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Becoming a Writer

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Refreshingly slim, beautifully written and deliciously elegant, Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It's just a question of finding the "writer's magic"--a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.

With close reference to the great writers of her day--Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on--Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it--"You have decided to write at four o'clock, and at four o'clock you must write." She's strong on confidence building and there's a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina. She also shows how to harness the unconscious, how to fall into the "artistic coma," then how to re-emerge and be your own critic.

This is Dorothea Brande's legacy to all those who have ever wanted to express their ideas in written form. A sound, practical, inspirational and charming approach to writing, it fulfills on finding "the writer's magic."

186 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1934

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About the author

Dorothea Brande

43 books57 followers
Dorothea Brande (1893 – 1948) was a well-respected writer and editor in New York.

Dorothea Collins died in New Hampshire.

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5 stars
2,358 (39%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 508 reviews
Profile Image for Daniel.
203 reviews
May 21, 2009
Holy crap, Dorothea Brande, why the hell is your book almost completely forgotten?

I give "Becoming a Writer" five stars not because it's the most amazing book ever written -- it is, after all, an instructional book, and as such has its limits -- but because it feels almost like it was written yesterday, not 75 years ago, when it actually was published. More importantly, it far surpasses even the most famous and best-loved books on writing that have come since. I couldn't bring myself to finish Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones" from 1986, and found Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" from 1994 flawed but better; Brande's 1934 manual, however, easily blows them both away.

Brande's genius is that she doesn't really care whether you're talented or publishable, what kind of material you want to write, or whether writing is, in and of itself, an important activity. All she cares about is that, if you're reading her book, you want to write, and she's going to show you how to do it. And she doesn't mince words: Becoming a writer, she makes clear, requires strict discipline and continuous practice.

As I haven't tried her techniques yet, I can't speak to how successful they will be for me, but they certainly appear sound: forcing yourself to write on a strict schedule, in various frames of mind, and without giving yourself any excuses. And I love the passage that ends the "Writing on Schedule" chapter: "Right here I should like to sound the solemnest word of warning that you will find in this book: If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write, and you may as well find some other outlet for your energy early as late." See what I mean about Brande not mincing words? Even with pages and pages devoted to the writer getting in touch with his unconscious mind, there's nothing namby-pamby about "Becoming a Writer."

A reader of Brande's book may quarrel with my assertion that it feels like it was written yesterday, as there are several passages that discuss using a typewriter. But any publisher who wanted to modernize this book -- and I'm certainly not suggesting such be done -- could easily replace the word typewriter with computer (and the words portable typewriter with laptop), and the meaning would be unchanged. Brande also doesn't write at length on the topic.

As a side note, you have to give Brande credit in her passing mentions of then-contemporary authors. She somehow was able to name-drop writers who, almost without exception, continue to be read today: Wharton, Hemingway, Forster, Wodehouse, Woolf and Ford Maddox Ford among them. Granted, those writers all were quite famous in their day, but so were many others who are no longer read. (OK, I did have to look up who Kathleen Norris was, but she's the exception.)

By the way, if you read the reprint of Brande's book with a foreword by John Gardner, it's completely skippable. Gardner may have had noteworthy things to say about the art of writing elsewhere, but here he doesn't add much, I'm sorry to say. No matter: "Becoming a Writer" needs no introduction, and its readers should just dive right in.
Profile Image for Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly.
755 reviews346 followers
June 3, 2015
I read this classic, first published in 1934, thinking it might be able to help me write well. Instead, it merely showed me why I am not a writer. Why I cannot be a writer. Why I've stopped writing reviews here at goodreads and why I have plenty of books which I've finished reading and now find difficult to write reviews of, partly because I've lost my immediate impressions about them together with whatever it was which had kept my interest alive while reading them.

How many times have I heard that in order to write well one must be a reader? This book, however, says that reading can be bad for the writing craft. It even prescribes an exercise where one is told to wake up half an hour, or a full hour, earlier than he customarily rises in the morning and, without talking, reading or doing anything else at all, just WRITE. Write about anything and whatever comes to mind. For Dorothea Brande says that it is, at this time, in the twilight zone between sleep and full waking state, "when the unconscious is in the ascendant" that one can reap the full benefit of the "richness of the unconscious." She says that the root of genius is the unconscious.

But I have never written anything in the wee hours of the morning. Not anything before breakfast. When I am unconscious I am out. When I am awake I am not unconscious. I grab anything I can read (usually the book I've been reading the night before) upon waking up; I read before, during and after breakfast, inside the toilet, inside the car on my way to work during heavy traffic. Every single day I've never missed reading something.

Worse, I've been led to believe that writers are born, not made, and that the great writers I've known were geniuses who had been gifted with this rare ability to write well with ease and spontaneity. Not true, Brande says. Anyone can write and genius can be taught and learned, and that it is precisely the belief to the contrary that stifles and kills one's innate ability to weave magic through the written word.

