Seven Steps on the Writer's Path: The Journey from Frustration to Fulfillment
Nancy Pickard, Lynn Lott. Ballantine Books, $24.95 (241pp) ISBN 978-0-345-45524-6
Based on the intriguing idea that writers pass through a sequence of seven identifiable stages when composing, this volume is a rewarding combination of motivational tool and writer's guide. Lott, a writer/therapist, and Pickard, author of the Jenny Cain mysteries, commiserate with readers as they detail the points on the path to completing any serious writing project. The steps, which they contend are common to all writers, begin at Unhappiness, then proceed to Wanting, Commitment, Wavering, Letting Go, Immersion and, finally, Fulfillment. Each phase gets its own chapter of explanation, advice and inspiring quotations. Particularly strong are the chapters covering seemingly negative steps, such as Wanting, which the authors describe as an ""attractive power"" that, like a magnet, draws to it ""the things or people it needs in order to be fulfilled."" At times, the self-help jargon, derived from the I Ching and other sources, can be too simplistic (i.e. ""You can't feel the flow until you let go""), and readers may also tire of the authors' many references to their own lives. Overall, though, this is a fair representation of the artist's process that serves the important purpose of validating all the emotional stages of writing as normal--a valuable companion book for writers at any stage in their careers.
Reviewed on: 07/01/2003