Tonight I finished Bob Mayer's book, Who Dares Wins. It was an excellent, eye-opening read... and I strongly recommend it to all writers out there.
This isn't a book about craft. It won't tell you how to write a break-out novel or edit more tension into your scenes. Instead, it will help you to clarify your vision. To improve your habits of mind. To force you to confront some of your blind spots and flaws and recognize what it will take to change them. Big undertaking, no?
As Mayer states, reading the book is "most likely the equivalent of trying to take a sip of water from a fire hydrant." (183) No kidding! I get the feeling I'm going to be re-reading this constantly in the years to come.
This book helped me narrow down my goals and consider the fact that they have to align. Yeah, maybe this sounds like a no-brainer to the rest of you, but I'm the girl who once tried to finish up a semester's worth of grading, write two chapters, and make a three-course meal from scratch... all in one night. (Hey, Kate! There's this really cool place called reality. You should try living there sometime.)
So, I've looked at aligning my goals for the rest of 2009. I'm leaving my day job every day at 5pm and resisting the urge to bring grading home. I'm going to eat dinner at the table with my husband every night. And I'm going to write (or at least stare frustratedly at my Word document) for one hour every weekday.
Check that out! Alignment! I rule.
I'm sure in the weeks to come I'll have updates (confessionals?) about my progress or lack thereof. And don't worry--I'm still hard at work on the promo/writing separation experiment. More soon!
For now, I'd love your input. What are your favorite writing books? What's one goal you hope to achieve before the end of 2009?