I’m a sucker for books about writing. And add in an author who is part of the National Writing Project and you have my interest. So I grabbed a copy of The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life by Stephanie Vanderslice, and dove in. I’m glad I did.
With a folksy, honest, funny voice on the page, Vanderslice seeks to surface the ins and outs of a writing life, weaving in her own stories as a teacher and writer as well as setting forth some very practical advice on how to approach writing, how to publish writing, how to see yourself as a writer (no matter what other people say).
Among her pieces of advice:
- Make time to do the writing, regularly
- Invest in the revision process (and be ready to revamp)
- Network network network
- Be teachable as a writer — be curious about everything
- Be methodical if you want to get published
- Resilience is key
- Believe in yourself, even if no one else seems to
My eldest son’s friend is a budding novelist and upon finishing this book, my first thought was: I need to give this to Sam. So I will. And I hope the practical advice here will be inspirational, and that the realistic advice (writing as a profession is hard) will leave him clear-eyed about where he is heading with his stories. And perhaps the long list of resources at the end — with notes on agents, publishers, etc. — will be most valuable of all (although, he may already be on this.)
NWP Radio recently did an interview with Stephanie, who notes her previous work as a site leader in the Writing Project (Great Bear Writing Project in Arkansas) as influential to her as a writer and educator.
Peace (writing it, daily),