Cover Image: The Way of the Fearless Writer

The Way of the Fearless Writer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book is great for novice writers, as well as writers who are struggling with writer's block. I really enjoyed how it gives writers permission to enjoy the writing journey, relax a little, and have fun writing. However, I do believe it would have been more helpful to have a list of the writing prompts together in one area in the back of the book (simply referenced in other areas of the book where they're applicable). If I stop reading to complete a writing prompt, then I may not go back to the book, and it also takes me outside of the overall message the author is trying to convey, which is a great one! I can't get lost in the author's message about writing, in other words. I would still recommend this book to others but would caution them to skip the writing prompts until they're done reading the book and circle back to them when they're ready to start their own writing journeys as advised by the author.
Was this review helpful?
I've always wanted to write a book and this guide helps inspiring and experienced writers alike. From the encouragement and the exercises, new and experienced writers will learn something new while putting pen to paper or typing away on their computer. Like, just start small. With one word. The eastern touch also adds a refreshing flair. I am taking a new approach to the writing process now, thanks to being free to write without judgement, but with more inspiration. I will continue to use this book to help me along my journey.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read and review and ARC of this book. 

As someone who does not consider myself a "writer", I truly enjoyed this book. I love Beth Kempton's relaxed and comforting way of writing, and I found the organization of this book to be lovely. The Eastern philosophies of enjoyment and mindfulness were present throughout and a refreshing reminder that everyone can write and is a writer. I loved the activities and encouragement throughout and made several notes. I would highly recommend this book!
Was this review helpful?
THE WAY OF THE FEARLESS WRITER by Beth Kempton seeks to use ideas inspired by Japanese and Chinese culture to invite aspiring writers to further develop their craft. Kempton discusses approaching different "gates" (the gate of desirelessness, the gate of formlessness, the gate of emptiness), the lessons they offer, and how to incorporate those takeaways into a writing life.

Sprinkled throughout are fifty exercises that are provided to allow writers to apply them directly, or to have them serve as inspiration into other avenues that can be explored through writing.

While not all may connect with this format or style, it is a solid addition to the various writing resources that are available.

(I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)
Was this review helpful?
THE WAY OF THE FEARLESS WRITER by Beth Kempton is subtitled "Mindful Wisdom for a Flourishing Writing Life" and she relies on Buddhist principles to provide a foundation for growth and change in writing behaviors. Kempton, a Japanologist and a bestselling self-help author, focuses on three Buddhist Gates dealing with Desirelessness, Formlessness, and Emptiness. Basically, she encourages her readers to let go of perfectionism.  Numerous exercises (like write about what is in your pockets, or about ways you have been hungry or doors you have walked through) are often refreshingly simple and relatively easy to execute for a budding writer. My guess is that this book may be easier to follow in print rather than the digital preview form I had; even a journal of some type with these prompts could work well for students.
Was this review helpful?
One way to approach the complex, mysterious process of writing is through metaphor—and this book is filled with thought-provoking analogies. In The Way of the Fearless Writer, Beth Kempton applies ancient Eastern wisdom to the writing life, and the result is lovely.

The metaphors don’t stop there. I am particularly taken with her concept of writing’s three states: gaseous, liquid, and solid. 

I recommend it for anyone who could use more fearlessness (more love) in their writing life—and isn’t that all of us?
Was this review helpful?
I very much appreciated this book. So many books aimed at improving your writing are just that - aimed at improving your writing.  This was aimed at improving my mindset which, in turns, will improve my writing. I loved the title "The Way of the Fearless Writer". This book is written to remove the fears that stand in the way of free writing. I didn't even realize that "fear" was an adjective I would use to describe the stumbling blocks I was having regarding my personal writing journey until I read this book. I will definitely be adding a copy of this book to my shelf of valuable writing references.
Was this review helpful?
This incredibly helpful guide for writers offers tips on mindful creating and living with powerful  exercises and insights to help you get out of the way of your work. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
Beth Kempton’s The Way of the Fearless Writer weaves together her knowledge of Japanese language and culture with the process of writing. She offers a mindful approach to writing that is based on Buddhism.

