Book Review: Building a Life Out of Words by Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker has a fascinating story. Fortunately, he is a wonderful story-teller, so that works out well for him.

In his new e-book Building a Life Out of Words, Shawn shares the story of becoming a full-time writer. The first thing that you should know about this book is that it is not a how-to book. If you’re reading this to find out how you can make a living as a writer, this is not going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve that goal. However, any time someone shares their story, there will be events that you can learn from if you want to follow in their footsteps.

Through the chapters, Shawn tells us a bit more about his journey. His fears, his failures, his successes, his resolve. I really enjoyed reading about he and his wife Maile navigated the challenges of not knowing what was in front of them, but how they worked together to follow their dreams. Each chapter offers one main ideal that Shawn shares in bold. Again, because this is not a how-to book, these are not action steps or anything like that, but rather larger forces that work against you when you choose to pursue your dream (which also makes them applicable for a wider audience, not simply for those interested in writing).

One other element in each chapter is a contribution from someone who either makes a living as a writer or is on their way to making a living as a writer. I was already familiar with nearly all of the authors in this section, and while each piece was well-written, I felt like this could have been an opportunity to offer a bit more how-to advice and it seemed too scattered for my taste. I’m sure that part of that is just that what works for one person may not work for everyone, but I still felt like these stories could have been a bit more practical. Because they didn’t all follow the same format (practical help or more ideology based), they felt a bit disjointed.

That said, this is still a great book and I would easily recommend it to someone interested in pursuing work as a full-time writer. At no point is the journey made to look glamorous (unless living in your parents’ basement has a certain cache that I’m of yet still unaware), but it does look like something that is attainable. I always enjoy the honesty found in Shawn’s writing and this is no exception. If you’re interested in pursuing a path different from the one that you are currently on, this book is for you. And if you’re simply looking for a good story about someone who is doing what they love, this book is for you.

Head over to Shawn’s site for information on how to purchase this book!

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Shawn blogs (almost) daily at http://shawnsmucker.com. He is currently traveling the country for four months with his wife and four children in a big, blue bus named Willie, looking for service opportunities as well as other writers to meet up with. You can find him on Facebook (Shawn Smucker, Writer) and Twitter (@shawnsmucker).



Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Building a Life Out of Words for the purpose of review and am in a drawing for a $100 gift card. However, all opinions are 100% my own. 

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