What’s on my bookshelf? If You Can Talk, You Can Write

First of all, I love short chapters.

Thank you, Joel Saltzman, author of If You Can Talk, You Can Write [1993]—50 chapters squeezed into 190 pages.

And he practices what he preaches, as Saltzman might as well be playfully preaching to us over coffee in the kitchen.

Three of my preferred chapters:

  • If You Don’t Know What to Say, Start Saying It
  • Write About What Matters to You
  • But It’s Not Even Close to Perfect

My favorite Saltzman quotes:

  • “What’s needed is entitlement, the firm belief that ‘If it interests me, it interests others.’ “
  • “All you have to do is learn to stop rejecting your thoughts and start writing them down.”
  • “…you can adopt a much saner, more productive point of view: PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.”

Saltzman also weaves in short anecdotes, pop quizzes [Ten questions you can’t get wrong], and valuable quotes from other writers, including:

  • “In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts.” —Goethe
  • “If the result of something I do is that someone feels 10 percent less crazy because they see someone else thinking what they’re thinking, then I provide a service.” —Albert Brooks

This is one of about a dozen books I would snag from my shelf in case a fire broke out at home. [If it wasn’t already been planted in my back seat box of writing stuff…]

What’s on my bookshelf? The Writer’s Idea Book

From my bookshelf, The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron, published in 2000. [Note: There is also a 10th Anniversary Edition.]

It’s broken down into four sections: Bending and Stretching, Exploring, Finding Form, and Assessing and Developing.

To quote the author: “…the tone of the book will vary, from high-minded to playful to downright crabby.”

I really haven’t come across the crabby parts, which sound well worth tracking down.

Heffron–an accomplished writer and editor [Writer’s Digest Books, Story Press, and currently copy director at Barefoot Proximity in Cincinnati] provides over 400 different prompts to nudge, shove, cold-cock the reader into some fertile writing territory.

Some examples:

  1. A Day in the Life of a Writer. In this mindfulness exercise, “Your goal here is not to develop material for a single piece, but to plump your notebooks with ideas and details.”
  2. “You’re very old. You’re on your death bed…Family and friends gather around you. What do you tell them about life? What advice about living do you offer them?”

Apologies to the ‘absolutes’ police: With this book, you’ll never have nothing to write about…ever.

What’s on my bookshelf? The Wizard of Ads


Here is the first of an occasional wordinventions feature, What’s on my bookshelf?
I hope you like it.

Today: Marketing consultant Roy Williams’ The Wizard of Ads from the trilogy by the same name.

Quote: “Intellect is to be cherished. Please don’t think I’m trying to diminish it. I’m merely urging you to give intuition the credit it deserves. I hope to give you the courage to follow your heart. Sometimes the thing that makes the least sense is exactly the right thing to do.” [page 182]

I like this work because it places just as much emphasis on people skills and life’s intangibles as it does on effective writing.

Twitter Gems: July 10-14

IndieAuthorsAlliance @IndieAuthorALLI Book Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors: Introducing the New Bookfunnel Bundle #author bit.ly/2umr57V

David Gaughran @DavidGaughran
Scammers Break The Kindle Storetwitter-2430933_1280https://t.co/5s7fqjTBfs

Kindle Direct Pub  @AmazonKDP
Some guiding words from KDP author @jaltucher.

IndieAuthorsAlliance @IndieAuthorALLI
5 Top tips to Boost Your Productivity bit.ly/2evBWDL#selfpub
[I’ve been working on the ‘road map’ tip. Sometimes I’m just not disciplined enough.]

Jon Winokur  @AdviceToWriters
If I see an ending, I can work backward. ARTHUR MILLER #amwriting#fiction

And yet more productivity tips!! Jeff Goins  @JeffGoins
Kill Distractions and Amp Up Your Productivity buff.ly/2tCpDgv
[I like the instrumental music tip.]

Twitter Gems July 3-7

Some of the greatest writers of the past century on how to handle criticism   https://t.co/DvCwfSOue4

twitter-rubix cube

A self-publishing primer from @JaneFriedman is among this week’s Finds for Writers: wp.me/p4x0h8-bKZ.

You have to resign yourself to wasting lots of trees before you write anything really good. J.K. ROWLING #amwriting #writing #writinglife

“When an idea comes, spend silent time with it…” https://t.co/WjESlYRIkz

You re-learn how to write a book every time you write a book. bit.ly/2sFlNUQ