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Writing from the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within Paperback – October 2, 2000

35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471382669 ISBN-10: 0471382663 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Dennis Palumbo has great insight into a writer?s psyche.... Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper." ?Gary Shandling, actor, comic, and writer

"wise, compassionate, and funny..." ?Aram Saroyan, poet and novelist

"Dennis Palumbo provides a sense of community in the isolation of writing, of knowing that we are not alone on this uncharted and privileged journey. He shows us that our shared struggles, fears, and triumphs are the very soul of the art and craft of writing." ?Bruce Joel Rubin, screenwriter, GhostandDeepImpact

Writer?s block. Procrastination. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Just plain...fear. What does it mean if you struggle with these feelings on a daily basis?It means you?re a writer.Written with a unique empathy and deep insight by someone who is both a fellow writer and a noted psychotherapist, Writing from the Inside Out sheds light on the inner life of the writer and shows you positive new ways of thinking about your art?and yourself. Palumbo touches on subjects ranging from writer?s envy to rejection, from the loneliness of solitude to the joy of craft. Most of all, he leads you to the most empowering revelation of all?that you are enough. Everything you need to navigate the often tumultuous terrain of the writer?s path and create your best work is right there inside you.

About the Author

DENNIS PALUMBO, MA, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. He cowrote the screenplay for the award-winning My Favorite Year and other films, numerous TV episodes and pilots, and the novel City Wars. Palumbo writes the highly popular "The Writer's Life" column in Written By, the magazine of the Writer's Guild of America, and his work helping writers has been profiled in Premiere magazine, the LA Times, and on CNN.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471382663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471382669
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,322 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter ("My Favorite Year," "Welcome Back, Kotter," etc.), DENNIS PALUMBO is now a licensed psychotherapist, specializing in creative issues. Author of "Writing From the Inside Out" (John Wiley), his first novel was a sci-fi thriller, "City Wars" (Bantam Books), before he turned to crime. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand, and elsewhere, and is collected in "From Crime to Crime" (Tallfellow Press). His acclaimed debut crime novel, "Mirror Image," was the first in a series featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. It was followed by "Fever Dream" and "Night Terrors." The fourth Rinaldi thriller, "Phantom Limb," is on sale now. All from Poisoned Pen Press, and all available in print, audio and e-book formats.

Dennis also blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and writes a column called "Hollywood on the Couch" for the Psychology Today website. For more info, visit www.dennispalumbo.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Amerikangirl on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
The first and sometimes only thing I read in the monthly Writers Guild of American Journal is Dennis Palumbo's column, so I knew I had to have this book. What I didn't know is how much it would help me. A successful TV person, I have been avoiding writing my first novel for years. Blocked. Totally. Although I thought I had heard all the advice, I had never heard anyone describe a block in the way Palumbo does. Turning it from a negative to a positive worked. I began to view the block as a stepping stone or a bridge (albeit a creaky, scary swinging bridge), rather than a concrete wall. In this way, I was finally able to stop beating myself up for the avoidance, and accept it as a part of the process. Lo and behold, book is done and the agent loves it! Thank you, Mr. Palumbo, for helping me write the thing I spent four years avoiding.
Also especially loved what Palumbo had to say about writers' envy of other successful writers. Until I read this, I thought it was my own dirty, little secret. Now I know that all the rest of you hope my books does as lousy as I hope yours does...
If you love to write, you'll like this book. If you hate to write, you may like it even more.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Buster Maxwell / Writer, Performer, Producer on March 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Think you're the only writer in the world wracked with self-doubt, insecurity, fear and loneliness? Think again. Writer/Therapist Dennis Palumbo reveals, with heart and humour, just how common these feelings are, and better yet, how they can furnish the real raw materials for fulfilling writing.
Through heartbreaking and inspiring stories from his own life and practice, he does nothing less than illuminate the path to every writer's essential, ongoing, transformative process. He even replicates sessions of client-therapist dialogue so clearly and beautifully that they make you sit up and say, "Hey, that's me he's talking to!"
This is a well-crafted book about the "doing" of writing, one that makes you proud to be a writer, makes you want to write better, and then gives you specific tools to do exactly that.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Richard Setlowe on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
I've read this book three times, some sections four times. Most of the chapters were originally a series of monthly columns "The Writer's Life" by Dennis Palumbo that ran in the Writer's Guild of America magazine. Like most members of the WGA it was the first thing to which I turned, because it was indeed about my life, about writing my first novel, the occasional screenplay, and now that I am currently writing my sixth novel, this book is on my bed stand-which explains the third and fourth readings.
But "Writing from the Inside Out" is not a collection of old columns. Palumbo enhanced and rewrote the original material as an inspired book about the psyche of the writer and the creative process itself and how to nurture and sustain it when not only the outside world but your own mind appears to be thwarting you. For such a wise and insightful work it is often entertaining and a delight to read, no doubt because Palumbo was a successful TV sitcom and screenwriter who co-wrote "My Favorite Year" (not incidentally about a meshuggeneh TV writer) before answering the calling to be a psychotherapist specializing in creative issues. In his new profession he now enjoys an international rep.
The comic and comedy writer Gary Shandling comments in a blurb, "Every writer should have a shrink or this book. The book is cheaper."
Shandling is not joking. At Palumbo's current fees I estimate I have saved $11,000 each time I read this book thoughtfully chapter by chapter.
There are a few who criticize that "Writing from the Inside Out" makes the struggle to write seem too difficult.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By isala on September 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Palumbo is a writer turned psychotherapist. He saw all his own problems writing, and understood others also had them, and found his new voaction counceling other authors at various stages in their careers. As such the book differs from most other writer's guide books. He focuses on the internal processes of writing: self-doubt, negative judgement, hopelessness, loneliness, lack of ideas, etc. And he does give very valuable advice. Basically, he tells us to turn our weaknesses into strenghts. We can use anything in our writing, even our procrastination and depression. An idea that actullay goes back all the way to Nietzsche.

Thios book will not write anything for you, but it will help give new clarity to your thoughts about writing, and in that way help you with your writing.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By G. Cavanaugh on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Let's see what the film industry says. Reviewer Michael Farkash relates it like this in his November, 2000, Hollywood Reporter article: "Screenwriter-turned-psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo is able to do the most difficult thing for anxiety-ridden scribes to do: turn negatives into positives. An eminently readable book that deftly identifies stumbling blocks and how to overcome them, "Writing From the Inside Out: Transforming Your Psychological Blocks to Release the Writer Within" is more than a little food for thought. It's the promise of an entire spiritual banquet for emotionally debilitated creative writers."
Savor the flavor, I might add. Farkash continues, "This is not a how-to book in the usual sense, nor is it a compendium of quick fixes. "Writing" identifies key problems, including envy and burnout, that may weigh down writers or anyone else who uses creative methods in their work. There are also the hard facts here, the cold equations that have no answers--like dealing with agents who won't return your phone calls.
"With the kinds of insights available to a professional writer and the thoughtful study that turns a layman into a therapist, Palumbo offers keys to dealing with the thousand or more doubts and frustrations that a writer's spirit is prone to suffer. The book offers tons of inspiration that can actually drive hope into creative writers."
Hmm. When was the last time something like that happened? The reviewer continues. "It's in the final chapters that Palumbo covers the ultimate challenges of the career writer's life: dealing with ageism and hanging on despite adversity.
"In terms of ageism, there's commiseration but no solution. After all, how does one buck an entire marketplace?
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