A Review: The Getaway Car

Working on my current manuscript, I have been reading a lot! Writing is reading. You can’t do one without the other. Although I have enjoyed plenty of fiction, I have also been researching with some great reads on writing. I have a pile of books on the topic that will be absorbed at some point, but for now I’ll talk about the ones I have completed since isolation. First is:

The Getaway Car, Ann Patchett

You will not find it on Ann Patchett’s website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. But you can download it here for free. It is a 75-page essay on her biggest lessons in writing. I can summarize them here, but do yourself a favour and download it for inspiration later. I am not nearly as inspiring.

  1. Write ideas down.
  2. The journey from head to hand is perilous and lined with bodies. Many get lost.
  3. Get others to review your work and be critical.
  4. Get on a course of hard work.
  5. The ability to set yourself free from being perfect. Write the book you are capable of writing instead of the book you want to write.
  6. Have something to say. Being a part of life gives you something interesting to say. Have wide-ranging experiences–they will make their way into your writing as they come or be morphed into something.
  7. Be vigilant about finding the places in your own work where you are phoning it in.
  8. Tune your ear to the usefulness and uselessness of other people’s opinions.
  9. Finish something first. The next idea will not save you from drowning. (UGH! This is my biggest problem but after reading this, I closed all but one manuscript and, believe it or not, it is going much better than usual!)
  10. Write the book you want to read.
  11. Write in the order it will be read. (I didn’t think this was important, but it is sure making a difference for my work.)
  12. Sit for two hours a day at a blank page if you really want to write.
  13. Read your work aloud.
  14. Don’t be afraid of serious research.
  15. There are times to write, times to think, and times to live your life. Commit to one lousy hour every day for a month. Keep sitting there.

Many of these I already do, pat on back administered. Namely 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 13, and 14 but that is it. Apparently I have a lot to learn! I half-ass a lot of the others, but I’ll work on making improvements with those too.

What are your strengths from this list? What are you working on?

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