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Anybody Can Write: A Playful Approach : Ideas for the Aspiring Writer, the Beginner, and the Blocked Writer Paperback – February, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: New World Library; Revised edition (February 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157731056X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577310563
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,998,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This cheerful little book is full of sensible reminders concerning what its author, Roberta Jean Bryant, calls the "trial-and-error-and-error-and-error process of writing." Bryant does not make light of the difficulties of writing; rather, she believes that if you actually manage to have fun at it, "you'll be more likely to have a deeper experience." Bryant's approach may be playful, but she has her own quiet way of whipping her readers into shape. Toward the beginning of Anybody Can Write, she provides a method for assessing how much of one's writing energy actually goes into writing. "Dreaming of being a writer," she warns, "...is not writing. Thinking about writing is not writing. Getting excited by ideas for stories, plotting out a book in your head, reading about writing--none of these is writing.... Writing is putting words on paper."

Bryant guides her readers from first draft ("a time ... to fingerpaint with words") through rewrites and feedback--"you know you've received good advice," she says, "when, after hearing it, you wish you'd thought of it yourself, or you have a spontaneous and genuine desire to try it out." And she discusses how--if you so desire--to get published (the secret, she says, "is to have the right manuscript on the right desk at the right time"). "Anybody Can Write" leans toward the inspirational, but it is not cloying. Bryant may be trying to embrace and encourage all would-be writers, but she does not invite mediocrity. "Aim to go beyond ordinary limits with your writing," she intones. "Remember that a laborer is someone who works with his hands, a craftsperson is someone who works with his hands and head, but an artist is someone who works with his hands, head, and heart." Oh, yes--and "begin now." --Jane Steinberg


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shewolfe on August 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I didn't want to finish this book -- it was so good, I didn't want it to end. I will definitely be reading this book again and again. If you're new to writing, this book is an absolute must-have. Possibly the only one you'll ever need outside of reference material. If you're trying to decide on which book to purchase -- look no further -- this is the one. If you're thinking of pursuing writing for pleasure or eventual publishing, you should read this book -- it will inspire and free you, and give you a whole new outlook about writing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John C. Dunbar on June 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for the beginning writer because it is easy and fun to read and covers the important topics. The author, Roberta Jean Bryant, hosts writing seminars and this experience produced this fine how-to book. This book would make a great companion to take on a long airplane flight. It's about 200 pages long.

Anybody Can Write covers many subjects covered by other authors of this how-to-write genre: philosophical, psychological, and practical writing tips. At times it seems to gloss over certain topics without going too deep. But at all times topics are presented with a voice that shows she really cares about you developing your writing skills -- and perhaps the writing habit.

The book is broken up into many small chapters (24) and most end with a set of fun writing exercises. These exercises were well chosen and avoided the crazy ones I've seen in other books. Hers are creative but not stupid.

What I liked most of all was her pulling away the shade cloth on the issue of reading: Reading is (inner-world) passive, writing is (outer-world) active. She shines the light of reality on this whole issue of taking active action to your writing. Only putting words on paper is active. All else is a passive action. This includes reading, researching, etc.

There were several other areas that I enjoyed and they included: her daily writing habits, her definition of writing, her view of Escape Writing.

First, her favorite definition of writing is "A writer is someone who wrote this morning." I don't believe this is original with the author. Nevertheless it becomes the foundation she uses to construct her writing recommendations. Second, Escape Writing should replace Escape Reading.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
"A wonderfully fresh and inspiring guide for writers just starting out or stuck along the way, this completely revised edition is better than ever!" -NAPRA Review - March/April '99
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Colette LaCasse on June 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for the invidivual that is terrified of writing but has always wanted to. My mother bought this for me years ago and I take it out and read it every once in awhile to get back into the groove of writing. I never tire of it. I would love to see a workbook or an additional book written by this author.
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