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The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life [Paperback]

Julia Cameron
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 11 2002
What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron's most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist's Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life. Cameron's instruction and examples include the details of the writing processes she uses to create her own bestselling books. She makes writing a playful and realistic as well as a reflective event. Anyone jumping into the writing life for the first time and those already living it will discover the art of writing is never the same after reading The Right to Write.

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The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life + The Artist's Way + The Artist's Way Workbook
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From Amazon

Writing, for Julia Cameron, is neither solely vocation nor avocation: it is a way of life. It comes first thing in the morning, while the horses are waiting to be fed; it happens at the kitchen counter, while the onions are sautéing; it takes place on "dates" at café tables shared with likeminded friends; it unfurls in the mind as the '65 pickup "bucks over the rutted dirt roads like a stiff-legged bronco." The more than 40 brief personal essays that make up The Right to Write are an unyielding affirmation of the writing life and a denigration of all that gets in the way: busy schedules, procrastination, insecurity, lack of writing space, a day job--you get the point. Cameron's commonsense advice is liberating to anyone who has felt hampered by making a big deal out of writing (this "tends to make writing difficult. Keeping writing casual tends to keep it possible"), by not having the time to write ("Get aggressive. Steal time"), or the like. If you find a spirit that compares writing to revelation, prayer, and Zen pursuits, that might just attribute misguided communication to Mercury retrograde simpatico, then you will find much to embrace here. And you will never, never again dream of waiting for that commitment-free sabbatical in the south of France to get your writing project under way. --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In a flowing sequence of personal essays and exercises (many of them reprises from her bestselling The Artist's Way), Cameron seeks to help readers enjoy writing as a natural, joyful process. "All of us have a sex drive. All of us have a drive to write." She offers advice on how to get over the stiffness or outright paralysis that creeps in when people make writing a "Big Deal." Wholeheartedly believing in writing as a process that connects us to the divine, whether we experience that finer source as internal or external, Cameron is refreshingly real. She invites readers to make use of the interruptions and torments as well as the sensual pleasures of their lives (for example, through the creation of a real or imaginary "Wall of Infamy," using memories of people who have hurt them) as a source of energy that can be focused to write their way "clear of rage, frustration, and negativity." Acknowledging that she is "a sort of creative nurse practitioner," Cameron, telling the stories behind some of her own stories and poems, shows how writing can lead us down into the most vibrant parts of ourselves, to the very source of health. Although she covers much of the same territory she explored in The Artist's Way, Cameron's prose and anecdotes sparkle with fresh, lived experience, demonstrating that when the subject is creativity, a writer really can't enter the same stream twice.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Self-indulgent, derivative July 8 2002
By A Customer
I loved The Artist's Way, and like thousands of other people, found it immensely valuable. That's why I'm sorry to see Cameron try to rehash the SAME information again and again.
Further, there's way too much "the wonder of me" in this book...she seems to be creating a cult of personality around herself.
Enough already with romanticizing the writing process!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally uninspiring Oct. 20 2001
By A Customer
I bought this book after reading through the reviews on for it and I regretted it the minute I started reading. The exercises exert a certain kind of pressure on one, I feel, and I found them very unproductive. This book is, I guess, fine for the person who wishes to flirt with writing, but if you want some advice on being a serious writer I suggest Stephen King's "On writing" instead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Right to Write by Julia Cameron Dec 19 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am delighted to add this to my writing library. The ideas are all there waiting for me to try.A GREAT read for new and experienced writers.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners, grating for professionals Jan. 27 2004
"The Right to Write" was the first how-to-write book I ever purchased and that was several years ago at this stage. Back then, this book helped me realise that it was OK to want to write and it gave me the motivation and knowledge to get started. Ms. Camerons own eclectic career inspired me to do what mattered personally in writing terms and not be afraid of making a rough draft a *really* rough draft.
However, years passed and times changed. I recently picked up this book, with fond memories mind, having dedicated myself to a writing life and had reasonable success. Unfortunatly, the reread was disappointing and I found her "cult of me" attitude [as eloquently put by another reviewer] incredibly annoying.
