The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
If You Can Talk, You Can Write
If You Can Talk, You Can Write
A Proven Method to Get You Writing & Keep You Writing
By Joel Saltzman
Warner Books, (1999)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - Posted October 11, 2012
Can you talk? If you can, Joel Saltzman can teach you how to parley this skill into the ability to write. "How to Write" programs abound. After all, everyone is a would-be writer. However, more often than not, these would-be writers never actually get down to the task of writing. The reason is simple; writing is work. This delightful book, If You Can Talk, You Can Write, is the best how-to 'get' writing primer that I have come across. In an amazingly short time it will have you writing, and it will help you keep writing once you've started.
In If You Can Talk, You Can Write, Saltzman shows you that writing, while it does take some effort, is actually far easier than most people think. You simply have to learn to write like you talk. This is more than just a run of the mill how-to book, it is also an inspirational guide that will encourage you to write. Saltzman freely shares some insider, tricks-of-the-trade in this witty and perceptive book. More importantly, this book will help you learn a few simple secrets to 'writing' that most writers only learn after years of trial and error.
Saltzman, a former comedian and former instructor at the UCLA Writers' Program. His narrative style is energetic and passionate, and his writing as a cheerleader like quality about it. Saltzman wants you to write, and it does not matter if what you write is dribble or Nobel Laureate quality prose. The important thing is to start writing. If you are having trouble getting started, or in just making your writing more intelligible, this book is sure to help you. The techniques and ideas expressed in this book developed out of Saltzman's own writing experiences.
According to Saltzman, the biggest hurtle facing a writer is procrastination. This is a trait which I'm intimately acquainted with, and I agree with Saltzman whole heartedly that procrastination is the biggest, and sometime hardest, hurtle for a writer to overcome. Why do so many writers procrastinate? Saltzman's answer is that writers procrastinate out of a fear of not being perfect. Most people want their writing to be perfect the first time they put pen to paper. They feel, at least subconsciously that rewriting and editing are for losers. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Saltzman helps you to overcome the dreadful disease of perfectionism, and by extension procrastination. He also offers advice on how to silence your inner critic, and many external ones as well.
Saltzman's rules are simple and easy to follow. Write as you speak. Don't over complicate your writing. Do your research. But, most importantly, don't worry if it's not perfect. Once you have a rough draft, then you can go back and polish your work until it shines - but if you don't get the rough draft written, you'll never have anything to hone. Saltzman also offers pertinent advice on two other demons that plague writers - finding time to write, and surviving rejection. Saltzman states a truism when he says that the way to find time to write is simply to make time. And the trick to surviving rejection is to be persistence and don't feel the need to apologize for your work.
This is a candid guide that will help you start writing - and keep writing. Writing doesn't have to be intimidating. This book includes a couple of unfailable pop quizzes, numerous true life examples from the histories of famous writers, and a handful of exercises on how to talk on paper, and other useful practice sessions. In short, Saltzman will have you writing before you've finished reading the book. If You Can Talk, You Can Write will act as a mentor, encouraging you to get down to the task of writing. Saltzman will also help you make the most of the talent that you have. If you don't have any, don't worry. As Saltzman's says, "you'll just have to work a bit harder..."
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