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Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Writers

Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Writers

5.0 7
by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Bud Gardner

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Being a writer can be a lonely and frustrating experience. The stories in this book-by a wide range of professional writers, novelists, journalists, freelancers, poets and screenwriters-will give you insight into the human trials, tribulations and triumphs of writers, and if you're already a writer or aspiring to be on this book will be a source of inspiration and


Being a writer can be a lonely and frustrating experience. The stories in this book-by a wide range of professional writers, novelists, journalists, freelancers, poets and screenwriters-will give you insight into the human trials, tribulations and triumphs of writers, and if you're already a writer or aspiring to be on this book will be a source of inspiration and commiseration.

The stories of purpose, passion, endurance and success contained in Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul will inform, entertain, uplift and inspire you. In its pages, you will learn important lessons on: the importance of perseverance, the value of being yourself, the process of discovering your own voice, the need for mentors and allies, and the power of following your heartfelt dreams. Contributors include: Sue Grafton, Steve Allen, Dave Barry, Agatha Christie, Art Linkletter, Terry McMillan, and more.

About the Authors:

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling coauthors, are professional speakers who have dedicated their lives to enhancing the personal and professional development of others.

Bud Gardner, is on the faculty of both the Reader's Digest writer's workshops and the Maui Writer's Retreat and Conference.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The ever-popular "Chicken Soup" series here dishes up a nice meal that is intended to nourish and sustain those who write. These morsels are served in a manner that allows the listener to savor each piece. The meal alternates between short epigrams from famous authors and more substantial accounts of an aspect of the business of writing, including the story of how the gift of a book affected a young man's life; how a woman was able to pay her way through college by writing; and how an aspiring writer became a famous author's secretary by seeking that author's advice. The narrators of these tales do a splendid job; each reads clearly and with sincere enthusiasm. Public libraries will wish to consider this as well as any school or academic institution offering courses in creative writing.--Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
This audiotape includes twelve stories of how each author found either the courage, determination, encouragement, or the fortitude to continue writing. Read by several voices, all soothing and easy to listen to, each story demonstrates a way in which the author found inspiration to write or to continue to write.Just as there are different authors telling their stories, there are various forms of inspiration. A common piece of advice, found in "A Chat with Alex Haley" and "A Season with the Great Sinclair Lewis," is to write continuously. According to both Haley and Lewis, no matter how one feels or what is going on in their lives, a writer should have the discipline to write something every day. The same advice from two famous and prolific writers should not be ignored. The stories "Ronnie's Book" and "The Boy Who Saved Thousands of Lives" demonstrate how the courage of others can be an inspiration to write. In "Ronnie's Book" the author learned first-hand that one book can change a young person, which inspired her to write stories with the hope that one may change the life of a child. Reg Green, who wrote "The Boy Who Saved Thousands of Lives" found that the power of love can spread the word, in this case about organ transplants, to save other lives throughout the world. Conversely, in "The Professor in Me," a respected professor told Catherine Lanagan that she had no talent to write. She was devastated and did not write for years. Eventually she learned she had talent, took up writing again, and published many books. The words of one person effectively destroyed the confidence of a young writer. Whether a seasoned writer, an aspiring author, or just a collector of good stories, this audiotape is worth listening to and being inspired by.

Product Details

Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
Chicken Soup for the Soul Series
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Consider This

The marvelous richness of human excperience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.

