Wednesday, June 28, 2006
A Nice Surprise
I usually find books on writing too dull to be much use. I tend to gravitate toward books on creativity instead. I focus on trying to create more, then I hunt for information on my specific writing problems. I'm also not particularly keen on reading books on women's issues. I've outgrown that. I'll read a magazine article, but entire books on the subject rarely hold my attention. We're not an entirely different species after all.
So there wasn't much reason for me to pick up Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide To Igniting The Writer Within when I saw it on the shelf at my library. But I recognized Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's name from Readerville, so I gave it a shot.
There's lots of good stuff in this book. And don't be put off by the "busy woman's" business. This book has little to do with women and lots to do with writers. I even started taking notes.
My favorite section of the book is "Getting Started" because DeMarco-Barrett has lots of great ideas for freewriting, something I totally believe in. I didn't think the section on "Craft" was as strong, but, remember, I don't care for books about writing. In a section called "Overcoming Obstacles," though, DeMarco-Barrett addresses some nitty-gritty things a lot of writing books don't. Like housework. Clutter does drag me down--as does stuff dripping down my walls and climbing up my shower stall. It is hard to work in a chaotic environment.
And it's hard to keep working on the project under contract when you keep getting other ideas, too.
Pen on Fire is set up like a traditional self-help book--short chapters with exercises at the end. It really isn't necessary to read each chapter. Read what you need to.