I have to say, I haven’t run into much snobbery at all, asking for writing advice online. Exapno and Chuck, in particular, have been very helpful–especially in the Cover Letter thread, which I bookmarked because I found it so insanely instructive. There’s tons of helpful advice out there, and I have yet to meet a pro, in real life or online, who hasn’t given that advice generously and cheerfully.
I’m not published (yet), but it seems to me that Exapno is right–Jinx’s question is too general to give a really good answer. And “Is the manuscript finished?” is a pertinent question–if you don’t have a finished ms, the rest is irrelevant. It’s not snobbery to say that–it’s the truth. And while jarbaby and jinx might both be serious enough about their writing to finish their projects, the vast majority of people who give it a try don’t. I’ve noticed that lots of people start, agonize over various things (what font to write in? what program? outline or not? what should my writing music be? is it science fiction or not? where should I submit it?) and then never actually do much writing. I noticed this especially during NaNoWriMo–to all those folks, the only good answer was “stop worrying about all that and write the darn novel!”
Which brings me to my next agreement with Exapno–“Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, write!” really is the best, most supportive advice you can give a writer. I suppose it can sound dismissive, but it’s the essential secret to completing a manuscript. Any more specific advice is precluded by the lack of specifics in the OP, but “sit down and write!” is always good advice. If it seems like that’s the answer every experienced pro gives to newbies, it’s not because they’re snobby, it’s because it’s the central truth they have to offer, the most important thing they can pass on. They’re not being a brick in anybody’s path. They’re not telling anyone to give up–on the contrary, they’re encouraging newbies to keep working on what matters.
I disagree with Chuck, though, about driveway basketball players not being basketball players. They’re not pros, and if someone says “what do you do?” with no more specific context, they won’t say they’re basketball players. But it’s easy enough, given context, to distinguish “I’m a basketball player” meaning “I play for an NBA team” and “I’m a basketball player” meaning “I spend a lot of my free time playing and improving my game in my driveway.” I think “I’m a writer” is similarly, uh, context-dependent, and most people have no difficulty accepting that, and knowing what’s meant in a given situation. I think anyone who takes their basketball playing seriously, and works on it, is a basketball player, whether or not I think they’re any good, and whether or not they ever make a dime from it. I think the same of writing.
(Of course, if someone said they were a basketball player and then spent much time complaining loudly in a coffee shop that he had lost his basketball playing muse, and had layup-block, but never actually touched a basketball, then I’d be less generous…but that’s an entirely different issue.)