Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Gentle Moratorium

I get a lot of advice. It's almost impossible to post anything without getting some sort of comment about how to do it better, how to change it, how to improve. These are certainly appreciated, but not necessary. My friend Jon has a saying, "Advice is never needed, Smart people don't need it and stupid people won't use it." And that's how I am starting to feel about it, as it is becoming overwhelming. I can no longer write or share anything without hearing a hundred ways the internet can do it better. I am certain it can. I'm just getting by with a smile.

So no more advice please! I may be too smart for it, or too stupid for it, but you can bet I won't use it either way.

39 Comments:

Blogger Robin Follette said...

...stupid people won't use it.

Exactly what I needed to hear; it fits a situation I'm in with someone I've realized is not quite stupid but far from smart. Thanks for sharing.

January 6, 2013 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Kevin and Beth said...

Yay for you, I like when you post about problems and then in the next post it's all figured out. You always figure it out, every time. I am so looking forward to the spring and your garden and canning adventures. I have a huge garden and can everything, including chicken and venison. Can't wait to see yours!

January 6, 2013 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger farmhousewife said...

Sigh.

Usually the best lessons learned are those we are allowed to learn ourselves!

(That is not advice....just an observation.)

January 6, 2013 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

I understand where you're coming from, but I will say that at age 62 most of my knowledge was learned from the experience of others. And yes, their advice. Some of the best advice I got years ago still rings in my ears on a daily basis and I'm just grateful I was smart enough to take it.

I decided early on I could go through life making the same mistakes as those before me, or I could listen to advice and hopefully be smart enough to sort the good from the bad.

I figure I'll keep on learning, from advice, until the day I die.
Because I'll never know it all.
JMHO :-)

January 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger WarPony said...

I'm such a smarty pants that I am fighting the temptation to make up some advice on making people stop giving you advice in an attempt to be funny. But I won't. :-)

I've occasionally felt the same way, especially when posting about something that is under control but I just want to talk about it. I feel obligated to respond to why I am not going to try something, or to explain that I already did that and the results weren't what I wanted.... and then I get crabby about it.

There are times when I want advice, and at those times.... I ask for it... from people I already know have the experience and knowledge to give me advice that will work. Not that I don't appreciate the thought but sometimes you don't need something to be fixed for you, you just need to talk about it.

January 6, 2013 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I should explain better. I am not against wisdom or sage words. I certainly know very little and have very much to learn. But there is one of me and (as of last count) 249,000 of you reading. You may be at your laptop in the privacy of your own living room, sipping tea, and reading my journal and it seems intimate and candid. It is. I am ridiculously transparent and open on this thing. But you (any of you) are one of 249,000 people who share that feeling. So instead of getting a few sage words, I get blasted with corrections, hints, better methods, opinions, photographs, links, suggestions and so on. It is overwhelming. And not because advice is bad or I don't think I need it, there is simply too much of it for one person to handle.

It can also be very disheartening, as I explained on facebook. When you work all day on a project, with very little money to put into the project, and you are as proud as you are exhausted and you post a photo of your work, fence, animal, barn wall - whatever - and get slammed with 78 ways you should have done it instead your pride dies into uncertainty and fear, worried you messed up, and you look at your accomplishment as a failure. Not because it is, but because 34 people told you it was. I am gently asking to drop the advice for these reasons.

January 6, 2013 at 10:05 AM  
Blogger Amy Lester said...

Jenna, great post! I think that's why people enjoy your blog so much, is because we're along with you on your 'journey' of learning. If you did everything the textbook way, it wouldn't be very interesting, now, would it? Keep up the great work, YOUR WAY! I think you're amazing!
P.S. the worst advice is free advice.

January 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger ladyfarrier said...

I think your feelings are sound, Jenna. But I will also say that nearly every day I learn some piece of knowledge that has me thinking "gee, I would never have thought of that".

The internet can be problematic. It's so huge and populated by such diverse people. But the repetitive posters I read have made it pretty easy for me to filter out which ones to even read, let alone consider their "advice", and the ones I seek out because they know their stuff.

