Writing Tip: Becoming A Writer

yellow sunflower bookcover of Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande

I highly recommend a book on the writing process titled, ‘Becoming A Writer’ by Dorothea Brande. It was given to me by a friend many years ago at the beginning of my writing journey.

‘A reissue of a classic work published in 1934 on writing and the creative process, Becoming a Writer recaptures the excitement of Dorothea Brande’s creative writing classroom of the 1920s. Decades before brain research “discovered” the role of the right and left brain in all human endeavor, Dorothea Brande was teaching students how to see again, how to hold their minds still, how to call forth the inner writer.’ – Amazon

‘Refreshingly slim, beautifully written and deliciously elegant, Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It’s just a question of finding the “writer’s magic”–a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.

‘With close reference to the great writers of her day–Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on–Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it–“You have decided to write at four o’clock, and at four o’clock you must write.” She’s strong on confidence building and there’s a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina. She also shows how to harness the unconscious, how to fall into the “artistic coma,” then how to re-emerge and be your own critic.

‘This is Dorothea Brande’s legacy to all those who have ever wanted to express their ideas in written form. A sound, practical, inspirational and charming approach to writing, it fulfills on finding “the writer’s magic.”‘ – John Gardner

Do you have a favourite book about the writing process that you’ve found to be especially useful on your writing journey?

4 thoughts on “Writing Tip: Becoming A Writer

  1. I like the sound of this book, Libby. There is so much emphasis on speed and output. I have quite a few books on writing, one still to read: The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human, and How to Tell Them Better, by Will Storr. This is to help me with plotting and ideas around this. Plotting is my sticking point! But at the same time, depth and language matter to me, so a range of books works best for me – impossible to pick a fave :>)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Lynne. ‘The Art of Slow Writing’ is well worth a read. Absorbing the excellent short chapters helps to take the pressure off ourselves regarding speed and output. Yes, plotting is a tough one. Plotting and structure.
      I spend a lot of time studying the way other writers structure their work. I find if I have a framework to build on, it helps with ‘performance anxiety’ 😉

      Like

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