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The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life Paperback – Dec 27 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 1 edition (Dec 27 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585420093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585420094
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on Sept. 24 1999
Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
"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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By A Customer on Oct. 20 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading through the reviews on Amazon.com 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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, the authors seem to assume that everyone has money.
She does make some good points on Western society's (particularly the U.S.) attitude toward personal writing (it is discouraged, which is worse than if it were forbidden; we let greeting cards do our self-expression for us). She emphasises that we must not be afraid to produce raw writing; the polishing should come later. Although the computer makes it much easier to edit as you go along, it's a mixed blessing to those of us who fit her description of the overly self-censoring child who earns stellar points in English by writing prose like concrete blocks.
She speaks strongly about people who complain that they have no time to write. Her advice is to snitch a few minutes here and there, while waiting for the bus or on coffee breaks, which is perfectly reasonable. But she seems completely to ignore the fact that for many of the working poor, it isn't time, it's money. It's a rare person who can hold down four jobs just to pay rent, groceries and basic utilities, and still have energy left over to write. This kind of working poverty is reality for countless people, many of whom might well be creatively brilliant, but will never have an opportunity to explore their "inner voice" or whatever it may be.
Her writing style is not all that impressive, aside from a few amusing similes. Perhaps this is deliberate, so as not to intimidate.
In summary, Julia Cameron like most "You Can Write" authors rather defeats her own purpose.
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