“I dislike books on writing for the same reason I dislike self-help books: because people mistake the work of reading them for the actual work one must do to get better at writing, or better at dealing with yourself and your foibles. The ersatz jolt of advice wears off after a while, leaving the reader in exactly the same place, and they go searching for another high. Like the diet industry, if there was ever a “magic” formula, the entire edifice would tank overnight and several people would be out of jobs.
Why am I doing this? Simple. I’ve been asked by Readers and fellow writers to collect these essays for their reference. If it reaches beyond that small audience, please be warned: there are no goddamn shortcuts, don’t mistake the effort of reading this for the real work.
Which is writing.”