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Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too) Paperback – November 5, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
A long time before I wrote regularly and a very long time before I was published, I knew there was a writer inside me, Nestor explains in this guide and memoir. In an effort to connect with readers feeling the same way, Nestor (How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed) digs deep to share her experiences (including stories about her alcoholic parents), how they've impacted her writing, and what she's learned along the way. Though literary risk taking is the key to creating a meaningful personal narrative and finding one's voice, Nestor makes no bones about the difficulty of this endeavor. She discusses struggles with self-doubt and the pains of sharing one's writing in workshops—lessons that will ring true for most budding authors. Nestor clarifies her points by summing up each chapter with a list of suggestions for overcoming various literary struggles. Those interested in honing their writing skills will get the most out of the book, but even seasoned writers will pick up a trick or two. Agent: Elizabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (Nov.)
Memoirs and blogs and tweets, oh my! From pithy 140-character instant updates to 140,000-word introspective exposés, the art of verbal self-expression has never offered so many venues for publication. It seems as though anyone who wants to write for an audience, however tiny, can do so. Yet if one is going to commit one’s thoughts and experiences to the page, virtual or cyber, then it is essential to bring a sense of personal style and authenticity to the endeavor. As though she’s your own personal writing coach, best-selling memoirist Nestor (How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, 2008) guides novice and established writers alike in the fine art of creative writing, using her own personal learning curve to chronicle how she found the courage to become the writer she always knew she could be. Nimbly traversing such daunting obstacles as writer’s block and candidly admitting to warts-and-all failures, Nestor ends each chapter with writer’s workshop exercises designed to both inspire and enhance one’s writing skills. --Carol Haggas
Top Customer Reviews
William Zinsser says that "warmth and humanity" are marks of good writing. Nestor writes with both, but would probably put "honesty" at the top of her list:
"When we tell our own stories in an honest way, we give permission to others to tell their stories honestly as well."
Writing is My Drink is Nestor's story of "finding her [own] voice" and learning to write honestly. Honestly, without fear, and without the need for approval. That's the kind of writing that comes from "the wild place."
While this is Theo's memoir and not a how-to book, it's full of encouragement and tips for aspiring writers, especially fearful aspiring writers. Chapters end with lists of writing activities that come from the author's years of experience as a writer and writing teacher. The author (who probably rolls her eyes at being called "the author") even invites readers to send her their work. If one were to complete all of the activities, including sending their writing to Ms. Nestor, they would get the equivalent of at least a semester's worth of learning.
Besides inspiring fearless writers, Ms. Nestor also wants to make clear that memoir is a legitimate form of literature. Well written non-fiction is no less an art than poetry. While Nestor says that memoir is "a form that tends to be more compelling to women readers and writers than to their male counterparts," this male counterpart favors memoir, and can enjoy anyone's story when it is well written--especially when it connects in some way to my own story. And if it's written with honesty, then it probably does.
When it comes to learning, most of us prefer a story to a rule book. Theo Nestor gives us a story, one that will leave you encouraged and wanting to write.
She takes us on her deeply personal journey to find her voice and as the subtitle suggests writes with the intent of helping others do the same. In writing through the pain of the events she has stuffed inside her whole life, she experiences an increased awareness that she needs to stop hiding. " I was reluctant to release the story, but mostly I wanted to keep buried the guilt I'd carried for years. But this time I wrote past the electric fence of reluctance. I'd burned up my stalling time. I knew that if I were going to keep writing, I had to stop hiding."
It is from this deep well of pain that she tells her story, then offers exercises at the end of each chapter, called "Try This",i.e. "Think back to a time you couldn't rise to the writing task or say what needed to be said."
Because she is so honest and forthright with her own struggles, as a reader, I began to trust her and wanted to know more. Although the specifics of her story may differ from mine, the impact is the same. We all have struggles we need to overcome. She strikes a universal chord and engages us with her vulnerability and persistence. And for each of her life lessons, she provides a guideline at the end of each chapter for tapping into our own creativity to find our own voices.
Nestor's engages the reader through passionate, honest and believable storytelling.
Her passion for writing is contagious. She writes in her conclusion " That's what I'm hoping for--to shoot past reasonable, to shoot the moon, to risk it all and win, to go beyond routine, obligation, and obedience. All this makes me sound like the last person you'd want to be in a carpool with."
I highly recommend this entertaining, inspirational and highly useful guide for not only finding your writer's voice, but also for honoring and maintaining it.
There are writing exercises at the end of each chapter. I have only done three of the exercises (since I read the book just yesterday), but the words flowed and I wrote for 20 minutes straight. Better yet, I wrote about a topic I have been avoiding writing about for months now. It was a relief to finally get some words on the page about this topic that is so important to me.
I thought I would want to loan my book out to friends, but now I have to say I will be telling them to buy their own copy. I need my copy so I can read my bookmarked pages and work through all the writing prompts. Thank you Theo Pauline Nestor for enriching my writing life!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There was a period of time when that was the only kind of book I read.Read more