Today I am reviewing a wonderful book “Writer… Interrupted: A Handbook for the Emerging Writer”, by Kate Johnston,
Have you ever thought about becoming a writer? I remember when I did. It looks easy enough, right? All you have to do is sit down in front of your keyboard (or pick up a pen and paper) and write. Then…nothing happens. Murphy’s First Law, “Nothing is as easy as it looks” has reared it’s ugly head.
Well, here is the good news. In Writer Interrupted, Kate Johnston guides you through the action steps necessary to pursue that dream.
Writing is both a calling, and a craft. If you decide to answer the call, then you can learn the craft. Ride along as Kate details her journey from a child in love with story telling, to stay at home mom, to falling in love with writing again. In the details of her emotional struggle you will find questions you need to answer in deciding your own path.
In the “Mini-Journals” at the end of each chapter, Kate gives you action steps to choose from. Pick the ones that appeal to you. Take the all important first step…”And, you’re a writer”.
Writers write because they have to, just as other people have to breathe. But, where do writers come from? A very few are born to it. Most come to it later in life. Kate leads a wonderful discussion about the origins and types of writers. Which type do you aspire to? Do you want to write for yourself or do you want to be paid for it? Kate’s questions will help you decide.
The first thing an aspiring writer learns is the one thing essential to success is writing every day. An aspiring writer also needs tools and a place to use them. I know this sounds mundane, but deciding what tools you need to carry on your task and where you are going to do it does smooth the road to success. There are lists here to help you decide what is right for you.
Writing is always assumed to be a lonely profession, and it can be. The truth is all writers need a team. It’s also a fact that you will wind up with a team whether by default or by design. The chapter titled “Team Writer” describes the ins and outs of putting your team together. Where can you find team members? Who should be on it? In the beginning, letting others see your work can be a terrifying experience. Here you will find resources you wouldn’t discover on your own. Your team can make a big difference in your quest.
Time. Ah, yes, time. Perhaps the biggest challenge all beginning writers face is finding the time to write every day. Maybe the best way to determine this is to ask, “When is my mind most productive?” For me it’s in the morning. My most productive time is before noon. Kate writes at 4 AM. Why? It’s a fascinating story. You’ll need to read the book to find the answer.
Writing time doesn’t have to be hours. You can start with as little as 15 minutes a day. Be creative. You can do it at lunch. Sit in a back booth at Mickey D’s with a Big Mac and a coke. Once you find your time slot, do it every day. Every successful writer will tell you the secret to success is found in the acronym BIC (Butt In Chair). Sit down. Write.
Last, Kate discusses the necessity of nurturing yourself. I think when writers answer the call and begin to dig into learning the craft, they are surprised to find out how much energy it takes. Writing can be cathartic and at the same time very tiring. Just as an athlete trains with interval training, you need periods of relaxation to regain your energy. Giving thought to finding what works for you can keep the writing experience fresh and exciting.
Did I see myself in this book? You bet I did. If I’d had this book to go by 20 years ago, my path would have been much easier.
I’ve found there are two ways to learn: By enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or from someone who’s gone before. Kate’s book can make the journey a lot more fun
This is Kate’s first book in a series. I think you will find it instructional, inspiring, and challenging. I highly recommend it to anyone who has something to say to the world.
You can find it by going to the Amazon website and entering “Kate Johnston” in the search bar.