This book was inspiring. I have been an aspiring writer all my life, but I am often held back by fear of what others will think of me and my writing. So I don’t share. This is exactly the problem that Kempton addresses in this book. She offers guidance for a fearful writer to embrace the process of creativity and to know when it’s time to share the writing.

I found this book and its author to be insightful, wise, and realistic. She provides writing prompts throughout and I found myself highlighting prompts that I wanted to come back to. This would be an excellent book to read slowly and work through the exercises as they are introduced. But it is also an excellent book to read straight through.

I especially appreciated how the author shares her own creative process. I think that writers often don’t know what the initial process looks like for others. Classes and workshops teach the end of the process, the refining, the editing, and the polishing. But Kempton spends a good portion of this book discussing how to get started, how to piece together a larger work, and how to be patient as the ideas form.

I heartily recommend this book for any writer, but especially for a writer looking to be more mindful and less fearful.
Was this review helpful?
Based on the title, I expected a book on writing routines and mindsets.  What I got was so much more.  This was such a lovely book, written in a gentle voice that I’ve only encountered once or twice in writing craft books. That may be because this book goes beyond writing advice into the realm of the spiritual.

While Fearless Writer will help you get into a mindset to get words on the page, it’s so much more.  It’s really a guide to living in flow, to detachment, and being gentle with yourself.  Drawing heavily on Japanese zen theory and the author’s history, this work walks the reader through how to bring an Eastern mindset into our competitive Western lives.

Honestly, it’s a valuable resource for any creative, not just writers.  Although, writers beware: if you’re a hard-core plotter, you might find this advice uncomfortable.  This book is a guide to detaching and letting go, allowing the words to find themselves.  Not for sticking to hard and fast rules.

Personally, I loved it because it synchronistically reinforced other spiritual research I’m involved in.  Everything comes at the right time and this book is no exception.
Was this review helpful?
I'm a novice writer and I think this book was immensely helpful. The practices that Kempton utilizes in changing the writer's mindset are insightful and eye opening. She addressed so many issues that I had been struggling with personally and it felt like this book was written just for me. Kempton has so many writing prompts to practice with and it's easy to get into a daily practice using them. She really helped me ease the pressure and expectations on writing so I'm calling this book a success! 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is struggling with writers block or needs a new perspective on their writing. Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read this in exchange of an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I cherished every line of Beth Kempton's THE WAY OF THE FEARLESS WRITER. Like the best teacher/guide/companion, Kempton is fiercely compassionate, so profoundly present and personal with her stories that I was inspired to empty my pockets and write a story about what I had in them, to actually spend the time thinking about and writing upon the many exercises, even as I savored stories of her own trials and triumphs. I've read other of her works and like those, this book is a welcome, deeply nourishing and inspiring resource. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.
Was this review helpful?
I have been putting words on paper nearly all my life, ever since that initial short story in third grade. I am always on the lookout for books on writing, not only to hone my work but also to understand my intense desire to write, even if it is only my thoughts in a journal. 

Kempton's approach is something I have not seen before, from an eastern viewpoint. Rather than techniques focused on achieving that words per day goal, she concentrates more on the personal why of writing. She encourages us to write to pay attention to life and open the channel to magic and mystery. We are reminded of the healing nature of writing and are encouraged to write to feel more alive.

I really liked her illustration of water in its forms of gas, liquid, and solid. Gaseous-state writing has the rules of allow everything, write anything, share nothing. It is a cleansing type of writing and is predominantly what I do. Liquid-state writing is focusing deeply on ideas from within. I do that sometimes by writing my thoughts on an issue I find bubbling inside, not sharing it with others but just for my own clarification. Solid-state writing is for the benefit of others, to inform or entertain or educate. The three states serve to free the mind, write from a deep place, then prepare that work for others.

