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I remember an advice that I received when I had started out as a writer. ‘Don’t act like a writer; just write.’ It is probably the best writing advice anyone can ever receive. It is not the loose clothes and the jute bag with the nerdy glasses that show the world that you are a writer. You may be a figure-hugging denim wearer who loves to wear lipstick and nail polish. You don’t need to change that to become a writer. Just be yourself. Just write. Of course, Margaret says this much better than I do.
We seem to be in a hurry nowadays to put our books out. Being published and prolific is not the problem but are we putting in the time and efforts required to put out our best works. The answer is usually ‘no’ to that question. Ryan Holiday analyses works that are evergreen classics that have stood the test of time and shows us why some books are perennial sellers and how we can create works that last long.
When I dropped in for a visit to my Chennai distributor’s office, I saw this book and picked it up immediately. It contains advice and tips from twenty-two of the best screenwriters of Hollywood. This includes the writers behind Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Déjà vu, Wanted, the Bourne franchise and many more. It tells you things like why you shouldn’t work for free, how you must write no matter what, how you must commit to a career and not just one screenplay.
Unlike what the book states, I did not pick up the book to write like Tolstoy. I wish I could but that wasn’t the intention of picking up this book. What I loved here was how the author goes behind the scenes of some of my most favourite books and analyses how the author pulled off such excellent writing giving up the hope that maybe we can aspire to emulate them too.
One of my resolutions this year had been to expand my vocabulary. That was why I picked up this one a couple of months back. The book is arranged in units and there are quizzes and exercises that help you master the words that you are learning. I try to spend a couple of hours every week on this. I’ve not yet finished it and will be continuing this one through 2019 too.