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Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life

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4.38  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Writers are given a wealth of opportunities to cultivate a successful writing life, break out, and find an audience for their work. Yet so many writers, from beginners to veterans, find their careers stuck in neutral.

The solution is simple: Just write. Write yourself past fears, doubts, and setbacks, and use your desire for writing excellence to deeply immerse yourself in
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Published April 28th 2016 by Writers Digest Books
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4.38  · 
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 ·  297 ratings  ·  60 reviews


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Emma Sea
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing new in here: certainly nothing like the solid grounding in structure or dialogue of Bell's other books, but it really resonated with me, striking the perfect balance between dour realism and peppy go-get-it-ness. It's a friendly shoulder to cry on about your lack of internal conflict and soggy middle act, but Bell makes you think if you just keep writing you can do it!

Also, damn you to heck, James Scott Bell, for crystalizing my deep but unacknowledged certainty that my current W
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Abigayle Claire
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-reread, mine, writing
This book was very well laid out and covered a lot more than just knowing the craft. With its focus on how self-publishing has changed the market, it was very helpful to see how the publishing world has evolved in the years since my birth. I'm not sure I could ever highlight this one enough! A favorite for sure, with many colorful examples and humorous comparisons.
W. Whalin
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If You Can Only Buy One How-To Book, Get This One

I’ve known James Scott Bell for many years and long admired his work and his commitment to the craft of writing. I do not write fiction but have spent most of my writing life in the nonfiction world (yet I acquire fiction and read fiction). Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need JUST WRITE to learn from this skilled teacher and bestselling novelist.

Every chapter of this book is packed with insights. I encourage you to read with a yello
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Terri Wilson
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a gift from my husband.

Sometimes it takes about 100 times of hearing the same thing before it really sinks into my head. Bell has no new formula, but has an incredibly down to earth way of presenting the information in this book. It encouraged me in a way that many other writing books have not. I highlighted and/or took notes on almost every page of this book. I recommend it highly for every writer at any level. You won't regret this purchased and I doubt it will just sit on your d
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Tricia Mingerink
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
This book is a different sort of writing book. It isn't so much a book on writing. It is a book on the writer. The focus is on becoming the wisest and best writing you can. The tips on writing are written short and succinct, but much of the focus of the book is on keeping the joy and passion of writing alive in the writer.

If you're looking for a book that encourages you as a writer, especially as a writer looking to make a career out of writing, I highly recommend this book.
Leah
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
A great mixture of writing motivation and craft tips, with a good chunk of the advice geared toward indie / self-published writers. But there's great words of wisdom here for writers following the traditional publishing path, as well!
orion_scattered
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the idea of writing, but too crippled by self doubt and anxiety to actually write? This book is for you! It's full of all sorts of advice about writing, from plot structure to writing quotas and everything in between.

I'm definitely still a pantser, but the way Bell organised his thoughts about structure were really revelatory for me. I'm not about to outline entire plots, but I feel like I have a better grasp now on where to put different things within the book and how to connect them toget
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Valerie Basham
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
I bought this book back in 2016, started it, then got distracted by a hundred other books, and put it back on the shelf. I was blogging regularly then, satisfied with my status-quo life, when in 2017, staggering tragedy hit me. I couldn't write. I could barely get out of bed. When I could get out of bed, caring for my family was my number one priority, or to put it another way, survival was my priority. I had no more words, not valuable or interesting ones, anyway. Nothing that others would care ...more
Michele
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love reading all the James Scott Bell books to enhance my writing craft. I think because I read more than 5 of his books, some information was a repeat. At least the knowledge has been reinforced. I highly recommend this book for those who are improving their writing or just need motivation to write.
Kristen Miller
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of good information! I’ll certainly be rereading it for my second novel. I recommend reading only after you have a book written or at least started. It doesn’t really work if you have no personal material to reference.
Audra
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has so much meat in it, I took notes all the way through and did the exercises. I am also going to implement the suggestions he made. James Scott Bell is very adept at giving useful strategies to fully embrace the writing life and to make the most of your talent. This is the second of his books on writing that I have read. I have several more on my night stand that I am also going to read now that I have completed this one.

If you are serious about the craft of writing and write every d
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Kay Hudson
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: craft-of-writing
Good refresher course for Bell fans: lots of repetition (probably taken from blog posts) and references to his short ebooks. About half on craft of writing, half on writing life. I bought the paperback edition (which doesn't seem to be on Goodreads) to have the paper reference. Always a few nuggets worth the price of admission. Good intro to Bell if you haven't read his earlier books.
Angeli
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pending-reads
I haven’t read a non-fiction book about writing that I enjoyed very much since God knows when. I am very passionate about writing and creating a world of my own but sometimes, when the juice runs out, you just gotta look for inspiration.

I wanted to write my own story. Since I was a kid, I’ve been in love with writing. You should see the wallpapers in our old house. You should see the diary I had when I was eight. You should just see all the notes I’ve scribbled on my high school and university n
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Fatima
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I read this book on-and-off for ten months. Feels like longer.

But I learnt a lot, and I still want to go back through it and look at all the highlighted things, and all the activities he’s given, and try to do them.

