Advice – Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Day 1:  #atozchallenge


We love receiving good advice, especially from the experts. But, therein lies the rub.

Who are the experts? When we first step out into the web as either a writer or a blogger, we’re hungry for advice; I know I was. Cow Pasture Chronicles was my second blog. I began blogging after the death of my best friend as a way to deal with her loss. You can find that blog, mistakes and all at, Friendship of a Lifetime.  Those entries are full of grammatical errors, but they were heartfelt and served a purpose. Later, I decided to pursue my love of writing, and the Cow Pasture Chronicles was born.

At the time, I didn’t have a clue what the rules for blogging were (whether there were rules) or how to get started. With research and the support of my sister, Jean at Jean’s Writing, I’ve managed to get an okay grasp on what I’m doing (most of the time). But with millions of bloggers, how do you tell which advice to follow and which to toss?

Like everything else, with experience comes wisdom.  Here are my top five valuable and proven expert sites I go to for advice.

For Writers:
  1. Every Writer’s Resource 
  2. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University</a
  3. Jane Friedman
  4. Live, Write, Thrive by C.S. Lakin</a
  5. Writer’s Digest
For Bloggers:
  1. Top 100 Writing Blogs for Authors and Bloggers
  2. Copyblogger
  3. WordPress
  4. Blogging 101
  5. Jeff Goins

The more writers you connect with, find, and follow, the more we learn from each other. We develop lists of favorite blogs based on enjoyment and in many cases, for the author’s expertise. However, sometimes it pays to take a second look at the source.

Red Flags:
  1. When the “expert” seems more concerned with selling than connecting, take a second look. I don’t begrudge a blogger for wanting to earn money, however, spamming me with constant sells pitches or emails offering high-dollar courses, is a red flag.
  2. Bloggers who tout themselves as “experts.” No doubt, some have lots of expertise (see the lists above), but some are just good at marketing. Do your research and check out their experience, credentials, and accomplishments.
  3. What do other bloggers say about the advice they received?

My journey as a blogger and writer has given me the opportunity to meet many people. I’ve come to respect a number of them as experts and rely heavily on their advice. As writers, we’re all at different levels. I treasure the collaboration of others and love to receive feedback from the blogging and writing community. I merely caution you to do your homework. When looking for expert advice, be mindful and separate the wheat from the chaff.

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilagood, and Contently.

17 thoughts on “Advice – Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

  1. Hi Ms Sheila. I am glad that you wrote this article on expert advice.Thank you so much for your article on expert advice. Since I am just two posts old, I have wandered around in the blogosphere searching for some expert advice and comments. I started blogging because my thoughts just couldn’t let me live in peace. It’s like they desperately wanted to come out of my mind and wanted to land on some paper,media whatever and wanted to get heard. I do like to socialize a lot but I have always been a dreamer and a thinker and that makes me silently observe hidden emotions, read between the lines, hear the unheard. I always believe that simple situations potentially carry ocean of stories with them.

    So my blog “Outlook on our lives” is an attempt to give those thoughts a face. I have just written my second blog on simplicity- If you do find time I would love to hear your thoughts or any feedback on this article. Here’s the link-

    Meanwhile I am adding your blog to my Pocket app as my future reference point. 🙂 Thank you once again.


  2. I’m so glad you mentioned this. I didn’t get a chance to visit any blogs on Friday, I was traveling home from spring break with my kids. I meant to go back and read all of the letter A posts, but I just picked up with letter B. I know we didn’t write about the same topic, per se, but we touched on the same subject at heart. I wrote about it in my letter C. I love your red flags, which is kind of what I did in my post, I think I wrote something like “Things to look out for.” Two totally different topics, but at the center of it all is who can you trust? We have to learn that you don’t trust a writer/blogger just because they are a self proclaimed expert in their own field. I like how you’ve given us warning signs and red flags. You’re very astute and a good judge of character. I agree with all of your choices and I follow all your recommended choices. It’s frightening how many people hold themselves out as experts in any given field. There are so many people who search the Internet on a daily basis looking for help in every topic under the sun. The con artists will take their money. There’s no requirement that anyone on the Internet hold a special license or have any special qualifications so we depend on word of mouth and that’s why it’s so important for all of us to make sure that when you spot a scammer or a con artists you do what you can to report that person, but other than that I commend people like you for putting yourself out there and sharing your red flags for others to see and recognize.

    Thanks for suggesting your letter A to me. I’m really glad I didn’t miss it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Likewise. what I have found is that you not only have the cons but you have some bloggers who are calling themselves an expert and offering all kinds of courses for thousands of dollars. Yet, when you investigate – there is little to no actual accomplishments. We have to listen to our inner voice, our gut instinct, if something smells fishy, it usually is. Your post was spot on. Obviously, great minds think alike. 🙂


  3. Great list! I’m glad you included the red flags. It took me a while to sift through all the folks who are more interested in selling than actually helping out. In fact, I think I still need to unsubscribe from a few lists like that!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! Happy A to Z to you! 🙂

    Tui Snider
    @TuiSnider on Twitter, & sharing A to Z posts at:
    Tui Snider’s Upbeat, Offbeat & Overlooked
    #StoryDam (a friendly writing community)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your A post and look forward to the rest! You have started off with a great topic for those of us who are writers and/or bloggers. There is so much information out there and it isn’t all relevant or from a trustworthy source. There is a lot of bitterness that is spoken as truth, and everyone’s experiences are different.

    I too love reading the articles from Writer’s Digest, and had found Jane Friedman a couple years back as a great person to follow. Speaking of following, thank you for stopping by my blog, Ink & Stitches, and leaving a comment! I hope you’ll find a lot of posts throughout the month (and beyond) that interest you. I write about writing, illustration, crocheting amigurumi, and crafting, so there’s lots to learn and share.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Sheila, one thing I’ve been delighted and humbled to find from the last year or so of blogging is so many people who are willing to offer advice and experience. I’d like to include you and Jean in that list of generous people. thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great list! Couldn’t agree more about considering the source before drinking the water. We’ve supported each other, in finding our way through the tall cotton. Don’t think I could’ve made it this far without your support and encouragement. Good post reminder for newbies and veteran writers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your article because it has truth in it. As a writer and blogger, I had to find my own way, and I did that by reading some good blogs that were truthful and had high standards. I also follow Jane Friedman and had a chance to meet her at a Writer’s Festival in Italy. Writer’s Digest is also a great recommendation. I’ve participated in some of their workshops. I can also recommend Backspace Writer’s Website. It is excellent.
    Great start.
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia, thanks you so much for the validation of what I’ve experienced and I especially appreciate the other recommendations. I too am a big fan of Jane Friedman and Writer’s Digest. Am not familiar with Backspace Writing but will definetly check them out. So glad you stopped by the Cow Pasture to take part in the conversation.


Tell me your story.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.