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***Beyond the Words

The Three Untapped Sources of Creative Fulfillment for Writers

by Bonni Goldberg

Reviewed April 5, 2004.
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 2002.  221 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (808.02 GOL).

Here’s another new writing book.  This one is quite different from any other writing book I’ve read.  After her first book about writing came out, Bonni Goldberg found that people were asking her, “What next?”

“Beyond the Words” is her attempt to answer that question, to tell writers about “cultivating a nourishing writing life.”

Here’s how she explains it:

“The writers I know who are passionate and grounded, who truly love and respect their writing life, consciously attend to three aspects of writing that often get short shrift in the heat and excitement of raw creation:

“1.  Percolation—the process that takes place before a first draft takes shape
“2.  Revision—the writer’s role after the initial draft
“3.  Going Public—a writer’s mission once the writing is done”

I’d never thought much about these three aspects of writing.  Most books talk about getting words down on paper.  This book talked about these other important aspects.  It ended up being good timing for me, as I was revising an old manuscript to send it in to a contest.  Things in both “Revision” and “Going Public” applied to that. 

Of course, percolation is something writers do all the time, but Bonni Goldberg helps you see the importance of that activity and helps you to value it.

I have to confess that I didn’t do all of the exercises she suggests.  I probably would have gotten even more out of the book if I had.  This is an encouraging book, one that will make you look at your writing in different ways than you ever have before. 

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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