Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie (book review)

This blog was never supposed to be about writing. Still, I  have been thinking and writing a lot about writing lately. This blog has put me in touch with a community of people are also thinking and writing a lot about writing. We are always seeking inspiration, communion and support. To those friends, I recommend Barbara Abercrombie’s Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement

As the title suggests, it is basically intended as a year-long writer’s toolkit for inspiration. I read it in 3 days. The entries are short — one or two pages for each day. Abercrombie provides practical, encouraging advice for writers. She does not pander or become too precious. She appreciates that writing is a struggle but doesn’t get wrapped up in the romance of that struggle.

She offers great quotes and stories from effective writers from across time. She blends their advice into a few basic tennets:

  • People who want to write better or write professionally must write every day.
  • Writers must read a lot.
  • Writers need a support network of disinterested peers who can criticize in a positive, ruthless manner.
  • Family members should not read what we write until the work is published and it is too late to turn back or make changes.
  • The best writing results from taking bad stuff out more than from adding good stuff in.
  • Unfortunately, it is as difficult to write a really bad book as it is is to write a really good book.
  • Always finish. Unless you can’t. Then don’t finish.
  • Find your process and stick with it. What works for others may not work for you. There is no recipe.

abercrombie-final.inddThe appendix offers the gift of 52 writing prompts to unstick stuck writers. They are pretty good.

Just a few pages into the book made me feel like writing. If you write or spend lots of time thinking about writing, you will enjoy this book very much.

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