Thumbs up for Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer by Jeff VanderMeer. Nonfiction/writing.
Books on how to write are so common you could pave a freeway with them. This one’s different. It’s about being a writer – not writing, but actually functioning in the world as a professional or semi-professional fiction author. As such it covers everything from goal-setting, self-assessment, social media, blogging, dealing with fans/peers/editors/publishers, and PR – and that’s just the first 80 pages. It is broad-ranging, concrete, honest, and not just sensible but actually wise: unlike so many books on writing, self-help, and business, which set down dictums to be obeyed, VanderMeer not only recognizes but stresses the fact everyone’s creative process is different and that everyone has different capabilities, interests and tolerances. More than anything, I think, this book is about finding and keeping balance…while accomplishing things. Highly recommended for all new and newish authors. It’s hard to imagine you won’t find something useful in here.
I would have said to those high school students: Whatever you do from now on, don’t feel that it has to always be successful. To be successful, to be as good as you can possibly be in whatever field you choose, you need to feel like you can bungee jump out to the edge of success and into that space where the ropes might break. If you don’t, you won’t take risks, you won’t get out there, to that place with a night sky full of unfamiliar stars where “success” might become either something extraordinary or utter failure…because utter failure and extraordinary accomplishment are conjoined twins most of the time.
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