Book Review: “Words to live by” – A writer’s bible


Asnycnow’s Diplomatic Editor Charles Ray  reviewed the book, “Words to live b=By” by Bobbi Linkemer, LinkUp Publishing, St. Louis, MO, 2010.

In 1968, Bobbi Linkemer was a thirty year old wife and mother looking for a night school course to take on Monday nights. In her own words, “Any class would do as long as it wasn’t yoga. My friend was taking yoga, and I thought that sounded ghastly.” Luckily for those of us who are engaged in free lance writing, Linkemer enrolled in a course called “Writing for Fun and Money,” taught by a hard-boiled, straight talking newspaper reporter. In that class, her writing talent was recognized and encouraged, and it started a 40-plus year career that has resulted in 16 books, ghostwriting, editing, and coaching writers.
Words to live by is her latest offering, and if you’re looking for a great addition to your writer’s library, I can think of no better book. Reflections on the writing life from a veteran writer, this book, in clear prose, takes us through her 40 years of struggling with rejection slips, mastering previously unknown skills, and finally breaking through after years of persistent effort to the stellar world of ‘published’ author.
If you’ve been free lancing for longer than a year, you’ll certainly recognize the agonies and joy in her first three chapters as she describes her journey from beginning writer, unfamiliar with submission procedures, to instant editor of a community paper when the editor suddenly quit, to a job writing for another publication, where she learned to be a ‘real writer.’
She pulls no punches as she describes the ups and downs of the free lance writing life; but, what comes through loud and clear is that if you want to be a writer, you have to keep writing; you have to keep thrusting yourself out there. Fear of rejection is a human emotion; but courage is swallowing and facing the possibility of rejection anyway. One of the ways Linkemer describes getting over ‘rejection syndrome’ was to paper one of her writing studio walls with rejection slips. Rather than seeing them as signs of failure, she used them as prods to motivate her to go on.
This book puts to rest all the urban myths about becoming a writer. You don’t have to start young. You can start whenever the motivation arises; and as Linkemer has demonstrated, if the motivation is strong enough, you can succeed.
There are books that tell you how to plot; how to do narration; all manner of technical schemes and advice. But, for a book that just gets down to basics and tells you how to be a writer; Words to live by is, as far as I’m concerned, THE bible for writers. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out, or like me, have been struggling for decades, you’ll find inspiration in this short book.