I finally finished reading an aspiring author's staple:
bird by bird by Anne Lamott
I've read other books like this - guides to being a writer and whatnot. Stephen King's On Writing is a classic. King's guide was great, but it was a bittersweet read. There were joyful parts (buying his wife the hair-dryer on Mother's Day - *tear*) but there were also really tragic parts, and not much humor. Plus, I dislike horror, and even the brief descriptions King gave of his own books kept me up at night. I haven't read Cujo or seen the movie, but after reading On Writing, I am terrified of being trapped in car with a rabid dog clawing at the door.
I would say that King and Lamott provide equally good advice for aspiring authors, but they take different approaches. Anne Lamott is hysterical and shameless. She admits to things like wanting someone who's rambling about their success to just shut up already - the kinds of thoughts we all have, but few of us admit.
Writing is a lonely pursuit. Most of the time that suits me just fine, but sometimes it feels like my mind is starting to unravel. You can only have so many conversations with fictional people before you start to wonder about your own sanity, you know? What I loved about bird by bird is that it reminded me I'm not alone, and that even when I think I might be acting lazy or neurotic, I'm really being perfectly normal as far as writers go. I love that idea not just because it means I'm not crazy, but because it means that I'm on the path of the writer, which is exactly where I want to be.