I've read a few chapters and I have to say, its a great book for motivation. Bell took the battle strategies of the great Sun Tzu, a Chinese general writing around 400 B.C, and applied them to the war writers fight for publication. In it, he explains reconnaissance of marketplace, tactics for editing and refining premise, and business strategy.
One of the most useful chapters was actually one of the first. Chapter two discusses essentials that writers must posess, or develop, to be successful in the publishing industry.
- Commitment to Craft
- Willingness to Learn
- Business-Like Attitude
- Rhino Skin
- Long-Term View
Discpline - check, Commitment to Craft - check; I'm always trying to hone my skills, Patience - not so much...and then I hit Honesty...the willingness to confront my weaknesses. *scratches head* Hmm...moving on. Next we have Willingness to Learn - I don't fight with my critique partners and I rarely set my manuscripts on fire so I'll count that as a 'check'.
The next few got harder. Business-Like Attitude - Can I become more informed about the process of publication and how can that help me as an 'artist'? Sure. Number eight - Rhino Skin. *winces* I'm getting there. I'm no longer crushed by rejection, but it still stings. I doubt that will EVER go away, but I can work on using the feedback more efficiently.
Nine was interesting. Bell asks you to not think, "Do I have a book inside me?" He wants you to think: "Do I have a writer inside me?" Changes the perspective from product to craft...very helpful. The last one, Talent, was actually least important to Bell. He said that everyone has some talent, its what you do with it that matters. Not sure what to think about that one...but, okay.
The book has a section at the end of the chapter to write down your reactions and I had quite a lot to jot down. Bell then asks you to revisit your comments a year later to see if you've grown as an author. I really enjoyed this quick read. Its not an in-depth teaching book, but more like a pep-talk with cool military references. I felt ready to kick some writer's block hiney, that's for sure.
Thank you again, Michelle for the book. Now until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by tanakawho.