Bryan Honneycutt discusses the importance of ’30 Steps to Becoming a Writer’

Scott Edelstein, the author of 30 Steps to Becoming a Writer, explicitly states the overall intent of his book is, “to write what moves, intrigues or fascinates you,” (P. 138). Edelstein attempts this by creating a book of 30 steps divided into five parts cataloging the journey of a writer. It begins with the humble assignment of acquiring the physical materials to write, leading to the creation of a first draft and concluding with continued growth of a writer and their career. This is best understood as a reference book for a developing writer, rather than a sit-down novel explaining the finer points of fiction.The book, as previously mentioned, is split into five parts further split into 30 steps towards becoming a professional writer. It takes a humble approach, leading anyone with a desire to write to creating and refining that craft. Each step, for example, “Begin a Writer’s Notebook,” begins by introducing the step’s importance. Following the introduction, an assignment is given to the reader to execute the step. While the book itself could be read within a matter of hours, the assignments themselves, from beginning to end, easily stretch anywhere from a year to a lifetime. Therefore, the book is best left as a guide for a writer over the course of their career.The book is an excellent tool for someone who wishes to take a raw talent or art, and work towards becoming a skilled professional in the field of writing. The simplistic diction and step-by-step processes brings the reader out of total ignorance about writing into a state of confidence and (semi)professionalism. In this same vein, because the book is so far-reaching, it lacks a great deal of depth. Where it succeeds in explaining the process of writing, it fails to provide substantive overview of fiction theory.As a writer without any current publications (other than in a college newspaper, if that counts), I found this book marginally useful. While the initial steps seemed watered down, the final steps seemed far-reaching and unrealistic. The greatest lesson I took from this book, and am currently working on, came from the second part: take all of your ideas and put out an awful, disgusting first draft. Other than that, I shall keep the book around as a reference for the times I will need to know how to write a cover letter, or negotiate a publishing contract, should the need ever arise.30 Steps to Becoming a Writer is as unpretentious as an instructional book can be. It takes the position that anyone can be a writer so long as they possess the drive to write. It literally charts the course of a potential writer from beginning to end. The book may not be desired by an established writer who is hoping to fine-tune their art, as it does not dig very deep into the theory of fiction writing. If, however, one has any desire to become a writer or possess a quick reference for the writing process, this is an excellent addition to one’s bookshelf.

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