I’m almost always reading at least one book about writing. (Right now I’m dipping into three.) Recently I read The Forest for the Trees by N.Y. agent Betsy Lerner, and I immediately wanted to send it on to people I knew who were seriously writing, especially those who had yet to publish. This is a very good book to prepare a writer for the world of publishing. It is also a very good book for a published writer. I learned quite a bit from it, and I’ve been in the publishing world for decades. Here are some of the quotes I highlighted:

It wasn?t until I began working with writers that I understood Truman Capote?s brilliant assessment of the writer?s dilemma: ?When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip.?

There is no stage of the writing process that doesn?t challenge every aspect of a writer?s personality.

I promise not to repeat the most common piece of writing advice: Write what you know. As far as I?m concerned, writers have very little choice in what they write.

I like that especially.

For most writers, writing is a love-hate affair.


People who try to figure out what?s hot and recreate it are as close to delusional as you can get.


There comes a time when you have to let go of the New Yorker fantasy in service of just getting on with it.

You mean I’m not the only one who had delusions of being published in the New Yorker?

The ambivalent writer confuses procrastination with research.


Writing demands that you keep at bay the demons insisting that you are not worthy or that your ideas are ridiculous or that your command of the language is insufficient.

This is not always easy to do. I could go on and on, but I’ll end with one more:

…the degree of one?s perseverance is the best predictor of success.

No truer words.

(Betsy Lerner also has a wonderful website and blog.)

Happy Holidays, all!