Breakneck Book Report: Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I realized I could be funny.

I had just transferred to Emerson College and, after workshopping a series of overwrought essays about my last romantic relationship, I wrote about running out of underwear, finding a gaping hole in the street where my laundromat used to be, and finally going commando.

My classmates looked at me, perplexed. It was obvious they didn’t think I had it in me. Either to write with such humor OR to go frolicking about without my cotton granny panties. But as blindsided as they were, they loved it. And I loved that they loved it. The humorous personal essay? Alright then. I was hooked!

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How To Get Your Book Published Before the Age of 25

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You want the lowdown on how to get your book published…the sooner the better? Let me lay it out for you. First: Catch the writing bug. You know the one I’m talking about. The one where you can’t see yourself doing anything else and so spend your every free moment putting word to page, churning out three novels in as many years, yet coming up against rejection after rejection. Next: Experience desperation and disillusionment. Take on a mind-numbing job writing about things you care nothing about. At least you’ll have a steady paycheck, and can say that — technically — you’re a published writer. After that: Decide to do something crazy, like writing a book about writing a book, in the hopes that said book will actually be published. Swiftly realize that such a prospect is completely unwieldy, and utterly insane. And yet: Find yourself an agent, and then an editor, willing to give you a chance. Actually publish said book.

And there you have it.

Oh wait…I suppose that’s not how it’s always been done. But that’s how Stephen Markley did it.

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Breakneck Book Report: How To Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead

ariel gore famous writer

It was a long time coming, but I’m finally comfortable with telling people I’m a writer, rather than someone who just “writes on the side.”

A famous writer, however? Perhaps in the eensiest of eensy weensy circles. Obviously, it was time I read Ariel Gore’s How To Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead.

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Breakneck Book Report: Stephanie Dickison’s The 30-Second Commute

30-second commute

I wanted to read this book for the same reason I am always wanting to refresh my Twitter feed every three and a half minutes, and for the same reason my Google Reader is filled up with other writers’ blogs, and for the same reason I love lit events, though I could easily enjoy a book in the comfort of my own home: I love connecting with other writers. It makes me feel less alone.

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Breakneck Book Report: Upgrade Your Life


I spend the bulk of my hours on my computer, and the bulk of those hours on my Google Reader, scanning through the 146 blogs I’m subscribed to. Among those: Lifehacker. The blog’s posts are rich with tips and web apps guaranteed to make my life easier.

Though I can easily search through my Google Reader for the answer to any problem — assuming it’s already been answered in a previous post — there’s just something about holding a tangible reference manual in your hands…

Which is why I was curious to read Lifehacker founding editor Gina Trapani’s Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better.

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Breakneck Book Report: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird


Back in April, I posted a monster roundup of the 20 books I built my freelance life upon. Readers (and writers, obvs) were quick to point out that I had made an egregious omission by not including Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.

The truth is, I had plumb forgot about it because, long ago, I lent my copy to someone else, and it was never returned.

Recently, I bought myself a new copy, and immediately fell in love all over again.

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Breakneck Book Report: Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation


When I first cracked open the cover of Pamela Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation, I wasn’t sure I’d find anything new inside. After all, the title makes it clear that the book is for those still lost in the cubicle jungle.

After remaining lost in its pages, however, for a long weekend trip, I had to acknowledge that there was a wealth of information therein that all of us could benefit from.

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Home-Schooled: 20 Books To Build Your Freelance Life Upon

pile of books

I’ve already written in the past about the importance of being prepared. A huge part of that for me has been the greedy consumption of books: how-tos, self-helps, career guides, etc.

I’ve read so many that I think it’s about time for a roundup. After the jump, the 20 books that helped me build my freelance life…and that could very well help you too!

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4 Things I Loved About Career Renegade

It’s been a few months since a book got me really fired-up about my career.

Despite gaining momentum in the writing realm, with assignments from TONY, Babble, Lemondrop, and Nerve, I’ve had other career-related plans on the back burner for months, with no clue as to how I could possibly move forward with them.

Then, Jonathan Fields‘s Career Renegade got me excited, and thinking that it was time to take another risk.

After the jump, the 4 reasons I loved Career Renegade.

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The 4-Hour Workweek: Brilliant or Bonkers?


Reading Timothy Ferriss‘s The 4-Hour Workweek was like being on an emotional roller coaster.

I’d read a line like “Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty” and think Man! This guy knows where it’s at! Then I’d read about his empty and meaningless kickboxing win due to manipulated technicalities, or his distaste for reading, and want to throttle him.

Is he a genius? Or is he just plain ridiculous? Perhaps a bit of both. After the jump, I explore the aspects of his book that made me think.

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