And I would ask you.....do you not consider your books to be "advice"?
When I was getting into chickens, I knew nothing about how to care for them properly. I sought advice from the internet, and books, including yours. Did that make me smart, or stupid? I took your advice to heart and it has been helpful, and I thank you for letting me learn from your experience.

Advice can be good, or bad. I think the key is to be able to sort which it is, rather than to shut yourself off from it. Sometimes even the tiniest tidbit of good advice can make a major impact on the ease of your life, the health of your animals, or the state of your bank balance.

How you perceive advice (as helpful, or critical) is up to you. Don't let it overwhelm you--take what makes sense, and make it yours!!:-)

January 6, 2013 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Good for you Jenna I think you are very brave bearing your soul to the world. I love your blog!

January 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Stephanie ML said...

AMEN.
Side note: I use your experiences as ADVICE for my mind ;)

January 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Bitha said...

Jenna I think you are fabulous! and in some ways someone I aspire to be like. I think your open raw style of writing is what makes your blog amazing. I think people in cyberland need to take the old business saying of: Praise in public, criticise in private to heart! And by private I mean being able to say it face to face kinda private.

January 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger melody_cir said...

Like.

January 6, 2013 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Ruth Dixon said...

I learned a long time ago, I don't give advice unless I am asked for it. And then I begin with "This is the way I do it..." to make sure they understand my way is just that, not a "for sure" thing. I can't believe people think that they can tell you a "better" way, especially if they don't know you personally. Hang in there.

January 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger bellananda said...

hahahaha

*like!* :D

January 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Tom McMillan said...

I point out the biggest manure pile we have and tell the advisor that the suggestion box is underneath that pile. Feel free to submit suggestions there.

The annoying part is when you are living in the middle of a problem, weigh all your options, and go forward with your best solution. Then someone comes along after the fact and tells you what you SHOULD have done.

Well informed advice offered at the appropriate time is always welcome.

January 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger KiwiGirl said...

Seriously? Wow, I really respect advice from all quarters, unsolicited or otherwise - particularly from people who have "been there, done that" many more times than I. You get loads of advice via your blog? Well, as ladyfarrier points out, just sift through it and "cherry pick" what you like. You never know, some of it could well be rather useful.

January 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Woman Seeking Center said...

249,000 to 1 is impressive and easily overwhelming even within the bounds of desired or enjoyed responses!

A casual observation (not advice, I promise!) is the possibility that some of the input you mention (while undesired)is born of the desire of the writer to interact. To be a part of your journey. To 'share in return'. To be a member of your 'village'.

It comes to mind because so often I read your words and find inspiration, strength, humor, bravery, useful how-to information. I take something of great practical or heart-value away when I close the CAF browser at the end of each reading. So I want to offer something (anything) to you in return. I've nothing to give most times save my own experiences - which could easily sound like unwanted advice. Tho in truth my hope was to give something in return for what you've gifted me thru your words, your sharing.

Granted I can't know if the advisors you mention write in comments or emails. I don't know if their tones are rude*/harsh*/uppity*. *Any of which would earn them a permanant delete/block in my blog/cyber world.

So - no advice, not being contrary to your desire which I do and will deeply respect. Only wanting to say that for me anyway, what could have sounded like advice was born of wanting to give back a bit. Reciprocation being the earmark of a good person/friend/community/village IRL or the cloud).

Issy

January 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Dee Anne said...

There is an enormous difference between advice from the folks on internet and advice from people who are an intimate part of my life and whose wisdom I seek. I assume that Jenna is rightfully trying to avoid the former while still being open to the latter. Advice that is sought is welcome; unsolicited advice is at best annoying and at worst debilitating.

Jenna, thank you for opening a window into your life. I always assume that there is much more going on with you than you share, and that you have wonderful people surrounding you who can speak into your life should you seek them out!

January 6, 2013 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Lorie Hyten, adult services said...

good for you!

January 6, 2013 at 2:42 PM  
OpenID acaseofgrace said...

I agree. And it's kind of funny, just moments before reading your post I was telling my husband that I wish my family wouldn't offer so much advice on, well everything really! But I must say, that to me, your blog and books (which I LOVE)are full of great advice and inspiration. I look forward to all of your posts! So I guess it's all in the way advice is offered. So a big thank you and keep up the good work. Your doing an awesome job!!!!

