I feel it would be terribly neglectful and missing a huge opportunity to share an excellent resource with lots of you writing folks out there if I didn’t mention this book now…before WordPress takes away the “Freshly Pressed” magic. 😉
I read Jeff Vandermeer’s excellent “Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer,” a year ago. I even wrote a post in response to his section on goal-setting.
After I started the “Blog Overhaul” series this past month, it occurred to me it might be a fine idea to take another look-see at “Booklife.” It’s amazing how after just one year of experience, of writing more and living more, my perspective and level of understanding has changed as I reread it.
To be quite honest, I’m not sure that I followed everything that Vandermeer wrote having to do with platforms and social networks when I read it last year. Hell, it’s probably safe to say that I still don’t understand all of it yet. After all, it’s not that long ago that I made my very first linky-link, and I’m still not on FaceBook. But I’m starting to get it. Things are starting to click. I’m starting to really understand how things are interconnected in this strange new world we call The Internet.
Vandermeer writes in the introduction of his book, “Information and advice has no effect without what the reader brings to the experience.” He further suggests that the reader “re-imagine” the book, “personalizing its real-world application to [the reader’s] life and work.”
He goes on to specifically say how one can do this: “Take the sections that you find most useful, make a list of bullet points, and rewrite them from memory, adding in your own personal anecdotes and experiences.”
Now, I know that this is good advice. I also know that I have probably read over this section at least three times without it ever crossing my mind that I should actually do this very thing…until now.
It’s been an amazing last couple of days for me. Not only am I grateful and honored to have a post selected to be featured by WordPress, but I am just fascinated by everything that has come from it. And as I read back through various sections of the book, I am deconstructing my work, trying to figure out how I got here, what drives traffic, what people are looking for, and what kind of people I’m looking for. In some sense, I feel I have found my tribe. At the same time, I still feel like I am walking around the campground with my dorky name tag on upside down wondering where I should pitch my tent.
It’s always about the journey, isn’t it? I can’t wait to reread this book next year to see what it means to me then. 🙂 I suspect this book will go on to become one of my “perpetual” books, the ones I’m always reading and rereading.
There are hundreds of fantastic books out there for writers, but I think if you are working towards making a career as a writer, you would be doing yourself a disservice not to check out Vandermeer’s indispensable “Booklife.” Vandermeer has built an amazing career for himself across many different media, and he shares his experience and insight generously and honestly. I think that’s what makes this book one of the most relevant and helpful titles for writers today.
So…read it. Dig it. Spread the good word.