Every once and awhile I get lucky and find a book that truly speaks to me and “How to Success!” is one. I felt like I was having a conversation with a fellow writer, commiserating about the trials and tribulations of our chosen profession over a glass of wine, rather than reading a stuffy how-to manual.
“Honestly, I wrote this simply because I thought it was funny,” said Caputo. “I’m not sure if I’m a success or not. It depends on how you define it. I have published a book, and that’s very cool. But I still have an unpredictable income and a variety of survival jobs, that’s not so cool.”
Caputo’s book is a tongue-and-cheek parody of what it means to be a success, including tips on how to dress, (she identifies as a Poet who thinks she is All Purpose Cool), how to shamelessly self-promote your book, and the importance of using emojis (her favorite is the hang-ten/call me emoji because she uses the gesture a lot in real life, and she despises the creepy clown emoji, which she calls the Babadook.)
With humor and authenticity, she describes her experiences with the collective struggles of every writer’s rite of passage, especially handling rejection, fighting procrastination and having the “coming out as a creative” conversation with family and friends.
“My favorite way to combat writer’s block is writing 50 ideas down in one sitting”
“I am definitely NOT always writing,” said Caputo. “Sometimes that makes me feel guilty, but it’s my art and I can do whatever I want with it. My favorite way to combat writer’s block is writing 50 ideas down in one sitting. Most of them are terrible, but that’s the point. Usually, you’ll walk away with one idea, maybe two, that you feel excited about, and that’s enough of a refresher to get back in the game.”
In addition to writing, Caputo is a comedian who stars in the web series “Life, After” and her talent for being funny and succinct shines through in her writing.
“I found the voice for this book as I was writing it, and to be honest, I worry it is something I’ll never be able to repeat,” said Caputo. “This book had a very distinct narrator I was writing for and that made things a little easier. If you are searching for a style, I’d suggest binge reading writers you love and try to copy their style. I did that and I found what joke style I loved and what worked for me.”
Perhaps what I enjoyed most about reading her book is Caputo’s humility and wit. She is someone who I’m rooting for, and I’d like to see her continue to succeed.
“I feel optimistic about where I am in my career right now, so I don’t think I’d change it,” said Caputo. “Maybe I’d go back in time and win the lotto so that I could just create and now balance day jobs too. But I think that’s cheating, no?”