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
Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time.
Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, “Is this an object of commerce?” and “If so, where does one buy it?” (via Kottke)
John Deere is notorious for arguing that farmers who buy its tractors actually “license” them because Deere still owns the copyright to the tractors’ software; in 2015, the US Copyright Office affirmed that farmers were allowed to jailbreak their tractors to effect repairs and modifications.
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]
All the filters in the world won’t save your smartphone pics from a shaky hand. To really step up your mobile photography game, you’ll need some kind of mount to hold it steady. You could buy a smartphone attachment for a conventional camera tripod, but who wants to carry that kind of gear everywhere they […]
The forced transition from analog to digital TV signals was probably met with relative indifference from people with Netflix subscriptions and the “I don’t even own a TV” snoots. But anyone living in the vast swaths of the country that don’t have guaranteed high-speed internet, broadcast TV is a perfectly valid (and 100% free) way […]