Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft” as Want to Read:
Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  430 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Are you a writer longing to rediscover the joy that you once had in the craft (or even find it for the first time)? In this inspiring guide, Jane Yolen, an author who has been called America's Hans Christian Andersen, shows writers how to focus on aspects of the craft that bring them joy. She remarks in the first chapter, "Save the blood and pain for real life, where tourn ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Writer's Digest Books (first published March 5th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Take Joy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Take Joy

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  430 ratings  ·  63 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
This is about writing. And writing well. As it covers a lot of aspects of the craft, and as I have done more reading than writing, this was an eye-opener for me. The author is an accomplished writer herself, having successfully published a lot of prose and poetry, yet she did not fail to go beyond her own experience in writing. She did not fail to research (yes, serious writing involves a lot of research, apart from those you can get from your own imagination, observation or recollection) on wha ...more
Kressel Housman
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
There’s a famous quote that my tenth grade English teacher had hanging in her office: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” That and a similarly brutal quote begin this book, but as you can tell by the title, they’re the precise opposite of what the author hopes to convey. It’s true that good writing means exploring your emotional core, but it’s also true that at the end of it all, you might not get published anyway, so you’ve really got to enjoy t ...more
I used this as a daily meditation of sorts. The chapters are short and light-hearted which made them perfect to read with a cup of coffee before beginning the day. There wasn't much new ground covered in the craft sections of the book, but I strongly resonated with her message of joyful, irreverent, and hopeful writing. The final page where she gives heradvice as a woman and writer in her later years--a "winter queen"as she calls herself--was perhaps the best part. It's definitely the section I' ...more
Kris Dersch
I can tell I'm going to like a writing craft book when I want to write down at least one quote a chapter. No one is quite like the great Jane Yolen and as a result there's no writing book quite like this one. It is a bit of a hodgepodge, almost intentionally, with little "interlude" thoughts between each chapter, but it's all here...the whimsy and mystery as well as the hard work with chapters on everything from plot to poetry. I love that this book includes tips for kidlit and poetry writers as ...more
Marianne Wallace
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book has something of use on nearly every page. I kept a pen clipped to my pages as a bookmark so I would always have something handy to underline or write in the margins if something seemed especially useful.

More a "how to" than an essay of the joys of being a writer, I especially liked the quotes that lead off each chapter and all the examples from Jane Yolen's own work and experience as well as those from other writers.

This book reminded me why I love being a writer.

May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jane Yolen was one of my go-to authors during my tween-ish years. Picked this up out of nostalgia, but really enjoyed reading about how she approaches her craft. And as a sometimes-writer, I loved her advice and anecdotes on writing and the nature of stories. My respect for her has grown immensely.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Jane Yolen is a wonderful writer, and this book was a fun, enjoyable read. Its tone is that of a friend telling you--sometimes with wry humor, but always with an undercurrent of passion and seriousness--how to love the writing you do, and how to enjoy the craft itself. Through chapters with amusing titles and examples to support her explanations of things like inspiration and voice; to the short, more personal interludes; Yolen wove together a book on writing that I read as voraciously and joyfu ...more
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every morning, I wake before my children like Toni Morrison used to do and sit down to work on the book I've dreamed of writing all my life. In the background, the dryer does its work, since I write in the laundry room, like Tina Fey says she does. I don't claim to be a writer of that caliber, however different from each other they may be, but I like to borrow good ideas and try them on and see what fits.

