Title: A Writer’s Guide to Persistence
Author: Jordan Rosenfeld
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
Publication Date: May 13, 2015
Format: Trade paperback
List Price: $16.99
If you’ve ever felt discouraged by your writing—like you’re not good enough, like there’s no point, like it just doesn’t matter—this book is for you.
This is not, as the title implies, a book on how to become a better writer. It’s a book on how to overcome the roadblocks that every writer faces, not in the work itself, but in the act of making the work and putting in the time at the keyboard.
From imposter syndrome (yes, it’s a real thing) to envy to those long slumps of time when you feel like you’re never going to write again, Jordan Rosenfeld breaks down why these issues pop up and what you can do to overcome them and get back to writing.
If you’ve been writing for a long time, you’ve probably run into many of these problems, but I think this book is worthwhile even for more experienced writers. No matter how “mature” we become, we’re still vulnerable to jealousy and despair, and this book provides an actual toolkit for dealing with those unwanted and unpleasant emotions.
Each chapter features two exercises at the end. One is always some sort of writing exercise meant to help you develop your writing practice by working through the negative emotions, and the other is always a prompt for you to do some kind of physical activity. Nothing strenuous, just enough to get you off your butt and to reset your mindset, with, say, a nice walk.
Another useful thing about this book is that each chapter can stand on its own. If you’re only struggling with feeling like you will never write again, you can just refer to that chapter and maybe try the exercises. Later on, if you’re feeling jealous of an award your writer friend has won, you could dip back in and read the chapter on envy.
And I think that’s where the book’s real power lies: It makes for an excellent reference book. After having read it once, I’m going to keep on my shelf of writing reference books above my desk so that I can refer to it during those times I’m overcome with (negative) emotion. Because it’s happened before, and it’s going to happen again, so it would be foolish to not prepare for it. And this book makes for great preparation.