Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review of Writer on the Side by Bryan Cohen

Subtitled “How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job,” this booklet provides a fast read packed with easily grasped and implemented life-management tips. Most of us only dream of making writing our primary livelihood. For the majority of writers, our writing is something we’re forced to squeeze into odd hours when real life isn’t making its incessant demands. And, for most of us, this is a major challenge. How are we supposed to find enough time to write, edit, and market our work when the vast majority of our day is taken up with such necessities as earning our daily bread, eating our daily bread, and generally cleaning up after our daily bread?

As someone who’s been there, done that, Bryan Cohen offers tips that apply as much to living a organized and fulfilled life in general as they do to living a productive writing life. He opened with a chapter sketching his own journey and growth from a writer who wasn’t writing because he didn’t think he had time, into an author who disciplined himself to become both efficient and prolific. He then divides the standard work day into morning, afternoon, and evening chapters and further breaks them down into schedules and tips. Some of his suggestions are the generic sort we’ve all heard (get up early, prioritize your tasks, etc.), some are geared toward helping writers reach their peak of creativity by maintaining a physically and emotionally healthy lifestyle, and some are suggestions for optimizing creativity while actually writing.

The author’s friendly, self-deprecating style makes this a fun and encouraging read. You won’t find anything earth shatteringly new in these pages, but you will find an accessible list of tips and tricks to keep you focused, fulfilled, and, most importantly, writing.
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3 comments:

  1. Sounds like just what I need, especially this time of year with the impending holidays and all the prep-work involved in preparing for them.

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  2. I hate to put you on the spot, but you sound less than enthusiastic about this. Do you feel this title is worth the cover price? Or is there another book on the topic that you would recommend more highly? For example, Writer Mama or Pen on Fire, both of which have higher cover prices, but are currently listed for less than the above title.

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  3. @Linda: It would be a good stocking stuffer for busy writers.

    @Tanya: I haven't read either of those books, so I can't do a comparison. This one doesn't offer anything revolutionary, but there were quite a few useful tips in it. For the low purchase cost - especially the Kindle - it's worth a read.

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