Writers and creative types are oftentimes their own worst critics, taking our failures personally and work seriously. In a society that values commercial success above virtually everything else, we are inundated with an overabundance of advice—delivered in the form of how-to guides, motivational manifestos and TED Talks, not to mention Pinterest boards filled with inspirational quotes. Tools like these aim to help us manage our creativity and work ethic and formulate a path to success, as if it’s like solving a math equation. As creative types attempt to follow these road maps, most end up feeling like they are not good enough or working hard enough or doing the right things.
In “How To Success! A Writer’s Guide to Fame and Fortune,” Corrine Caputo provides the comic relief we are all yearning for and places a giant ‘LOL’ behind many of the common worries that writers deal with. Her book echoes a comforting sentiment: “me too.” The witty banter and classic parody reminds the reader that he or she is not alone in dealing with family members who question our passion for writing—or in our habit of finding convenient excuses for not writing. In fact, she offers up nine excuses in the section titled “I Couldn’t Write Today Because ...”—excuses that range from, “I discovered my ex is on Twitter and was consumed by sadness and regret,” to “I started a blog and spent the afternoon deciding on a page layout.” Both are equally hilarious and relatable.
After addressing topics like how to write a novel, memoir and screenplay—all framed by her spot-on sarcastic lens—Caputo closes out the guide with the ever-so-essential chapter, “Preparing for Fame.” Among other things, she offers tips on developing one’s autograph and advice for dealing with fans; she even ponders how to invest millions and ensure one’s legacy.
In the end, reading “How To Success!” lightens the pressure many creatives put on themselves to succeed. In effect, it acts as a mirror, showing readers how silly and elusive writing—and writers—can be. Caputo offers practical advice with a comedic twist that will have you laughing out loud.