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Joey Franklin

The Writer's Hustle: A Professional Guide to the Creativity, Discipline, Humility, and Grit Every Writer Needs To Flourish

The Writer's Hustle: A Professional Guide to the Creativity, Discipline, Humility, and Grit Every Writer Needs To Flourish

Published by Bloomsbury Academic, December 2022

The Writer's Hustle is a comprehensive guide to all the things successful writers do when they're not sitting at the keyboard. Drawing on wisdom from dozens of experienced authors, professors, students, and other writing professionals, this book offers pragmatic and systematic advice on the everyday professional practices that make up a writer's life.

In ten chapters, Franklin covers the full arc of a writer's professional development, from setting goals and establishing a routine, to mastering writing groups and workshops, earning a mentor, and becoming a literary citizen. He explores strategies for attending conferences, finishing projects, submitting work, and maintaining a life-long writing habit, and he examines the potential benefits of a formal creative writing education, including a close look at how creative writing students can leverage their liberal arts training into a wide range of careers.

Informative and personal, The Writer's Hustle is an ideal companion for university students, recent graduates, and independent enthusiasts-anyone looking to cultivate the creativity, discipline, humility, and grit that every writer needs to flourish.

Faculty Book Review given by Brian Jackson.

Twenty-three years ago, for eighteen months, I wanted to write The Catcher in the Rye for the 21st century. Though we are all relieved that I did not try to do that, I thought of that version of myself when I read Joey Franklin’s delightful and practical and thorough book The Writer’s Hustle, printed by Bloomsbury this year, with charming illustrations by our own Kath Richards.

If I were to take this book with me into the DeLorean and go back to give it to BJ Salinger, back in 2000, what would Brian learn from Joey?

He would learn that the word hustle means “cultivating the discipline to treat [creative] writing like work” rather than just a hobby. He’d learn that while there is no “single right way to navigate the writing life,” there are enough common practices to constitute a writing hustler’s lifestyle.

Joey’s wise goodwill shines in every chapter. Because he’s in teacher-mentor mode, he shares trade secrets about professional acculturation: choosing grad programs, going to conferences, planning creative dissertations, submitting work. He’s also writing to anyone who has discovered that “a lifelong habit of reading and writing” helps them “live a richer, more satisfying life.” His “Writer’s Hustle” self-evaluation is not just a reflective exercise but an invitation to discover joy in the work.

His own advice has all the hallmarks of an excellent mentor: humble, self-aware, emotionally intelligent, confident, temperate without sounding boring, generous. But he has also did a significant amount of research for the project, interviewing dozens of working writers and synthesizing writing manuals, guidebooks, published interviews, magazine articles, blog posts, advice forums, YouTube videos, podcasts. He describes the habits of creative writers in their solitude and in their groups. (He has fantastic advice about giving and receiving feedback.

I don’t know the extent to which it has occurred to Joey or will occur to his readers, but The Writer’s Hustle can be read as a treatise on virtue ethics for professional creative writers of all kinds. Here are just a few insights: “Good literary citizenship means sharing and defending literary art not because it will be good for our careers but because all meaningful art needs champions.” “It’s up to us to make sure we don’t exploit [our mentors’] goodwill.” “Look for events that aim to elevate underrepresented voices.” “Embrace difficulty.” “Submission can help us accept that we don’t always know as much as we think we do about our own work.” “Do not take rejection personally.” “This is the writer’s hustle—not careerism or networking. Not schmoozing or selling out. But knowing what’s good for us as writers and having he discipline necessary to make it happen.”