And every morning for some time, I have been reading one essay on writing from Jane Yolen'
Tom Britz
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Take Joy is an anecdotal memoir guide to writing. Jane Yolen is a well known name in the fantasy/science fictional field, but she has also many children's books and other writings to classify herself as a writer of over 100 books. Though she does go into some of the "nuts and bolts" of writing, it is mainly as an overview. This is an interesting read for those looking for more than a "how to", it's more along the lines of a "here's what to expect". There are many little gems of wisdom scattered ...more
Hayley Stone
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is now tied with Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird for my favorite book on writing & craft. Yolen has an elegant way of communicating, smoothly alternating between encouraging and straight-forward advice. Required reading for any writer at any stage of their career.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Take joy is, predictably, an absolute joy to read. Refreshingly upbeat and playful approach to writing advice.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Strangely readable craft book
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
If anyone wants to learn about the craft of writing, who better than such a prolific and successful author than Jane Yolen to learn from?
Inspirational and practical: this book seems perfectly geared towards the way my mind works. It balances the idealism of a life lived through words with the grounded understanding that writing is hard work, and publishing (and monetary success) is never guaranteed. With that in mind, Yolen argues that writing shouldn't be a slow grind through mud, trying to reach an ever-shifting, fickle audience. Writing is a career, but it's also a calling. It's something you do because you love it. Because si ...more
Aline Newman
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Over the years, I have read many dozens of how-to books on writing, some more helpful than others. TAKE JOY, by Jane Yolen, is also a how-to, but it differs from the rest because, befitting its title, it is less directional and more inspirational. Even though the book appears to be a rather unconnected compilation of reprinted speeches and writings, much of it makes for worthwhile reading. The section labeled "Many Voices," on the different styles of fantasy writing was over my head. Although I ...more
Tom Hooker
Oct 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Are you a writer longing to rediscover the joy that you once had in the craft (or even find it for the first time)? In this inspiring guide, Jane Yolen, an author who has been called America's Hans Christian Andersen, shows writers how to focus on aspects of the craft that bring them joy.
She remarks in the first chapter, "Save the blood and pain for real life, where tourniquets and ibuprofen can have some chance of helping. Do not be afraid to grab hold of the experience with both hands and tak
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
NONFICTION REQUIREMENT- Jane Yolen is a great author, and I was excited to read her book on writing. This book didn't disappoint. Her easy style and fun little interludes made this nonfiction book fun to read. She doesn't just write inspirational words to keep you writing, or practical skills and strategies to use when you are writing or publishing; she does both. And her "Alphabetics of Story," where she goes through each letter of the alphabet and gives a quick writing tip, are great- I bet yo ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
For the past few months, I've had a story by Jane Yolen circling round in my head, and so I was looking for it online. I read a lot of Jane Yolen as a child, and I want to re-read some of her work. I didn't manage to find that book, but I did find that she'd written a little book for writers, so I ordered it.

This book was quite charming and upbeat. She shared some of her ideas about the writing life and her thoughts on craft and it was a quick, breezy and easy read. It's not a writing book that
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
If you're struggling with writing, hit a wall, or find it an agonizing process, read this book. The main message is to find and take joy in writing. This book's purpose is to inspire and motivate rather than improve the technical aspects of writing. Despite it's apparent lack of organization, the fifteen chapters written by Yolen in an engaging style all have something to offer. She discusses, beginnings, middles, and ends, plots, utlizing landscapes, viewpoints, poems, outlines, muses, and how ...more
Mandi Murphy
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is exactly what I needed to read. Yolen speaks more to the heart of the writer than the intellect, although she does offer some technical instruction. I need to own this book so that I can mark it up and read it over and over again. I don't lean toward profanity as a general rule(and Yolen doesn't really either in this book), but my favorite passage of this book is on the next to last page:

"Have zero expectations. Don't dream about winning a Pulitzer, making a hundred thou on your firs
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Most of all, I appreciate Chapter 13: An Eruption of Poppies, which is about incorporating landscape into your stories. This is a topic I haven't seen much of in other books on writing. I enjoyed being able to read about writing without being asked to do exercises every few pages (think essay collection, not instruction manual), and I like her attitude toward writing (see the title, plus the summary above). But except for Chapter 13, I don't know as I'll remember much about this book six months ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
I love Jane Yolen. She writes with a style that is really easy to follow, and in this case, inspiring. I loved the chapter where she took a simple story line (the barbarian has tea with the queen) and fit it into various writing styles (a la Ernest Hemingway or J.R.R. Tolkien). This book reminded me how much I used to write for my own enjoyment. In high school, for example, for every writing assignment we got, a few friends and I would turn in a spoof under a pen name. Except for my journal, I'v ...more
Chanel Earl
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would have given this book five stars, but it included two sections organized alphabetically, and I lost interest in the second.

