Monday, November 10, 2008

Book Report: The Write Track: How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer in Canada, by Betty Jane Wylie

Obviously, this one's a non-fiction entry. It's an interesting handbook on what it takes, or at least took ten years ago, to build a freelance career in the Great White North. In it, Wylie tells the story of her own rise from widowed single mom to working writer. I found this part, which is only touched on (although repeatedly), to be the most interesting bit. I find myself contemplating the freelance path as somewhat more than an academic exercise. My "day job" has been shaky since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000 and the recent economic difficulties have made it seem likely that I'll soon be asked to "seek opportunities elsewhere." Still, I'm not quite in Wylie's straits: forced to do something to support her family, and having little to offer the world but a skill with words.

Most of the book consists of practical advice, backed up by anecdotes, on what is required to be a successful freelancer. I found the dry, technical bits regurgitated much of what I've discovered on my own through talking with freelancers and reading publishing blogs. These things, I skimmed through. I hate doing that, and feel guilty. After all the effort people go through to choose and transcribe the right word, it seems insulting not to read them all, but I could take sufficient interest in them to muster up the concentration.

Should the worst come to pass (again), and I be forced to make a living by the written word, this book will be useful to have on hand.

Ulysses Rating: 2 - I had a tough go.

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