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Cynthia Morris : Create Your Writer's Life Book Review

Create Your Writer's Life

A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease
by Cynthia Morris

Book Review by Chris Dunmire

Create Your Writer's Life by Cynthia MorrisI've been a huge fan of writing coach Cynthia Morris from the get-go. Her contributions to the Creativity Portal have inspired my own writing life, and in particular, her piece "Enhance Your Travel with Your Own Art" encouraged my first unforgettable public writing session inside of a hotel lobby in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

If you're wondering how a writing coach can help you, Cynthia's book, "Create Your Writer's Life: A Guide to Writing With Joy and Ease will answer the call. Tagged as "a powerful program for writers of all genres and levels," it could very well have been named "a writing coach in a book" with its supportive structure and rich material addressing the pertinent areas a writer must deal with on a day-to-day basis. In chapter one, Cynthia relates the ongoing challenges writers face:

"Why write? It is certainly easier not to do so. Doubt, solitude, and fear of the unknown all seem to conspire against you. Yet some inner force drives you to pick up a pen, sit at the computer, attend classes, and cultivate your writing skills. Often fears and questions arise to keep you from your work. Yet the desire persists deep within and refuses to give up even when you do."

Note her explanation of this "persisting desire":

"When this feeling shows up in my students and clients, I remind them that we are writers because it is who we are, not just what we do. It is an urge, and inner calling that may not have anything to do with how talented you are. "Did you ever want to be an engineer?" I ask. "A dentist? A makeup artist?" Odds are the answer to these questions is no.When I ask, "Did you want to be a writer as a child?" the reply more often is yes. I call this an original impulse, and early recognition of our calling."

An intimate understanding of this 'calling to write' is where the work of a skilled coach begins. Create Your Writer's Life is built upon this understanding and through its 13 chapters hones in on creating a writing practice, overcoming resistance, focusing on projects, receiving feedback, investigating writing communities, and balancing writing work with life. It encourages exercises, journal writing, and "impulse writing" along with consistent work on a writing project "to help clients seek their own wisdom and claim it through action."

Fans of Natalie Goldberg's "free writing" in Writing Down the Bones will appreciate the influence in Cynthia's brand of "impulse writing", a style of writing "that taps into your raw writing, allowing you to get your writing out without judgment or concern that it is good or right, giving you confidence to express the vast and fascinating territory inside you."

My favorite section in Create Your Writer's Life is in chapter 6 on Values and Themes: The Foundation of Your Writing. This discussion is an essential piece of the writer's life that is often overlooked in other writing books, but important as Cynthia notes because "once your values are clear to you, writing and life can be more enjoyable and meaningful." An excerpt from chapter 6 follows:

Chapter 6: Your Precious Values: The Foundation of Your Writing »

© 2007 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

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