You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins

This is hardly a “book,” in the sense that a nonfiction book is longer than a magazine article or a long series of blog posts. I can’t tell you exactly the word count, but it couldn’t have been more than 20,000 words, and I suspect is closer to 10k. Basically, it’s an informal pep talk to those of us (who are legion) who question if we have what it takes to call ourselves writers, as it is a profession  of practitioners acutely aware of their limitations and plagued by self-doubt and recriminations. Along the way, Goins has some suggestions about how to promote yourself as a writer in the current marketplace, based on his own success. He’s coming at this from a nonfiction writer, so I’m not sure his advice is entirely appropriate for the fiction writer, but like any other bit of writing self-help, if it works for you, or even provides you something to think about, that makes it useful.

For me, I found it provided the latter: things for me to consider now as I attempt to once again jumpstart my off-and-on fiction writing career, moribund following the completion years ago of my first novel. The lesson I struggle to learn is how to deal with the inevitable disappointment that follows the attainment of any goal, which invariably doesn’t live up to your expectations. For that, Goins had an anecdote about the actor Walter Matthau to an aspiring actor who told him that he was waiting for his big break.

“Matthau laughed and replied, ‘Kid, it’s not just one break; it’s fifty.’ The same is true for any craft, especially writing.”

Goins underscores that by saying there are no big breaks, but continuing “tiny drips of effort that lead to waves of momentum.” It’s something to remember, as I strive to get the ball rolling, and hopefully not in the situation that Sisyphus labored to move one.

[Finished 22 February 2019]

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First Impressions by Glen Engel-Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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