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Breathing In, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook
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Breathing In, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  184 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Keeping a notebook may be the single best way to survive as a writer. It encourages a greater sensitivity to your world, inside and out. It serves as a haven for new ideas until they are strong and mature enough to face the harsh light of rational judgment. It gives you a quiet place to catch your breath and begin writing. Breathing In, Breathing Out is a book for the writ ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 18th 1996 by Heinemann Educational Books
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Shannon Clark
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-reviewed-yet
Although it wasn't what I expected (thought it was about teaching students to be writers) it really resonated with me. Everything that Ralph talked about is practical for students as well. In fact, I gathered lots of little gems from this book. :)

Not only did I walk away with more of a structure in my mind of how to help my 6th graders use a writer's notebook, but I gained quite a bit of inspiration for my own writing.

He mentioned a quotation from another writer about "language angels". I can j
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found this inspiring. As a hopeful budding writer, I found this useful and eloquent. I have a better understanding of how to use my own notebook, and ideas to help me reach further, dig deeper.
Larissa Lee
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
[First Glance]
Approaching this book, I made special concessions to its age. Written in 1996, this book was guaranteed to use a different style and voice than modern writing guides; after all, it's over two decades old!

That said, it surprised me that the book is labeled for ages 5-17 on Amazon. Skimming through the pages, I wouldn't think of it being aimed any earlier than middle or high school. Maybe a teacher could translate it for easier use?

[Positive Bits]
As someone who uses a digital journal
Miss Lilli
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was motivating. As I result, I asked other authors questions about writer's journals, researched apps that people use for writing, etc. I decided to start a journal. So far I have one entry. It is MY journal, so I make the rules for it.
Nov 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to jacky by: Katie Wood Day
This author was mentioned in What You Know by Heart.

I read this in hopes of it helping me with my teaching. I want to encourage my students to keep writer's notebooks. I really wound up with a lot of insight into myself. Almost all of the writer's notebook tips that he recommends, I used to do in notebooks in high school or college. It was validating for me to hear that these are the same things "real" writers do, but also sad because I don't do these things anymore.

In the end, I am left with
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful. Keeping a journal is not as simple, or easy as it may seem; especially if you are prone, such as I am, to be overly critical of yourself. "I must rewrite that last passage," I mutter to myself, forgetting that I am keeping a journal not writing an essay for The Atlantic. Fletcher's book is a balm of sorts, as he gently reminds you why writers keep a notebook, how writers keep a notebook, and, ultimately, the joy and wisdom of keeping a writer's notebook. This is a short, albeit, thoug ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I finished reading the book and it was inspiring. I'm also reading three or four other books on writing, but this one was the shortest and the one I read at night before bed.

Fletcher depicts the simplicity of writing in a notebook using his own examples as evidence, examples that I both related to and hated. I did not like his poetry and some of his notebook entries made no sense, but that was his point. That the notebook's purpose is not to share with others but a jumping board for better writi
Peggy Otto
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fletcher skillfully intersperses musings on a writing life with samplings from his own writer's notebook in a short, lyrical piece of prose. If you can finish this book without feeling the itch to write some musings and observations of your own, then language is probably not your craft of choice. It's a great choice for reading in a writing group or as a place to start when forming a new writing group.
The Reading Countess
ANYTHING by Ralph Fletcher is golden. Breathing In, Breathing Out is no exception. Less than 100 pages, this quick read is crammed with ideas and inspiration for novice writers, writers who have lost their itch, teachers, and even homeschooling parents. In particular, I loved the quotes and metaphors-I plan to try many of them out in my own notebook and with my class next year.
Highly recommended!
Rebecca Schwarz
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
File under inspirational. This book is brief with lots of quotes and poetry, both by the author and others. I do keep a journal for my writing but this was a great reminder that I could be using it even more and even more broadly. Noting down broken and half-formed impressions as well as scenes and story outlines. I think I'll be using my journal even more now and perhaps it will show in my writing as well.
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learned the true importance of keeping a writer's notebook. I've been very bad at trying to journal or write thoughts down and then rereading them. This book helped me learn that it's okay to just write down small things or even the large things. Rereading also helps me go back to some piece that was unfinished and possibly use it in another piece or make it a solo venture. Writing anything, no matter how damaging, can be cathartic to my soul.
Kari S
Jan 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Lots of gems in this book -- and lots of straightforward commentary on the idea of writing as a choice and an act, not something that freely flows from ourselves. A noted writer shares his thoughts, and also encourages you to share your own. Will be using some of this with my students in the near future!
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
4 stars