I also never reread. We should, Brande says. To learn from the great masters one must read their works once for pleasure and then reread them again, this time with a critical eye so we can see more clearly their beautiful creative patterns. Of course she made no advice to those similarly situated like me with a mountain of unread books all equally demanding my attention, silently mocking me daily with the thought that I've wasted good money acquiring them, what with this certainty that I will never be able to read them all even if I reach the age of 150 with a good eyesight.

I have not learned "to see again" ("Learning to See Again," Chapter 11). I have submitted myself spinelessly to this "dullness of apprehension" which the author labelled as "a real danger to a writer." I need to hold my restless mind still, but it refuses to be pinned down to silence and immobility. My everyday concerns and pleasures are like antagonistic cheerleaders distracting my writing mind.

Besides, reading is much easier than writing. And I am busy. So except for this, an attempt to explain, I have ceased to write.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,447 followers
April 28, 2023
Un mic manual de exerciții fizice și psihice pentru un tînăr care și-a pus în cap să devină scriitor profesionist.

N-aș fi citit acest volum bizar dacă n-aș fi dat, într-o anchetă din The Guardian (20 februarie 2010), peste acest îndemn semnat de Hilary Mantel: „Citește Cum să devii un scriitor de Dorothea Brande. Apoi urmează întocmai ceea ce scrie. Și respectă inclusiv sarcinile care ți se par absurde sau imposibile”.

Voi menționa în grabă cîteva precepte propuse de Dorothea Brande în cartea ei din 1934:

1. Pentru a scrie trebuie să capeți obiceiurile, ritualurile, modul de a fi ale unui scriitor. Nu vei învăța, negreșit, cum să scrii (cum să așezi adjectivul lîngă substantiv), ci cum să fii realmente un SCRIITOR.
2. Renunță imediat la scrisul de mînă. Învață să dactilografiezi. În alte cuvinte, învață să folosești un laptop. Vei termina o carte mult mai repede decît o făceau Dante, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Dickens sau Victor Hugo în vremea lor. Citez: „Teach yourself as soon as possible to work the moment you sit down to a machine”.
3. Îndată ce te trezești, apucă-te și scrie ce ai visat, ce ai făcut cu o zi înainte, CE AI CITIT CA SĂ RECENZEZI PE GOODREADS, să zicem. Nu te opri înainte de o oră. Continuă acest exercițiu cel puțin o săptămînă. Și încă una. Și încă una. Vei învăța astfel cum să-ți tranformi experiența în cuvinte.
4. Analizează-te fără milă, ca și cum ai fi un obiect așezat în fața ta.
5. Citește ca un SCRIITOR (cf. Francine Prose, Reading like a Writer, 2007). La prima lectură poți să te identifici cu personajele dintr-un roman de amor, dar la a doua va trebui să examinezi fără patimă, cu o minte de gheață, procedeele autorului: cum și-a construit discursul, cum și-a ordonat ideile, ce limbaj a folosit etc. Citez din original: „The only way to read as a writer is to go over everything twice”.
6. Dacă obișnuiești să bei multă cafea, nu te scula de la masă din jumătate în jumătate de oră ca să-ți pui ibricul pe foc. Cumpără-ți un termos de 3, 5 litri și umple-l cu prețiosul lichid seara, înainte de a te culca. E bine să-l ai gata pregătit cînd te apuci a doua zi de scris.
7. Ține seama că o cantitate prea mare de cafea îți afectează ficatul, inima, intestinul subțire, intestinul gros, stomacul, rinichii, celulele nervoase și amigdala cerebrală. Preferabil e mai degrabă să umpli o jumătate de termos cu o infuzie de maté, care e mult mai bună decît ceaiul din comerțul românesc. Poți cumpăra maté de la orice băcănie din Santa Teresa, Mexic (Roberto Bolaño a descris minunățiile din acest pitoresc oraș în partea a doua a romanului 2666 :)
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,414 followers
March 1, 2021
Dorothea Brande was of the opinion that before craft classes or MFA programs could be of any use to would-be writers, they needed to deal with all the neuroses and hangups and confusions that can prevent them from writing in the first place. So Becoming a Writer is about carving out nonnegotiable time to write, sorting out insecurities and false beliefs, harnessing the subconscious for the writing process, reading like a writer, and more. It's practical, accessible, and amusing, and I'm definitely planning to try some of her methods. The only thing that bothered me was the consistent use of male pronouns. I am very well aware that male pronouns were considered gender-neutral for many years, but there's something particularly depressing about a woman writer using them to describe the entire population of aspiring authors. I'm glad those days are behind us.

Edited to add: I just realized this book is now in the public domain, which means there are all kinds of shady editions proliferating. Make sure you get the one from Tarcher/Perigree, who've been the official publishers of this book for decades.
Profile Image for Susan Budd.
Author 6 books225 followers
February 19, 2022
The date is sometime in the late 1980s. The place – the Jamaica station of the Long Island Railroad. I am sitting in a westbound train, book in hand, like Hopper’s girl in Compartment C. I have the luxury of not having to change trains at Jamaica. I am nestled in my seat. Comfy and cozy.

