Expert Advice: The Pro’s and the Con’s

If you haven’t discovered the TED Lecture series, I suggest you waste no time exploring their phenomenal videos about leading edge ideas, presented in TED sponsored programs.  I’ve embedded one of my favorites for your viewing pleasure. Noreena Hertz is an expert speaking on the dangers of becoming addicted to the advice of experts.

Her words appealed to me on just about every level, perhaps because I was raised in a family of die-hard do-it-yourselfers who lacked the resources of Google to solve every problem. We didn’t even go to the library. We just figured things out and did them! That’s a hard mental habit to shake.

Over the years I’ve come to have a healthy respect for those who know more than I do about any given topic, and I’m eager to benefit from their experience. But I’ve learned the hard way to listen to those skeptical whispers.

Those lessons are part of my Story. But the real tie-in for this video in this blog is an inferred message for writers in any genre. We can and should study the work of others. We’ll benefit from reading
books about the craft of writing and taking classes to get more guidance. We’ll benefit from participating in writing and critique groups, forums, and writing organizations. We may even benefit from hiring editors and coaches.

BUT, when all the books, classes, and feedback are finished, regardless of the source, we need to listen to that little voice within reminding us, “This is my story.  This is what I need to say, and this is how I need to say it.” When it comes to your life, your Truth, YOU are the expert!

Speaking of experts, I modestly proclaim that I’m developing more than average expertise on the topic of the health benefits of expressive writing. Earlier this week “Writing With Feeling Feels Good,” my
first post of a monthly series on this topic, debuted on the Women’s Memoirs site. The content is relevant to anyone, so you fellows are warmly invited to click over and take a look too. Don’t be deterred by the name. Matilda and Kendra assure me everyone is welcome.

Write now:
do some journaling or free writing and conduct a written dialogue with your Inner Critic. Explore the whispers you hear urging you to defer to expert opinion. You may want to make this a round table and include your Inner Cheerleader to remind you of your own wisdom, power, voice and skill. Write about following the experts in your writing life and life in general. You may want to expand some “expert stories” into story form to share with others.


Amber Lea Starfire said...

Sharon, excellent advice! We need to be learning, stretching, and growing continually in our craft. But when it comes to how we choose to express ourselves and what we choose to write about, we are our own best experts. I'm looking forward to reading your posts on

Sharon Lippincott said...

Amber, let's keep saying that. In my experience, it's a lesson we have to learn in layers, and reminders never hurt.

I look forward to your Women's Memoirs posts each week too.