How can I send you a letter?
Email me at email@example.com.
Do you answer every letter you receive?
No, but I do answer many of them. Sometimes it can take me a month or longer to reply to a letter. Sometimes I don’t reply at all. That’s usually due to a lack of time, but the truth is I simply don’t have an answer to every question I’m asked. If you send me a letter and don’t receive a response, please don’t take it personally. If it’s been longer than a month since you’ve written to me and you haven’t received a response, feel free to follow-up, but I’d also recommend you turn to a friend, family member or a therapist for help with your issue. Seriously, therapy is awesome. If you think you can’t afford it, research sliding-scale therapists, community counseling centers (they often serve low-income individuals), and university psych departments in your area. In addition, 12-step programs are a wonderful way to get cost-effective group therapy in a supportive environment.
Do you edit letters?
Yes. I often edit letters for both brevity and clarity, but I always keep the gist of the question and the scenario unaltered.
Can you answer my letter privately without publishing it?
Due to an overwhelming number of letters I receive each week, I will no longer respond to any that have specifically requested private answers. Sorry.
If I send you a letter, you won’t publish my real name, will you?
Absolutely not. Names in letters are changed to protect people’s privacy, and each letter writer is given a sign-off pseudonym. You can create your own sign-off pseudonym, or I’ll make one up for you.
Do you answer sex-related questions?
I stay away from most sex-related questions, but I’m a big fan of Dan Savage’s column, Savage Love, and would recommend you direct such questions to him or any of the other wonderful sex advice columnists out there.
What makes you think you’re more qualified to give advice than any other joker with an opinion?
I don’t think I’m more qualified, but I do think I’m good at it. Advice is subjective though, which is why I have an active comment section for readers to challenge me and each other and hopefully provide a range or perspectives not only for the letter writer, but for others with similar questions and concerns.
What’s your commenting policy?
This website thrives on the participation of its readers, so commenting is not only permitted but actively encouraged. Currently, first-time commenters must be approved, but every comment thereafter will be published immediately. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me or my advice and I don’t expect you to agree with each other, but I do expect this to be a respectful community where people feel safe to voice their opinions without fear of being mocked or attacked. I will delete comments at my own discretion that aren’t conducive to a productive discussion. Comments that are aggressively rude and hateful will be deleted. Comments that divulge personal information will be deleted. Comments that are way off topic will be deleted. SPAM will be deleted.
What does MOA mean? How about LW?
MOA is an acronym that stands for “move on already!” LW is an acronym that stands for “letter writer” and is most frequently used in the comment section when referring to, you guessed it, the writer of the letter in question.
I want to be an advice columnist, too. How did you get your start and what do you think I should major in in college?
I started writing an advice column on my personal blog, City Wendy, back in 2006. At the time, I had roughly 750 or so readers, so I posted a call for letters and got a handful in response. Then, twice a month, I’d write a column answering some of the questions I received in the weeks since my previous column. In 2008, I began writing for The Frisky. I pitched my advice column several times before debuting it in August of 2009. Soon, it was featured regularly on the living section of CNN.com, as well as on other publications and radio programs. In January of 2011, DearWendy.com was launched.
If you think you might like to write a column, my advice is to just do it. This is the age of self-publication, so fire up a blog or launch your own site and go for it. “Columnist” isn’t a position you’re likely to see a classified ad for, but if you get a staff position at a website or publication, you’ll have better luck pitching your column idea if you’ve already been self-publishing for a while and have a built-in audience. Of course, you don’t have to have a staff position to become a featured columnist. Simply pitch your column to publications you like (have four to six sample columns ready to send with your pitch letter). In addition, Penelope Trunk has a wonderful article on how to become a syndicated columnist that I highly recommend you check out.
As for what you should major in in college, you should probably stick with something that will land you a day job to support yourself while you toil away at your writing in your free time.
Are you a natural redhead?