Many people have asked me to write about my newest book, The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life. I’ve been hesitant, for the same reason that affects so many other authors: it’s much easier for me to promote someone else’s work than my own.
However, I’ve had a change of heart these past 10 days, while ringing in the New Year in one of the deepest freezes the nation’s mid-section has seen since the infamous winter of 1977-78. While stuck indoors, I’ve spent a lot of time writing experimentally, and working on the three books that I will be sending to publishers later this year: my novel, The Voice; a multi-genre book I am writing with literary agent Verna Dreisbach; and my next poetry-essay collection, Backroads Melodies.
In order to get going on a couple of these sub-20 degree mornings, I’ve resorted to The Write Time for warm-up exercises. It’s worked out very well.
Now I’ll share a few reasons why several reviewers, along with me, believe this book might be the most diverse writing exercise collection on the market.
First of all, The Write Time contains 366 exercises – one for each day of the year, plus a birthday bonus exercise. There are a number of series that range from three days to two weeks; however, most of the exercises are stand-alone. For the most part, the exercises are aligned to the seasons, in order to involve the body, spirit and mind of the working writer – not just the mind, a place in which we find ourselves all too often.
Second, The Write Time includes exercises suited for writers of every genre – unique in the marketplace. Here’s why. In addition to suiting fiction, non-fiction, memoir, essay and poetry writers, The Write Time contains material for screenwriters, songwriters, playwrights, letter writers, journal writers, copywriters, bloggers, graphic novelists and business/technical writers. Everyone in the writing universe is included. I didn’t initially plan the book this way, but after pooling together ten years of exercises I’d developed for my workshops, I saw that nearly every one of these categories was represented. So I completed the circle with the final exercises that I wrote.
Third, all of these exercises are true originals, written from the heart. The vast majority contains mini-stories that lead up to the actual exercise. Of the 366 exercises, more than 250 were “test-driven” by participants at my workshops, and/or clients whose books I have helped to develop, edit and promote.
Fourth, the exercises can be practiced by writers of all abilities, from novices and students to multi-published authors. Some of the best feedback has come from authors who are trying to switch genres, most specifically going from fiction to non-fiction, and vice-versa. Since I’m a multi-genre writer, this transition is of particular concern to me at a time when we all need to be fluid and flexible, whether we are writing personal material or shooting for book contracts.
Fifth, I’ve loaded the book with special features and information that give it an integrated feel. This is definitely the only writing exercise book that provides links to top writing websites and motivational quotes from well-known writers, musicians and artists and the most complete list of author birthdays in the marketplace – online, print or otherwise. For good measure, I’ve thrown in Celtic, Native American and Western/Zodiac sun signs, and space within each day to record your ideas, thoughts and self-prompts.
Finally, and most importantly, is the personal touch: You can re-adjust every exercise in this book to suit your own writing needs. My goal was to provide a single book of exercises that would allow writers of all ages and abilities to attain excellence in their chosen genres while also experimenting with other genres – but most of all, to make writing a lot of fun. Whether you’re a junior in high school, an MFA student, a teacher, journaling practitioner or professional writer, it’s important to always maintain dexterity in style, voice and content.
We’re going to sponsor a Write Time contest, to see who writes the best pieces directly from an exercise within The Write Time. There will be cash and publishing prizes for the top three selections; the cash amounts will depend on the number of total entrants. I’ll have more details in the next blog; the details will also appear on my website, starting the week of January 18.