Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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January 17, 2008 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I have a serious dilemma facing me. I am a middle-aged, middle-management guy who has always dreamed of being an author. I have had a few articles published in trade magazines and people have told me I write well. I was just passed over for a promotion and am feeling fed-up and unappreciated at work. A growing part of me wants to quit my job, lock myself in a room and write the book I began three years ago. I can't seem to do both and I'm afraid life is passing me by. What advice would you offer a friend in my situation?
My advice would be to gather confidence to make the leap and the way to gather confidence is to start writing the book in the evening and on weekends and see if you can organize it and write a first chapter or two that are good enough to make you very enthusiastic about what comes next. What you're looking at is a long-shot gamble on yourself hundreds of first books are written by middle-aged guys for every one that gets published but it's not a bad bet, assuming you have gone down the road a little ways and feel confident about finishing the book and having something that people will want to read. Plenty of people have bet on themselves and come up winners, and it's a very satisfying bet to make. But be wise. And go at it like a military operation. Be disciplined, be secretive don't talk about your work, and remember, when you're engaged in serious work, alcohol is not your friend.