Welcome to the musings of this mediocre mom. If you’re looking for nuggets of wisdom about perfect parenting, you’re not going to find them here. But if you need someone to celebrate your parental mistakes with you or if you’re curious about what to do when you find your child eating poop, stick around. Drink some wine with me. You might not be a better parent after reading my blog, but you will feel like one.
Well. Here we are on Day 4 of blogathon and I’ve actually posted everyday. Is there a prize for getting this far? This year I’m patting myself on the back every chance I get.
Today is scheduled for a Theme Writing day: the topic being, “My Top Five Favorite books on Writing Are..”
I know I’m a writer, but that topic just doesn’t make me want to grab a cup of coffee, put my feet on the couch, and snuggle up with my computer. Perhaps the problem is I don’t read a lot of books on writing. Maybe if I did, I’d be making a hell of a lot more money in this career, or at least know how to market myself better. I have grabbed a couple books on writing in the past year, and (though my checking account balance wouldn’t show it) have read them. I did find them very helpful with a lot of great advice. Six Figure Freelancing and Goodbye Byeline, Hello Big Bucks both by Kelly James-Enger were both a wealth of information, even if I’ve yet to see six figures. Or four, for that matter. Orbig bucks. I haven't seen those yet either. But that’s less a reflection on the books as it is about my ability and comfort zone with marketing myself. Really selling my work. Cold-calling PR firms and publishing houses, and sending out Letters of Introduction in CitiBank-credit-card-application volume. I know. If you’re one of those writers who make six figures (and chances are you’re not because you certainly wouldn’t have time to waste on this blog, being busy with paid writing gigs and all) then I say, congrats to you. And if your six-figure salary is a direct result of those books, I say, Boo-yah! to you twice.
The other writing book I read and enjoyed was The Renegade Writers Query Letters That Rock. I read that over three years ago. To make use of that book effectively, one has to actually write query letters. Oh, I’ve written them, again, just not in the amount you need to be successful. To illustrate this point: four weeks ago I planted sugar snap peas in my garden. I planted half a package and seven days later planted the other half to extend my harvest. Out of approximately 200 peas, 12 plants sprouted from my first batch and seven plants sprouted from the second. That’s 19 plants out of a possible 200. Maybe some seeds were eaten by birds. Maybe some seeds were duds. That’s approximately a 10% return rate on investment. (And I only know that because I used an online math calculator to figure it out.) But query letters are exactly like that. You must send out 200 to get a few yes’s from editors, but most of those query letters die in the ground.
Which would make sense that I’m not doing very well, seeing as how I’ve sent out a total of seven query letters since January. Statistically speaking, my chances are nil before I’ve even begun and I totally suck at math. But let me tell you, they were great queries. C’est la vie, Important Editors. Your loss. (It’s really more my loss, but saying that makes me feel better.)
No, writing books isn’t what really moves me to read, honestly. I’d rather be reading a great fiction novel, or a book on raising chickens. That’s one bit of non-fiction I’ve been ear marking and reading over and over. Because the chickens in the basement playpen are starting to fly around in there and I'm not exactly sure what to do with them.
But if you are looking for a great fiction read, the latest books I’ve read are:
While they were all great, the one I loved the best was This Is Where I Leave You. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud so many times reading a book. There’s even a great scene with a lit birthday cake and a naked man’s butt. Oh and for the bookclub we sat Shiva and dined on bagels and lox. If you need a good read, choose that one. Heads up though; it wont’ tell you how to be a better writer. It won't tell you how to earn six figures, or even how to pay off one credit card. But it will make you want to curl up on the couch with a good cup of coffee and read.