Saturday, May 21, 2005

Write a self-help book, don't buy one

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - I wandered the aisles of Tower Books in Sacramento Friday, looking at incredible variety of books for sale. And in my hand, I found several 'how-to-write' books which, at least in the bookstore, seemed soooo bloody important I almost bought them (about $25 each).

But after a minute or two of more wandering by the magazines, I quickly put the books back, realizing that what I was about to do was spend the weekend reading books telling me about writing, instead of, well, writing!

Now before I get thumped on quite thoroughly by my colleague Marcia in England, I'll be quick to add that some books, like Stephen King's 'On Writing,' have been a big help to me. But the '20-ways-to-sell-magazine-article' tomes are probably not that useful, unless you are brand new.

Think about writing a self-help writing article based on your experiences. I'll read it.

OP-ED IDEA FOR TODAY - The American Atheists Association is having its convention in San Francisco this weekend, and their beliefs are...well, what are their beliefs? The fact that they even exist in this Christian culture is a tribute to freedom of religion. The Op-Ed? Find your local group or even an avowed atheist who can talk about what it's like to be a non-believer in a nation of believers. Lots of possibilities for angles: should an atheist hold public office? Be a school teacher, etc...