The last chapter - about self publishing - wasn’t great because I’m not interested in self publishing. Though it was written very well, with many convincing arguments, that I was very nearly convinced.

Lots of great insights, and it was very funny at different parts, very well written
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Amanda Alexandre
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A collection of tips to write good commercial fiction and how to enjoy the freedom given by platforms like Amazon. I agree with the author that the best way to do marketing is to write something that is compelling to the reader. Peter Drucker said himself that marketing and sales are opposite forces. (People see marketing as advertising but when you are making anything regarding your product, even designing - or writing it - you are doing marketing).

I just wish the author wouldn't be so repetiti
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Kelly Livett
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really useful book. Really helped me distil some writing concepts and add some writing tools to my belt. I would recommend it to newer writers or those still attempting to finish their first drafts. There did appear to be some level of snide bias towards Pantsers with some kind of understanding that pantsers feel like everything is a magical unicorn that they sit down to when inspiration and whim takes them, who rebelliously buck any sense of structure or writing tools, which seemed a very inc ...more
Shellsea
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: need-to-buy
This is the first writing book I have ever read. I really liked it. I was expecting terms I wouldn't understand or exercises that would be complicated, but within the first 10 pages I was quickly put at ease. The information and solutions he offers are awesome and very practical. There were multiple times where I felt like he was talking directly to me when he was discussing problems and obstacles that some writers face. I would highly recommend to anyone who is thinking about becoming a writer.
Deanna
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you James Scott Bell

Bell did an incredible job getting to the heart of the matter in that you if you really want to write than just write.

I really enjoyed the flow of Bell’s writing and enjoyed it so much I bought two more of his books.

This book is inspirational while also providing some great tips on the steps of writing and publishing a book. I am definitely keeping this handy for my first book.

Thank you Bell for your apparent love for the craft.
Kevin Murphy
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The last sections, focused on publishing and marketing, have been a struggle to stay interested in because they're not all that relevant to me at the moment (as someone who hasn't actually finished a story, let alone is looking at publishing anything yet), but this is a damned good guide on improving your writing and making money with it. I'll probably get a copy of my own to refer to in the future, because I will be making use of those late chapters eventually.
Toni
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to
I love James Scott Bell. I know when I read one of his writing books I'm going to get excited to write and I'm going to know I can do it. That right there is reason enough for me to read all his books, but then, he really writes well too.
All of that is true for this book too, and it came at a time I needed it, too.
Jaclyn
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My second Bell writing book, and he might be my favorite writing teacher I’ve found. Just Write is full of the kind of tips & inspiration that makes the book almost hard to read bc I keep having to put the book down & run to my WIP. If ever you find yourself at a roadblock in your book, Bell can help.
Sabrina
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
There's some solid ideas, mostly in the first half of the book. The second half gets a bit repetitive. I liked the idea of treating your writing career like a movie studio, with multiple projects in various stages of production being worked on at once. Some interesting insights on marketing too. Overall, worth reading but not essential.
Antonia Malvino
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging book, one with meaningful exercises, wry wisdom, and sound advice. The author's graciousness and willingness to help and inspire other writers is readily evident when you meet him. That same hospitality comes across in this book. Definitely, a book that will go on my reference shelf for regular access.
H Baugus
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
James Scott Bell is clearly well versed in his craft. The book is well written with excellent tips for burgeoning authors. Certainly not aimed at the hobbyist who doesn't intend to make it big but packed full of great information for those who do. I would try picking it up at your local library if that's an option unless you're familiar with Bell's other writing help books.

Michael D. Kanner
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with one of the other reviewers that there is nothing brilliantly new here. However, they are still lessons that need constant learning and looking over my highlights (I have the Kindle version), there are still one or two new bits for writers.
Amylyn
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone with the desire to write, read this. It's funny, inspiring, informative and very well thought out. I have so many notes and new techniques to try out thanks to Bell. It was also highly entertaining and easy to get through- not boring or overly repetitive.
Gwyn Haller
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just what I needed

Listening on Kindle as I recover from illness. James Scott Bell gives a writer the mechanical tools to construct writing and leads the way. I appreciated this book.
Aretha Grant
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highlighted much of this book and inserted stickies on pages I want to revisit. The book is almost like a writers 101 textbook. I fully intend to read it again, slower, while applying all the exercises to my current work in progress. You need to add this book to your writing library.
Warren Nast
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mr. Bell covers all the basics things that might prevent you from writing daily and has good suggestions to overcome them. Write on!
Tory
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice combination of story structure/craft discussion and exploring the realities of the writing life.
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Jim is a former trial lawyer who now writes and speaks full time. He is the bestselling author of Try Dying, No Legal Grounds, Presumed Guilty, Glimpses of Paradise, Breach of Promise and several other thrillers. He is a winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Inspirational Fiction, and was a fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine. He has written two books in the Writers' Digest serie ...more
“Katniss Everdeen did not think she was good enough to win the Hunger Games. But she had no choice. The writing game is an arena and once you’re in, don’t waste precious time worrying about how good you are. Gather your weapons and supplies, and fight.” 0 likes
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