- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Original edition (November 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451665091
- ISBN-13: 978-1451665093
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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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.
So how can a thing that's so vital-yet-illusive be taught? Theo Pauline Nestor's WRITING IS MY DRINK is the best guide out there. She writes with the authority of an established author and writing teacher. And she writes with a sense of ease, like talking with a trusted friend.
It's a guide to writing that's illuminated with stories from her life, stories about how she found and developed her own unmistakable voice on the page. And the book contains some of the most-engaging writing prompts and exercises I've ever used.
WRITING IS MY DRINK is a reference that I keep within arm's reach.
A compelling mix of story and instruction, Nestor gets naked on the page giving us permission to show even the barest shoulder of our experience, and then dares us to reveal even more. It’s one thing to tell, and another to show. I appreciate the tell, and value the showing us how to do it. “Try This” is the unexpected gift that will keep on giving if the reader actually tries.
You can imagine my happy surprise when I discovered not a chirpy writing manual, but powerful, personal stories about Theo's life that simply happen to illustrate her path as a writer, and as woman. I feel deep and hard into these stories. I gobbled up the book in just a couple sittings.
She does, to be fair, include writing exercises at the end of each chapter reader/writers may use to spark their own stories. For the first half of the book, I simply skipped over these. Then, I noticed that even these exercises contained mini-stories, hidden like easter eggs in an app. Half-way through, I switched to reading every single word, even the writing lessons. Cynical, worn-out-on-writing-gurus me even dog-earred a few of the exercises pages to go back to when I have a small bit of time to spend scribbling. These offer new and compelling challenges for writers.
Great book Theo. Well done.
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