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on Oct. 05, 2013 :
This is an excellent start to what promises to be a brilliantly informative, practical and well-written series on the craft of writing. Buffy Greentree's writing is breezy, self-deprecating and quite often laugh-out-loud funny. If you are a writer, even a well-established one, there will be something in this for you. But if you are just starting out as a writer, or thinking about becoming a writer, then this book is most definitely for you. Set aside five days, read this book, and your life may not be the same ever again...
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 25, 2013 :
(I received a free copy of this ebook in return for my honest review.)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Five Day Writer’s Retreat. Greentree’s attitude towards writing is infectious, and she presents the information in a practical, no-nonsense, “you can do it” manner. Not long after starting to read it, I could feel a sense of purpose and enthusiasm well up inside me.
Greentree arranges the content following the routine of a typical day at a spa or retreat – hence the title. Each day there are different sections to read through.
In the morning there’s:
• A Tai Chi for the Mind writing exercise;
• A Food for Thought section.
In the afternoon there’s:
• A Therapy section, which examines issues writers commonly struggle with and provides some suggestions on how to overcome them;
• A Writer’s Lifestyle Review which studies a famous writer and his or her writing process.
And in the evening there’s:
• The Bedtime Preparation which focuses on the following day’s writing goals and activities.
There is so much information contained in this book that this review couldn’t begin to do it justice, but Greentree looks as topics such as
• goal setting (Indiana Jones style!);
• the health of wellbeing of a writer;
• willpower and how to make it work for you;
• prioritising life values so that we can balance them with our writing activities;
• forming habits;
• creating flow;
• the advantages and disadvantages of being a writer (a very funny section in itself);
• identifying which fears relate to which aspect of a writer’s persona and how to deal with them; and
• Writing as Workship. (What I particularly liked about this section is that although Greentree’s faith is a very important part of her life, she doesn’t for a moment ram religion down our throats. Instead she asks us what worship looks like already in our lives – and supporting your footie team is considered worship! – and suggests we bring the same level of desire to our writing.
I have read a tonne of information in this ebook that I have not seen elsewhere, and certainly not within the pages of one writing craft guidebook.
Sometimes Greentree suggests exercises that she doesn’t find useful in her own process, “but may work for you”, which is fantastic. This is not a book about how Greentree writes and what works for her; it’s a book that helps the reader to discover the writing process within themselves. And for everyone it looks different.
My only criticism – and I must admit it may be as a result of my (flawed) beliefs – is that a few of the exercises and suggestions in this book are geared more towards those who either have no children yet or whose children are old enough to be left safely to their own devices while their parent writes.
Despite this, I loved the ebook. Greentree draws on a wide variety of sources and puts their wisdom into perspective for the modern writer. There are plenty of original ideas and new information here to feast upon, with plenty of exercises and suggestions to try out. Each section is short, succinct – perfect for ebook format. The topics covered are well-explained and concise, and all written in conversational style with an empathic but professional attitude.
It was an absolute pleasure to read and it’s a keeper on my ereader’s virtual writing resources shelf.
(review of free book)
on July 22, 2013 :
A lovely surprise - I got this book with the current coupon offer and was delighted to find it really does give the reader the experience of a do-it-yourself writers' retreat. This handy little book contains lots of hands-on, practical and fun exercises to stimulate your own writing and overcome road blocks in the creative process, mixed with insights from well-known writers and the author's own experience. Definitely one of the better books I've read on improving your writing. I'll be looking out for the rest of the series!
(reviewed the day of purchase)