The Self-Help Guide to Self-Help Gurus

Sep 8, 2016Inspiration, Reviews, Writing

Learning the ropes as an author and independent publisher involves gleaning information from all kinds of sources.

Inevitably you are drawn into what the internet has to offer. There are thousands of experts and gurus out there who are more than willing to share their knowledge.

Most of the information provided is free, but that doesn’t mean it comes without a cost.

“Do yourself a favour.”

That’s what they all say.

“You need this.”

“I have the answer to your question.”

That is the carrot. Often it is not a question you have thought of asking. But once posed it becomes a necessity to find the answer.

Unfortunately, the answer is not for free.

Before you know it, you have been led down a long path which you never intended to travel. You have wasted your time and begin yearning for something to make it all worthwhile.

You suddenly need another answer: the reason for all the squandered time.

Biding your time.

I have been working at creating books for over four years.

A good deal of my time has been spent learning the in’s and out’s of the publishing industry. The amount of time actually spent on writing and the amount spent trying to find out how to reach readers has not been an even split. Moreover, it has been far from it.

I wouldn’t be underestimating that it probably weighs in at somewhere around the 90/10 equation.

The actual pen to paper part is certainly not the ninety percent. If it had been, then I would have written the equivalent of War and Peace by now.

It’s very disappointing to realise how much time I’ve wasted.


The gurus endeavour to suck you in.

Their trick is proposing that they are an authority on something.

They convince you that they are the sole expert. That is never the case.

Every person has an individual way of doing something. It has taken them many years of building up knowledge to find out what works for them. The gurus want to share this. That is fine.

It would be if that were the end of it.

However, it is never truly sharing. It can’t be. Their knowledge is what they want to sell. They want you to believe that their expertise will further your development. They want you to believe that they have all the answers.

They don’t.

There are no shortcuts.

The difficult truth is you have to learn it the hard way yourself.

In a round-about way this was something I learnt from a guru last night.

I saw through his technique. I saw that he was being helped by another so-called guru. I saw that they were leveraging their combined authority to sell something.

Their supposed authority amounted to diddley-squat.


noun  did·dly–squat  \-ˌskwät\


  1. :  the least amount :  anything at all <didn’t know diddly–squat about sports — Samuel Toperoff>

    probably alteration of doodly-squat
    First Known Use: 1963

Preying on insecurities.

They did know things and they were experts in their field.

They were passionate about what they were doing. But they weren’t doing it for free.

They gave just enough away to suck you in. They gave you the breadcrumbs to make you believe that you needed the whole loaf. They were preying on peoples insecurities – unfortunately writers are born insecure.

Basically, that’s what it boils down to – insecurity – and perhaps a bit of procrastination.

And probably that’s what bothers me the most.


It wasn’t a total loss of my precious time. It did end with many positives.

I came to realise where I was in my own development.

I am at school. I am learning. I am a long way from graduation. There is no right or wrong way. I just have to find my own way of doing things. And most of all, trust that eventually I will find it.

It involves practise and exercise and doggedly keeping at it.

Just like me, If you do that for long enough you will get somewhere. People will hear your voice. You will also become an authority in something, whatever that means.

What you do with it is up to you. You do need other people to help you along the way. But remember, you have to choose who you wish to get advice from.

You don’t need all that’s on offer, only what is relevant to what you are doing.

Self-help is just that, you help yourself. Why should you read a book about someone else’s experience? They are helping themselves, not you.

Don’t be misled. Don’t squander your time.

Do yourself a favour. Be picky and find what works for you.

You are your own self-help guru.


Are you struggling to unleash your creativity?


Leave a comment below or, or better yet, join the mailing list and let me know.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This