"Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into, the mind" --Samuel Taylor Coleridge
I've been thinking about advice ever since my dad said he won't give it anymore. Which was months and months ago. Yesterday, I was thinking about my fabulous critique group. And now, I have another comparison for what advice is like.
Advice is also like a critique. As a writer, I welcome critiques. I expect them to be honest, thorough, helpful, and sprinkled with the goodness of praise. As a human, I don't necessarily welcome critiques (or opinions) - of character, flaws, weaknesses, problems, etc. that I may have. But advice? Advice is usually welcomed when asked for, just like a critique from your writing partners.
So...if someone asks for advice, don't hold back. Start with something positive. Give your opinion on what they specifically want. If they didn't value your opinion, they wouldn't be asking for your feedback. End with a second or third positive statement. In a critique group, we want, ask for, and expect advice in the form of a critique. If someone asks you for personal advice, then they trust your experiences and your judgment. Just like a critique, the author may or may not USE your advice, but listening to it is still helpful and effective.