Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I have this thing about How-To books.  I love them.  I'll devour them in any subject, but it won't surprise you to learn I've got shelves full of books and magazines about writing.  Some are unquestionably more useful than others, but I've found at least one pearl of wisdom in each of them, and I'm always making excuses to buy more.

I do wonder sometimes if it isn't rather counter-productive.  I could be spending the time writing.  How much advice - often conflicting - can I really hold in my head anyway?  Will too many rules paralyze me?  Will my writing lose its soul if I try too hard?

Meh, I'll take the risk.  At this point, what interests me as much as the information about writing is the information about publishing.  (Along with the books and magazines, there is at least one very excellent blog about it.)  What a very, very strange industry this is!  It's like reading travel guides for an exotic country I plan to visit soon; I feel the same thrill in my gut as I fantasize about my adventures there.

The downside is that it's virtually impossible to read about publishing without (a) getting really depressed about how tough it is, (b) realizing that a good strategy is imperative, and (c) that I don't have one yet.  The challenge is to control this anxiety and not give it undue influence over the writing.  Although writing is only one part of a successful writer's job anymore, I'm pretty sure it's still the most important part.

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