Saturday, October 25, 2008

Read "A Broom of One’s Own" for realistic insight into life as a writer.

A Broom of One's Own: Words on Writing, Housecleaning, and Life is a sublime little book of essays by Nancy Peacock.

In A Broom of One's Own, Nancy Peacock, whose first novel was selected by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year, explores with warmth, wit, and candor what it means to be a writer. An encouragement to all hard-working artists, no matter how they make a living, Peacock's book provides valuable insights and advice on motivation, craft, and criticism while offering hilarious anecdotes about the houses she cleans.

While reading the book, I couldn’t help but think maybe there is some truth to Penelope Trunk’s post five reasons why your should not write a book.

According to Penelope:
People who have a lot of ideas need a blog, not a book. A blog is more immediate, so you’ll get better feedback~
Nancy’s life as an aspiring writer was difficult. In her early years, a blog may have served her well. She struggled to get her stories published; writing and submitting 100’s of short stories to various publications in hopes one would sell. At one point, she even succumbed to writing fake true stories for True Confessions Magazine. A blog may have given her the immediate feedback she needed.

You'll make more money per hour flipping burgers than writing a book~
Nancy’s first book, Life without Water, did not bring her riches, immediate fame or prestige. After publication she still needed to clean houses to pay her bills. It wasn’t always easy, but she continued writing because she loved her craft. She says it best on page 53 where she writes:
"I think that in the beginning of my writing life I believed that writing, publication in particular, could, besides making me rich, also make me invulnerable. It might have been the stupidest thought I ever had, because there is nothing, with the exception of love, that has ever made me feel more vulnerable than writing and publishing."
Beautiful. I cannot give this book justice. If you have ever had any interest in writing or in an artistic career I highly recommend this book. Even if you don't have an interest in writing, I recommend this book. Her essays on housecleaning are thoroughly enjoyable; some of her cleaning clients remind me of people I know. This was both hilarious and scary.

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