- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee (January 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399184708
- ISBN-13: 978-0399184703
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Finishing School: The Happy Ending to That Writing Project You Can't Seem to Get Done Paperback – January 10, 2017
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"The authors of Finishing School, a unique and genuinely helpful guide to actually completing that magnum opus drawing dust on your cluttered desk, help you remember why it is you wanted to write your book and understand the long and challenging work of sustaining a project through pesky blocks, the loss of energy and enthusiasm, the omnipresent fear of not getting it right, and crippling deadline pressure. Tennis and Morton are writers; they feel our pain. More importantly they get the pleasure of creation and know how to instill it in those who have lost their way. This book helped me."
—George Hodgman, New York Times bestselling author of Bettyville
"I love Cary Tennis's mind, and heart, and work."
—Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of Bird by Bird
“A must for every writer and artist of any kind, Finishing School belongs on the bookshelf right next to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing. I can't wait to tell every writer I know to buy it.”
—Cole Kazdin, four-time Emmy-winning television news producer, writer, and performer
"Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton accomplish something remarkable in Finishing School—an actually useful book for writers (or anyone) about how to complete a project and not let their doubts, fears, or anything else interfere with successful completion of an article, a novel, or a dramatic play. And they do it in simple, easy steps that make sense and will resonate with anyone who writes."
—David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Making of Donald Trump
"Finishing School is the ideal book for writers who are great at starting things but not so great at completing them. Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton know the reasons a piece of writing, begun with such enthusiasm, can languish on a shelf for years. With wisdom and compassion, they’ll inspire you to cross the finish line."
—Sy Safransky, editor and publisher of The Sun
“Practical and specific, Finishing School guides the writer who needs structure. It is for the writer who has abandoned a dream part-way through. ‘You did not keep your promise to your story,’ the authors say. ‘The project becomes your adversary. . . .The answer is Finishing School.’ For a great many writers, it will be so.”
—Pat Schneider, author of Writing Alone and With Others and founder of Amherst Writers & Artists
"With warmth, humor, and a really personal touch, Tennis and Morton show you how to neutralize the emotional barriers that impede writing—including fear, doubt, and shame—and provide a great plan for the actual writing and finishing of your book. Even if you've read plenty of other creativity books, you'll find lots of great insights here."
—Hillary Rettig, author of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific
“This book insightfully pinpoints the importance of time budgeting and management, and of setting reasonable expectations for completion. . . . its advice and methodology will be useful for countless writers and would-be writers, and for people wanting to complete unfinished projects of any kind.”
"Countless writers have dream projects they just can’t seem to get finished or even off the ground, a problem that Tennis and Morton tackle with a combination of sensitivity and practicality. . . . Straightforward and realistic, Finishing School offers a viable option for anyone longing to complete a writing project."
About the Author
Cary Tennis wrote the advice column "Since You Asked," which appeared on Salon.com for twelve years. As an advice columnist, he never missed a deadline, but in his literary writing, he found himself stalled. Through the Finishing School method that he created, he completed his novel and now helps others through theirs in his writing workshops and international retreats.
Danelle Morton is a journalist and the coauthor of fifteen books. Morton has worked for The New York Times, was an associate bureau chief for People, and has been a foreign correspondent. She was a finalist for the PEN/USA Literary Nonfiction Award and the ASME magazine award in the public interest category. She has received investigative journalism grants from The Nation Institute and the George Polk Foundation.
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Top customer reviews
But before you get to the nuts-and-bolts of how it works, “Finishing School" explains the six emotional pitfalls -- the muck most of us find ourselves stuck in — that stop us from finishing our project. Perfectionism, Shame, Fear, Doubt. You know them. I know them.The authors have both been mired in one or all of the psychological swamps peculiar to writers, explaining them with insight and compassion. You’ll recognize yourself in their personal stories of shame, arrogance and fear. Some are doozies, but even if you’re wincing, they are parables worth reading.
After I finished the book, I felt like standing up and declaring, I'm Milly, a lying, fearful procrastinating shameful sloth.
Read the book and you’ll discover you arn’t the only one hiding under your desk terrified. You’ll understand the pitfalls and how to crawl out of them. Take their practical guidance and get it FINISHED! Then you can worry about judgements.
I received a copy from Penguin for review
Reading Finishing School has inspired me and made me believe there is hope to finish projects I have started. I know I can set aside a realistic number of hours a week and set achievable goals. The next week I can report on what I did or didn't accomplish and set realistic goals for the coming week.
Writers have so many obstacles to finishing. The authors have identified six major ones: doubt, shame, yearning, fear, judgment, and arrogance. They help identify the emotions underlying these blocks. I can recognize them and release them, getting back to work. This book helped me to not believe in those awful things I tell myself. (“I'm a terrible writer.” “I'll never get published.”)
The finishing school idea came out of a class to help writers with unfinished projects. Participants would get together once a week, not to critique their writing, but to focus totally on the commitment to write. The idea was accountability without judgment. The authors, one the teacher and the other a class participant, share here their ideas and experiences revolving around the concept.
We are given practical suggestions for forming our own “Finishing School for Two,” including finding a buddy to help with our accountability. I am encouraged that the concept is that of being committed to writing, not to critiquing the material produced. (The authors do include, however, how to benefit from a critique.)
I really appreciated the section on the six obstacles to finishing. I could identify with several of them and learned how to work through them to get back to writing. I was surprised but encouraged to use whatever is in my head. “This is the great power of being a writer, that anything that comes in our heads, however screwed up or crazy it is, can be used as material.”
I recommend this book to all of those writers out there with unfinished projects. This book gives a realistic framework within which you can make progress. It gives you the resources you need to break through those blocks and set realistic writing goals. You'll also be encouraged by the personal writing experiences the authors share.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
Review by Dawn Thomas
By CARY TENNIS and DANELLE MORTON is the perfect read for anyone who started a project...Read more