The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Before We Get Started
Before We Get Started
A Practical Memoir of the Writer's Life
By Bret Lott
Ballantine Books, 2005
Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - Posted September 19, 2012
Before We Get Started is a telling and memorable account of one writer's life by Bret Lott, author of such works as Jewel, A Stanger's House, and The Man Who Owned Vermont. He is also the editor of the Southern Review, which enables him to give insights into writing from both the viewpoint of a writer and an editor. Before We Get Started is not a book on how to write, rather it is a book on the forces that drive a writer and enable the writer to persevere through the loneliness, the rejections, and the long hours of work that are part and parcel of the writer's life. It is also a book about the joys of writing, the sense of accomplishment when a piece is finished, or better yet published, and the satisfaction that a writer can derive from writing.
In the ten essays in this collection, Lott reminisces about his career, why he writes, and the long struggle he had in trying to make a living as a writer in the days before Oprah Winfrey chose his book Jewel for her book club, which almost instantly turned him into a bestselling author. In the process of describing his own background and the apprenticeship process he went through before becoming a 'famous' writer, he also shares with his readers invaluable tips on writing and on making writing a career.
Before We Get Started is a remarkably insightful and frank book about Lott's life as a writer. It is also a remarkably inspirational book that will help get you through those inevitable down times and it will support novice writers' through the traumatic avalanche of rejections that most will have to endure before making their first sale.
The writer's life can be a lonely life. Before We Get Started reminds you that you are not alone, and that other writers have tread the same path that you are now going down - and survived! I highly recommend this book to all writers. Advanced writers' will value Lott's narrative style and insights into the world of publishing and the evolution of literary fiction, while novice writers' will find Lott's experience and advice invaluable.
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