Just what is it about Joanna Penn that makes her such a wonderful companion on the road from novice to pro? Her authenticity, that’s what. I read her books, listen to her podcasts, watch her vidcasts and now engage in her Facebook Live events — and for every single second I’ve spent in her virtual company, I know it really *is* her, and if I ever had the good fortune to meet her in person, I’d know exactly what to expect.
And it’s that authenticity that leaps off every page here: the knowledge that however bad you may be feeling about your lack of progress to success, she’s been there too; however miserable you are about your inadequacies, she has shed the same tears; and however fearful you are of failure, she too has walked through the long dark night of pouring her soul onto the page.
This little book, then, is more than a mere practical guide: it is a checklist for the writer’s soul, a distillation of both her own, by now impressive, experience and achievement, and pithy advice garnered from a constellation of the world’s most successful and admired writers. It is a delightful distillation of the psychology of creativity, providing keys for unlocking your potential.
Dorothea Brande famously wrote about becoming a writer, but Penn reveals what it’s like to actually *be* a writer, and successful author-entrepreneur at that. She is both gentle and encouraging, with a carrot that is much more prominent than the stick. She’s saying “Look, this is what I have achieved — climb up here and join me,” and never aloof or elitist. Whilst she never shies from pointing out potential pitfalls, it’s a message of hope, not hardship.
My Kindle version is smothered in the app’s highlighter function, so I’ve ordered the paperback too, to sit next to my writing desk and become dog-eared and annotated like every proper book about writing worth its salt should. A real cracker, and potentially a classic of its kind. However far you have travelled on the writer’s journey, this comes highly recommended. ∗∗∗∗∗