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The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life

(The Writing Life)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  6,034 ratings  ·  336 reviews
What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron's most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist's Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers ...more
Paperback, 237 pages
Published December 27th 1999 by Tarcherperigee (first published 1998)
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 ·  6,034 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, writing
I really like Julia Cameron's books. Her prose reads with the rhythm and color of poetry, so it isn't like your typical 'how-to-write' book. Whereas other books 'tell' you where and how to get inspired, Cameron does this by merely putting words to the page. I also think this is the most encouraging and open book on writing I've ever read. I call it my 'block-remover.' ...more
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it
The book is subtitled "An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life," and thus is about the ways that people can start a writing practice that focuses on writing for the sake of the process rather than the sake of the product. Julia Cameron puts it this way:
If we are invested in a writing life -- as opposed to a writing career -- then we are in it for the process and not the product. We are in it for the body of work and not for the quick hit of one well-realized piece." (p. 66)

Each cha
Natacha Pavlov
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
My review is biased, and there’s a story to go with it.

As a result of my recent interest in Edgar Cayce, I have been reading some of his books to my utmost enjoyment. One day, I checked out his website where I saw a list of people somehow involved in or connected to the metaphysical world. One of the people profiled was Julia Cameron. I had never heard of her or her works. It seemed she had written quite a few books on writing, and I figured someday I’d get to reading at least one of them. I som
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational and helpful.
May 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I expected to like this book more than I did, and I must say I'm glad I didn't buy another of Cameron's books which interested me (The Artist's Way) at the same time I bought this one. Having read The Right to Write, I think I can safely say that Julia Cameron's approach isn't really my preferred one.

For me, the main problem with this book was how spiritual it was, which wasn't something I was at all expecting (and which may mean that others who are more sympathetic to this outlook will find th
Mar 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
I have several other things more pressing to do this evening then finish reading a book, but I just had to finish Julia Cameron's "The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life" because I just couldn't stand to read it anymore.

At a short 230 pages, Cameron's book falls well within the range of a 'how-to on writing' book. The chapters were relatively short in length and ended with an "Initiation Tool" to get you on your way to a writing life. Both of these are good for w
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a brilliant book. I love it. It was really affirming.

The premise is simple: No matter what, just WRITE! Write your way to clarity and love. You can do it. The author believes in you.

Note: the prompts in this book are pretty much exclusively for getting in touch with your keeping-a-journal, writing-about-your-own-experiences self. They're not prompts for fiction. The reason they're great, though, is because they connect you to that idea that it's good to write about everything, and that
Katie Kenig
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
(4.5 stars rounded up)

Are you a writer? Or a wannabe writer? Or just think maybe someday you might write something, if you have time and can get around to it, maybe?

Then you might like this book.

“We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper lev
Lacey Louwagie
"Writing--and this is the big secret--wants to be written. Writing loves a writer the way God loves a true devotee. Writing will fill up your heart if you let it. It will fill your pages and help you fill your life."

In the midst of the huge learning curve that has been the publication of my first independent work, it was incredibly gratifying to be reminded of the reasons that I write -- not for publication or attention or fans (although those things are all lovely!) but because of the way it no
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Right up there with Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones this book is inspiring and motivational, while at the same time practical and helpful. I appreciate the clarity of her approach to guiding a new writer, or just a writer who is having trouble finding their way. Most of all I appreciated her constant reminder that to be a writer is just to write. Period. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a helpful nudge on their writing journey. ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It is my writing bible.
Nov 23, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up The Right to Write simply because a pristine used copy crossed my path at a secondhand bookstore a few years ago. I had heard of Julia Cameron's most famous work on writing, The Artist's Way, but had never gotten around to reading it, so I thought The Right to Write might be a good alternative.

It is an easy-to-read book, composed of 43 brief chapters, each followed by a corresponding writing prompt. Cameron has some fabulous insights into writers and the writing life, and my copy of
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
another book i've been reading on and off for years. great to have on hand for those times when the closest i can get to writing is reading about it. also the essay format is perfect for when i can't commit to anything (i.e. writing). ...more
Omar Halabieh
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished reading The Right to Write - An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life - by Julia Cameron. As best summarized by the author: " What this book will do, if I have done it well enough, is t talk to you about writing for the sake of writing, for the sheer unadulterated joy of putting words to the page. In other words, this is less a " "how to" book than a "why" book. Why should we write? We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It ma ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Julia Cameron's "The Right to Write" is more of a writing philosophy work rather than a "how to" book. I actually really liked reading her anecdotes on the writing life and what her experience and advice entailed. I liked her approaches to several different topics, including procrastination, writer's block, the drive to write, among others. And one of the things I really appreciated in this novel is that she completely knocks down the myth/fabrication of what some term as "real" writers versus n ...more
Wendi Lau
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Writing says wherever you are is meaningful...”

