Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, last week I finished You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop by John Scalzi.

I’ve been a frustrated writer since I can remember.
I’ve read more books on writing than most people even realize have been published! But, this book was different. Most writing books focus on the techniques of writing, dispensing all sorts of marginally useful advice, but Scalzi has some different advice for hopeful writers. He talks mainly about the nitty gritty that the other books leave out. For one thing, he talks about giving up the idea that one should only write “art” pieces. He talks about approaching writing like any other job. It makes sense, really, when you think about it. I mean, if you want to make a living at writing, then you have to write regularly, just like you’d work at any other job. You work regularly to get paid regularly.

Mostly, the advice is hard-nosed and drawn from his own years as a full-time, professional writer. Also, the sections are drawn from his blog, the Whatever and many are answers to questions from readers of that blog. Granted, he’s edited many of the original blog entries for the book, but I honestly don’t care that it’s mostly duplicated material I could get from the web. I find reading it from a book, an actual, bound book, far easier than trying to chase it all down on his blog. It was well worth the price.

I can’t recommend this book to most of my readers, but if you’re an aspiring writer and are tired of reading the same well-worn advice about how to write, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Bring Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop may be just the book you’ve been looking for. It won’t tell you much about how to write, but it will give you invaluable advice about the writing life and how to make a living at it.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline, that's important. Self-discipline with awareness of consequences."
   --Dalai Lama


  1. The book sounds similar to ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. It’s all about the blocks that we imagine get in the way of our creativity and the excuses we tell ourselves that keep us from creating.

    Good stuff.

    Comment by Peter — 5/6/2009 @ 7:41 am

  2. Sounds good. It reminds me of the book ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield. It’s about the blocks and excuses we create to stop ourselves making Art. It’s a challenging and inspiring read.

    Comment by Peter — 5/6/2009 @ 7:46 am

  3. o.k. the first time I wrote that post it totally dissapeared…sorry about the double posting, I really shouldn’t attempt anything on the computer before my brain and body have kicked into action!

    Comment by Peter — 5/6/2009 @ 7:48 am

  4. Haha! No worries. Of course, with one fell swoop you’ve commented more in ten minutes than I usually get in a week!

    Comment by the Network Geek — 5/6/2009 @ 9:52 am

  5. Thanks for the heads up on this book. I’ll be looking into it. 🙂

    Comment by Alison — 5/6/2009 @ 11:51 am

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