The train sits for five quiet minutes and an odd nostalgia washes over me. Odd because nostalgia is by definition nostalgia for the past, but what I am experiencing is nostalgia for the present. Not déjà vu, but its counterpart. The unfamiliar had not become familiar. Rather the familiar had become unfamiliar.

I was on my regular train going to my regular job sitting at Jamaica Station at the regular time. Everything was as it always was, yet for five minutes, it was not. For five minutes it was something quite different. There was peace. A pleasant unreality – the opposite of the unreality that accompanies Pan’s attacks. I felt the serenity known only in dreams.

The book in my hand became more than this one book, this particular book. It became all the books I had ever read and all the books I would ever read. Here they were, in this eternal moment. And I myself was everyone I had ever been and everyone I would ever be. All of those myriad me’s were sitting in that motionless train.

Then the doors closed. The dream dissolved. And the train pulled out of the station and resumed its westward journey. I looked at the orange-marbled cover of the book that happened to be my traveling companion. It was Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer.

I had been reading it at the kitchen table that held my electric typewriter and doubled as my writing desk. An orange-marbled paperback on the gray-marbled Formica. Then I had taken it with me to read on the train. Now it is forever associated with that precious vision of the unremembered but ever-longed for home.
Profile Image for Stuart Aken.
Author 25 books277 followers
September 19, 2012
On 13 September, I posted a piece on the difficulties that often beset writers on my blog. In that post I mentioned Dorothea Brande’s excellent book, Becoming a Writer, and, having discovered I had never actually reviewed this seminal work, promised I would do so. I re-read the book, and here’s that review.

As budding writers, we’re all faced with a bewildering panoply of books on the techniques of the craft. As beginners, this huge bulk of work on how to perform the miracle many of us see as writing, can seem very daunting. So, why am I bringing to your attention yet another book, causing you further anxiety of deciding in which of the hundreds of volumes you should invest your valuable time and energy, let alone money? Well, let me first say that this attempt to persuade you of the value of this book isn’t aimed only at beginners. Well established, experienced authors will also benefit from the words of wisdom contained within this relatively slim volume.

The first clue is in the title. Becoming a Writer isn’t a technical manual. It’s not a guide to grammar, style or subject choice, genre, presentation or any of the many other, often contradictory aspects of writing that are shoved relentlessly at beginning writers. This, if at all possible, is the book you should read before you even contemplate immersion in the techniques of the trade. If that moment has already passed, worry not. I’d read dozens of technical books on the craft before I happened upon this wonderful book in the late 80s. But I wish I had come upon it at the very start. So much time and energy would’ve been saved and so much misunderstanding would’ve been avoided.

As Dorothea states so eloquently at the start of her encouragement to writers, we are all told, repeatedly, by books, lecturers, course leaders, and many others in the writing trade, that ‘genius cannot be taught’. Here, however, is a writer who exposes this lie and provides practical exercises aimed at discovering and freeing your own inner genius.

A word of warning: if you wish to continue your life believing yourself a writer without putting that possibility to the test, do NOT read this book. If you see writing as some sort of dilettante occupation involving no real work, DON’T read this book. Once she’s explained the lies behind the discouragement of so many of the writing trade’s so-called experts regarding the ‘magic’ of writing, she presents her readers with a hard choice. If, having attempted her initial exercises, you discover you’re incapable of following her advice, she suggests you take up some other career and leave writing to those who take it as the serious lifestyle it must be if anything worthwhile is to come from your scribbling.

This isn’t simply a book. In order to gain anything from reading it, the reader is required to undertake certain exercises. Initially, some of these may seem arbitrary, meaningless, pedantic, even a little odd. But, and I speak from experience, perseverance will pay out in spades. As a direct result of reading this book and following the advice, I’m now able to write anywhere, under any conditions, and turn out the germ of a worthwhile story more or less at will at one sitting. I believe that to be an aim worthy of effort. If you think there’s no chance of you ever achieving this level, read this book before you either give up writing or face the rest of your life in a state of dissatisfaction where your hopes have no chance of fulfilment.

I’m not going to attempt to provide a synopsis of the book. But I will quote a short statement taken from the back of the copy I picked up, second hand, for less than the price of a coffee. ‘Becoming a Writer…is unique and genuinely inspirational. She (Dorothea Brande) believes there is such a thing as the writer’s magic, that everybody has it in differing degrees and that it can be taught. This book is about freeing that unconscious ability in all of us.’

Both John Braine, who wrote the foreword of the edition I have, and Ted Willis have words of praise for the book. Braine claiming that it is ‘…the only book about writing which has been of practical help to me…’ And Willis describing it as ‘…the best book on creative writing and the process of creative writing that I think I have ever read…’

So, if you’re looking for a ready guide to discovering and utilising your innate abilities as a writer, and you’re prepared to put in the work required, this is the book for you. If, on the other hand, you’re only playing with the idea of becoming a writer, this is also the book for you; for it will confirm your lack of seriousness and perhaps persuade you to try something more suited to your personality.

