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22 August 2011

Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande

An unexpectedly intriguing and captivating book!

Unexpected, due to the unique content. Certainly not another 'this is how you write' book. In fact, her dismissal of prescriptive books and writing instruction in general is particularly vehement. This despite having read as many books about writing technique as she could find, attending numerous creative writing seminars and exploring life in a literary colony. And she's equally vocal in her disapproval of discouraging and dismissive messages often given to keen students by tutors and successful writers.

Intriguing, as she had no desire to produce a book on writing. Until that is, she accepted a teaching position herself. A role which drove her to encourage self-development, as opposed to a rigid, one-size-fits-all programme. To shine a light on the psyche of a writer. And ultimately to write this book.
Ms. Brande's clarity of thinking is supplemented by practical advice, aimed at helping a writer discover, nurture and exploit their inner genius. Considerable space is devoted to establishing regular writing patterns and balancing the writer's creative side with the requisite self-critical aspect of writing.
Yet, she's also sympathetic to the writer's magic, and those unpredictable flashes of inspiration - flashes that occur almost exclusively when the mind is occupied with tasks far removed from the literary domain.

And personally very captivating. From start to finish I invariably found myself in agreement with the author's views. Page after page of strangely familiar messages, purposeful advice, and genuine value.
All in all thoroughly encouraging read, full of positive thoughts and stimulating passages, from an author far ahead of her time.

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