This is a good book for people desiring to write, whether it be daily thoughts in a journal or a published work. It is sort of in the style of Julia Cameron but with a different slant. In case you need some inspiration, Kempton includes 50 writing prompts and a long list of additional resources. Mostly you will be encouraged to experience and understand your life by writing, through the joy of words on a page. Now, go write. Write now.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
As a writer, I have a particular fondness for books about books and books about writing. Kempton's book goes beyond being a writing guide or having writing exercises -- these are helpful tools for appreciation and observation. If you're looking for something similar to The Artist's Way, check this book out!
Was this review helpful?
As a wannabe writer I’ve always struggled to get started putting pen to paper. This book has set me on a path of waking up with a head full of ideas, whether it is for daily journalling, research or observations of the people I come into contact with. I absolutely love this book and what it has given me. I was so impressed I bought a copy for my sister who is also loving it. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to write but can’t get started!
Was this review helpful?
Beth Kempton’s The Way of the Fearless Writer applies Eastern philosophy and thinking to the process of creating, specifically, writing (though this could be applied to many creative disciplines). The author is a Japanologist and uses her expertise to create a framework to guide a writer from vague ideas to fully-fledged work. Journal exercises aim to remove perfectionism and the desire to reach a particular end-state from the process. It’s quite freeing to write for the sake of writing and writing out of order if that’s what seems necessary on any given day — especially the concept of zuihitsu, writing without any particular form or structure. 

It’s an interesting approach, and many of the exercises are very useful — and the glimpses into Japanese culture are fascinating. Overall, very well-written, too. Clearly, this a good example of Ms. Kempton practicing what she preaches!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy.
Was this review helpful?
**I received an eARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

"In the West, the creation of masterpieces has long been associated with struggle. In the East, the emphasis is on relaxation and enjoyment."

In college, I changed my minor 6 times before finally landing on Asian Studies. It was always a fight between the Eastern philosophies of being present in the moment and the Western views of overly ambitious until you die. Most writing-centered nonfiction books follow that Western philosophy because they're written from a Western POV, but Beth Kempton provides practical and easy-to-practice writing advice with a focus on letting the words in your body command the page and not our editorial brains we can't shut off.

I wrote so many notes down while reading THE WAY OF THE FEARLESS WRITER. The three gates of Invitation, Initiation, and Integration will allow writers to break down the stages of writing even further, and it took away all my reservations about finishing projects. I always thought of my writing in terms of publication, but Kempton illustrates the power and openness gained from journaling and brainstorming before we write pieces of drafts to later put together into a whole piece. The idea of writing a book out of order because of which scene interested me first is a new one I'm tackling, and Kempton's advice flowed with it beautifully.

She offers 50 writing exercises and countless Japanese translations of the Dao de Jing, which I loved, and now I'm itching to pull out my copy that's been stashed away since 2018. The idea of zuihitsu, writing freely without any particular form or structure, is definitely a practice more Western writers should take up if they're struggling putting words on the page.

Overall, I recommend this book for any writer for any craft, be that fiction, poetry, or nonfiction. It highlights a more relaxed writing process, provides dozens of writing exercises, and reiterates the benefits of sharing your words with close writerly friends and colleagues. If you're a writer, you need to read this.

The paperback of this title (which is the form of the title I received) will be out on July 11, 2023.
Was this review helpful?
I am sorry for the inconvenience but I don’t have the time to read this anymore and have lost interest in the concept. I believe that it would benefit your book more if I did not skim your book and write a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience.
Was this review helpful?
This was not for me. While I wanted to love the book, be fearless, and follow the tips, it felt more like being preached at. None of the practices resonated with me, and overall the book just didn't work in my opinion.
Was this review helpful?
If you are new to writing and need help sticking to your writing discipline, this would be a good book for you. If you are into yoga and Japanese philosophy, you will love this book. The author uses her own experience with these topics to help you write more and with more discipline. There is lots of good wisdom in this book. 

If you are already well into a writing career, you will still find nice tidbits of wisdom. Personally, I could have done with less Japanese philosophy and more Western language, but I'm sure there are folks out there who will appreciate this book.
Was this review helpful?