- File Size: 238 KB
- Print Length: 91 pages
- Publication Date: March 12, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007JWIM16
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Building a Life Out of Words Kindle Edition
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Shawn Smucker was faced with such a situation. After returning from four years of managing a large business in England, he felt lost working 10 hour days painting houses and living in his parent’s basement with his wife and two children. When his aunt called out of the blue and asked him to write her life story, he had no idea how his life would be impacted. He approached the project tentatively lacking the confidence of a career writer. But when a publisher reviewed the initial two chapters that he had written, the publisher contacted him wanting him to write the book. Had he pursued other unrelated temporary opportunities, his writing career would have never launched. That first published book led to a second and eventually to a successful career in writing.
Building a Life Out of Words is a transparent look at the struggles of a 29 year old husband and father attempting to establish himself as a professional writer and the self doubts and second guesses that come along the way. It is a very encouraging story to those of us writing and wondering where the path will lead us.
His final line in the book is the most encouraging of all, “I hope that you will be known as a person who lives. Really lives. Someone who makes decisions, not based on what’s expected, but on what’s possible. Someone who does things, not because everyone else is doing them, but because it’s what you want to do more than anything else in the world. Now that would be a life worth living.”
For anyone considering the writing life this book is an inspiring journey of commitment that will give you an inside look of what it takes to succeed. Shawn not only includes his own story, but interweaves nine essays of fellow writers who have made their writing life work. Want to become a writer and live the dream? Take the first step. Write everyday and learn everything you can about writing. If you're afraid of failure heed the words of Beverly Sills who wrote - "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you're doomed if you don't try."
And I've been reading books about writing since the 1960s, when I first started selling my words. Few of the books were worth the paper they were printed on. This book is an exception.
As one example, I spent 25 years editing as I wrote. It didn't matter much in short form, but eventually I found I was more productive if I wrote at breakneck speed, then went back and rewrote/edited. Shawn, however, explains WHY that works best for long-form writing, in just a few words.
And that's not the only good PRACTICAL advice for writers. Most of them are also things I lucked into after a while. They weren't as valuable to me as the write first before editing advice, but I didn't find a single false note in the book. Not one.
I must reveal that Shawn and I have exchanged tweets, and we've exchanged compliments on each others' writing. I especially recommend Auntie Anne: My Story as being tasty as a soft pretzel, hot from the oven, but I've read several other books Shawn wrote, and they're all page-turners. This book is a fine memoir as well as a good tutorial on freelancing as an occupation. Recommended.
This book happened to really strike a chord for me as I am in a similar situation. I am trying to find my chops as a writer. This couldn't have come at a more opportune moment in my personal development. This book is not only about writing, one could read it as an instruction manual in living a more fulfilling life. Thank you Shawn for writing this book. I hope that you keep living your life of words.
All the best.
(Fear not for his kids, it turns out OK for Shawn and his family.)
I appreciated Shawn's candor about his journey, as he includes his own journal entries as well as specific dollar amounts he's earned while pursuing a writing career.
"Building" is a quick read, recommended for writers and would-be writers, as well as anyone struggling with a calling that may seem like it's bound to take you over a cliff.