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One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft
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One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Whether you are a writer of fiction or essays, or want to explore poetry or memoir, Tiberghien's twelve fundamental lessons will help you discover and develop your own distinct voice. Tiberghien's inventive exercises focus on the processes unique to each genre, while also offering skills applicable to any kind of writing, from authentic dialogue to masterful short-shorts. ...more
Paperback, 261 pages
Published September 7th 2007 by Da Capo Lifelong Books (first published August 17th 2007)
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Jude Grindvoll
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned

This, for me, is such a difficult book to write about objectively simply because there were so many things I loooooathed about it. Firstly, the title. Now call me pedantic but it implies that in one year this book will significantly enhance any writer’s professional credentials, an implication which is simply not backed up by the simplistic nature of the book itself. This book caters for beginners (reiterated by the annoyingly simple and MAGNIFICENTLY boring exercises) and, while there’s nothing
Sep 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: novice writers, those who are considering writing
Shelves: writing, psychology
"Exercise: Write a second journal entry, reaching toward the depths within. Ten minutes. Look for a new title to help ground your second entry" (p. 14).

This illustrates perfectly why I was, for the most part, disappointed with this book. Ten minutes for "reaching toward the depths within"? Come, now. Having been in Jungian analysis for at least a year, I'm sure Tiberghien knows it's going to take more than 10 minutes to take such a plunge. Most writers haven't even finished their pencil-sharpeni
Joy Manne
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all writers and beginning writers
"A writer writes." "A writing life is a creative life." (Susan Tiberghien)
One Year to a Writing Life opens the door to the treasure chest of a writing life whether you are a beginning writer, or an experienced writer in search of inspiration. I am a glutton for books about writing. This is among the five best I've ever read. It's one of the rare ones I use. I do the exercises to widen my skills, and when I need structure and inspiration. I come back to the exercises when I am stuck.
One Year to a
Kev Willoughby
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A 5-star book most of the way. This book is good for a quick read the first time through (in about a week for me), so that I could mark it up to come back and study it in-depth later. I especially enjoyed the chapter on essays, which is a writing genre I would never have considered as a creative pursuit before reading this book. I loved the instruction in that chapter in particular, and I think essays may come more naturally to most writers. Getting started in that genre and now having the tools ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
It is well-researched and well-written.
I don't know if I would recommend reading the book itself. Instead, I would recommend skipping the book entirely and making use of her bibliographies and credits to find better writing references and well-crafted genre examples.

For a book that repeatedly stresses the importance of a title, I think she mistitled it. It is written for beginners. Not "to deepen every writer's art and craft." For instance, there were lessons on different types of figurative la
Jan Kellis
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I know, I know, I already have a writing life! I write every day. I have 7 published books. BUT, I still love reading about the craft of writing and picking up a tip or two from other authors. I have an entire shelf (well, half a bookcase) dedicated to books about writing. Reading about writing is one of my favorite things.

This book is split up into twelve different types of writing, and each chapter contains several exercises within that type. For instance, there's journal writing, essay writi
Jaimee Walls
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books on writing I have ever read!
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing, read-2012
This book is organized into twelve sections, with each section covering an aspect or type of writing. The author is obviously well-read and she includes a number of good passages from other authors to support or help illustrate certain points, so overall it was a pleasant read, but I think it lacked detail enough to support the claim of the title. The exercises were fairly simple (e.g., Start to write a short-short. Fifteen minutes.), and there weren't enough of them to justify spending a month ...more
Savannah (forest_reader)
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
This writing book was very organized and it had a lot of good exercises pertaining to writing. However, the content was definitely different, albeit strange at some parts. I was surprised at the emphasis on meditation and "letting your spirit and mind guide you" when writing (my quote, not Tiberghien's). It was a new view I have never seen before. This book is useful for writers who want to learn about discovering new ideas by reaching inside their soul. Like I said, this was not what I thought ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm removing this book from "currently reading," the category it's been in for a very long time. I've had to admit I may never finish reading it. My approach has been to read a chapter carefully when I'm about to write something in a format, such as personal essay, short story, and so on, covered by that chapter. The book is helpful as another way of thinking about the given format. It would be best suited to a one-year focus, as its title suggests, but I'm too sporadic in approach to use it cor ...more
Hannah Jane
The checklist for rewriting is very helpful and can be used for critiquing not only your writings, but the writings of others as well. I also appreciated the four steps to writing an essay and the structure of the short story bit. My favorite part of the book is a quote by Eunice Scarfe: "The seed of story is found in every genre, told or written, imagined or remembered. If we have lived, we each have a story; if we can tell it, we can write it. Story has the power to redeem, restore and renew - ...more
Our writers' group used this book and found it very helpful. I personally found many parts very useful in defining different types of writing, offering exercises, suggestions, etc. My only misgiving about the book is it got kind of weird on me sometimes. I don't know how better to explain it other than to say perhaps it was a bit new-Agey or other-worldy in parts. I haven't read any similar texts, so I can't reall compare it to anything else. ...more
Carlie Van Amerongen
I think this book should be in every writer's resource library. The writing exercises in each of twelve lessons are simple and comprehensive, and never a waste of time. Tiberghien advocates using visual representations of ideas as well as written ones, which is an interesting approach I hadn't heard of before. I loved doodling my mandalas as part of these lessons. ...more
David Kent
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great book to encourage writers to write. Each chapter covers a different type of writing and provides both guidance and exercises to follow. To get the full value of the book you need to do the exercises.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Brief essays on a variety of writing styles along with a diverse array of exercises makes this book an easy one to pick up at random, when you're in the mood to write, but not in the thick of a project. ...more
R.M. Byrd
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book, one I go to time after time, especially when I'm stuck. It has just the right touch of instruction and encouragement, with practical lessons to get the pump going. A very special book. ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Tiberghien's suggestions are deceptively simple and direct, and aim at helping the writer develop an intuitive approach to discovering material and developing it. The format seems perfect for novice writers but holds much for experienced writers as well. An essential resource. ...more
Marni Tagami
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great guide to writing exercises for those who are learning to write creatively.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Wonderful book. Excellent "how to's." I return to this book again and again. It is the most helpful writing book I've come across in a long time. ...more
Nov 03, 2014 marked it as to-read
via Tacy, a commenter on Anne's blog today ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I am reading it for study rather than pleasure so perhaps am not enjoying it as much as I could.
Lori Weiman
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Some useful tidbits on writing and some less than useful tidbits. Overall a useful writing resource that I will go back to again for writing prompts and reading and resource suggestions.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is, without question, one of the best book on writing I have read. Tiberghien covers craft items in new and interesting ways. There are many nuggets of gold here.
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Some good things but tried to be everything to everyone and I think it missed.
Lisa Morris
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Jun 23, 2014
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Sheila A. Roell
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Aug 23, 2018
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Mar 10, 2015
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After marrying a Frenchman, following him around Europe with a growing family, I started to write more or less full time at the age of 50 when we settled down in Geneva, Switzerland. I published my first book, Looking for Gold: A Year in Jungian Analysis, at the age of 60.

I continued to publish, two more memoirs and numerous narrative essays in journals and anthologies. Then the widely read One Y

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