On to my deep-seated belief that a book can teach you how to do anything or at least give you really good ideas of how to do anything.
Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box is one of the more all encompassing screenwriting books I’ve read at the same time it kind of lacks on the knitty-gritty. (I think George R.R. Martin’s discussion of his time in Hollywood in Dreamsongs is still one of the best I’ve read on the subject.) I did like that this book had a section on writing comedy which many lack and hey it’s always nice to read about how to get along with people or how a writer’s room works. The basic advice was watch a lot of television, write spec scripts for television shows that you actually like (makes sense) and know someone in the business or be prepared to suffer! Well, not suffer but the general impression I get from all these books is that if you don’t know someone or have connections you better be one heck of a writer and even then it’s pretty much in the hands of fate.
Blog Inc. definitely is one of the better blogging books that I’ve read if only because of the personal touch interviews throughout from people who have started wildly successful life-changing blogs. And maybe I’m just being cynical today but the basic thing I took from that was timing and luck plays a part here as well. The interviews involved mostly have blogs that concentrate on arts and crafts or highly visual mediums. Still there are tidbits in there about how people expanded and how they changed as the blog got bigger. Or maybe the blog changed them? Probably a little of both…
Neither one of these books are really reinventing anything and they’re both good for beginners but I’d still recommend them if you’re interested in either field. Writing especially is a solitary sometimes painfully creative affair and I always find it nice to get another perspective on the process.