Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 40:

“I’m sorry, but advice books about writing just don’t work for me.”

You are correct. Advice books don’t work for you; you must work for them.

If you pick up an advice book, flip through it, and then set it down, yes, it won’t help you.

But if you sit down with intention and do the first exercise and then the second and then the third, you will find that working the workbook does work for you. Of course, each person must adapt advice given for many people to their particular circumstances. And some resistance to others’ advice is always wise. But every novice author can extract something useful from my book for their writing.

Now, if you don’t mind me being cheeky for a moment—maybe you are so special, so unique, that a book that has helped literally tens of thousands of other people get published won’t help you with your unique issues. But, I’ve got to be honest with you: I highly doubt that your problems are that special. Your strengths may be special, but your weaknesses aren’t. As the twelve-step program puts it, feeling “terminally unique,” exceptionally different, is a damaging form of isolation.

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 40, one of the obstinance obstacles listed on page 32 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).