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The Writer's Book of Hope: Getting from Frustration to Publication Paperback – October 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Years ago I had a basketball coach who taught "if you're not getting at least four fouls in a game, you're not playing defense." He didn't like fouls, but his point was, in the process of playing the game aggressively, fouls are going to happen. Fouls are not necessarily indicators of defeat, they are indicators of effort. Likewise, Keyes' approach to rejection is that all successful writers deal with rejection. In his book he provides numerous examples, including Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners, of authors who face rejection even after winning critical acclaim. Rejection is a fact of life, Keyes say, learn to deal with it. Easily stated, but it still hurts. According to Keyes, writers who have not experienced rejection are not sending out enough material; and, writers who don't learn to accept rejection as part of the writing process, are doomed to quit writing altogether.
Keyes is the author of another book titled "The Courage to Write," which I highly recommend. Similar books by other authors which I would also recommend for the aspiring writer include: "On Becoming a Novelist," by John Gardner, and "The Forest for the Trees," by Betsy Lerner.
Ron Atkins is the author of two children's books, Abby and the Bicycle Caper, and his upcoming (January 2005) Abby and the Bike Race Mystery.
The book is clearly the result of a lot of research. (Check out the photos on Keyes' Web site showing the yards of file cabinets in his house.) Keyes doesn't trot out the tired authors' anecdotes that we've all heard before; he serves up a host of tidbits that were new to me. The quotes by masters (such as Tolstoy) about their lack of "talent" are alone worth the price of the book. I also appreciated Keyes' no-nonsense tone. I was expecting New Age warmth and fuzziness, but Keyes pulls no punches. Take his observation that some people who give up writing do so not because they lack talent, but because they are uncomfortable spending long periods alone. That's not a "nice" thing to say, but it's truthful and important to know.
The Writer's Book of Hope delivers on its promise. It provides practical hope and inspiration to writers based on a clear-eyed view of the writing profession. It gave me a new lease on my writing life.
As an experienced, many times published writer, people might think I've got this writing profession figured out. But I don't. And on those days when I'm feeling lonely, dejected and sometimes rejected, I know I can turn to Keyes's book to help me realize I'm not alone in my insecurity and feeling of flakiness.
There are days when I wonder if it isn't too late to go to plumbing school or enroll in the matchbook school of mosaic tiling. Writing does that too you. Plays games with your mind and confidence.
But when those days creep up on me, I find solace in Hope. It makes my green skin turn less bright when I read John Grisham received twenty-some odd rejections and agents turned down JK Rowlings. Yet they persisted. And that, among other things is the difference between writers who stay the distance and those who let the publishing world get the better of them.
Keyes has been there. He's one of us. He's not on a perch talking down to us wannabes. He's simply further in his journey than many of us. And that qualifies him as a leader. And the fact that he's willing to share the good, bad and ugly of this writer's world is generous.
Reading the book is like sitting in an easy chair talking to a wise sage (with a little bit of mischief in his eyes) talking about the world of writing. Eyeball to eyeball. Writer to writer...friend to friend. And by doing so, Keyes offers us that thread that tethers writers together in this profession that is not for the faint of heart. And for that I'm grateful.
Susan DeBow, writer
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Outstanding. Every writer needs a copy. It's my go-to when I've lost my creative juices. Excellent!Published 16 months ago by Diane Moody
This book was just what I needed to help lift me to the next stage. I have published with Penguin, the largest publisher, received a 6-figure advance and on the other side of all... Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by Persephone
This is such a wonderful, encouraging, heartening book. I have lost count how many times I have pulled it from the shelf in a state of despair and hopelessness, only to read a few... Read morePublished on February 17, 2012 by Stephanie E. Watson
As a writer, I find myself drawn to reading books about the writing process and the struggles that virtually all writers go through - the endless internal battles and external... Read morePublished on November 6, 2011 by Terminator Fan
The book is about how to conquer fear and self-doubt. Good writing, as writers know, must be fearless, perhaps even shameless. Read morePublished on December 1, 2009 by Mark Thiel
I am quickly becoming a big Ralph Keyes fan. His writing is crisp, tight, and flows smoothly. His metaphors are apt and his references bolster the narrative. Read morePublished on April 23, 2008 by bronx book nerd
I've been a tremendous fan of Keyes since I read his earlier, awesome book "The Courage to Write". Reading his work is like having an intimate conversation with an old friend. Read morePublished on September 20, 2007 by Charlene Rubush