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Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too)
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Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  275 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"Theo Nestor is a writer who, I am positive, will be heard from," wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, and hear from her we do in this enthralling memoir that doubles as a witty and richly told writing guide. Yet the real promise in Writing Is My Drink lies in Nestor's uncanny ability as a storyteller and teacher to make sure we'll also hear from you, the rea ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
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Arren Lenau
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writing Is My Drink is probably the most unique memoir I’ve read because it doesn’t just tell the stories of a life, it gives you practical advice on the writing life and makes you feel like you can be a writer, too. Through telling her very personal stories, Theo Nestor gives you the permission to be the writer you have always longed to be. Each chapter begins or continues with another story from her childhood or Nestor’s later life, filling in more family history or personal growth, while focu ...more
Leslie Reese
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: about-writing, memoir
Did I already tell you that I'm somewhat of a junkie when it comes to books about writing? This is a good one - especially for memoirists. Occasionally Nestor's self-deprecating humor was like a fly buzzing around in the room....but it found its way out the window, eventually.
Donna Parker
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I guess despite the title I thought this would be a mostly comedic book about writing and drinking, not necessarily in that order.

It was more of a very personal and perceptive self-help book for writers. It’s also a really funny book about writing and drinking, not necessarily in that order

Go take a sip at:

When I first read about finding your voice as a writer, I was all, pish posh, don’t be silly. My problem isn’t finding my voice as a writer, mostly it’s about subd
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review:

My opinion: I found this book to be a very unusual, well written read that combines a life story with hints/helps for the budding writer.

In the layout, she has "soul searching" tips that I think were probably my favorite to the entire read.

I can't see a non-writer enjoying this book, but definitely could see a writer and/or budding writer, like me, devouring it.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I picked it up from a display case at the library on a whim. One of my favorite ways to put off actually writing myself is through the guise of 'improving' it by reading about it, so this book was a natural choice for me.

I expected this book to be mostly a how-to book about writing, with a few charming or harrowing stories from Nestor's experience. It turns out to be a strange hybrid, 70% memoir about how Nestor became the writer she is today, 27% meditati
Suezy Proctor
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, writing, favorites
Like a sinner, who ventures into a church for the very first time, and hears a sermon that sounds like God speaking a message directly to them…one of repentance, acceptance and forgiveness for our wretched existence, Nestor’s proselytistic story has converted me into a believer in the notion that what I, or anyone that has lived a life and learned from it, is worth every ounce of effort to get it down on paper and share it with the world.

A compelling mix of story and instruction, Nestor gets nak
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A few years ago I took a full day/evening workshop with some of my mentors, and the woman who put it together was Theo Pauline Nestor, whose name I had not known until then. She was also Mistress of Ceremonies and gave us some of these stories of her writing life along with her humor. We did some of the exercises in the book during her session with another writer, and I bought her book. Since then I've had many smiles, mine and others, in using Writing Is My Drink's "Try This" suggestions to pai ...more
Joan Rough
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this honest and wonderfully written "memoir/life lessons/how to be a writer" read. Besides chapters on her own journey to finding her voice and becoming a writer, each chapter has a list of useful exercises should you wish to give them a try. I resonated with so much of it, especially the role that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable plays in our lives and writing.
I admire the author's enthusiasm for encouraging aspiring writers. My issue was that the book was almost as much her own life story as well, which didn't resonate with me all that much; moreover, the writing advice is heavily skewed toward memoir as a genre. Guess I wasn't her target audience.
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-writing
Generous and genuine encouragement and support for writers, with lots of writing exercises and prompts. I especially like the 26 minute memoir, and will be checking out the examples on her website,
Carolyn C.
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Combo writer's memoir and writing exercises, prompts. Engaging.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book with relatable anecdotes and really good exercises to help you break through. Cannot recommend enough.
David Lister
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book for writers and would-be writers, but also for those of us who are just looking for encouragement to find our voice in the world.
Nicole Hardina
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Insightful, endearing, and useful. One of my new favorite books on writing.
Esther Bradley-detally
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i probably will always refer to this book; fun lady; and we, who write and teach, inhale all words related to the craft; this is what i suspect.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review was first published at


‘Twas a regular Tuesday, at my regular bar, playing pool with another regular human. Both recent transplants to California, my new friend and I bonded over similarly frustrating job hunts in the creative industry. He more of the graphic design persuasion, and lucky to have companies like BBC and Microsoft on his resume, had accepted some one-off contracting jobs but had yet to find a great spot to land permanently. I, of the editorial ilk, h
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.

With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, I have been trying to get myself back into the mindset of a writer. I have always dabbled, but I truly want to start putting pen to paper on a regular basis. One of the things on my bucket list is to write a book. I have started many times, but just never get around to finishing because something always comes up. This cancer scare has ma
Eustacia Tan
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4

If something is blurbed as "the new Bird by Bird", you can be sure that I'm going to read it. I remember Bird by Bird, and though I'm not sure if I actually learnt anything from it, I remember being inspired by it, and I was hoping that Writing is my Drink would do the same.

