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Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life (Paperback)
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Named One of "The Essential Books for Writing" (The Center for Fiction) and One of "The Best Books for Writers" (Poets & Writers)
“In the spirit of Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, Friedman...gives heartfelt counsel to those who need to be coaxed into the creative process."—Washington Post
An indispensable guide for writers that explores the emotional side of writing and offers insightful advice on overcoming writer’s block, procrastination, guilt, and more.
Charting the emotional side of the writer's life, Writing Past Dark is a writing companion to reach for when you feel lost and want to regain access to the memories, images, and the ideas inside you that are the fuel of strong writing.
Combining personal narrative and other writers' experiences, Bonnie Friedman explores a whole array of emotions and dilemmas writers face—envy, distraction, guilt, and writer's block—and shares the clues that can set you free so that you can write the book you’ve always dreamed of writing.
Supportive, intimate, and reflective, Writing Past Dark is a comfort and resource for all writers.
"Friedman has saved many a writer's career with this one, and as my thank-you to her for writing it, I mention it to any and all readers and writers. Get a copy of this for your bookshelf." -- Literary Mama
“This book is on my short shelf of books that I consider essential. I pull it out often. Brilliant and philosophical, it is a crucial companion in dark times and provides perspective in giddy ones.”
— Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist
“One of the four books every novelist should read. Other books . . . focus on narrative craft, Writing Past Dark is the book you’ll turn to when you feel gobsmacked by your novel, ready to call it quits (and we all get there at some point).”
— Michelle Richmond, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist
“In the spirit of Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, Friedman...gives heartfelt counsel to those who need to be coaxed into the creative process.”
— Washington Post
“A wonderfully wise guide to integrating the terrors of the creative process with the work and art of living a life. I will insist my students read it.”
— Robb Forman Dew
“A wonderful book, profoundly honest, intelligent, and beautifully written. . . . Each of the eight essays in the collection addresses a specific theme, ranging from the pitfalls of envy to the paralysis of success. The depth of Friedman’s inquiry is factual as well as personal. . . . Humor abounds in this bold and generous book. . . . We cannot read this collection and come away unmoved.”
— Harvard Review
“[A] slim, excellent book on the emotional aspects of the writer’s vocation . . . intimate, honest, liberating.”
“If you think writing is a lonely task and you can afford one book, buy this one.”
— Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French, authors of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
“[I]lluminates with clarity and inventiveness what it actually feels like to devote one’s time and purpose to the . . . art of writing. One of the striking differences between this book and others on the subject is Friedman’s aboveboard approach. All of her doors stay open; she is immediately and always intimate. . . . Friedman’s enlightenments are delightful to read. . . . [She] extends a warm hand and some welcome encouragement.”
— Georgia Review
“[S]hines a light on the hidden ways we mess ourselves up—with envy, fear, distraction, and other self-defeating habits of mind. ‘Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing,’ she says. ‘They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.’ With warmth and candor, Friedman offers insights into surmounting those tricky obstacles.”
— Center for Fiction