Review ♦ The 30-Second Commute

30 Second Commute The 30-Second Commute:
A non-fiction comedy about writing and working from home.

The 30 Second Commute is a comic narrative about the real life of a full–time writer. Stephanie Dickison had been successfully publishing features and articles for over a decade while working a full–time job, but in December 2005, she left the secure world of a real job to tackle completing a manuscript that was close to five years old and to take on freelance writing full time. Drawing on her years as a book and pop music critic, she delves into food writing and becomes a restaurant critic for a big city Web site. She starts a blog about new products and services and soon, she and her fiancé have to consider moving due to the product piled up behind the bathroom door. Celebrity interviews, feature articles, and offers to speak about writing are just some of the highlights of what can happen when you get to live your dream. There are also the cautionary tales of what happens when you’re your own boss, saying yes to every offer that comes your way and typing hunched over a roll top desk for 14 hours a day, but mostly it is a celebration and exploration of a writer just trying to make her way in this crazy world – one word at a time.

Book Title: The 30-Second Commute Type: Trade Paperback 192 Pages
Author: Stephanie Dickison Publication Date: June 2009
Publisher: ECW Press ISBN: 978-1-55022-837-3
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir Purchase: Amazon

My Thoughts  
Becoming a full-time writer is not one of the things on my own personal life agenda, however full-time writers have always been people that I admire. I will admit that having a career that allows me to work from home is something I would love, although I’m pretty sure it’s not in my future. Honestly I have had daydreams involving me in pajamas, on my sofa, possessing the skills required to write something, anything, that would earn me a paycheck (and really who hasn’t dreamt of this?) But now after having read The 30-Second Commute I realize that my daydream is just that for me. For others with more motivation, more skill, and determination it could be a reality.

Stephanie Dickison has written this completely engaging work of non-fiction, that focuses on all the aspects of her life as a freelance writer with a goal to make it her full-time job. The 30-Second Commute is written and structured wonderfully. First of all the contents at the beginning is laid out to resemble a track list within a media player, using some familiar (to me) songs as well as ones I’d never heard of before. That made it really fun to try and guess how the chapter would relate to the song chosen as the chapter title. Another great thing about the chapters is that there is no inter-dependence between them. In other words, each chapter could be read alone, and the reader would not be left wondering. They each tell a small story. Put all these stories together and they are even more enjoyable. For me personally I like this structure which allows choice; being able to randomly choose a section to read, or reading from beginning to end.

Best of all, the stories themselves are fantastic! Although I enjoyed the entire book, it was the author’s personality that I liked best. Hearing about everything from her food writing to her multi-tasking prowess, the insights into pop culture and tidbits about family – all these subjects were interesting and helped envision where the author wanted to be as a writer. And I cannot forget to mention something that Jade Is The New BlackI find a terrific addition to non-fiction – visuals of any kind. Along with the track list contents page, The 30-Second Commute also contains photos, lists, informational text boxes, and even a recipe for fudge!  

This book is definitely one I enjoyed and would recommend. I’ve also been following along on Stephanies’ site The Knack where she talks about just about everything – if you are anything like me about nail polish you may want to check out her review of OPIs new 2010 line-up – I’m totally loving Jade Is The New Black!

About The Author
Journalist, essayist, and cultural critic Stephanie Dickison has contributed to several non-fiction books and encyclopedias and has written hundreds of articles for national and international magazines and newspapers. Her feature writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Washington Asia Press, The Writer, Pan,,, and dozens of other publications. She lives in Toronto.

Other Reviews

© 2008-2010 Joanne Mosher of The Book Zombie. All rights reserved.


Care said...

Daydreams are great, right? This sounds like a fun book - I'm off to go see those colors now.

bermudaonion said...

I have a feeling writing full time is one of those jobs that sounds better than it really is.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to have a talent that let me work from home. Actually, I'd rather just be independently wealthy, so I could stay home and read all day long.

JanuskieZ said...

Hi... Looking ways to market your blog? try this:

B.Kienapple said...

I didn't know about this one, it looks totally up my alley! For me, the issue attached to freelancing would not be one of motivation but the lack of water cooler gossip!

Andi said...

This one looks like a lot of fun! Definitely want to get my hands on a copy in the near future. My non-fiction shelf needs a new member.

naida said...

This sounds interesting, its great when the authors personality shines through in the writing.
Great review!
I do like OPI's nail polish!

Lenore said...

My commute is even less than that - maybe 5 seconds!

Colin Matthew ( said...

Sounds pretty interesting. I'll have to look for it next time I'm at the bookstore.

Zibilee said...

I like the sound of this book and am thinking about taking a closer look at it. I know that it's a dream of mine to be a full time writer, but I don't think I have the patience and fortitude to see myself through to that path. It sounds like I could live a bit vicariously through these pages, and in the process learn a bit as well. Glad you spotlighted this book. It looks very interesting.