The Writing Trade: A Year in the Life

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9781558214248: The Writing Trade: A Year in the Life

The chronicle of a year in the life of a practitioner of one of the most lonely and fiscally precarious jobs, the freelance writer. Jerome's diary of the workaday process of making sentences for a laving has inspirational lessons for writers and artists in all media.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Veteran writer Jerome (Stone Work, 1989; Staying with It, 1984, etc.), a former magazine columnist and editor, evokes in diary form a year in his writing life, measuring out the days in seasoned spoonfuls of insight and effort. ``At age fifty-seven I find myself still learning to work,'' writes Jerome. Despite eight books and hundreds of articles, he calls himself ``a competent but essentially invisible writer,'' a craftsman daily struggling to build spare, honest sentences. According to this ex-sportsman, writing such sentences is the best and most demanding sport there is--``a moral act'' that ``establishes a truth that somehow authenticates you''--but a writer must learn to fight through thickets of confusion and distraction to reach those beautiful glades of clarity and insight. Not the least of the thorny problems is money (or, rather, the lack of it), and here Jerome criticizes a publishing business that lavishes the bulk of its energy and cash on a relative few huge commercial properties while books by lesser-known writers like the author himself appear and disappear with barely a nod from the public or media. In these entries, Jerome anxiously awaits the reviews of Stone Work, only to watch it slip from the bookshelves by the end of the year. He consoles himself, and the reader, by noting the abundant small pleasures of his life (he walks his dogs every day at noon, drinking in the seasonal changes in his western Massachusetts landscape). And he also offers tips for other writers, including a useful schema for writing a nonfiction book that involves breaking a subject into manageable categories. A charming and worthy tour of one writer's life, practiced as he preaches. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In summing up his writing production in 1989, Jerome ( Stone Work ) enumerates one book review, a magazine feature, 15 600-word essays for a runner's calendar, "some miscellaneous other short bits, and this manuscript." Not much in terms in output (nor in payment), he suggests; on the other hand, the year brought high praise for his latest book, ideas for other book proposals and precisely that quality of daily life that he and his wife left magazine editing in Manhattan 20 years earlier to pursue in rural Massachusetts. Neither manual nor diary, these 12 chapters, designated by month, comprise reflections on personal events quotidian and unique--from the daily walk with his dogs on a trail through the woods known as the loop to enduring his wife's month-long absence at a writer's colony. Ruminating occasionally on his publishing history and industry friends, and offering a tip or two for freelancers, Jerome mostly records his interaction with his immmediate world. Often he despairs of his need to treat experience as material but that urge is precisely what gives these good-natured, otherwise unexceptional observations their resonant tone. With a keen eye and inquiring mind, Jerome is a wise and knowing guide through a full turn of seasons, on the loop and at the keyboard.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Jerome, John, Balkin, Richard
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