I read this for class, but I picked it out of a list of fiction theory books to review.

I definitely enjoyed the perspective of keeping a writer's journal and writing in it every day. The writing was accessible and easy to get through. I did find it a bit repetitive but otherwise it was a solid book.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a really great professional book that was useful to me as a teacher of writing as well as a person who likes to write. I'm not endeavoring to become a published writer, but it still was motivating to me, and not directed only to "serious" writers who are on a mission to get published. It's also for folks like me.
John McCarthy
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-craft
I read this as part of a group of writers, Deadwood Writers. We wanted to grow in our writing, both in practice and for ideas. This book by Ralph Fletcher was of enormous help. It's a short book, but a thoughtful read. Follow his ideas with each progressive chapter, you'll find your writing quality increase.
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
Every summer I claim I going to write, but something else always gets in the way. This book is getting me back in the mood. Maybe I'll try some ideas with the students this year. I'll try to share some of the examples used in the book....
Peter Hall
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
A short but entertaining and insightful book about the centrality of keeping a notebook to the writing life. I enjoyed the authors own notebook struggles - particularly the wish to keep it neat and tidy which never lasts.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an extremely fast, easy read. It only took me a couple of hours to finish. What I liked the most about this resource were his references to the notebooks of accomplished writers. This has given me a nice idea of what my own writer's notebook will look like.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love anything written by Ralph Fletcher-he writes in a way that makes you feel like he's right there in the room with you. His passion for writing is so inspiring. This is a great introduction to using a writer's notebook.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
My writing class teacher requested that we select a book to read about writing. I read this book twice. Once because it was interesting and easy to read. Twice because he has some real gems that I didn't want to forget. I made notes in my writer's notebook.
May 27, 2009 rated it liked it
A decent description of a writer's notebook, this book has everything a beginning writer needs to keep a writer's notebook. It made me feel better about my own writing. I recommend it to anyone getting started.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This short, easy-to-read book and poetically-written book is for anyone who enjoys writing. Through anecdotes, his writing, and the writing of others, Fletcher explains why and how to keep a writers notebook.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
So far, this book reiterates everything I've felt and thought and taught about journal writing. The reminder is both appreciated and new-ish enough that my students will get excerpts and exercises from this book.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Many excellent suggestions on keeping a writer's notebook. Am incorporating a number of them. This is a book I expect o come back to in the future.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
Was an interesting, quick read. But I think I am wanting more about how to actually set one up. This is more on just keeping a 'journal' and recording everything you see and hear and read.
Pam Kirst
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Such a wonderful discipline; why don't I do this every day???
Barbara Thompson Book
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
great book
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Good stuff.

Not as earth-shattering as I'd hoped for, however.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book -- I enjoy the glimpses into Fletcher's writer's notebook, plus the quotes and other writing samples he includes. A handy tool for developing your own writer's notebook.
Nathaniel Smith
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
A brief and wonderful book, inspiring and instructive on the business of keeping an honest writer's notebook.
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Ralph Fletcher is a friend of young writers and readers as well as writing teachers. He has written or co-authored many books for writing teachers includng Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide, Teaching the Qualities of Writing, Lessons for the Writer's Notebook, Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, and Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing. Ralph has worked with teachers a ...more
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