January 6, 2013 at 4:05 PM  
OpenID acaseofgrace said...

I agree! It's funny, just minutes before reading your post, I was telling my husband that I wish my family wouldn't offer so much advice on, well everything really!But I must say, your blog and books (which I LOVE) are loaded with advice and inspiration. So, I guess its all how the advice is offered. So a BIG thank you and keep up the good work. You are doing an awesome job!!! Tai

January 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Jimmie said...

Hi Jenna,

Okay, no advice from me if no advice from you. Deal? Must be awful to have so many people picking apart everything you say or do.

Diane in North Carolina

January 6, 2013 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh i can so relate. Not because i have a farm, but because i get so. much. unsolicited advice. But i ignore it to keep my sanity. I think that really, though, people.. the nice ones anyway.. just want to be helpful. Except for my mother in law. She's never helpful, lol. And she gives more 'advice' than anyone. Like i said.. in one ear.. out the other..

January 6, 2013 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Dee hit the nail on the head.

January 6, 2013 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

As I wrote, I appreciate it. I understand the kindness and the offer. It is simply overwhelming. I do not mean this in any negative way. I am just asking for some restraint.

January 6, 2013 at 7:27 PM  
OpenID acaseofgrace said...

See, I appreciate your "advice" so much I had to post it twice!!!! Major airhead moment on my part. Sorry!

January 6, 2013 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I beleive that's the trade off for blogging and offering up yourself and your farm for workshops. You put yourself out there so people will always try to fix you or make something better for you. Price you pay, my opinion.

January 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Lisa, and others, I understand. That is why I said it was appreciated. This is the best way I can try to explain this side of the situation.

If you, if anyone, gives me a piece of advice it is like handing me a flower. It is an act of kindness, of gracious thanks, of just showing you care. It is appreciated. It comes from a wonderful place.

If I drove a dump truck of flowers into your house given by many caring people and filled your living room with them, what are you supposed to do? After all it's just a lot of different people being kind, it is a blessing. But it is also a room full of rotting flowers. You can use a handful, but that handful in a vase is lost to the volume. It goes from being a kind gesture to a burden.

I did not post this because I think I know everything, or don't think comments of advice come from a good place. I posted it because too much of a good thing is still too much. So I asked for a moratorium, a break. I'm getting by a day at a time with other things going on in my life and this is a kindness I ask for to release some of the stress I have.

It is hard to enjoy flowers when your living room has become a compost pile.

January 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

A few years ago I started finding the internet itself overwhelming. I slowly stepped back from it and now I am on this thing maybe an hour a week? it used be several hours a day.

I too felt bombarded, by reading blogs and forums and by comments on my blog. I stopped reading so many blogs. I stopped reading all bar one forum and that one I just dip in and out of now. And I moved my blog to a private view only.
This took a huge deal of thinking because if I was very honest, for me, blogging was tangled up with ego. What if the invited readers stopped reading? How would I feel not being pulled up on a search engine? Why was I writing?

Once I chewed over that I wrote for myself, as a record of my days, then it was an easier decision and now the comments I get are from people I 'know'

My blog never got as big as yours but I know for me the whole thing did get overwhelming. Its impossible to read every email and every comment.

How would it make you feel if you went say 6 months with no comment facility on here?It might be worth a try? It may give you some needed 'breathing' space? x And if some folks take time to email then you would have a bit more time to read those and digest them, otherwise its becoming situation overload which for me doesnt sit in with the sort of life I want to lead.
Feeling overwhelmed is horrible in whatever form it comes in. x

Writing is a bit like standing up in a room and speaking,reading it out. If the room is empty you can read it out to your hearts content, if there are two people in there you can easily take on board what those two say. But if there is twenty people it would be harder to do that, if there were two hundred t would be futile to try, two thousand, well its easy to see how it gets to feel too much.

