This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World Book Review 

No one ever said that writing is easy.For every Danielle Steel and Stephen King, there are countless writers who wish, pray and work for the writing career that seems so elusive.

In 2013, Kerri Majors published This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World.

Containing real world tips, advice and experience this book is aimed at young writers.

I really liked this book. Despite the fact that desired reader is under 21, the advice provided is applicable to aspiring writers of all ages.

I recommend it.


If You Love Writing

The clip above, to me, illustrates why many of us write.

For every Danielle Steel and Stephen King, there many writers who do not have that level of professional success.

Many of us have full time “real world” jobs.

But we do it because we love it.

We love writing because it gives us a sense of freedom.

We love writing because our characters can speak and act in ways that we may feel unsure about doing in our own lives.

We love writing because we have a story that we want to tell.

We love writing because we long for adventure, but we feel stuck in the modern daily grind.

We love writing because we can truly be ourselves when we write.

We love writing, because to borrow a quote from Charlotte Bronte “because we cannot help it”.

Begin By Looking To The End

Regular readers of my blog know that one of my hobbies is Muy Thai Kickboxing. I’ve been taking classes at my local dojo for nearly 2 years and I’ve been pretty happy there.

After class, the instructors will give a a short talk encouraging the students to continue with the program.

This week’s talk is about beginning something by looking to the end.

In layman’s terms, when we start something, always have the end goal in mind.

I think it makes perfect sense. When something is new, whether it is a job, a relationship or just a new situation, mistakes be made and there will be challenges that have to be overcome. Were going to stumble when starting something new, that’s only natural. But that doesn’t mean that we lose sight of our end goal.  It could be starting a new job and having an end goal staying at  the job for years, or starting a new relationship and working to make that relationship last  or surviving a new situation that has come up.

I am a writer. Like any writer, my goal is to see my work published and earn a living through my work. Ask any writer and they will tell you that their hard drive is full of half started stories and their email is full of rejection letters from editors. Even if the piece I start doesn’t go any where and sits half written on my hard drive (as most of my stories do), but that’s fine. Stephen King and Danielle Steel did not write best selling books overnight. It takes time, we have to learn our craft and keep pushing ourselves to write.

I encourage everyone of you to keep going and keep the end goal in mind. No matter, keep that goal always in the back of your mind and you will reach it, someday.

Pegasus Book Review

Sometimes the most dramatic thing that can happen to us is life.

Danielle Steel’s 2014 novel, Pegasus is about how dramatic life can be. Alex von Hemmerle and Nicolas von Bingen  have been friends since they were boys. Both are the only sons and heirs to ancient German noble families. Having lost their wives years before, they are raising their children alone. Alex has a teenage daughter, Nick has two sons.  They live in quiet Bavaria, hoping to lead the lives their ancestors lived. But it is 1938 and war is in the air.

Nick was raised by his father, his mother has been a mystery to him. Then he hears devastating news. The mysterious mother whom he has never met is half Jewish. That means that according to the government, Nick and his sons are Jewish and subject to the same laws and harassment that other Jews are experiencing.  They leave must leave Germany immediately, otherwise be forced to live as Jews under Nazi Germany.  Alex gives his friend several of his horses so he can make a living as a circus performer in America. While Nick and his sons adjust to a new life in America, Alex is forced to deal with life under Nazi rule and the agonizing choice of loosing what is left of his family and his heritage.

I don’t normally read Danielle Steel books, but I picked it up at the library and it sounded interesting. This book ripped my beating heart from my body and did not return it until the final page. I was gripped by the story and and the characters.  What I liked best about the book is that Ms. Steel provided an ending for the characters that felt appropriate. While closing the the book on the characters she introduced us to earlier in the book, she tells us where Alex and Nick’s families are going in the future.

I absolutely recommend this book.

Why I Write

Ask any person who is creative (art, dance, music, writing, etc) and they will tell you that it is not for the potential of fame and fortune (as gratifying as it is, if it comes to pass), but it is for pure self expression.

I’m sure that any writer will tell you that for every story or piece that they have completed, there are four or five (or even more) half started drafts sitting on their hard drive or in a draw if they write via more traditional means.

One my favorite books on writing is called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. She has a chapter called Shitty First Drafts. I highly recommend this book for every writer, regardless of the genre that they are writing in.

Ask any writer and they will tell you that it is not easy. Writing, unless your working with a partner required solitude and concentration, which is not easy in this always on the go 24/7 world that we live in.

Will we all become the next Stephen King or Danielle Steel? Probably not.

But I know that I always feel better after I have written, even if turns about to be just another shitty first draft.

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