Ms. Cameron is of the oppinnion that everybody can write. Yes, maybe everybody can, but that doen't mean they should go for a career in it. Her advice that everybody should be authors could dedicate some readers to a live scrimping a living and ravaged with disappointment. Her statements such as "Why don't we do it in the street?" and her "Cups" initiations smack of New Age - the really bad mumbo jumbo kind.
In all, this book is excellent for opening the eyes of the "wannabe" writer to what they can achieve, but in cold hindsight after years as a writer myself, I found it too full of "fluff" and incredibly grating. If you want to be a writer that badly then you need a more "grounding" book with a concrete approach to the how's and why's of the process. Unfortunaly Ms. Camerons book falls well short in that regard.
- A.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start Sept. 24 1999
By A Customer
I began my career teaching Composition at a state university campus. One day I was chatting with a colleague, a crusty old veteran who was the embodiment of everyone's Least Favorite English Teacher. She declared, "I don't care if they write only one paper all semester -- I make them rewrite it until it's PERFECT." I countered, "I don't care if they don't write one perfect paper all semester -- I make them keep WRITING."
This explains what I like about Julia Cameron: she's taken a whole generation who were intimidated by teachers like my ex-colleague into thinking "I'm not a writer," and made them into fluent, passionate, comfortable writers. Even for the experienced writer, her suggestions are great for jump-starting you at times when the inner censor is remorseless or you "just don't feel like writing." And she's an expert at puncturing your "I can't write because" excuses; those sections alone are worth the price of the book. I found it much easier going than "The Artist's Way": she's kept it concise, and downplayed the religion and the Twelve-Step-isms that some readers (myself included) found off-putting; but at the same time she's provided more of the practical and powerful exercises that were, I feel, the great strength of that book.
That said, I still found this book somewhat unsatisfying for two reasons. First, although the scenes from her daily life are excellent examples of vivid description, I could have done with a little less of her idyllic existence in the mountains and more practical suggestions for those of us who don't have total freedom to structure our writing time! And second, although her method provides a wonderful way for anyone to get started as a writer, she doesn't answer the next pressing question: "Now that I know I CAN write, where do I go from here?"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you Julia Cameron July 9 2004
For aspiring writers, there are many books that teach, inspire and train a writer's growth. Julia Cameron's book, "The Right to Write" is the most comprehensive, emotionally attached writing book I have yet to encounter. Honest, direct and understanding, Ms. Cameron provides inspiration by sharing her own with the world. Her experience as a writer never underminds those writers with less experience. She understands that writing is personal, therefore she teaches from her personal perspective.
This is not only the best writing book I have read, it is also one of the best books I have ever read.
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By isala
Julia Cameron takes a gentle, but steady approach. She understands full well that if you have had writer's block your entire life, it will not be easy to unblock yourself. Her main unblocking tool is to write three pages a day. You can write anything you want. After some initial reluctance, I have now become an addict, and I have filled several notebooks. She understands very well what demons wannabe writers might face, and gives plenty of exercises for overcoming them. Many of them very gentle, some where you must face old demons, but all basically very simple and easy to do.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
She's brilliant, I just had to get this book after my class reviewed a chapter of it. It's great!
Published on Oct. 25 2009 by Jenn
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a motivational book
If you need to get motivated to write in your journal, or to write a book this is for you. Simple assignments and a variety of skill.
Published on Feb. 7 2004 by gypsyoflove
4.0 out of 5 stars WRITING TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE??
Author Julia Cameron is also the co-author of The Artist's Way --a classic book that is great for lives in transition. Read more
Published on July 26 2003 by Joyce Schwarz
5.0 out of 5 stars The writer's muse through essays and spiritual guidance
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life

What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by Alvin C. Romer
4.0 out of 5 stars Write, write, write
Julia Cameron's message is simple: if you want to be a writer then WRITE. She presents the message with grace, conviction and persuasiveness. Read more
Published on May 17 2003 by Mary McKinney
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books about writing.
I loved Julia Cameron's book. Loved the way she writes, her coaching you against writer's block, helping you to pull in your own well of ideas, freeing you from your inhibitions. Read more
Published on April 22 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Enh.
The difficulty we had with this book was not that it seemed so very new-agey, or fluffy, or any such thing; it was that, as with so many of these "You Can Write" books,... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2002 by Nonesuch Explorers
4.0 out of 5 stars A book about the Art of writing rather than the mechanics
There aren't enough books on the market that approach writing as an Art. This is one of them.
The people that dismiss this book as "derivative" or "New-agey... Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2002 by "diranda"
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