Write the book you really want to read

May I point you to the valuable online forum for women writers, She Writes. In just over one year, Kamy Wicoff has established a thriving community for women who write, with over 9,000 members from more than thirty countries.  Since joining I’ve found the live internet radio discussions most helpful – see the (partially obscured) widget on the left column for a list of recent episodes, available for instant download.

I’m not a natural joiner, so online communities are a habit I’m forcing myself to adopt, but She Writes is a rich source of information, services and advice for new and experienced writers. As I write this post – the first in way too long – I’m listening to a fascinating discussion with Francine Prose, celebrated novelist and non-fiction author of works including the helpful Reading Like a Writer. The She Writes community offers regular conversations such as these on topics relevant to writers, about publishing and editing, writing fiction and non-fiction, marketing and publicity, you get the idea.

The best comment I heard in the past hour is Prose on first drafts: “What you’re writing is a book you really want to read.” That makes so much sense.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Judith van Praag

    Hi Virginia,

    That I’m here is an attest to the SheWrites Effect I like to call it. It’s such a great platform to learn about writers you might otherwise have missed.
    I saw your comment on Deborah Siegel’s post On Writing Grief. Your book on widowhood must be of great importance to others who have lost their spouse, a precious gift.

    I second all you mention above, I “lurked” for a while checking out who was present in that SheWrites community and how they used the site for their benefit and that of others.
    I like the opportunity for authors to get attention for their “countdown to publication” posts on their SW blogs and that the SW book shelf shows what members are publishing. The Bloggers Let’s Make it Work group generates a lot of traffic both on SW blogs and members’ outside blogs. Especially the “what did you blog today” feature helps to get word out.

    I as well enjoyed Kamy’s conversation with Francine Prose. I’ve heard the advice, to write the book you’d like to read, before. I get that, but feel more inspired by what others want to learn/ read. The difference is a fine line.

    Do you happen upon books you/ve wanted to write that are suddenly published by another writer?

    1. Virginia

      Hi Judith, thanks so much for writing and for proving the SheWrites Effect. I hope to utilize that website/platform more in future, as I’m a big fan and agree with you that it seems to have a lot of potential for writers. As an author I am always humbled and grateful when I hear from a reader. People of all ages and backgrounds have written to me, sharing their experiences. Sometimes they’ve experienced losing a spouse; often they have experienced a profound loss of some other kind. But for someone to take the trouble to read the book and then to write to me, astounds me every time.
      I suppose with Francine Prose’s advice, what I liked about it was that it spoke to the struggle I’m having now with the novel I’m trying to write. The fine line you refer to is probably the delicate thread that connects what we want to read/write with the things that others want to read about. Connecting emotionally to the reader is the most satisfying thing for writers and readers alike.
      As for books I’ve wanted to write, published by another writer, they are anything by Joan Didion or Oliver Sacks, though in the latter’s case I lack the neurological training …
      Happy writing.

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