Cover Image: Written


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Member Reviews

I’ve read a lot of books about writing over the years, and frankly this one might just be my favourite. The subtitle is “How to keep writing and build a habit that lasts”, and that’s exactly where this is pitched.

You want to write, but don’t – at all, or as much as you want. Most books at this point would be telling you “You must do x” where is sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day, or never missing a day, or sealing yourself in an all-white, distraction-free room. Hah. Yeah.

Instead, co-authors Bec Evans and Chris Smith start from the point of: you’re human, you have a life, and we’re all motivated by very different things. It’s a very personal account of the different attempts they each made, and how not being able to follow some of the advice can make you feel like a failure – but, it only meant that the approach wasn’t one that worked for them. The ‘trick’, then, is to try out various options, but with a sense of experimentation and open-mindedness.

The tone couldn’t be more friendly and encouraging. The advice is less “this is how to write”, and more “this is how to pause to think about”… why you might be struggling, what does and doesn’t work for you, what you want out of all of this anyway.

There are plenty of ideas of approaches to try, and case studies from writing students through to published authors. The pair aren’t shy about admitting to their own flaws, and it all helps generate that supportive, unthreatening encouragement to … well, write!

Perhaps I could say that this is more ‘meta’ that most books about writing. I don’t need another tome on ‘rising action’ and ‘character development’, or heavens forbid, self-publishing, I need THIS: a friendly guide that helps me ask why I struggle to write (more), how to make it more enjoyable and productive – and that I’m very much not alone when that hasn’t happened for me so far.

Can’t recommend highly enough, frankly, for all authors be they budding or established.

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This is an excellent book that all writers should read, particularly those who feel they are struggling and need some encouragement. The book is all about recognising what kind of writer you are and changing your behaviour by assessing what works for your writing practise and what doesn’t. It aims to help you to break down and overcome writing blocks and problems and it does a fantastic job in achieving this.

In this book you will learn about breaking the rules and doing your own thing, time management, setting goals, getting started, facing challenges, building resilience, and setting and maintaining writing habits, to mention just a few of the topics that are covered here. It is written in an easy to read, friendly style and is full of actionable tips and advice to help you succeed as a writer. There are plenty of examples of how other writers have overcome their struggles and we also get an insight into the authors themselves and how they have overcome challenges in their writing careers. This is a real gem of a writing book that will be a real help to many.

I recommend this book to all writers: beginner and professional and everyone in between. There is a lot of straightforward advice here that will help everyone to improve their craft and become better, more productive writers.

With thanks to Netgalley and Icon Books for an advance review copy. All opinions are my own.

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This was a super interesting book on the craft of writing, specifically on building writing habits and increasing productivity. I needed a book like this right now after spending many months procrastinating the editing of my novel. This had some fantastic insights, and the author wrote it in an engaging way. I loved that they talked about many writers and what they’ve struggled with. It helped to know we’re not alone in our struggles!

You have to be self motivated to get the best out of this book, however there’s an ideal balance between guided learning and your own self study. I’d recommend this to any new or experienced writers out there!

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher, for a chance to read and review this book.

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This book feels less like a writing craft book, and more like a chat over coffee with a couple of other writers. The main idea behind it is that each writer at each time in their lives will need a different process. ‘Write every day’ will work sometimes for some people, but many others will need to find other ways of fitting writing around busy lives.
Different types of writing process were discussed (everyday, binge, spontaneous etc.) with tips for each one. This was the most useful part of the book for me, and I will certainly be making more notes on process and well as craft from now on.
There was also a hefty section on goalsetting, which I largely skimmed as I used to be a manager in a corporate setting, so I’ve had enough training on goals to last a lifetime! This will no doubt be useful for some however.
I’d recommend this to any writers who struggle to write, or who find their writing output doesn’t match up to their own expectations. It’s not a craft book though, it’s a process book!

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This is a very elaborate look at problems writers might encounter, with thoroughly researched solutions one might then try.

The tone is authoritative, in that the research itself feels very impressive, and warm, in the sense that the whole piece is underlined by the authors' wish that the reader (who is almost certainly also a writer) will succeed.

I feel it would best suit writers who have a lot of experience, and who might have already experienced some of these issues. But, in my mind, this is definitely not a book for beginners. It is not a how-to and does not get under the hood of you and the page. In some ways, I felt the advice should have started with, pick up a pencil, see how it goes.

But I can really see this being useful to tutors on writing courses, who rely on theoretical issues around process as well as what is happening with that pencil.

With many thanks to the pubisher and Netgalley for letting me see a copy.

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Brilliant! Written is an incredibly well-researched, clearly and cleverly done book. Inspirational and friendly, it encourages the reader to put aside whatever has been stopping them from writing - and get to it. Backed up by copious research, papers and experiments, it’s brimming with data to support its points on how to get you to start - and keep - writing. A must-read for every writer, whether they are just starting out or already published. I really enjoyed reading Written and thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in writing or publishing.

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This is a great book for writers who struggle to write, which disposes of the idea that a writer needs to follow any rigid set of rules but rather how to find your personalised way to getting more writing done.

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I’ve read a lot of books about writing habits over the years and this is a very good one. Written with warmth and humour, Bec Evans and Chris Smith draw on their own experiences and research, plus stories from many published writers, and the result is, I would say, a pretty comprehensive guide to working out what stops you writing and finding a method that works for you. Wherever you are in your writing journey, I’m sure you’ll find something helpful here.

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Stuck somewhere on your writing journey? If so, Evans and Smith want to equip you with the skills to identify your roadblock and overcome it so you can keep creating your masterpieces. Central to their philosophy is that what works for one person may not for another so they provide lots of possible answers so that the reader can try a few and see what suits them.

In a similar vein to Squiggly Careers, this book focuses on the reader coaching themselves rather than providing the magic bullet that will definitely, absolutely and certainly fix their writing problem.

If you’re looking for a book to tell you how to get published, this isn’t it nor is it trying to be. This is a book for all writers, no matter whether you’re just starting out or published as the topics (time planning, goals, starting, managing interruptions, resilience, habits) are relevant to all experience levels. A book to keep dipping into each time you encounter problems with writing as one of the many suggestions or anecdotes may just be the answer you need.

As I’ve been given an ARC, I would recommend that the few remaining swear words are removed before publication - there’s no point in irritating your future readers.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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