Writers and Their Notebooks

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1570038662
ISBN-10: 157003866X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I salute the editor of this valuable collection, Diana Raab, who has done such a sensitive job of gathering these diverse, eloquent, and experienced voices and encouraging their thoughtful, heartbreaking, rambunctious, free flights of testimony and speculation into being. Freedom is a frequent theme in these pages. The freedom to try out things, to write clumsy sentences when no one is looking, to be unfair, immature, even to be stupid. No one can expect to write well who would not first take the risk of writing badly. The writer’s notebook is a safe place for such experiments to be undertaken.”— Phillip Lopate, from the foreword

From the Inside Flap

A peek inside the writerly testing grounds of Sue Grafton, Kim Stafford, and others
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (January 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157003866X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570038662
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John F. Lehman on June 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I wouldn't pick up this title if I saw it on a bookstore shelf or even a table at the library. Big mistake! You might think there is little more to say about journaling, but you'd be wrong. These 25 essays by various writers consider everything from using a journal as a tool for experiencing life to its being a means for creating short stories, poems, novels and autobiographies. But it's what some include and others exclude that's thought provoking.

I loved Sue Grafton: "This notebook (usually four times longer than the novel) is like a letter to myself, detailing every idea that occurs to me as I proceed." and "The journal is the writer's invitation to the Shadow, a means of beckoning to the Unconscious, enticing it to yield its potent magic to the creative process." She sees the journal as an "experimental" playground for the imagination.

Most writers have a special, close friendship with pen and paper that somehow computers have not dislodged. And it's an emphasis on cheap notepads, where we can rip out pages or cross out paragraphs, that I like. Ultimately, as Tin House's Michelle Wildgen notes, we put the inner editor and critic aside, write openly and are journaling even without the journal.

- John Lehman, [...]
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Writers And Their Notebooks is an anthology of essays by established and professional writers, discussing the value of simple notebooks to collect ideas, play around with words, discover new insights into evoking emotion with language, and much more. From sample journal entries that evolved into published pieces, to valuable advice for aspiring writers, to individual approaches to notebook keeping and much more, Writers And Their Notebooks is filled with tips, tricks, and techniques for getting creative juices flowing. An excellent supplementary reference for any would-be writer's shelf.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Judy Reeves on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've done it all my life and most the writers I know do it too: we keep notebooks or journals; some of us still call them diaries. How wonderful to find I'm in the same company as Robin Hemley, John Dufresne, Dorianne Laux and more than a score of other writers whose work I admire. And how reassuring to know they, too, have a place where they noodle around, dream things up, explore and try out ideas and that their place doesn't look all that different from mine. What I especially like about Diana Raab's book is the generous revealing of the creative workings and open-hearted generosity of the writers included. Plus I found a few tips for exercises to try in my own free-style notebook. All this experience and wisdom, plus an appendix that includes journal-writing exercises and a compilation of suggestions for further reading have me keeping my dog-eared copy of this book within easy reach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judy Rutledge on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked reading the different voices in this book. It gave me an overall picture of the wide variety of approaches writers use in journals. Their process is interesting to me, and it is here in one book. This is not as much a "how to write" book as a "how I do it book."
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