Becoming A Writer

yellow sunflower bookcover of Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande

I highly recommend this book a friend from London gave me 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

 

Fortnightly Story: Tom

man in black wetsuit riding a wave

May Ling steps across the skipping rope.  I’m waiting for her with her baby brother, outside the school hall, but she hasn’t seen me yet.   Every Thursday when she finishes her Hip Hop class I hang about with the other mothers and grandmothers and carers.  It’s a routine I enjoy—walking up here with the baby in the stroller and then chatting with May Ling as we walk home. Continue reading

I’m A Writing Workshop Junkie

red book cover of The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore

‘A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’ – Thomas Mann

Even though I’ve had many of my short stories published, plus a novel, and a second novel accepted, I’m always wanting to learn more about the writing process – especially the link between creativity and spirituality.  Four weeks ago I enrolled in ‘The Mindful Writer’,  a course devised and presented by  Walter Mason.  Highly recommended.  He combines the insights of meditation and mindfulness with the joy of creative writing.

‘Tap into your true creative thinking through mindfulness and become aware of the vast reserves of wisdom within.’ – Walter Mason

Dinty Moore, in his book The Mindful Writer, Noble Truths of the Writing Life, says his lifelong pursuit of writing and creativity has helped to open him to the path of Buddhism:

“Find inspiration and insight on writing as a spiritual practice through astute quotes, thoughtful advice, and productive exercises on both mindfulness and craft.  This isn’t your typical “how to write” book. Author Dinty W. Moore, a well-respected writing coach and teacher, thoughtfully illuminates the creative process: where writing and creativity originate, how mindfulness plays into work, how to cultivate good writing habits and grow as a person, and what it means to live a life dedicated to writing. The Mindful Writer features bite-sized essays that will delight and inform not only writers, but also other artists, mediators and mindfulness practitioners. Built around heartening quotes from famous writers and thinkers, it is a resource that readers will turn to again and again for guidance and encouragement.” – Simon & Schuster Australia

On the never-ending path of learning more about the craft of writing, I also enrolled at the Blogging University (yet again) and took the WordPress course  Writing: Shaping Your Story – an intermediate course on the art of revision:  four weeks of self-editing and rewriting.  Dig into the process of focusing and building a story, whether fiction or nonfiction.  Lots of useful information.  And the course is free :).

So back to my desk now and to the work of crafting a new novel.