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Writing the Natural Way Paperback – April 3, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Rev Sub edition (April 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874779618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874779615
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For twenty years, Gabriele Rico, Ph.D., has led workshops and lectured extensively on the creative process and the application of brain research to learning. A professor of English and creative arts at San Jose State University, she lives in Chicago.

More About the Author

Gabriele Rico (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1976) authored the best-selling Writing the Natural Way (Tarcher/Penguin, 1983, 2002) and Creating Re-Creations: Inspiration from the Source (2002). She is co-author of several textbooks, including Discovering Literature (Prentice Hall). Forthcoming is Write to Fly Again, focusing on directing human emotions constructively through writing.
Bridging the humanities and the sciences, Rico speaks widely on the application of brain research to writing, to learning, and to creative process--most recently on the roles of improvisation, play, and time-awareness in creative engagement. She developed Clustering, a tool to tap into the brain's self-organizing process, which has found its way into textbooks on writing and journaling, and into computer software used in schools everywhere.
Honored as San Jose State University's President's Scholar in 1986, she was selected Teacher/ Scholar in 1993. In 1992 she held an Endowed Chair at Notre Dame (Belmont).
She is at work on a book exploring the relationship between paintings and poems, Pictures Speak, Poems See. Her creative nonfiction work, entitled MIND SHADOWS: A Child Recalls War, has been an emotional challenge. Her translations of contemporary poems from German-to-English and English-to-German, entitled The Root Hunger for Angels, bring her full circle back to her mother tongue. Other projects include a book on the brain, time, and creativity.
Her newest adventure has been the founding a publishing house, Natural Way Publishing, whose aim is to publish books that deserve to see the light of day. Her first was Tobias Grether's HOMOCHRONOS: The Emergence of Time-Consciousness (2011). Next is Janet Post, Cotton Rock (October, 2011), then two children's books by author Robin Nelson, The Quietest Bird and Not Enough Puffins (2012). Stay tuned for six more in 2012. Her website is www.writingthenaturalway.com where you can reach her.

Customer Reviews

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By the time I had finished this book, I had a stack of written pages.
Professional Writer
Whether you are an accomplished writer, just beginning, or someone like me who sometimes finds it tough to get the idea started, you have to see this book.
Dr Rico's techniques are unique and "sure fire" in "unsticking" one caught up in dreaded writer's block.
Barbara Golding

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book inspired me to write, and it offered great practical advice with the technique of clustering and writing with my Design mind. Rico helped me to realize that anything I wanted to write was already inside, waiting to be tapped. Using Rico's techniques, I am able to write in ways that continue to astound me. I have used her techniques to write papers as a student in classes, as well as to write on my own. I am now a published writer of fiction and non-fiction, and I continue to use her ideas and inspiration.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By R. Tiedemann on July 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
Here's the scientific way to becoming a writer -- that is, by using right brain techniques to release your expressive powers: clustering, recurrence, revision (meaning re-seeing), image and metaphor, creative tension, trial web and language rhythm.
Rico begins by teaching the reader how to release the "inner writer." Her method is one of brainstorming, but she calls it clustering. It's free association designed to call the subconcious into creative action. It works. It's the modern and scientific adaptation of a technique Dorothea Brande wrote about in the 1930s in BECOMING A WRITER.
Most writers like to watch their words appear on paper -- or on the computer screen. Then we read them to see what we think. I call it writing from the heart; Rico calls it right brain activity. Whatever you call it, it works, it's useful and learning to use it can change your writing -- for the better -- forever.
No serious writer should be without this book, no matter what he/she writes. Don't just read it, do the exercises. They're fun, they'll surprise and enlighten you and whether you're a novice or a pro, they'll make you a better writer.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Michael Meanwell on November 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Consider this: all writing begins with an idea. The art of writing is the act of expressing that idea as succinctly and wholly as possible. And that's the hardest thing for many writers ~ getting on screen the right words, in the right order.
Whether it's a lack of inspiration, an overload of information or just muddled thinking, writer's block is a very real affliction that affects most writers at some stage.
The good news is that 'Writing the Natural Way' offers a solution for those faced with this problem.
Put simply, psychologist and author Dr Gabriele Rico has developed the concept of 'clustering', which essentially circumvents the left hemisphere of the brain (what she refers to as the 'Sign Mind'), so that you can release raw creativity from the right hemisphere (or 'Design Mind'), which is responsible for artist pursuits.
Her book contains a variety of simple exercises and strategies that stimulate the left and right hemispheres to work individually or simultaneously to solve problems. They are also designed to enhance a writer's potential, by accessing latent language, story-telling abilities and natural styles.
Rico's work is ground breaking but it is not new. In fact, this book was originally published more than 15 years ago. This new edition has been completely updated with inspirational quotations, 'before and after' writing samples from her students as well as a range of techniques and activities to help the reader make the transition to this new way of thinking and writing.
Admittedly, I had not heard of Rico's 'clustering' technique before reading her book. However I had used for a number of years a similar technique, called 'mind mapping'. The two techniques essentially work in the same manner.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Andy Todes on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Is this book any good? Well lemme put it this way. I read it once or twice back in the mid 80s when I was a teenager. Since then I've: (a) remembered the mindmapping technique, (b) used it a countless number of times in research projects, writing ads, writing poems, writing book reports, coming up with new ideas, finding the connections between seemingly unconnected things, working out the pros and cons of any given proposition, and for practically anything that requires taking a huge amount of information and breaking it down logically. (c) i've also taught the mindmapping technique to dozens of people, including such diverse groups as advertising execs and 5th graders. (d) they've all benefitted enormously. why? because the mindmapping technique serves to BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY AND UNLEASH YOUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. so any person who complains that this book is strictly about learning to write poetry is being VERY SMALL-MINDED INDEED! i suggest these people do a mindmap ON MINDMAPS THEMSELVES (!) and see what comes up! A superb book in every way, I give it my highest recommendation. AN INSTRUCTION BOOK FOR YOUR BRAIN. that's what it's really all about.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By carrie mason-draffen on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am a student of writing books. I've read dozens and am always on the look out for one that will enrich my writing. But I've never read one quite so powerful as "Writing the Natural Way." The author has the uncanny ability to zero in on the very DNA of the writing process and make the process eminently understandable and accessible.

She herself is a wonderful writer. The prose is clear and her excerpts of other works are fascinating. Even the quotations that frame pages are inspirational. This clearly is a well thought-out book.

I seldom read a book that I rush to pick up the first thing in the morning and have to force myself stop reading it at night. This is such a book. I feel lucky to own it.

But it's an intense book though. It's chock full of writing excercies and stirs you to reflection. But if you stick with it, your writing will improve beyond your wildest dreams. My already has. Anyone with a keen interest in the writing process should possess this book.
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