Writerly Dread and the Pages of Self-Help

Chelsea Leu at Lit Hub:

If self-help books soothe people whose lives feel like open wounds, there’s perhaps no class of people who needs the category more than writers do. It was only lately that I realized I was drawn to self-improvement books, and the certainty they sell, because I was a writer—because the life of a writer is marked by insecurity both emotional and financial, rejection at seemingly every turn, and the fact that no one has any idea what you’re talking about when you say writing is hard and you hate it. I think of Annie Dillard, in The Writing Life, who says as much to a local ferryman and then hastily backtracks. “But I rallied and mustered and said that the idea was to learn things; that you learn a thing and then as a matter of course you learn the next thing, and the next thing,” she writes. “As I spoke he nodded precisely in the way that one nods at the utterances of the deranged. ‘And then,’ I finished brightly, ‘you die!’”

more here.