I’m walking around Barnes and Noble, tall pumpkin spice soy latte in hand, the weight of the journal in my purse weighing down my arm. You see, I’m actually at that point in my writing career where I feel like a real writer. I’m not published and I don’t have an agent, but I get up everyday with writing on my mind. I go to bed every night with thoughts of my work in progress in the forefront of my mind. Every night I go to sleep hoping that I will dream something that will work for this character or a plot twist that will liven up my scenes. Writing is really on my mind all the time.
So, back to the story. I’m wandering around Barnes and Noble, trying to decide what I want to purchase with my book allowance that week. I’ve been struggling with some parts of writing, so I go to the writing section. I sit my bag down, grab several books on writing off the shelf, and sit in the middle of the aisle to flip through the pages of books with titles that promise to help me sell my novel.
But that’s not what I’m looking for. Do I want to eventually sell my novel? Duh. Don’t ask me stupid questions like that. Of course I want to sell my novel, but it’s so much more than that. I want to be a writer. I want to eat, sleep, and breath writing and the writing life. When I saw This Is Not a Writing Manual by Kerri Majors, I’m not going to lie, the first thing that attracted me was the cover. It’s kind of creepy, but I love it. The second thing was the title. Finally, something that just wrote about writing, not how to get published or how to sell. I wanted -needed- a book to tell me that all writers go through the same struggles. This book is exactly what I needed.
In the introduction, Majors states that the book “is not a manual, textbook, guidebook, or handbook…” Good, because I definitely wasn’t looking for any of those things. She goes on to say that she likes to think of the book as “therapy for writers.” Yes. I had found exactly what I was looking for.
The book is broken into three parts: The Writing Process, The Writing Life, and Looking Ahead: Supporting Yourself, Getting Published, and Not Getting Published. Awesome, I thought. Those are all important topics to me. Throughout the book, she outlines things that worked for her and things that didn’t work for her. The prose is conversational. I felt like the entire time I was reading, I was listening to Majors talk to me about the craft and life of a writer. I felt like she and I could be sitting in my favorite coffee shop sharing stories and me, being the obvious fan girl that I am, taking in all of her advice like it was a life saving medicine.
Here is a list of quality pieces of advice that I got from this wonderful, amazing, enlightening novel:
1. Protect your writing time (10)
2. Read, and don’t feel guilty about it (15)
3. It’s totally legit to eavesdrop (16)
4. Be brave, and leave the ego elsewhere (54)
5. Writing is difficult, and it should be (98)
6. And the last tidbit I’m sharing here (I’m not telling you all the good stuff, you really have to read it all!) is this: “If you’re writing just to get published, you won’t be writing for ver long, and you almost certainly won’t get published. You have to write for pleasure.” (145).
Now, I must tell you, this isn’t a comprehensive list. I enjoyed reading this novel so much that at the end of each chapter I found myself writing my own thoughts about what she had said and how it had affected me.
So, needless to say, I really loved this book. I loved it so much that I’m trying to miraculously find enough money to purchase a copy for all of my learners who participate in Writer’s Block Writing Club. I want them to read this at the age that I wish I could have read it. I loved it so much I went to the author’s website and left her a comment!
So, if you are writerly, go buy this book! You won’t regret it!