I often get email from writers who are starting out asking for career advice for "breaking in" to the field. I'm somewhat helpless to answer these queries -- my first professional sale was more than a decade ago, that sale itself represented a further decade of hard work on both my craft and my career. I can tell you a lot about how to break in from a standing start in 1988, when I sold my first story, but not nearly as much about how to break in today.
Enter Jeff VanderMeer's Book Life: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer. Jeff and I were classmates at the Clarion workshop in 1992, and he is both a talented, prolific writer and a shrewd and successful trailblazer in 21st-century publishing and promotion.
Talking about arts careers can be a little icky, because, well, there's a fine line between career-management and self-obsessed personal promotion. Likewise, it's hard to talk about what you do in the realm of imagination without sounding a little like someone droning on about his absolutely fascinating dreams of the night before.
But Book Life
avoids both of these pitfalls. It presents a well-organized masterclass in understanding how to fit both writing and a writing career
into your life (hence "booklife"), covering everything from health and mental health advice (the chapter on envy should be required reading for everyone in the creative arts) to philosophical and practical advice on managing a blog, YouTube channel, MySpace/Facebook profile, and podcast.
Like Jim Munroe's Time Management for Anarchists VanderMeer's book is about how to balance the desire to be a creative free-spirit with the preparation and planning necessary to arrange your life to maximize your freedom to pursue your creativity. It's not quite a book on how to write, more a book about how to be a writer at a time when the job of "writer" is in tremendous flux. Covering subjects from managing your relationship with agents, editors and publicists to avoiding flamewars on your blog and averting despair in the face of an uncaring world, Book Life is an ambitious and successful attempt at a comprehensive guide to maintaining your sanity while chasing your dreams.
Book Life: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer
There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library.
Scott Edelman writes, “I interviewed George R. R. Martin at a Thai restaurant on Episode 42 of my Eating the Fantastic podcast (MP3), and after I returned home, remembered I’d also interviewed him back in 1993. After digging out the tape, I couldn’t resist incorporating his amusing admission about ‘a fantasy novel I’ve been working […]
Zero-knowledge proofs are one of the most important concepts in cryptography: they’re a way to “validate a computation on private data by allowing a prover to generate a cryptographic proof that asserts to the correctness of the computed output” — in other words, a way to prove that something is true without learning the details.
Just because English has become the common global tongue doesn’t mean it’s the easiest language to write—even for native speakers. If you’re looking to improve your written communication skills, especially on your smartphone, take a look at Ginger Page.Ginger is a cross-platform app that offers corrections for phrasing as well as grammar. It’s powered by […]
The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place […]
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]