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Write: 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block.…
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Write: 10 Days to Overcome Writer's Block. Period.

by Karen E. Peterson

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An excellent book for writers - anyone who wants to write - because it encourages you to work in small chunks of time.

It is based on right/left brain theory and I also find something new when I thumb through it. ( )
  DK_Atkinson | Apr 1, 2013 |
Fabulous! Am working exercises as I go along. ( )
  pcalico | Jul 16, 2009 |
When I sat down and made my list of writer's block/procrastination books I wanted to read, this book was not on it. I'd seen it while perusing through Amazon, but I wasn't impressed with the ratings and seriously doubted that the author could make good on her promise of overcoming writer's block in 10 days. However, when I was in Borders looking for the titles I DID want, I saw this one on the shelf and couldn't resist. I mean, promises like that take balls to make, and I was curious just how exactly Peterson thought writers could overcome their block in a mere ten days.

This book, while shelved in the writing section of the store, deserves to be in psychology/self-help. And it's not so much about overcoming writers block as it is about recognize your own habits and why you do the things you do and about retraining yourself according to those habits to fit writing into your life, to not let your brain get in the way.

Rather, your right brain, that is. Peterson spends the bulk of her book discussing how the differences between what our left brain wants and what our right brain wants is really the source of writer's block, and it's interesting stuff that even brings up a good point or two. Like the need to have a BIG CHUNK OF TIME AND GET IT ALL DONE NOW is a total right brain mentality (ha ha) when it comes to writing. I'm so guilty of it I could form my own club. But such a mentality is one of the major sources of writer's block, because we're always looking for that often allusive BIG CHUNK OF TIME and never getting it, and therefore, our right brain isn't satisfied we have enough time to write (which is a bad way to look at things for those of us who write novels).

But there's more to this right brain versus left brain stuff than that snazzy little tidbit I offered above. Peterson offers countless exercises which you do TWICE in order to figure out what you REALLY want/need when it comes to writing. Why twice? Well, the first time, you use your dominant hand (which is supposed to represent your left brain, well, it is if you're right-handed). Then the second time you're supposed to close you eyes, then answer the same questions with your non-dominant hand (which is supposed to represent your right brain for those of us who are right handed) and you get an different set of answers.

You're supposed to. There's a TON of exercises to do, and with each one, Peterson discusses her OWN results to show the differences, which is all well and good, I guess, but that's the major thing that slowed me down in this book. That and well, the whiff of BS I kept getting every time I tried to imagine coming up with two different sets of answers based on the hand I was using.

Okay, okay, so I didn't do the exercises, except once when I could photocopy the duplicate list at work and actually DO one (I hate writing in actual books, especially since all exercises in all writing books can be done over and over), and yes, I actually got different answers. Shocking, but I'm not entirely sure how well that'd hold up over the course of every exercise, and I'm not sure how long I would "let" myself let the answers be different. I suspect my brain would wizen up and REFUSE to let the answers be different, if you know what I mean.

But hey, I'm a cynic, and it IS interesting stuff Peterson presents. She also talks about how our brain development as babies and how it relates to our family dynamic greatly effects our creativity and motivation as adults. Don't ask me to paraphrase it, because I can't. Sometimes, what she said made sense, and then I'd be reading and she'd refer to it and I'd ask myself what the hell the connection was again.

My Rating

Wish I'd Borrowed It: As research material, this book has a lot of interesting stuff to consider, but you need to be open to the psychology behind it, because that's what Peterson pushes. That's not a bad thing, but she spends more time with the psychology and the exercises than actually revealing the 10 day program to overcome writer's block, so the book doesn't live up to its title in that regard. Well, I don't think. Like I said, I didn't do the exercises and therefore didn't do the 10 day program BASED on those exercises, so it might actually work. But for who?

I'd recommend this book to writers who are blocked, they know it, and yet NOTHING seems to work. Severely, ridiculously blocked writers need to read this. Writers who spend time doing more fun stuff than writing (in the case of us writing for deadlines) need to read this. Hell, this book might've been more useful to me a year ago. But when you read this, I think you need to actually PARTICIPATE in every exercise and every step the book offers, because while the information is interesting, it's really not going to help you unless you give her program a shot. But fortunately, this book takes a far more "nurturing" side to writer's block and Peterson believes in having your cake and eating it too, so for writers who have guilt themselves out of rewards because they feel guilty for choosing fun over writing, you might ought to check this out.

And if you do, and you actually participate in every step of this book, including the 10 day program? Holler and let me know how it works. I'd love to know. :) ( )
  devilwrites | May 19, 2008 |
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