Point: You may think you are the next writing genius, but chances are you will have to muddle, labor, fail, and suffer through the process of becoming a good writer. That is the good news. The bad news can wait for another book.
Path: Wilson gives a series of seven broad suggestions to the writer. Because a writer is first an individual, he challenges the reader to become a better person so they might become a better writer. Therefore this book is not so much about where to put a comma, or how to find an editor, as it is on how to become an individual who has something to say.
The seven tips are as follows:
Know something about the world, and by this I mean the world outside of books.
Read. Read constantly. Read the kind of stuff you wish you could write. Read until your brain creaks.
Read mechanical helps.
Stretch before your routines.
Be at peace with being lousy for a while.
Learn other languages, preferably languages that are upstream from ours.
Keep a commonplace book.
Each of these tips receives a chapter which is then divided into seven more ideas to strengthen the main tip. At the end of the chapter Wilson leaves the reader with some outside reading.
Sources: Obviously an avid read, Wilson leaves the reader with a taste of Chesterton, Wodehouse, and the Scriptures.
Agreement: I enjoyed reading this humorous little book and it encouraged me to write. I need to write poems, stories, articles, and novels. I need to write something even when no one will ever read it. Not only did he encourage me to write, but he encouraged me to listen. I need to listen to those around me, listen to those I read, listen to what is being said.
Personal App: As Chesterton has said, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I might as well get started.
Favorite Quote: "I estimate that my iPhone is the equivalent of having one hundred thousand servants. The problem is that about ninety thousand of those servants of mine are sitting on their butt all the time."
This would be a good book for someone who is interested in writing pretty much anything. If you are a blogger - buy this. If you are planning to write children stories - buy this. If you just like to read - buy this, you may start writing.
I plan on reading it again. Probably a few times. Some just to laugh, others to be reminded that I need to be listening, reading, and writing more.