I recommend it unreservedly to all those who take seriously the complex, wonderful, frustrating, creative, stimulating and rewarding art and craft of writing.
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,286 reviews194 followers
February 24, 2019
I love it when my friends and coworkers suggest books to me, especially when it's a writing advice book. Thanks Steve for thinking of me and loaning me your book. I got a lot out of this and ended up ordering a used copy online. The second half of the book has a lot of great suggestions and exercises. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for °•.Melina°•..
154 reviews97 followers
December 16, 2022
دلم میخواد هرچی کتاب کمک نویسنده تو دنیا هست بخونم نه بخاطر تکرار مطالب مشترک بلکه بخاطر زاویه نگاه‌های متفاوتشون تو موضوع‌های مختلف و جدیدشون>>>✨
Profile Image for Kressel Housman.
974 reviews226 followers
May 21, 2008
Without exception, this is my very favorite book on writing. More than craft, it’s about psychology – the psychology of the artistic mind. Dorothea Brande breaks down the creative process into two parts: the unconscious or imagination, and the conscious or inner editor. When you see the stereotypical “temperamental artist,” she explains, what you are seeing is an artist whose conscious and unconscious are at war with each other. When artists get themselves in balance, both their writing and their other responsibilities fall into place.

When I first read this book, my writing life was way out of balance, so this was a life-changer. And now that I’ve written this review, I think it’s time to re-read Becoming A Writer. I’m looking forward to it immensely. I know it can only bring positive change into my life.
Profile Image for Jean Dunbar-Green.
1 review57 followers
February 11, 2023
Read and re-read, repeat. Love this practical guide and always find something new upon re-reading.
Profile Image for محمود راضي.
Author 7 books230 followers
May 30, 2016
كان آخر ما قرأته في مجال الكتابة اﻹبداعية منذ ما يقرب من سبعة أشهر كان (ورشة سيناريو جابرييل جارسيا ماركيز)، والحق أني لم أنل منه القسط الذي يكفيني من الاستفادة حتى مع وجود بعض الجوانب الجيدة به هنا وهناك، لكني شعرت في كثير من اﻷحيان أن أعضاء ورشة ماركيز كانوا يتحدثون مع أنفسهم أكثر من حديثهم مع القاريء المتابع ذاته.

وهذه المرة جاء في طريقي كتاب دوروثي براندي هذا بالصدفة، ولم أكن قد سمعت به من قبل، لكنه كتاب هائل ويدخل إلى لب اﻷمر مباشرة بدون أية تعقيدات وبدون أي تنظير فارغ وبدون حتى وعود زائفة، فدوروثي هنا تقدم في كتابها الصغير هذا كم هائل من التمارين التي تهدف في المقام اﻷول لكسر النهر المتجمد الذي يفصل بين الكاتب وعملية الكتابة ذاتها، شيء يماثل تمارين اﻹحماء الضرورية قبيل اﻹقدام على المباراة المرتقبة.
Profile Image for Rania.
Author 10 books143 followers
May 31, 2016

الكتاب في الحقيقة موجه لفئة الكتاب الناشئين لأن كل ما يتضمنه هذا الكتاب يعرفه الكتاب المتمرسين في عملية الكتابة. الكتاب يضع قدمك على أول طريق الكتابة، يوضح لك نقاط لن تكتسبها إلا بالخبرة وكثرة الكتابة والإطلاع. لكن في النهاية يمكنك وضعها نصب عينيك وأنت تقدم على عملية الكتابة.
الكتاب يتضمن تمارين تفيد الكاتب الناشئ.
أعجبني فصل استراحة الكاتب.
في نهاية الكتاب ستجد العديد من المراجع التي تفيد الكتاب بشكلٍ عام في الكتابة.
Profile Image for Sharon.
Author 20 books293 followers
November 12, 2017
This is a duplicate, slightly revised, of the Amazon review I wrote back in 2001. It's actually the top-rated review there. (Edited to add: I have just discovered that Amazon has removed that review! No idea why.)

Becoming a Writer is unlike any other writing book on the market today. As Brande says in the introduction, even then, back in 1934, there were several books on writing, and most of them are about the basic rules of storytelling, organisational problems, and so on. This book is different. You will find nothing about plot, dialogue, structure, beginnings, endings here. Nothing about the actual nuts and bolts of writing.

Instead, Brande is trying to reach the writer who is not yet sure he/she is a writer. The shy, insecure artist who believes that somehow there is a magic to writing, a magic that other, successful writers have and which has somehow eluded him. And who desperately longs to find a key to that magic.
This book provides that key.

Brande talks about the artistic temperament, and the need to cultivate spontaneity, and innocence of eye, as well as the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new, and to see "traits and characteristics as though each were new-minted from the hand of God". Stories, Brande says, are formed in the unconscious mind, which must flow freely and richly, bringing at demand all the" treasures of memory, all the emotions, scenes, incidents, intimations of character and relationship" which is stored away beyond our awareness.