Who thinks they’re good at writing in the beginning? Julia Cameron does. She takes you gently by the hand and tells the reader you don’t need to know how to craft a story or feel inspired, you just need to be patient with yourself and begin. And keep going!

“…daily writing is both the room you are living in and the doorway to the world just beyond.”

Morning Pages is one technique she suggests everyone try for 90 days to free their inner voice—three h
Jennifer Robertson
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the movie Sideways, the character Maya talks about her affinity for wine, how it fascinates her that the day she opens a bottle of wine it will taste differently than any other day she decides to open it. I agree with this philosophy, so too do I find it with books - the day you choose a particular book to read might impact you differently if you choose to read it at another point in your lifetime. Occasionally, the stars align where you read a book at the exact right moment you are meant to ...more
Jun 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Julia Cameron certainly makes one feel like they should write, often and without hesitation. Essentially, she holds up the banner of writing for the sake of writing, not for publication or profit.

It's therapeutic. It teaches us to be better communicators and human beings. It's spiritual. It invites us to be creators rather than spectators. Cameron captures a certain passion that makes the reader hungry to break out pen and journal.

There are moments of navel gazing and self-congratulatory passag
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Generally I enjoy books about writing because they make me want to write even more myself. This one really did inspire me, especially as I'm having a writer's block at the moment. Several chapters hit the mark perfectly - I thought "yeah, that's me, exactly..." and I found that all the reasons as to why I'm not writing or even trying to write were turned into dust. I will definitely use this book and its exercises to get my writing going again. How lucky I was to "have ...more
SheReaders Book Club
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very few books do I keep after I’ve finished reading them. This one will stay on my shelf because I think I could pick it up any day, open to a random page, and feel inspiration. I might read the whole thing through again some day too.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I took two years to read this book in bits and pieces, working through an exercise here and there. It is the perfect salve and healing space to come to whether one is feeling lost or building momentum as a writer.

Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this for school. It was an ok read. Liked those little assignments at the end of every chapter.
This would be good for someone who's kind of in a writing "rut".
Feb 08, 2011 is currently reading it
What a great book. Following this book chapter by chapter will make anyone a writer.
Nairy Fstukh
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of absolute gold.
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Written in memoir style and poetry like. I couldn’t engage with the story. I don’t recommend this book for those who are seeking it for educational purposes.
Kristen Kieffer
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a tough rating for me.

I've been reading this book off and on since April, nearly 6 months. Along the way, I've contemplated giving up on it several times, only to hit a chapter that really spoke to me, encouraging me to keep reading. I'm finally DNFing now, only a handful of chapters from the end, because it occurred to me that I'm just not enjoying it anymore.

That said, some of the chapters in this book were truly powerful. They made me think. They changed the way I write and view my w
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 50-books-2018
I have turned to this book off and on ingesting it in short bits. If you liked her The Artists Way then you will also like this. I didn’t enjoy that sacred cow Bird by Bird as Lamott always had an underlying negative tone. Julia Cameron on the other hand provides positive thoughts, suggestions, and ideas to the writer that is open to all.
Tim Bishop
Feb 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, which was a Christmas gift from my wife. I discovered Cameron can write. Extremely well. The Right to Write contains a few dozen small essays that speak to the struggles of the writer in any one of us - and the author contends we all have one inside us. Call the book a virtual writing coach, a source of encouragement from someone who understands, or a kick in the pants. But the writing itself is the best gift in this little package. ...more
Izetta Autumn
May 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: craftiness
I love Cameron's The Artist's Way and so wanted to see what The Right to Write might teach me. I will certainly be taking away Cameron's disciplined commitment to morning pages. I also appreciated the ideas about artist's dates and that she believes that we all have a right to write, as the title suggests.

The book is presented through a series of short essays which each conclude with a recommended essay for the reader to complete. I found each chapter manageable and very readable. I also appreci
Kate Austin
May 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I really adore this book and am going to buy my own copy to return to the writing exercises again and again. Cameron is so gentle and wise in her approach to growing writers in everyone.
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Play Book Tag: The Right to Write - Julia Cameron - 4 stars 1 6 Jun 27, 2020 07:27PM  

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Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than thirty years, with fifteen books (including bestsellers The Artist's Way, Walking In This World and The Right to Write) and countless television, film, and theater scripts to her credit. Writing since the age of 18, Cameron has a long list of screenplay and teleplay credits to her name, including an episode of Miami Vice, and Elvis and the Beau ...more

Other books in the series

The Writing Life (2 books)
  • The Writing Life: Ideas and Inspiration for Anyone Who Wants to Write

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30 likes · 3 comments
“We should write because it is human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It makes it directly and specifically our own. We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance.

We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.

We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.”
“Writing is like breathing, it's possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” 82 likes
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