Books Reviews

Work Hard, Not Smart

Work Hard, Not Smart by Alexis Paige

At the ripe age of forty, when Alexis Paige was finally diagnosed with ADHD—Inattentive Type, she rolled her eyes even before the doctor could finish spelling out her new marching orders: The goal now, he said, is to learn how to work smart, not hard.

But that doesn’t sound like any fun, she said. She was going to have to do this, too—ironically, inexplicably, comically—as she did everything else, the hard way.

Part memoir, part craft guide, Work Hard, Not Smart, shows how Alexis lives her messy literary life. She invites you to step into her mismatched shoes. And if you do, you’ll find the writing companion you’ve been looking for.

Page has written a witty and insightful craft book. It tells you that not all writing runs according to schedules or deadlines. It is a testament to how messy life can be, how far thoughts can wander, and how fleeting success and contentment are. In short, it shows that writing is complicated.

She uses examples from her life to discuss

  • learning and teaching writing
  • navigating the murky waters of writing for a diverse audience
  • dealing with incarceration, assault, rejection, and impostor syndrome
  • writing the story despite (or because of) all the problems and obstacles in your path

Although the blurb says part memoir, part craft guide, in many places it reads like a thesis on other people’s essays and books. The book is full of thoughts that go off tangent and confuse you until they are herded back in to be connected somehow. Page also uses complicated words and jargon, which prompts you to leave the book and search for them.

Having said that, I loved the book. I may read it again.

Note: I received an advance review copy from BookSirens for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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