In a nutshell, this book is about tapping that rich store in the unconscious mind.

These days there are all kinds of workshops and books about creativity, tapping the unconscious, using meditation to reach the inner artist, and so on. In fact, any writer who has dabbled a little bit in the so-called "spiritual arts" would be capable of putting together a how-to treatise on writing, painting, dancing, or any other form of creativity, a how-to-do book on writing just by filling it with Buddhist sound-bites.

The thing about Brande is that she said it first, and said it best. This book is pioneer work; in 1934 George Harrison had not yet gone to India to set off the boom in meditation, and we were not yet informed on the validity of "right-brained" thinking.

Brande describes convincingly the interplay between the unconscious and the conscious mind, for the latter does have a role to play in he process or writing. The unconscious, says Brande, is shy, elusive, and unwieldy, "but it is possible to learn to tap it at will, and even to direct it." The conscious mind, on the other hand, is "meddlesome, opinionated, and arrogant, but it can be made subservient to the inborn talent through training." What wonderful, inspiring words! What courage they installed in me, when I first read them!

The rest of the book tells us how, exactly, to tap the wealth of the unconscious mind. She provides exercises and practical examples of what can be done to get the those buried stories richly flowing. She plants that seed of knowledge in your soul which will tell you "This is it", and will catapult you - as if by magic! - out of the slough of despond and into the actual work of a writer.

I read this book in 1981, at a time when I never dared dream of writing a complete novel. Immediately after reading it I began the exercises. They helped. Then I began to write my first novel. What more can I say, except that Brande's advice works.

In the years 1999 to 2004, my three novels Of Marriageable Age, Peacocks Dancing, and The Speech of Angels were published.

Those three books were followed by ten years in which nothing was published, but I still write on, still following Brande's "method". In 2014, a new publisher, Bookouture, republished Of Marriageable Age. In January 2015, a new book, The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q was published, and at the time of writing, The Secret Life of Winnie X is going through its last edits, to be published in July 2015. I have a couple more unpublished novels, plus, of course, Sons of Gods, a new version of the Mahabharata.

Without Brande I doubt I would ever have started.
Profile Image for Hanan Al Thawadi.
2 reviews1 follower
May 7, 2016
كتاب لياقات الكاتب
للكاتبة : دوروثي براندي
ترجمة : فريق ضاد\ غزة
عدد الصفحات : 156
الناشر : دار كلمات للنشر والتوزيع " الطبعة الثانية "

بدأت بقراءة الكتاب وأنا في اعتقادي انه سيكون على شاكلة الكتب السابقة التي قرأتها عن فن الكتابة الابداعية ولكنني اكتشفت أن هذا الكتاب يحمل بين طياته افكارا أبداعية محفزة لأولئك الذين تستهويهم الكتابة ويريدون الولوج إلى ذلك العالم الشاسع من أبوابه الصحيحة .

وكما وعد مترجم الكتاب في نهاية مقدمة المترجم انه كل من سيقرأ الكتاب سيتذكره كعلامة فارقة في مسيرته الكتابية وانه لن يكون ذات الشخص بعد قراءته.

وأنا اضم صوتي للمترجم ، إذ أنني خرجت بعد قراءته وكأنني شخص آخر قد تفتحت مداركه على أمورا عديدة في مجال الكتابة الابداعية .

يضم الكتاب محاور عدة منها :-

- الصعوبات التي تواجه الكتّاب الجدد
- تكوين مزاج الكاتب
- مستنقع اليأس
- أحلام اليقظة
- عن المحاكاة
- استراحة الكاتب

وغيرها الكثير ولكن اهمها تلك التمارين التي من خلالها تستطيع أن تطوع شعورك الباطني " اللاوعي " على إدرار الكلمات دون جهد بشرط أن تؤديها بصرامة وتلتزم بها التزاما مميتا إلى أن تكتب بطلاقة ووقت ما تشاء .

وفي ختام الكتاب هناك بعض الإرشادات والمراجع التي تحث الكاتبة دوروثي براندي على ان تتواجد عند كل كاتب مبتدأ فتقول : يجب أن يحتوي الجزء الأكبر من مكتبتك على الأعمال الكلاسيكية ، وحاول أن تقلص وبشكل كبير من الكتب المعاصرة " أي الكتب التي كتبت في آخر عشرين سنة " وتأكد أنه كلما باعدت بينك وبين الموضات المعاصرة كلما قويت مناعتك ضدها أي استطعت أن تكتب بأصالة وصدق دون محاكاة .

الخلاصة : كتاب قيّم ومفيد جدا للكتّاب المبتدأين وهو بمثابة دورة تدريبية مكثفة . وبما أنني من محبي الكتابة سوف تكون لي مع الكتاب قراءة ثانية متأنية وبشكل مفصل ودقيق.

