The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear

Ralph Keyes, Author Henry Holt & Company $17.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3188-1
Keyes (Nice Guys Finish Seventh) here suggests that writerly anxiety is an inevitable and necessary part of the writing process. Drawing on his own experience and that of others (often from Paris Review or PW interviews), he explores the varieties of anxieties, for example, ``page fright''; the pitfalls of putting family and friends into print; and the tension between fear of self-exposure and thirst for attention. In the book's second half, he explores both harnessing and ``finessing'' fear, arguing that ``inner conviction'' is more important than technique. He surveys authors' tics and tricks to get started and the question of circulating works-in-progress. Many writing problems ``are really courage problems,'' Keyes concludes, after suggesting that too many good writers give up too soon. While this book lacks the scope and the personal voice of, say, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, its psychological acuity should still help lonely scribblers. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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