• THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

    I wrote a book called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. It's an advice book for writers, though it's more about what makes writers tick. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in!

    Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

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I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend, I Just Want to Be Your Lover

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it’s very hard for me to fall in love with books anymore. sadly, i just read them from a writer’s perspective–check for structure, tone, voice. i hate it but i do it. –rea

Thank you, Rea, for this topic. Reading for “pleasure” is almost impossible for most writers. You are either learning, studying, dissecting, or competing. You are either impressed, depressed, inspired or humbled. Who is the person staring out from the back flap, who did she fuck to get those quotes? What I want is a book that has its own language, that makes me sit up straight, that insists I pay attention. I want similes that are sublime. I want STRUCTURE, not and then and then and then. I want to be either hyper aware of the narrator or completely unaware. I honestly think that writers should only read classics. It’s like playing tennis with the pro.

How do you read?

 

YOu’re the First, the Last, My Everything

 

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The whole thing about being an agent is discovering a writer or project that excites you so much all you want to do is tell people about it. It’s like New Year’s eve in When Harry Met Sally when Billy Crystal realizes he loves Meg Ryan that he runs through the streets of New York to find Meg Ryan at a party to say “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”If my heart doesn’t quicken, if I can’t envision how I would pitch, I generally step aside. It may not be the most scientific method, but it’s reliable. I sometimes feel like the fully dressed guy on the beach with the metal detector.

What was the last book you were massively excited about?

 

ENdless Rain Into a Papercup

I’m jacked up on Benadryl tonight. What about you?sad_pinkie_pie__c_by_mlpwallpapermaker-d4qdzxj

Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain

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Spent the day writing, she said feeling saintly, superior, and suddenly sad. It’s truly a drug this writing business. Editing is a contact high. It’s when the words and sentences are your own, when you find a simile that makes sense on three dimensions. I know this blog is generally a clusterfuck of complaining because for every victory there are 10,000 failures. If I think I wrote well today, I’ll see the delusion tomorrow, and yet and yet. We need the eggs. This year I want to wear glitter and sit up straight. I want to wear it or throw it out.

Can you describe your best writing day?

Dream If You Can a Courtyard


 

Today, a little better. Work is the only tonic/balm/antidote to negativity. And I did good work today with  a writer on the cusp of finishing a book. Loose threads were sewn up, extraneous details dropped, transitions sharpened, part titles materialized out of thick air. People, we have to write. We have to fight. We have to fuck all. When you call a sentence into being it is as real as a moth hanging on a stalk in a forgotten forest.

Why do you write?November Moth (Epirrita dilutata)

Take Comfort in Your Friends

It’s the new year and I’m feeling really negative.

How about you?

What Part of Party Don’t You Understand

 

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The holidays are really good for writers. They bring out our sense of alienation, isolation, aloneness. They bring up ancient family wounds, sibling envy, parental neglect, abuse and suffocation. Social obligations and anxiety sky rocket. Melancholy sets in, or worse. Yes, this is our season!

Happy holidays. I love you guys. See you in the New Year. xo, Betsy