مراجعة : حنان محمد الذوادي
التاريخ : 07 مايو 2016م

Profile Image for Rose.
Author 15 books17 followers
December 13, 2007
Long before Julia Cameron gave budding artists a creative kickstart with "The Artist's Way", Dorothea Brande was coaxing aspiring writers out of self-imposed dry spells, first with her creative writing classes and finally with "Becoming A Writer", which is a Cliff Notes version of the practical lessons she presented to one roomful of disillusioned students after another during the 1920s.

"Becoming a Writer" was originally published in 1934. Long before introspection became the norm in our society, Ms. Brande addressed the fears and frustrations that prevent writers from maximizing their true potential. She proposed a series of exercises to get one's creative mechanisms in gear and make the act of writing so automatic that self-censorship loses its hold. She scorned the adage that where writing was concerned, "true genius can't be taught", elevating the hopes of her students and the hackles of the existing literary community, which (figuratively) shot interlopers on sight. By encouraging the use of daily writing, regular exercise, and heavy doses of reading as the means of unlocking creative power, Ms Brande probably saved many new authors from seeking inspiration in a bottle of bathtub gin.

It's a small book, and the content is sparse compared to the huge volumes that occupy the shelves in the Writers and Writing sections of bookstores, but in the case of "Becoming A Writer", a little says a lot.
Profile Image for م. علي  الماجد.
Author 15 books281 followers
May 25, 2017
نشر لي حتى الان ستة روايات و عشرات القصص القصيرة والمقالات، سألت نفسي ما عسي استفيد من هذا الكتاب المخصص للنشاء او المبتدئين

في الحقيقة ان من يقول ان هذا الكتاب للمبتدئين فقد جانب الحقيقة الكاملة، هو مفيد للمتمرسين بقدر ماهو للمبتدئين و اعتقد فعلا ان الكتاب سيفيد المتمرسين اكثر من المبتدئين
هناك شيس غامض وساحر بالكتابة واحيانا يتلاشى هذا السحر لا تستطيع الكتابة رغم ان دماغك يكاد ان ينفجر من كثرة الافكار
هنا تفهم كيف تبدأ بطريقة صحيحة و بشجاعة
نعم كتبتها

تحتاج الشجاعة لتكتب فالكتاب شجعان لانهم قادرين على مداعبة شياطينهم وتقبيل ملائكتهم

الصمت او الغيبوبة الفكرية مهمة جدا ن نعالج دواخلنا وطبقة اللاوعي حتى تنبثق منها الافكار الحرة و تسطرها الانامل

الكاتب يكتب بثلاثة عقول

الوعي والعبقرية و اللاوعي

فهمت الان كيف تتعارك تلك العقول على كتاباتي و اصبحت اقدر قدرة على تنظيم جنودها

الكتاب بلاشك مذهل رغم انه ممل في بعض الاجزاء ولكن كل تعليم ممل
Profile Image for Nesrin  saad.
337 reviews39 followers
February 5, 2017
تقترح عليك دوروثي براندي في هذا الكتاب عدة خطوات و تمارين والتي من شأنها ان تضعك على الطريق نحو الكتابة الأبداعية ، شعرتُ بالملل في البداية و لكن التمارين المدرجة فيه جددت طاقتي و حفزتني على المضي قدماً ، الترجمة جيدة و أختيار فريق ضاد/ غزه كان موفقاً .
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,856 followers
March 23, 2018
One of the first, most insightful and honest writing advisor free from whitewashing

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

Basically, refreshingly different and unfortunately too rare access to the matter is chosen. By not primarily communicating how to write, characterize and credibly portray environments and moods. Instead, it explains what lurks on the way to becoming a budding artist for supposedly well-meaning companions and potholes. The necessary prerequisites are illustrated in the same way as the potential stumbling blocks are identified and as such marked as clearly as possible.
In one sense, there is a harsh line across the book when it comes to discipline, consistency, and the indispensability of regular practice and constructive self-criticism. The author does not mince her words and reveals a profound insight, gained through her professional career, into the mechanisms of action for the creation of the literature that can be published.
It has the self-detrimental cutting edge of putting forth almost everything in a single book that makes it possible to say something about the creative factor in the craft of writing. No option for further parts is included, the risk to scare away readers or deliberately accepted adverse reactions due to the honesty. Moreover, this impractical effort for the author only to protect people from spoiling in the form of a hopeless endeavor.
By drastically bringing reality to mind, to give disciplined and talented beginners the best possible armory on the path of privation. The assumption is evident that such an attitude in the field of literary theory is unparalleled and the work of the author is to be met with respect.