Every word we put out on the internet is 'out there' to millions.
Something does get lost, there is a price to pay, a trade off as such. But its up to us to find a workable way to deal with that x x x

January 7, 2013 at 2:51 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

With your last entry, about truck full of flowers I get it. I, as probably many, reach out as a blog friend offering support and encouragement...not realizing that you could get 50-250-1000 sources of support/advice. And that can be overwhelming.

January 7, 2013 at 3:43 AM  
Blogger Emilie said...

I've been wanting to post on here for a while now, and just haven't gotten around to it. This seems like the right time and the right story to leave it on. I just wanted to tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to me since I found your blog. Right now I live on a postage stamp in the middle of a town. While parts of it are nice, I miss open fields. I have a small garden now with plans to add fruit trees and berry bushes in the spring. Trying to convince my family that we could do some chickens in the back yard. Anyway, what Im trying to say is I love what your doing. The way you struck out on your own to live your dream. Don't listen to the negative people, your doing a wonderful job. Your the first thing I look at when I get to work in the morning. It seems to help me get through my day. Keep up the good work.

January 7, 2013 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Emilie said...

I've been wanting to post on here for a while now, and just haven't gotten around to it. This seems like the right time and the right story to leave it on. I just wanted to tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to me since I found your blog. Right now I live on a postage stamp in the middle of a town. While parts of it are nice, I miss open fields. I have a small garden now with plans to add fruit trees and berry bushes in the spring. Trying to convince my family that we could do some chickens in the back yard. Anyway, what Im trying to say is I love what your doing. The way you struck out on your own to live your dream. Don't listen to the negative people, your doing a wonderful job. Your the first thing I look at when I get to work in the morning. It seems to help me get through my day. Keep up the good work.

January 7, 2013 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger J.D. Collins said...

Yup, I agree with your call for restraint. However, I still get a lot of great advice from your readership. It has saved me money.

So, how bout if they slug their advice comment with a warning, so that way, maybe, the rest of us can share wisdom in the spirit of community?

Just askin'

January 7, 2013 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I'm no expert on writing, but I think the blog has gone from a public journal to a "help me figure this out" (at least that's how I perceived it when I started commenting and offering advice) and now full circle back to a public journal. I haven't done either since I realized many months ago I was only adding to the noise level.

You have landed in what sounds like a perfect community for your endeavors and have surrounded yourself with many capable people should you need anything. Mum's the word on my end.

I am curious if the milking stand turned out to be useful or not.

January 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

CJ, your stand is amazing! I use it every single time I milk and will be depending on it come march!

January 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think folks (based on comments and emails I got) think asking for a break from advice is the same as telling them their advice wasn't appreciated or valid. I can not stress enough that that is not the reason I asked for it to stop. It is just too much of a good thing, overwhelming.

And all I can do is ask. If you want to leave a comment of advice, do so. I won't delete it or remove it. Like others said they appreciate hearing and reading it.

January 7, 2013 at 2:07 PM  
OpenID whitesheepredbarnbrowncoat said...

I think, at least in my life, is often people are so eager to help that they forget to say things like "good job!" or "that's pretty" or "congratulations" before jumping in with the words of wisdom. They mean well, they almost always mean well, but when you're showing off your hard work and others just seem to want to get in their own opinion instead of appreciate what they're being shown, it can come off like... like being cut off mid sentence in a conversation. Rather the way it feels to tell somebody you bought a house or got engaged, and all they seem to want to talk about is what their wedding was like, or how they fixed their new place up before you even stop talking.

At least that's how it can feel for me.

January 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM  
OpenID whitesheepredbarnbrowncoat said...

I think, at least in my life, is often people are so eager to help that they forget to say things like "good job!" or "that's pretty" or "congratulations" before jumping in with the words of wisdom. They mean well, they almost always mean well, but when you're showing off your hard work and others just seem to want to get in their own opinion instead of appreciate what they're being shown, it can come off like... like being cut off mid sentence in a conversation. Rather the way it feels to tell somebody you bought a house or got engaged, and all they seem to want to talk about is what their wedding was like, or how they fixed their new place up before you even stop talking.

At least that's how it can feel for me.

January 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

I really like your flowers + dump truck analogy. Creates a good mental image to explain your point.

January 10, 2013 at 12:58 AM  

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