On Book Writing

I was in a client meeting a few weeks ago. I suppose I was more articulate than usual that day because one of the meeting participants asked me when I was going to write a book. A nice compliment but a very tough thing to do. I started my career in book publishing and I saw first hand how hard it is to complete a manuscript. It’s not for the faint hearted.

That’s why I loved reading today’s opinion in the New York Times. Timothy Egan hits the nail on the head.

Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.

Writing is hard, even for the best wordsmiths. Ernest Hemingway said the most frightening thing he ever encountered was “a blank sheet of paper.” And Winston Churchill called the act of writing a book “a horrible, exhaustive struggle, like a long bout of painful illness.”

I could not agree more. With limited funds to advance to authors, publishers have to choose between literature and pop culture. Unfortunately the money’s in pop culture.

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Resolve

A year ago I made just one New Year’s resolution…to start this blog. I tried a few times before, but was lacking a theme. The first post of my current blog was dated 1/1/07. It took a while to filter the personal from the informative, but by and large I’m pleased with the result.

What has blogging done for me in the last 12 months? I felt at home at the blogger events I attended, made a few new friends, promoted my BlogTalkRadio show and have developed a small but growing readership.

Blogging has allowed me to qualify for press passes at industry conferences, get free sodas and in general be treated a little better than the conference attendees. Finally, I got a freebie copy of Seth Godin‘s Meatball Sundae. I’m not sure if that’s because the book isn’t doing so well or because someone thinks I’ll write about it. Either way, it was a nice way to close out the year.

Was one year of blogging worth it? Without doubt it is an unqualified yes in my book. Blogging opened doors, created an aura of legitimacy around my work and forms an archive of what caught my attention in 2007. It put me in the swim of conversation about the things I care about. I’m hooked and there’s no turning back. 2008 is going to rock, get ready!