By Dave Hood
A few weeks ago, I perused Chapters, a big box bookstore in Toronto, and stumbled across “One Year to a Writer’s Life.” The book is a collection of 12 workshops, written by Susan M. Tiberghien, a teacher/professor/published writer of “Creative Writing.”
I have discovered that it is one of the best books written on Creative Writing. It based on 12 workshops she provides. Each chapter is a workshop. There are chapters on journal writing (the foundation of all creative writing), poetry, personal essays, opinion essays, travel writing, short story writing, poetic prose, memoir, finding alchemy from dreams, memory, surroundings–and concludes with a workshop polishing/revising your work.
I especially enjoyed reading the chapters on journal writing, writing opinion essays, personal essays, poetic prose and poetry.
For instance, in the chapter on Journal Writing. The writer identifies the benefits of keeping a personal journal, and provides advice on what to include in a journal entry. The author Susan M. Tiberghien poses the question: Why keep a journal? Then she lists the reasons:
- To establish the habit of writing.
- To capture memories.
- To discover what you think and feel.
- To find your writer’s voice.
- To take risks and experiment with your writing.
- To plant seeds for poetry, personal essays, short fiction, a novel.
She then provides examples of good journal writing. She also explains how to keep a journal. The most important advice: Just begin to write. Start with a date and title. Get whatever comes to mind down on paper or on your computer screen. Only buy writing on a regular basis, getting into the habit of writing, will you become a good writer. She states that keeping a journal is the foundation of creative writing.
At the back of the book, there are a list of additional resources for you to find additional information on journal writing, poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and much more.
For instance, if you want to find more information on journal writing, she lists “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg as two useful books to expand your knowledge and skill in journal writing.
“One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft” is in its fourth printing, and has become very popular. You can purchase a copy for less tha $20 at Amazon or Chapters/Indigo.
If you want to fast track your way to creative writing, this is the book for you. It will provide you with sufficient advice to get you started as a creative writer. I strongly urge you to buy a copy, read it, follow the exercises, and keep a personal journal. Most of all: Write every day. Get into the habit of writing.
Here’s an overview and link to details about the book and writer: http://www.susantiberghien.com/works.htm