Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bruce Holland Rogers and Word Work

I originally read Bruce Holland Rogers’ “Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer” two years ago and I still remember the invigorating courage it filled me with. I went away from this book energized and confident. I spent the next six weeks writing a complete first draft.

Rereading Word Work this weekend has reminded me why I love this book so much. Bruce is honest and open. Through the chapters of this book he shows the reality of a writer’s life. There is no special dressing up that makes it seem glamorous or easy. He connects with writers by sharing his own struggles that continue, every day, despite having been a successful author for many years.

Rather than providing a how-to write guide for writers Bruce Holland Rogers created a how-to live guide. It focuses on the emotional impact of writing and the mental struggle all writers face to create a life full of words. Bruce uses anecdotes from his own life and connects to readers with truth and experience.

"You won’t find anything in these pages about marketing your work. The only chapters about technique address not what you put on the page but how you get anything onto the page at all. There’s very little here that will show you how to write better. Instead, this is a book about how you can more thoroughly, more happily, more productively be a writer.

Word Work is not, in the end, a book about the work you produce. It’s a book about you. It’s a book about how you can be more of what you want to be." - Bruce Holland Rogers, Word Work, p3

Word Work offers a fresh outlook on the writing life and the difficulties writers face. Bruce considers the various styles of writing. In fact, his first chapter reminded me of the difference between Planners and Pantsers like we’ve been talking about in my Six Part Series this week. He compares Hunters and Farmers.

Hunters are distractible, and maintain a broad focus able to accommodate the changes of life as they happen. Farmers are steady, plodding along with firm ideas about what should be done when. This chapter shows writers why it is important to be able to find a mixture of the two degrees that works for them. Without some solid Farmer tendencies writers will never focus enough to complete any goal but steadfast Farmers will struggle to follow their instincts and find the depth in their work that will keep it interesting.

Other chapters focus on procrastination, dreams, time, criticism, moods, rituals, friendships, success and so much more. This is a book that offers sincere guidance for writers. I think all writers would benefit from reading it regularly. For those of us with added barricades to our aspirations (such a Bipolar in my case and ADD in Bruce Holland Rogers') the reassuring tips and encouragement in this book can restore our fading faith in our ability to walk this path.

Bruce Holland Rogers has written far more than this book however. His voice and passion carry into the multitude of short stories he’s written and continues to write. He is also a motivational speaker, a teacher, and writing for Speculations Magazine. Despite having such a broad range of interests he continues to produce new stories and strives to help writers from all genres survive the gruelling challenges every writer faces.

A great interview with Bruce by Carl O Roach at Infinity Plus
And an interview with Bruce by John C. Snider at SciFi Dimensions

These books are by Bruce Holland Rogers:

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Anonymous Natasha said...

That sounds like a great book. My own favourite, in a similar vein, is Julia Cameron's "Right to Write" where she deals with finding inspiration and motivation, dealing with rejection, and just living the writing life.

I've read "Right to Write" a number of times now - mainly when I've been struggling with my own writing - and I seem to take something different away from each each time. I'll have to look out for "Word Work" now as well.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Michele L. Tune said...

Awesome review, Rebecca! Each time I read your reviews, I want to run and buy the book your speaking of! You really write great reviews ;-)

Oh, and you've been tagged! Details are at my blog....


5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Okay, you got me. Another book I can read about writing and postpone writing a little while longer. :>)

Great review! If your local paper is like ours, it doesn't pay much for book reviews but it pays some -- and you get free books. Just a thought!

Got to go click that link and buy that book now....

1:09 AM  
Blogger Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

"Right to Write" is on my wishlist with Amazon. *saves the pennies and dimes to buy it next* I want to read that one too. :-)

*chuckles* You know Michele, I think that's the advantage of reading books I truly enjoy or ponder over. If it's a book I didn't truly enjoy then I don't review it. Thanks for the compliment, reviewing is something I'm practicing at the moment so having to review a book a week for my blog is fun and challenging.

Yay Anne! You won't regret the purchase BUT!!! I refuse you to allow it to put off your October 15th start goal. I'll be hounding you on the 15th to make sure you've started.

I'm not at all confident my reviews are anywhere near newspaper worthy and as much as I love the idea of FREE BOOKS!!! I'm not sure how I'd handle having to give a poor review for a book I didn't like.

Writing about the books I love for people (aka writers) I believe will also truly love them is so much easier than trying to be the voice of reason for average book readers. I know, fear creates good reasoning. Maybe I will, eventually. :-)

7:54 AM  
Blogger HandH said...

Thank you! Great review, and it sounds like a great book. I'm stuck on Chapter 16 at the moment, and any good advice I can get at this stage aboutfear, procrastination and general idleness will be really welcome. I'd never have found this book without your review.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

I'm glad and I hope it offers the same inspiration and guidance for you. Good luck with your remaining chapters!

8:58 PM  

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