Otherwise, this was refreshing and validating. I love how Yolen urged writers not to always listen to writing advice, and presented various points of view on topics such as plot, story, method and outlining.

I was also pleased that some of my writing methods are shared by Yolen (we both like to discover the story as it progresses, for example).

Take Joy!
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jane Yolen author of Take Joy and one of the most beloved and prolific writers of children’s novels, picture books, and essays said, “Before I got a house in Scotland I thought I was a morning writer. Then we started spending summers in Scotland where the day lasts until 11 o’clock at night. That’s when I realized I was a Light writer.”

She is so witty. In this book you will feel as if you have a new friend after you read it.
Maria Hooley
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-have for writers. There's always so much focus on how-to, but this isn't a how-to book, at least not in the technical aspect. It's about how to live with writing and dreams at the stage you're in. So many writers think that publishing is the end-all, be-all, but this book is quick to point out that writing should be about the joy the craft not only brings readers, but first, and foremost, the joy it should bring the writer.
Mary Catelli
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to-write
If you are looking for an orderly, systemic book dealing with all the major aspects of writing, this may not be what you are looking for.

However, it does hit on a lot of the major aspects, often with sideways approaches that hits portions that a more systemic approach might not manage to encompass. And it is eloquently written and in some interesting treatments -- it contains not one but two writer's alphabets.

I am particularly fond of the section on voices.
Becky Villareal
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Jay Yolen's book, "Take Joy: A Writer's Guide to Loving the Craft", she has given back the reason for writing in the first place. "Joy in writing can be akin to joy in life," she says and reiterates this throughout the book. It is a wonderful read for writers who have forgotten the joy of creating just for themselves. A truly great read!
Allynn Riggs
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
Yolen speaks to the heart and soul of the writer. She encourages trying new methods while understanding that how an author feels about their writing, the processes and the end product, is important. She doesn't dictate that there is only one way to write. the work of writing changes daily, if not hourly, and even frustration leads to good things. She affirms my own writing process.
Randy Cauthen
Meh. Some good stuff to share with students. The point of view stuff is OK, the plotting stuff, though rudimentary. And I like her basic attitude, which is why I bought the book in the first place. But the voice stuff is horrible -- even when she's trying to sound serious, it sounds like a bad parody -- and that's the basic problem with the book. Smarmy.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, a fairly solid set of essays on writing. Some of it came off as flippant to me, but as Yolen states, they are her truths, not necessarily any other writer's. I found a great deal of meat in many places. Some of it seemed a bit light— like the writer's abc's at the end, and Yolen's take on voice. But, your mileage may vary.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams
  • The Writer's Guide to Crafting Stories for Children
  • Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults
  • Writing Alone and with Others
  • Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
  • Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life
  • Alone with All That Could Happen: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom about the Craft of Fiction
  • Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • Story Structure Architect
  • From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction
  • Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life
  • Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within
  • A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children
  • Writing Irresistible KidLit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers
  • Creating Character Emotions
  • The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
See similar books…
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
“I contend that good children's stories are always about the Getting of Wisdom. That's another way of saying, "Let your characters grow. Up." And good stories for adults are about the Holding of Wisdom. Another way of saying, "Recognize you are grown up.” 1 likes
“You may adore Love You Forever, but I hear it as a story about an overbearing and smothering mother who infantilizes her son and can only tell him she loves him when he is fast asleep. I also contend that she drugs his cocoa. And that when the man's baby daughter wakes up sixteen years later and finds him fondling her in her room, she will be calling 911 and going into therapy.” 1 likes
More quotes…