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Posted January 7, 2011
I'm already implementing some of Sage's suggestions
I've wanted to be a writer since the day I learned to write, and 2010 was a good year, so I keep telling myself, "I am a writer!" I think Sage Cohen would approve. She reminds readers in her book, The Productive Writer, that what we tell ourselves matters. What others tell us matters too, and we need to work to make sure they give the right message. Then we should watch where we set our sights, as that too might make a difference to how much or well we write.
With a new year starting and new projects in the works, this was a great time for me to read The Productive Writer. I need to organize my social life on the internet. Sage Cohen has ideas for that. I need to set goals; she tells me to set them higher then praise myself for achieving less. Did you know people usually only achieve a quarter of what they aim for? So aim for four times what looks achievable, and see what happens.
The book comes with wonderful poetic language that makes it an intriguing read even while it educates. It comes with honest depictions of a real life writer that makes me feel like the author's taking me seriously. And it comes with a valuable array of charts and examples that bring the impossibility of being productive down to the level of "Yes, I can."
Indeed, Sage says it's time we stopped overusing that mantra of "Just say no." Stop saying "no" to ourselves and our dreams and try saying "yes" instead.
Yes I can. I will edit my novel. It will be good enough (though never perfect). I will organize my time. I will advertize. I will communicate. I will enjoy being a productive writer in 2011. Thank you Sage.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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Posted June 30, 2011
A Writer's Permanent Companion
In all her writing, Cohen has a way of first allaying our fears so we can open our minds to the unlimited possibilities before us. But, she doesn't stop there! She follows up with great, detailed advice; clear steps for us to take towards success; along with examples from her own writing life. In The Productive Writer, she adds a new dimension with printable worksheets and checklists she's made available on the web to serve as companions to The Productive Writer. One such worksheet is "Your Platform at a Glance." After reading through her example, I finally understood what a platform entails. I've read so much about platform and how important it is to my writing success, but never have I seen it broken down into the simple steps Cohen presents in this book. I was able to follow the worksheet and develop my platform which gave me a whole new outlook on my writing. What made the biggest impact on me was Cohen sharing her perfectionist tendencies and how it was hindering her success as a writer. Her solution: Do the best that you can and then send out your work. Let others decide if your writing is worthy of publication. Don't sabotage yourself by requiring that everything you write be absolutely perfect before you release it to the world. Like what has happened to me, your writing will go nowhere. It will collect dust among the computer archives. Cohen doesn't just say "Do the best that you can," she tells you how. She provides editing advice, organizational tips, and suggestions on how to find time to write. She has an entire chapter devoted to "Publishing and Landing Gigs!" Through her writing, Cohen encourages us to find our own writing rhythm. She tells us that it isn't absolutely necessary to write first thing in the morning as is often suggested. It is important for us to find our own writing rhythm. Through debunking some of the common myths about writing, she gives us the freedom to become our own unique writer selves. Even as she offers suggestions, tips, and personal experiences, she tells us: "Find what works for you!" The Productive Writer is structured in short chapters, usually about ten pages in length. The structure helps you find what you're looking for easily and also makes it a great book to bring with you while waiting at the doctors, or at your kids' soccer games, or wherever you have a little free time. This is another aspect of the book I love. It shows Cohen's attention to detail and consideration for today's busy writer. Cohen provides information for writers of all levels. The Productive Writer will become your permanent writing companion. If you're a beginner, Cohen provides the inspiration and knowledge you need to begin your journey as a writer. It is a book that will grow with you and you will return to again and again as you progress. If you are experienced, Cohen provides excellent suggestions on topics such as organization, social media, and the collection and storage of your random thoughts as well as the edited out portions of your writing so you can easily find and use them later. The information and inspiration she provides will be the fresh perspective you need to take your writing to the next level.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2011
Straight-forward, Potent Recommendations
Cohen gets right down to the business side of things in The Productive Writer. There are no confidence-building exercises, no powerful motivational speeches about finding life's purpose, no long histories of pivotal moments in the author's life. The book assumes everyone has a deep well of unique experiences to draw on, that people have the right tendencies to monitor and refresh their well-being. Instead, The Productive Writer is a long list of vital to-dos to turn a beginning or middling writing life into one with more purpose and success. Cohen keeps her advice short and to-the-point: "Writers are up against a lot when it comes to keeping our practice vital, engaging, and productive. We don't have time. We don't have energy. Blah, blah, blah." With this kind of bluntness, the softer side of her message resonates: ".any living thing given attention thrives. Tend your satisfaction, and it will take root and flourish. This is fertile ground for your writing. Keep your inner editor too busy to interfere." One of the best angles the book takes concerns procrastination. Instead of trying to stomp it out, Cohen declares: be a better procrastinator. Waste time with activities that are at least semi-useful to the writing life: organize a room or a desk, listen to music, talk with friends, go on a bike ride, read an absorbing book. Switch junk food from Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and SportsCenter to Facebook and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. At the same time, it's up to the writer to carve out his or her writing time and business. No one will give the writer that space - it has to be taken. It has to be earned. What about feedback? How much is too much or too little? Cohen embraces feedback as a way to shrink the distance between ambition and results - and a healthier paycheck. The more, the better. Getting honest feedback fuels the only process that any author is totally in control of - the quality of their own writing. Focusing on the practice, the feedback and the learning required to get better is the surest way to achieve long-term goals and success in the field. It keeps the writer honed in on what offering quality and value really means - and not always needing recognition to continue the process. "Validation is good, trust in yourself is better," Cohen says. The Productive Writer, by the end, earns the space to take on the common reputation of the writer as poor and disenfranchised. "There is a common assumption that writers are unhappy and unwell.. The Suffering Writer is giving way to a new archetype.... The Productive Writer.cultivates.possibility and [is] hard-wired for prosperity," Cohen writes. "This is not to say that we Productive Writers are not without our struggles and challenges; only that they do not define us or our writing lives." The book's straightforward pronouncements on this issue may open opportunities for many writers, even though Cohen's point here would have been stronger had she given more real-writing-life examples. The Productive Writer ends with a statement unique to Cohen's style: "Your writing life is a long-term commitment. It is a relationship with yourself. I invite you to think of productivity as the romance that keeps things spicy.." It is a perspective on a profession that deserves more financial and cultural support - and is positioned to earn it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2010
A must have for the serious writer.
The productive writer : tips & tools to help you write more, stress less, & create success / by Sage Cohen is packed full of suggestions to motivate and organize any writer. This two hundred and eight page book is loaded with suggestions, examples, and charts all designed to help organize your writing life. In Twenty chapters, Sage moves effortlessly from Harnessing your potential and finding your platform to handling the business aspects of a writing career.
She suggests ways to find your platform and to stay motivated when ideas don't come easily, or schedules are tight. She suggests calling snippets of writing that you aren't sure where they fit acorns, and those that need to be edited out of a piece but are worth keeping darlings. It is recommended that acorns and darlings are saved in a file for future use.
Detailed strategies for managing time, outside commitments, professional and business contacts, publishers and agents are covered in detail. Recommendations for organizing a permanent and portable workspace and electronic and hard copy filing systems are also covered. Many helpful hints for presenting are introduced so that even a new presenter can feel confident and well prepared.
Sage takes into account that writers have a variety of lifestyles and commitment loads, and demonstrates that anybody can find time to become a productive writer. There isn't any reason that a reader of The Productive Writer should not become a prolific writer and have a successful business.
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Posted April 29, 2011
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Posted January 9, 2011
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Posted November 6, 2011
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