Grace's Reviews > The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
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it was ok
bookshelves: non-fiction, writing, read-in-2010

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 writers who need inspiration, motivation, that allusive invitation, or just a swift kick to the seat of his/her pants to get them going. However, I would argue that this book could have easily been 50-70 pages shorter. She repeated herself way too much, often beating her points into the ground to the point where I just wanted to give up on the book and on her good intentioned invitation to a writer's life.

And in the last chapter of the book, she suggested abolishing term 'writer' because everyone should write. Ugh! I am proud to be a writer! I identify as such and I resent any person (writer or not) who tries to take that away from me. Sure, Julia Cameron - you think that everyone is a writer. You're probably right, but not everyone does it.

All that aside, she did have some great nuggets of writing wisdom:
"Writing is about getting something down, not thinking something up." (page 10)
"Although we seldom think of it this way, a writer's block is often a very healthy self-protective response on the part of our inner creator to a dangerous threat." (page 180)

Cameron also has a unique method to her writing:
Morning Pages - three pages of stream of consciousness writing (written out in long hand) every morning.
Narrative Time Line - A time line of important events in your life.
Cups (taken from cupola, the cups gold diggers used) - An event that has spark or charge to it that you must expand upon.
Artist Dates - taking yourself out to a place to replenish yourself, whether it be a museum, concert, festival, etc.

I'm not sure how I feel about writing everything in long hand...

I enjoyed her discussion on writing as it compares to other careers. No one questions people who aspire to be an investment banker or an elementary school teacher. Why should writing be any different.

Overall, it was worth the read for me, especially the sense of accomplishment I felt when I turned the last page, but I'm not sure if I'd recommend it to anyone unless any of the above mentioned methodology sounds interesting. Then, by all means, get yourself a copy and start reading.
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Reading Progress

March 20, 2010 – Started Reading
March 20, 2010 – Shelved
March 20, 2010 – Shelved as: non-fiction
March 20, 2010 – Shelved as: writing
March 23, 2010 – Shelved as: read-in-2010
March 23, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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Marsha Thank you for highlighting the good bits of this book so I don't have to finish reading it! I found her style pretentious and completely offputting. Your review is far better than the book itself.


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