Serious Writers Never Quit: They Find The Way
by Bryan Hutchinson, PositiveWriter.com
Books that promise writers a system or formula for improving their craft, minimizing writer’s block, or increasing their productivity are so tempting to those of us who aspire to be the best writers we can possibly be. I’ve read tons of them, and only a few have shifted my thinking or mindset significantly. This one was refreshingly practical and helpful.
First of all, it was highly readable. I felt the author had taken me aside, put his arm around my shoulder and imparted all of his hard-won wisdom about “The Way” to the writing life. The simple list of 21 key points of “The Way” near the end of the book was, alone, worth the low price of the Kindle version I read.
Hutchinson did a good job of making the case for not comparing ourselves to others and resisting the temptation to search for writing secrets. What unlocks one writer’s inner creativity won’t help another, so he urged readers to trust their own gifts.
He gave lots of ways to counter fear, imposter syndrome, and lack of confidence. When we think of our page or computer screen as an artist thinks of her canvas, we reframe the task at hand as one of infinite possibilities instead of obstacles.
He is a big proponent of small daily writing goals (e.g. 250 words) rather than large ones that might be unattainable or discouraging. We can grow to higher word counts. He also suggested that journaling can be a huge help to those who feel intimidated by writing a “first draft,” because until we decide to make it public, journal entries are only for our own eyes. This can be very liberating and help us get the imporant content out of our heads and onto paper.
While much of his advice is not new, his unique voice got me thinking about my own writing in new ways. While other authors opine about the infamous “shitty first draft,” Hutchinson teaches reverence and respect for that first effort, because without it, nothing else happens. He reminds us that The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is, itself, a “first draft.”
To be picky, there was some unnecessary repetition and more use of profanity than I like, but the book is short, easy to read, and might just be what you need to infuse your own writing life with energy and hope.
If you’re looking for a gentle kick in the seat of the pants along with a healthy dose of practical tips, check out Serious Writers Never Quit: They Find The Way by Bryan Hutchinson.
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