It's Wednesday, which around here means looking back at books that led me to where I am today. All writers stand on the shoulders of those they've read before, but for all of us, there are some books that do stand out. Perhaps a book that, as a child, first made you realise people wrote these for a living. Or a book you came across only last week that helped to re-energize your flagging strength. I have enough of those, believe me. Writing to publish can be a real slog.
But reading is working for anyone who wants to write. There's an amazing, mad, crazy wealth of fantastic books out there, and no reason not to go diving in whenever you can.
So, what are we looking at today?
It's the good ol' Writers' and Artists' Yearbook
First edition I bought was many years ago, and I've replenished my stock multiple times. But thinking back to the earlier days, when getting an agent seemed like such a far-off dream, and working out how publishing worked was itself daunting (these were pre-Twitter and social media days, remember), the Yearbook was an amazing resource, encouragement, and solid link to the world of writing and publishing.
Especially as a younger guy - I would have been thirteen when I first wrote to an agent - it was easy to feel like I was kidding myself. The big, real world of authors and contracts and money was a nice dream, but what does a kid really know about the world? The Yearbook was tangible, something with answers, and something I could hold up as proof. Well, it said, I'm trying, at least. What more can I do? I'm trying.
That's really one of the mantras of my writing 'career' so far. I'm going for it - what more can I say? No regrets so far, and none to come, even if nothing more comes of it. I follow my dream and I have so many others to thank for that: Writers, agents who offered even the smallest encouragement to a clueless young boy, my family, my friends - and, equally, the books I read; the stories than inspired me, and the Yearbook that told me what to do with that inspiration.
Check it out if you're UK-based, and if you're not, they still have a website you can plug in to - http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/