We can’t wait to see what nuggets of wisdom you have to share with us this week!

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    1. I agree with that, too. I think especially as you get older there is an inherent desire to want to try to help people not make the same mistakes you’ve made in your own life. How to do that without seeming intrusive or a know-it-all, that is the trick.

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  1. I don’t give advice. I learned a long time ago that I can screw up my own life well enough without someone helping me and I apply that to others.

    What I do is what I do with my niece. It’s what do you really want and can you live with the results with a touch of ‘how can you find the resources to do what you want’ . I will point out resources such as “Have you called X yet to see what they can offer you?” as in “Have you called the Adult Education Center to see if they offer classes in that?”

    I do not give advice.

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    1. Excellent approach, Phil. I’ve run into headwinds with giving advice, particularly with family members, so now I bite my tongue. Follow your gut feeling, remember you have to live with the results seems a very good approach.
      Plan to implement your advice before Holiday season kicks in–always the most difficult of the entire year.
      Thanks for posting.

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      1. Just be sure to stress that “What you think you might get from what you do may not be what you get. Can you live with it if another result happens?” Example: You want a friend to stop bringing his girlfriend who acts inappropriately to your parties. So you are going to talk to him and explain she is not welcome. Can you live with him saying “Then I’m not your friend any more.”

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  2. Advise has to be backed by experience but not of what we believe..
    We believe a lot of things but everything should not be perfect….
    We do get lot of advises but not the one who listen and take a best of it….

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74 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More