A bit of New Jersey wisdom

Silk’s Post #48 – Look, I’m from New York. Not the city, the suburbs. There’s probably a case to be made that huge chunks of Long Island (where I grew up), New Jersey and Connecticut are really all suburbs of “The City”. But Jersey is a planet unto itself.

Although I have some dearly-loved cousins there, I still tend to think of New Jersey as Noo Joisey. It’s not the place I automatically think of looking when I’m in search of wisdom.

But then I started reading How I Write by best selling author (and proud Jersey girl) Janet Evanovich.

After reading more books about writing than can be considered natural, I must admit that Evanovich’s unpretentious advice, presented mostly in Q-and-A format like a column of advice to the lovelorn, is a refreshing change. For what are we – the unpublished horde – if not lovelorn writers in search of an agent, an editor, a publisher, an audience?

Evanovich is a down-to-earth mystery series queen who freely admits to being a NASCAR buff, a cheez doodle addict and a disco music fan. She even claims to be inspired by Eminem videos and fantasies of seeing The Rock naked. So other than the fact that our birthplace zip codes are in the same time zone, and we both write, Janet and I probably don’t have a huge amount in common.

But what I love about her advice is her zero tolerance for BS. She’s hard-edged with a grin and a wink. Here’s her advice to a newbie writer who naively asked Evanovich what to do about her problem sticking with one story idea and her tendency to keep starting new projects instead, none of which seem to get finished:

“How about this – you start a book and every time you veer off in another direction, you imagine me standing behind you giving you a good smack on the head.”

In fact, almost all of Evanovich’s advice can be boiled down to this simple bit of New Jersey wisdom: Just quit your bellyaching and write already.

“Don’t get caught spending your writing time talking about writing, thinking about writing, planning your writing studio, shopping for comfortable writing clothes. Just do it. Write the book.”

Thanks Janet. I love the way you give million dollar advice using five cent words.

(I’m sailing around again, far from wifi, so forget the pretty pictures and links this time. Maybe I’ll add some tags and blog jewelry tomorrow if I can get a pipeline to cyberspace. Next week I’ll try to do something fancier.)

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