Because writing is such an individual experience, the best writing books are personal. That's why Nancy Slonim Aronie, a National Public Radio commentator and the founder of a Martha's Vineyard writers' workshop, spends as much time discussing her own writing process, and her moments of triumph and rejection, as she does giving advice on writing itself. She offers pointers on certain general topics, such as creating a point of view and finding a sense of discipline, but because you can only learn writing by doing it, she also provides a variety of creativity expanding exercises, such as "Write about a time you felt one way and acted another." As Aronie writes, "Teachers can guide, nudge, give examples, inspire, show some mechanics, teach a few rules (then encourage that they be broken), point out a few organizational skills. But basically, writing is about accessing the gold mine sitting inside each and every one of you."
From Library Journal
Both these books are about creative writing and finding a voice. Both talk about the healing power of the writing process. Aldrich, a creative writing teacher, focuses on journal writing. Her book is divided into three sections. The first includes reasons to keep a journal, how to do it, and a set of exercises to get started and overcome blocks. Section two is about different types of people who keep journals, and section three is a collection of entries from the author's own journals to use as examples for would-be journal writers. Her book includes many quotes from famous journal keepers and a useful annotated bibliography. Aronie, whose essays are aired on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, writes to inspire writers. Her style is warm and her message infectious. She too includes exercises to guide her readers. A major part of her message is just to get the paper and pen in contact with each other and worry about grammar and spelling and other "school stuff" after the habit of writing has been formed. This book, which compares favorably with Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird (LJ 8/94) and Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones (1986), is more readable than Aldrich's and is recommended for all public libraries.?Lisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., Wis.
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