All writers have one thing in common: we face challenges. In our quest to Make Words Happen, we stumble. We slosh through puddles of self-doubt. We cover our ears and try not to weep (okay, sometimes we cry a little) as our muses and inner editors duel (with lightsabers) for our full attention.
Basically, writing is hard. For everyone, in their own way.
Some writers struggle with perfectionism (*slowly sinks lower in chair*). Some writers finish their drafts, edit their drafts, then don’t know what to do with them.
Some writers even succeed — then struggle to keep writing, because they’re afraid they’ve gone as far as they’ll ever go.
No matter what kind of writer you are, what corner of the writerverse you dwell within, how far you’ve gotten in this game called Writing For A Living (or Just For Fun), you need reassurance every now and then. Everyone does.
You need to sit down with another writer who has struggled with the same things you have, listen to what they have to say, and feel confident enough to apply their wisdom to your work.
Not everyone has the chance to make this kind of personal connection with a writing mentor of sorts. But I did. I just got lucky, I guess.
(Actually, I listened to a podcast, sent an email, and got a free book, but whatever.)
Mur Lafferty — author, podcaster, lover of all things sci-fi (she loves it so much she made a career out of it!) — wrote a book. Another one. Her publisher was generous enough to send me (and some other lucky people) an advanced copy of said new book. And after eagerly scooping my copy off an unfortunately damp front porch, hugging it a little too tight, and diving headfirst into its pages, I just have one thing to say …
I want to read it again.
No, that’s not quite right. I need to read it again.
Because this book isn’t just for beginners. It’s for anyone who has ever sat in front of their computer screens, six seasons deep into FRIENDS, tub of half-melted ice cream in hand, and thought, “I shouldn’t be doing this. I should be writing.”
You’ve been here. I know you have, because I have, too. (What, did you think I was just painting you a picture? Real life experiences make the best imagery.)
We all should be writing. And we all need to jump at any chance we can get to listen to a writer — a creative, down-to-earth human being who knows her stuff — use persuasive words to lure us away from Monica and Chandler’s romantic endeavors and back to our own stories (after we finish the ice cream, of course).
That’s what reading I Should Be Writing felt like. A quick refresher course in everything I needed to hear. A one-on-one mentoring session with someone who has been writing professionally much longer than I have (that’s a compliment!), who knows firsthand what I, and my audience, struggle with.
There are lessons woven within these pages that I’d heard before — that’s going to happen when you’re writing a book for writers at all levels!
There were also things I didn’t know I needed to remember — not until they were dangling in front of my face, sprinkled with amazingly relatable metaphors.
(This is the first of Lafferty’s books I’ve read — but it will not be the last. If it weren’t so well-written, this book would probably feel a lot like every other writing-focused book. But it doesn’t.)
This quick read (you could finish it in an afternoon, or savor it in bite-sized treats) will teach you a lot about your writing process — especially relaying the message that you already have the majority of the things you need to succeed in writing. You just need to learn how to use them. (Will this book help you start to do that? Absolutely.)
You’ll also learn why so many writers don’t write — and how not to be one of them. (This is why it’s a nice, compact workshop — reading is important, but only if you eventually close the book and write!)
Most importantly, you’ll learn — or stumble upon a much-needed sequence of friendly reminders — that as writers, we all struggle with the same things. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never written before or you’re a published writer stuck in a slump. We all have moments when we need someone to sit us down and say, “Hey, you can do this.”
That’s Lafferty’s role here — providing the materials, and encouragement, you need to Do The Writing Thing.
Unlike the writing guidance you’ll get here, though, her approach is … well, gentler. Mur doesn’t come sprinting toward you at full speed, screaming at you to get something written already, gosh dang it! (I JUST WANT YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL OK?) She’s the kind, encouraging friend that will talk you out of quitting and guide you back toward your craft one small step at a time.
This book is smart. It’s helpful. It’s entertaining.
Best of all, it has writing prompts! Who loves writing prompts? YOU DO!
If this all sounds like something you need to get your writing back on track, you can get your copy now.
I loved everything about this introvert-friendly writing workshop — and believe me, I’d tell you honestly if I didn’t. Actually, I loved it so much that I ordered a second copy for myself (because pre-orders make authors and their publishers happy, you know).
But I don’t need two copies of the same book — I don’t have shelf space for that. (Yet.)
I want one of you to have a copy instead.
But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about how you can snag a free copy of this amazing book. Because, though I could ramble on about my love for this piece of art, I really should be writing … about peanut butter, amino acids, and saturated fat. Or something. Probably.
(Tomorrow. Giveaway. Don’t forget.)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.