“It only matters that you write: that you go to sleep feeling good, instead of hating yourself for having wasted another day.”
I’ve read countless books on writing. All the good ones, Steven King, Bird by Bird, Writing Down The Bones, Hemingway, a load of others. Probably too many, I should have spent the time writing. Use Your Words is as good as any of them and might be better for getting you to write. It did for me.
Catherine Deveny is a writer and stand-up from Melbourne, she’s bold and sassy and funny. And she knows a few things about writing and the obstacles you create for yourself.
“Too much talk dissipates ideas. If you talk about your writing you feel as if you have written when all you have done is talk to someone about writing.”
Use Your Words is phenomenal and hilarious. It goes deep into the reality of writing, being a writer and the bullshit that holds you back. Deveny is savage in her truthfulness and doesn’t hold back or soften her blows. There is a chapter called writing sucks and another on reasons not to write. My favourite was on thinking your writing is shit, a long-time hobby of mine.
“I have cried about how bad something I’d written was…I have cried alone in the bath at the mere thought of its shitness.”
Much of the book reminds me of Stoic philosophy or the better types of self help. She talks about motivation following action, routines and how completing work is what counts not perfecting it. “Fuck excellence.” Lower your standards and just finish things.
There are chapters full of fantastic tips and tricks to get you started writing. Others on how to overcome your obstacles. Using your computers text to speech function to read your work blew my mind. I now use it for my editing.
Use Your Words is an amazing book for anyone who wants to write. It’s a joyful call-to-arms while presenting the truth of the writing life.
“Writing will make you strong and happy, I promise.”