Only the repeated integrations of the meaning of the conscious and the subconscious can be enervating in the long run. If, for example, one does not think much of psychology or understands it as a well-intentioned motivational skirmish that stands in stark contrast to the otherwise well-founded statements in the book. However, a, because of the overwhelming superiority of such thoughts at the time of publication of the book soon over 80 years, minor faux pas.
The claim of the exercises regularly offered by the book increases from warm-up activities at the beginning over very tricky templates in the course of the reading and thus animates to enhance their performance.
From the bandwidth, almost everything is included, which has relevance, from the description of writer's block with resolution on a determination of absolute writing times, writing concepts, objective assessment of one's work and explanations of the seemingly insignificant triviality, but for some may be of crucial relevance.
With female sensitivity, Brande brings understanding for the anguish of aspiring artists. Many male authors of writing guidebooks are more technical in nature and pay little attention to this. Despite this particular access to matter, it does not save with hard facts that remind the motivated and willing that no master has fallen from the sky yet. Also, above all not wholly undamaged arrived at the destination.
Sweat and setbacks are just a part of it, and the author deserves recognition for not plundering platitudes but honestly living up to the expectations of self-critical readers. So to openly state the fact that no one wants to hear and usually is shunned by people who are writing guidebooks so as not to scare off the clientele.
If it does not work, let it be. Honest, well-meaning and just too accurate.

Einer der ersten, einfühlsamsten und ehrlichsten Schreibratgeber frei von Schönfärberei

Grundsätzlich wird ein erfrischend anderer und leider allzu seltener Zugang zu der Materie gewählt. Indem nicht primär vermittelt wird, wie man zu schreiben, charakterisieren und Umgebungen und Stimmungen glaubwürdig darzustellen hat. Sondern stattdessen erklärt wird, was auf dem Weg zum angehenden Künstler für vermeintlich wohlgesinnte Weggefährten und Schlaglöcher lauern.
Es werden die grundlegenden Voraussetzungen genau so angeschnitten wie die potentiellen Stolpersteine identifiziert und diese als solche möglichst deutlich gekennzeichnet. In einer Hinsicht wird quer durch das Buch rigoros Linie gefahren und zwar wenn es um Disziplin, Konsequenz und die Unabdingbarkeit von regelmäßiger Übung und der Fähigkeit zur konstruktiven Selbstkritik geht. Die Autorin nimmt sich in keiner Zeile ein Blatt vor dem Mund und offenbart eine, durch ihre berufliche Laufbahn gewonnene, tiefe Einsicht in die Wirkmechanismen zur Entstehung verlegbarer Literatur. Sie hat den für sie selbst zum Nachteil gereichenden Schneid, in einem einzigen Buch fast alles darzulegen, was es zum schöpferisch-kreativen Faktor des Schreibhandwerks zu sagen gibt.
Keine Option auf weitere Teile wird inkludiert, das Risiko, Leser zu vergraulen oder durch die Ehrlichkeit bedingte negative Reaktionen bewusst in Kauf genommen. Und dieser für die Autorin unpraktische Aufwand nur, um Menschen vor dem Verderb in Form eines hoffnungslosen Unterfangens zu schützen. Indem sie drastisch die Realität vor Augen führt um den disziplinierten und talentierten Anfängern das bestmögliche Rüstzeug mit auf den entbehrungsreichen Weg zu geben. Die Annahme liegt nahe, dass eine derartige Geisteshaltung im Bereich der Literaturtheorie seinesgleichen sucht und dem Werk der Autorin mit Hochachtung zu begegnen ist.
Einzig die wiederholten Einbindungen der Bedeutung von Bewusstem und Unterbewusstem können auf die Dauer enervierend wirken. Wenn man beispielsweise von Psychologie nicht sonderlich viel hält oder es als gutgemeintes Motivationsgeplänkel versteht, das im krassen Gegensatz zu den ansonsten wohl fundierten Aussagen des Buches steht. Ein, angesichts der erdrückenden Übermacht derartiger Gedankengebäude zum Zeitpunkt der Veröffentlichung des Buches vor bald über 80 Jahren, allerdings entschuldbarer Fauxpas.
Der Anspruch der vom Buch regelmäßig offerierten Übungen steigert sich von Aufwärmübungen am Anfang über durchaus knifflige Vorlagen im Laufe der Lektüre und animiert somit zur Steigerung der eigenen Leistung.
Von der Bandbreite her wird beinah alles inkludiert, was Relevanz hat, von der Beschreibung von Schreibblockaden samt Auflösung über Festlegung bestimmter Schreibzeiten, Schreibkonzepte, objektive Beurteilung der eigenen Arbeit und Erläuterungen zu der scheinbar unbedeutendsten Kleinigkeit, die aber für manchen von entscheidender Relevanz sein kann.
Mit weiblicher Sensibilität bringt Brande Verständnis für die Seelenqualen angehender Künstler auf. Viele auf eher technische Elemente setzende männliche Autoren von Schreibratgebern widmen dem wenig Aufmerksamkeit. Trotz dieses besonderen Zugangs zur Materie spart sie nicht mit harten Fakten, die den Motivierten und Willigen vor Augen führen, dass noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen ist. Und vor allem nicht gänzlich unbeschadet am Ziel angekommen.
Schweiß und Rückschläge gehören einfach dazu und es gebührt der Autorin Anerkennung dafür, keine Plattitüden zu verzapfen, sondern offen und ehrlich auch der Erwartungshaltung selbstkritischer Leser gerecht zu werden. Und die Tatsache offen auszusprechen, die niemand hörten will und Leute, die Ratgeberbücher schreiben, üblicherweise meiden, um die Kundschaft nicht zu vergraulen.
Wenn es nicht geht, dann lass es sein. Ehrlich, gut gemeint und nur allzu wahr.
Profile Image for Emin Anılmaz.
100 reviews9 followers
October 9, 2021
Written in 1934 yet almost everything she says in here is timeless? What a queen.

