A Writer's Workbook: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life

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9780312286217: A Writer's Workbook: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life
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Aspiring doctors have medical school. Karate students have belts of different colors. Pianists have scales and arpeggios. But what system do writers have for getting and staying "in shape," to help them focus, practice, and make progress?

A Writer's Workbook is Caroline Sharp's ingenious collection of exercises to inspire, encourage, warm up, and jump-start anyone who writes. A wise and funny friend who will cheerlead you through even your darkest can't-write days and "every idea I've ever had is awful" nights, she provides encouraging suggestions, hilarious observations, and an amazingly vivid catalogue of writers' neuroses (with advice on overcoming them, of course).

From "Roget's Resume" and "Emulating Ernest" to "End Well," "The Rewrite Rut," and "Dear John," the exercises in this generous, wry workbook will keep your ideas fresh, your mind open, and your pen moving.

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After nine months of not writing--nine months of morning sickness--Caroline Sharp had a new baby and an urge to write again. Trouble was, she was out of practice. So she devised a series of 32, mostly half-hour exercises to get her writing muscle back in shape. Thus was born A Writer's Workbook. In it, Sharp embraces warming up with a journal. She is personable and humorous, often returning to the subject of her addiction to coffee. Although her book is recommended in Elizabeth Gilbert's (Pilgrims) introduction for any reluctant writer in need of a jump-start, it seems best suited to fictioneers. "Write a character description of yourself," an early exercise suggests. "Write down as many food memories as you can recall," urges another. "Take yourself through 24 hours in your character's day," and "See if you can come up with a true list of bad behavior." While the exercises cumulatively don't help you create a greater whole, if they get you writing, they've done their job. And as you write, keep in mind: "You've got to get in the habit of harvesting all the acreage," says Sharp. "The pretty flowers are great, but the bent and twisted and screwy ones are more interesting." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author:

Caroline Sharp has a degree in psychology from Princeton University, an MFA from Columbia University, and is a graduate of the Writer's Boot Camp. The mother of two, she lives and writes in New York City.

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9780312242725: A Writer's Workbook: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life

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ISBN 10:  0312242727 ISBN 13:  9780312242725
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2000
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