The pervasive thinking that most people have when starting to develop new skills to achieve a big goal is to seek expert advice and implement exactly what experts have done to achieve expert results. The problem is that sometimes experts forget that their advice may not be relevant to a newbie. A newbie is better off with learning from someone who is just a few steps ahead of her rather than an expert.
This does not mean that the advice from the expert is irrelevant. No, it just means the advice is not relevant to the newbie at that point in time.
Here are two situations that you, a newbie author, may need to reconsider expert advice.
1. Experts are light-years ahead of newbies
Experts are way head of newbies in the learning curve. The reason why they are experts is that they are continuously learning. When some give advice, they might give advice relevant to the stage of development that they are in rather than the newbie’s stage.
For example, well-established authors sometimes tell new fiction writers to focus on the plot structure or develop their voice. They forget that newbies may not even know what is meant by voice. And, if someone is just starting out with no experience then maybe the first thing that they have to learn is how to generate ideas and how to produce words on a daily basis. A master of these fundamentals and who is interested in helping others would better be able to help a newbie than an expert.
Expert advice, if not pitched at the right level, may produce more frustration for a newbie who does not get the results that experts get. This emotional distress is likely to cause a newbie to reconsider his goal or maybe to abandon it altogether.
Instead of abandoning a goal, consider getting advice from people a few rungs lower on the ladder of expert. Having recently gone through a newbie’s problems not too long ago, they will be able to sympathize with the newbie’s situation. They are more likely to appreciate the frustrations of not getting results and provide advice on the fundamental skills that the newbie has to develop at that point in time.
2. Experts are more likely to think general rather than about an individual
One of the curses of being an expert is that experts tend to think about ideas, concepts and advice in the most general way. Their minds work a bit differently from newbies.
Newbies look at their goals and how to move from one step to another.
Experts on the other hand have developed a large knowledge bank and skills, have perfected these, and are looking to generalize their knowledge. That’s the main reason why their advice may not suit you.
Sometimes your newbie conditions will be different from that of the experts were thinking of. If you take their advice as is and implement, you most likely will not get the same results.
What you have to do is to either adapt their methods to your life’s situations or reject the methods.
For example, expert authors say that you have to write every day and write three or more pages or 1000 words per day. But, most expert authors are full-time authors. Newbie authors tend to write in their free time. Newbie authors would be better off by adapting this advice. If a newbie author could find 30 minutes to write then the newbie should adapt the advice to write 200 words.
The newbie has to start somewhere but that somewhere should not be at the middle or top rung of a ladder. The newbie has to start at the bottom rung, stay there for a while, and then step up the ladder. So for newbie authors, if you can start writing 200 words per day, do it consistently for a month, then you can set a new habit of writing 250 words per day.
But, a newbie author may not recognize that there are different levels to each skill. It takes someone who is a few steps or rungs ahead of the newbie to coach the newbie on the consistent practice of the fundamental skills, how to incrementally level up, how to adjust her mindset and emotions, and how to set up their environment for success.
Someone who is a few steps ahead of a newbie could help the newbie customize his learning and progression. People who are a few steps ahead could act as a coach to a newbie to help the newbie as an individual. An expert would not have the inclination to help the newbie and is not thinking at that level.
The way forward
If you are a newbie to any field, do listen to the advice of experts. You will need it someday. But if you want to build your skills and knowledge, look to someone a few steps ahead of you to help you get there. They will sympathize with you and help you to customize your learning.