This relatively short book gave me multiple mental orgasms; if you're into writing at all, this is a must-read, brief but super informative and motivating. (The concluding chapter was super cute by the way with the typewriters and coffee alternatives.)
Profile Image for Janisse Ray.
Author 33 books230 followers
February 14, 2021
I'm always fascinated by books about the art and craft of writing. This one is especially sweet because it's written by a woman writer in the 1930s (this edition was reprinted with a forward by John Gardner.) Brande is witty, smart, helpful. But what is most amazing about this book is that she talks about something almost nobody discusses, which is the magic of writing, giving lessons on how to get in touch with your unconscious and with your genius. It's a very special book.
Profile Image for Kathleen Flynn.
Author 1 book409 followers
March 23, 2022
I know I say this every time, but this is one of the best books I've read about writing. Very interesting ideas about how to work in greater harmony with your unconscious, and harness its power deliberately. We think of the 1930s as being a long time ago (as they are) but in some respects people then had things better figured out.

Reread in March 2019. Still good! Still trying to take her advice to heart.

Reread March 2022. Laughing at myself, still enjoying the book.
Profile Image for Brian .
415 reviews5 followers
June 16, 2020
Key takeaways I applied, before the what-the-hell-is-your-point rambling begins:
Practice 1: Write first thing in the morning. Access the unconscious mind.
And 2: Find another random time in the day to write, anything that comes to mind.
Without further ado (drum-roll, curtain opens):

In the last year and a half I've fought through a terrible, confusing struggle to find a way with writing. I tried free-writing, exercises, prose poetry, flow-of-consciousness creation, and writing short stories (the efforts of which ended with a blank page full of no ideas). About the time I started this journey, I wrote a mental picture of a sci-fi world I imagined at work and had my supervisor print it for me. Following Tolkien's lead, I wrote an outline for the beginnings of that picture and have since divided the world into the background stages, again borrowing from Tolkien. Surprise: I call them the first, second and third age, connected by three-hundred-year interval spans. The first age starts with a tech company. The owners find a way to download a human consciousness into the internet and fuse that consciousness with an AI. So the guy takes over the world.

I didn't say the idea will win awards and make me another Tom Clancey. It's fun. I write in a notebook every day, one page at a time, breaking down the first age into parts, creating characters, a bad-ass cyberpunk girl, a diabolical business owner who coerces the world into surgical implants, controls their minds, and rewrites history, exalting himself as a god in his own religion. Another man runs away, but they catch him and force him to get brain implants, wipe his memory, and make him, also, a diabolical ruler. Once I have the material with that world, I'm going to write short stories based on inspirations from the background material, again, without critical feedback. From there I can experiment with other genres and forms of writing until I find my way. I'll have a foundation to work from.

After all that, to Scribophile for the analytical stuff, and beyond. Was that too much detail? I'm kind of boring myself. I didn't mean to bore you.

"So, dude, what does this have to do with this book? Just tell me about the freaking book already."

Okay. Here it is. If the writing stage mentioned above describes you, or you want to get to a similar place, a.k.a. "START," read this book.

Highlights of impact for me:

Kindle version on sale for less than a buck
Profile Image for Carol.
1,219 reviews
August 23, 2016
Ok, can I say how much I liked this book? It has very good advice for beginners at writing, and for those of us who have been going at it alone for more than 10 years, it's amazing to read, from an experienced woman, all the advice she gives to novices, and realising you've been doing exactly that on your own. Sure, with this book I should've gotten to where I am sooner, but thinking back on my journey, I kinda like exploring it on my own terms.
It made me happy knowing I've been doing things right, that I'm traveling along the right path. And although I still have much more to cover, I have never been more motivated about my desire to write.
Profile Image for Anton.
106 reviews
July 24, 2017
An accomplished stylist in her own right, Brande hits a rhetorical sweet-spot between sympathetic nurturer and uncompromising drill sergeant. This is a book on overcoming the (many) psychological hurdles to developing a writing life. It's accessible, practical, and inspiring, and now has a permanent place near my writing desk.
Profile Image for سارة شهيد.
Author 3 books258 followers
October 30, 2018
يتميز الكتاب عن غيره من الكتب المشابهة في كونه واقعي وبعيد عن النصائح النظرية، بالإضافة إلى التمارين العملية التي تطرحها الكاتبة كحل لعدة مشكلات تواجه المبتدئين في الكتابة فعلياً.
يمكنني اعتبار هذا الكتاب هو الكتاب المناسب للبدء بكتابة المسودات الأولية، قبل أن يبدأ رحلة الغوص بالتفاصيل الأدبية الأخرى.
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