Becoming a Writer (Book Review)

What is it like to write for a living? Michael Straczynski addresses this question in part in Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer. Straczynski also addresses the question of why people write when he quotes Steve King as King notes that you “do it because not to do it is suicide” (p. 2).

Straczynski also notes that he “has been fortunate enough to make a living as a writer for over forty years” (p. 1) so seeing what he has to say in Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer should provide valuable insight from his extensive experience. For example, Straczynski notes in the section on staying a writer that the Three Legged Stool Theory can help. Straczynski feels that to survive as a writer, the writer should always have “at least three streams of revenue and three steams of creative expression” (p. 196). Straczynski continues that when he first started out as a writer, he worked on newspaper articles, fiction, and radio (p. 196). 

If you wonder what it can be like to write for a living outside of technical writing or in addition to technical writing, Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer provides some insight. Straczynski addresses the young writer in the first part of the book on becoming a writer and includes a chapter to the college or university student. In the second part of the book on staying a writer, Straczynski addresses the person who is already established as a writer and what that writer can do to stay employed and working successfully in the field. It includes a section on writer’s block as Straczynski says it does not exist.

Becoming a Writer, Staying a Writer: The Artistry, Joy, and Career of Storytelling
J. Michael Straczynski. 2021. BenBella Books. 978-1-950665-88-4. 230 pages. US$17.95 (softback).

Note to readers: A version of this review is scheduled to appear in Technical Communication.

Reviewed by Jeanette Evans