Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Ways to Free Yourself

Another e-mail and another reason not to buy a book on how writers can free themselves from the idea that everyone learns and writes based on arbitrary rules. It might have hooked me, but the very nature of self-help books requires an idea of its audience, a structure and more advice.

Granted, the book I saw might have been a good one. But just in case you get the urge to suffer through another 200 to 300 pages of advice, when you could be writing instead, I'm going to offer five ways to recognize when to run the other way:

  1. A book title states that it can provide a sure-fire method to get you writing again.
  2. Any famous author's name is used to sell that writing book. (Don't get me wrong... I have Stephen King's book on writing, and many other such tomes on my bookshelves. They just haven't been used since writing became a pleasure again.)
  3. It comes in a series.
  4. The author makes a living from writing and selling that type of book. (Also, no knock to writers who do make a living this way.)
  5. You look at your bookshelf and see more books on writing than fiction and really good nonfiction.

The 24/7 nature of advice can convince many rational individuals that an equal effort is necessary in return. Instead, we can free ourselves by realizing we just needed to quiet those voices to hear our own.

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