What’s on my bookshelf? If You Can Talk, You Can Write

First of all, I love short chapters.

Thank you, Joel Saltzman, author of If You Can Talk, You Can Write [1993]—50 chapters squeezed into 190 pages.

And he practices what he preaches, as Saltzman might as well be playfully preaching to us over coffee in the kitchen.

Three of my preferred chapters:

  • If You Don’t Know What to Say, Start Saying It
  • Write About What Matters to You
  • But It’s Not Even Close to Perfect

My favorite Saltzman quotes:

  • “What’s needed is entitlement, the firm belief that ‘If it interests me, it interests others.’ “
  • “All you have to do is learn to stop rejecting your thoughts and start writing them down.”
  • “…you can adopt a much saner, more productive point of view: PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION.”

Saltzman also weaves in short anecdotes, pop quizzes [Ten questions you can’t get wrong], and valuable quotes from other writers, including:

  • “In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts.” —Goethe
  • “If the result of something I do is that someone feels 10 percent less crazy because they see someone else thinking what they’re thinking, then I provide a service.” —Albert Brooks

This is one of about a dozen books I would snag from my shelf in case a fire broke out at home. [If it wasn’t already been planted in my back seat box of writing stuff…]