Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: Page After Page by Heather Sellers

I've finished writing and editing three manuscripts at this point in my writing life, so I know I can sit down and finish writing a book. Even so, the title and description (you can see the Amazon description here) captured my attention. In most ways, I'm thrilled I made this purchase. Ms. Sellers has some wonderful advice to get writers writing. Her favorite is, in my opinion, the best writing advice available. To paraphrase: Don't over-think it. Just sit down, shut up, and write. Of course, if she kept it there, it would be an all too-short book, probably something more for Twitter than the shelves of Barnes and Noble where I picked it up.

I found this book geared more towards people who don't have much experience writing. Many of the tips, however, can be used by writers of any level. The book is broken up into three parts: Part 1: Blank Pages: Creating a New Writing Self; Part 2: Turning Pages: How to Maintain Your Commitment to Writing; and Part 3: New Pages: Finding Your Place in the World of Writing. I really enjoyed part one. Many of the tips presented were great ideas, sure-fire ways to get words on the page. I particularly enjoyed her advice about a writing journal, something I know I should carry with me, but rarely actually do. She says writers should always carry one with them, but there is no need to actually write in it every day. It's only necessary to write when you find something worthy of writing down. If a week goes by without jotting a not in the journal, it's not a big deal as long as you've had it ready to write in. I tend to agree, and now I don't feel bad about not writing in one every day like some advice says to do.

Unfortunately, there was much about this book I didn't like. Honestly, I thought Ms. Sellers came off as a real MFA Creative Writing snob. Judging from comments she made throughout the book, I know she'd look down on the things I write since I'm a genre writer. I've never had an interest in pursuing a Master's Degree in Creative Writing, and this book reminded me continuously of this fact. Along those same lines, parts two and three of the book didn't really speak to me. I'm glad I read through them as there were a few gems sprinkled in, but overall the feeling of those last two parts seemed to be directed at the type of writer who would be glad to go after such academic goals.

Overall, if you're the type of writer who occasionally needs a nudge to get to your writing desk, I'd say this book is worth a read. Many of the tips that fill part one are well worth remembering. You might want to simply skim the rest of the book, though.