This is basically a memoir of the author, with each chapter supposed to illustrate a point of writing. At the end of each chapter, there are exercises that you can do.

To be honest, I could have done
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Two competing forces have dominated my life: a great need to please others and an equally powerful desire for expression, a tumbleweed that has grown in mass and velocity with the passing years".

I read those opening sentences from "Writing Is My Drink" (2013) by Theo Pauline Nestor standing in the public library. Less than a minute later I left with the book in my hand. Less than one hour later, after copying nine sentences from the introduction, which is just eight pages, I went and purchased
Dev (ClumsyCoquette)
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too)”
By Theo Pauline Nestor (Simon & Schuster, 272 pages, in stores)
I am a person that hasn’t read many memoirs. When I saw “Writing Is My Drink,” by Theo Pauline Nestor I wasn’t sure what to expect, but with a title that catchy there was no way I couldn’t pass it up. This book not only tells Nestor’s life story, it also gives you practical advice on writing. The best part of this memoir is that Nestor g
Erika Dreifus
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-related
I’ve read many motivational books about writing. Theo Pauline Nestor’s Writing Is My Drink is a most refreshing, practical, companionable and inspiring addition to the genre.

Part memoir, part instruction manual, this book combines Nestor’s own writing autobiography with dozens of appealing writing exercises. The book will be especially encouraging to anyone struggling with “voice” in the particular (and particularly problematic) context of believing that s/he has something to say.

My one impatien
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Inside the front cover of this book is a quote from Miles Davis, "Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself." This applies as much to music as it does to writing or any other endeavor in life. I have read many books, searching for a hidden gem that will help me in finding my voice. This one is certainly a gem, not so much for the knowledge conveyed, but more for the magnetic pull that the author evokes with the message of remaining both authentic and vulnerable. Par ...more
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing Is My Drink should be the next purchase of every writer. It is a walk through Theo's life path and tells the incredible stories she learned along the way and how she figured out that writing honestly and purely, without abandon, about those experiences was the only way for her to grow and evolve. This book has encouraged me to keep putting myself out there, to practice the art of learning how to work at becoming a stronger writer, and to enjoy my own process of creating art.

I've already
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn't like the front cover one bit, but the title captured me. Here's another writer sharing about how she find her writing voice. Despite being a fiction writer, I am curious of what it would be like to write something factual one day (something about me and the people around me, not getting stoned for sharing their stories with the world from my perspectives). How do memoir writers do efficiently and effectively? That's what I wanted to find out when I picked up this book. But it is not the ...more

"Writing is my Drink" is a wonderful combination of personal experience and sage advice/insight into the challenge of facing the writing experience and finding your voice.

Theo Nestor shares her own journey of writing memoir as well as her experience from teaching memoir at the University of Washington. Each chapter gives writing exercises that are not just random prompts (like other books) but are specifically chosen to develop your voice, to break down the walls you have.

Having been a studen
May 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This is intended for memoir writers, but I feel like the exercises at the end of each chapter would be helpful for any writer. A lot of your material is going to come from within and this book focuses on mining the hard-to-reach stuff. The stuff you don’t want to touch. The stuff you don’t want anyone to see. I got my copy at the library but if I ran across a copy at a bookstore I would definitely pick it up and I would read it again and do all the exercises.

[This review originally appeared on m
Jan 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Writing is My Drink was an informational "how-to" the writer used to work through the issues of her life and get on track with something she had always wanted to do: write!

Though I thought she did a terrific job through most of the book, at around the 75% completion mark it seemed like she slid back and traveled some roads we had covered.

The "Try This" sections were a helpful twist. Though I did not complete these exercises in the depth that Ms. Nestor encouraged each reader to go, I will check
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I absolutely loved this book and I'm so glad I stumbled upon it here on Goodreads and won it. There were so many things that resonated with me: Theo's personality, her insights, her humor, her encouragement. This book has motivated me to begin writing again the way I used to- honestly, therapeutically, and for myself. If I get a book out of it, great, but I really just want to write because it's what I like to do. Thank you, Theo. Than ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I haven't done the writing exercises yet so I will update it later if I feel that would change it. I do feel like she made valid points about why people should write their story and I guess it was good to hear her story. It is a memoir mixed with a how-to, which is interesting, but tricky. I think it reads fairly smoothly, like a professor lecturing adding personal stories and giving assignments, which is what she does for a living, so that makes sense. I mostly appreciated the last chapters tha ...more
Krista Weiser
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I wasn't jazzed about the writing prompts and exercise in the book--mainly because writing memoir is decidedly NOT my drink--I greatly enjoyed the style and skill in which Theo Nestor portrayed anxiety in writing and the many self-imposed roadblocks that we face. I enjoyed reading about her journey through becoming a writer, and felt comforted to know I am not alone in my fears and tendency to second-guess myself. It's a very human read, and if you're into that sort of thing, I definitely ...more
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Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a 2008 Top Pick for Reading Groups and as a Target “Breakout Book.” An award-winning instructor, Nestor has taught the ...more