In Word Work, Bruce Holland Rogers writes not about how to write, or how to publish, but about how to be a writer. Claiming to be “extraordinarily gifted with neuroses, even for a writer,” Rogers is well-practiced in such writerly pursuits as procrastination, self-doubt, and rejection. Thus, he is perfectly able to write from experience. Rogers’s tone is friendly, anecdotal, low-key. In each essay, he contemplates some aspect of the writing life, from writer’s block (for which he recommends “atomizing” a writing project, by breaking it down into minute parts) to writing rituals; from quitting one’s day job (“depends on how important writing is to you and how seriously you take your own death”) to writing workshops. You can almost see him holding up some aspect of the writing life–procrastination, say–between his fingertips and his thumb, turning and examining it from all angles, then musing about how to deal with it. Good news: there are benefits, he discovers, to such impediments as depression, negative thinking, and trying to write with children in the house. –Jane Steinberg
From Library Journal
Here is another manual for writers by a fiction instructor and published author who has given serious thought to the vocation. Written mostly in the first person, the text offers anecdotal advice and practical suggestions addressing the “affective” needs of writers. Rogers provides insights into that monster called “writer’s block” and the guilt associated with procrastination and shows how such traditional enemies of the writer can be allies. In personal chapters on invention, inspiration, and the place and circumstances of his work, Rogers explores his relationship with his own writing. The chapters on the hazards and benefits of writing workshops as well as those on the value of writing “buddies” are particularly insightful. Readers looking for guidance on bettering their craft or on the practicalities of publishing and marketing their work may be disappointed. Those who appreciate the honest reflections of a practicing and thoughtful writer will value the opportunity to listen in. Herbert E. Shapiro, SUNY Empire State Coll., Rochester
Combining sympathy with practical advice, this guide enables writers to overcome mental and spiritual battles to get words on a page. Anecdotes from established authors, psychological theory, and hands-on exercises help writers understand and move beyond writer’s block. Topics include preventing procrastination, generating inspiration, staying passionate, targeting long-term happiness, the role of relationships, and dealing with both rejection and success. This sound advice will give any writer, beginner or professional, a road map to greater productivity, confidence, and satisfaction.
About the Author
Bruce Holland Rogers is the author of Wind Over Heaven, Flaming Arrows, and Bedtime Stories to Darken Your Dreams. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a Bram Stoker Award, and two Nebula Awards. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.