Helen Keller

  • Richard Hooker worked for seven years on his humorous war novel, M*A*S*H* only to have it rejected by twenty-one publishers before Morrow decided to publish it. It became a runaway bestseller, spawning a blockbuster movie and a highly successful television series.
  • Richard Bach completed only one year of college, then trained to become an Air Force jet-fighter pilot. Twenty months after earning his wings, he resigned. Then he became an editor of an aviation magazine that went bankrupt. Life became one failure after another. Even when he wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull, he couldn't think of an ending. The 10,000-word manuscript lay dormant for eight years before he decided how to finish it—only to have eighteen publishers reject it before it was finally published by Macmillan. However once it was published, the book went on to sell more than 7 million copies in numerous languages and make Richard Bach an internationally known and respected author.
  • Louis L'Amour, successful author of more than 100 western novels with more than 200 million copies in print, received 350 rejections before he made his first sale. He later became the first American novelist to receive a special congressional gold medal in recognition of his distinguished career as an author and contributor to the nation through his historically based books.
  • British Writer John Creasy received 774 rejections before selling his first story. He went on to write 564 books, using fourteen different names.
  • In 1953, Julia Child and her two collaborators signed a publishing contract to produce a book tentatively titled French Cooking for the American Kitchen. Julia and her colleagues worked on the book for five years. The publisher rejected the 850-page manuscript. Child and her partners worked for another year totally revising the manuscript. Again the publisher rejected it. But Julia Child did not give up. She and her collaborators went back to work again, found a new publisher, and in 1961—eight years after beginning—they published Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which has sold more than one million copies. In 1966, Time magazine featured Julia Child on its cover. Julia Child is still at the top of her field thirty years later.
  • Dr. Seuss' first children's book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. The twenty-eighth publisher, Vanguard press, sold six million copies of the book. All of his children's books went on to sell a total of more than 100 million copies.
  • The author William Kennedy had written several manuscripts, all of them rejected by numerous publishers before his "sudden success" with his novel Ironweed, which was rejected by thirteen publishers before it was finally accepted for publication.
  • Pearl Buck's The Good Earth was rejected fourteen times and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.
  • The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer was rejected twelve times.
  • Margaret Mitchell's classic Gone with the Wind was turned down by more than twenty-five publishers.
  • Mary Higgins Clark was rejected forty times before selling her first story. More than 30 million copies of her books are now in print.
  • Robert Pirsig's classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was rejected by 121 publishers before being published.
  • Fifteen publishers and thirty agents turned down John Grisham's first novel A Time to Kill. More than 60 million copies of his novels are now in print.
  • Jack London received 600 rejection slips before he sold his first story.
  • Eight years after his novel Steps won the National Book Award, Jerzy Kosinski permitted a writer to change his name and the title and send a manuscript of the novel to thirteen agents and fourteen publishers to test the plight of new writers. They all rejected it, including Random House, which had published it.
  • When we completed the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, it was turned down by thirty-three publishers in New York and another ninety at the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, California, before Health Communications, Inc., finally agreed to publish it. Ah the major New York publishers said, "It is too nicey-nice" and "Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories." Since that time more than 8 million copies of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul book have been sold. The series, which has grown to thirty-two titles, in thirty-one languages, has sold more than 53 million copies.
  • Alex Haley received a rejection letter once a week for four years as a budding writer. Later in his career, Alex was ready to give up on the book Roots and himself. After nine years on the project, he felt inadequate to the task and was ready to throw himself off a freighter in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As he was standing at the back of the freighter, looking at the wake and preparing to jump into the ocean, he heard the voices of all his ancestors saying, "You go do what you got to do because they are all up there watching. Don't give up. You can do it. We're counting on you!" In the subsequent weeks, the final draft of Roots poured out of him.
  • The movie Star Wars was rejected by every movie studio in Hollywood before 20th-Century Fox finally produced it. It went on to be one of the largest grossing movies in film history.
  • E.T, Forrest Gump Home Alone, Speed and Pulp Fiction were all rejected by major studios before they finally found a studio willing to produce them.
  • In 1902 the poetry editor of the Atlantic Monthly returned the poems of a twenty-eight-year-old poet with the following note: "Our magazine has no room for your vigorous verse." The poet was Robert Browning.
  • In 1889, Rudyard Kipling received the following rejection letter from the San Francisco Examiner: "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language."
  • Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was encouraged to find work as a servant or seamstress by her family.
  • Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, flunked out of college. He was described as "both unable and unwilling to learn."
  • Woody Allen—Academy Award-winning writer, producer and director-flunked motion picture production at New York University and the City College of New York. He also failed English at New York University.
  • Leon Uris, author of the bestseller Exodus, failed high school English three times.
  • Malcolm Forbes, the late editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, one of the most successful business publications in the world, failed to make the staff of the school newspaper when he was an undergraduate at Princeton University.
  • After Thomas Carlyle lent the manuscript of The French Revolution to a friend whose servant carelessly used it to kindle a fire, he calmly went to work and rewrote it.
  • John Bunyan wrote Pilgram's Progress while confined to a Bedford Prison cell for his views on religion; Sir Waiter Raleigh wrote the History of the World during a thirteen-year imprisonment; and Martin Luther translated the Bible while confined in the Castle of Wartburg.
  • Novelist Carson McCullers endured three strokes before she was twenty-nine. While she was crippled, partially paralyzed and in constant pain, she suffered the profound shock of her husband's suicide. Others may have surrendered to such afflictions, but she settled for writing no less than a page a day. On that unrelenting schedule, she turned out many distinguished novels, including Member of the Wedding, The Ballad of the Sad CafT and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

    Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Bud Gardner

    (c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul by Jack Canfield, Marc Victor Hansen, Bud Gardner. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

  • What People are Saying About This

    Sidney Sheldon
    Many books are written strictly for entertainment. That's good. We all need a break from life's woes. Although Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul is entertaining, it goes beyond. It teaches. Don't miss it.
    — (Sidney Sheldon, author Tell Me Your Dreams and 15 other bestselling novels)
    Jackie Collins
    Writing is passion. Passion is writing. Read Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul and get the passion!
    — (Jackie Collins, author, Dangerous Kiss and 17 other bestselling novels)
    Stephen R. Covey
    It has been said that the pen is greater than the sword and that ideas change the world. I agree. This book beautifully illustrates the heart, soul and drive of a writer. I personally identify with many of these marvelous stories.
    — (Dr. Stephen R. Covey author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

    Meet the Author

    Jack Canfield is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

    Mark Victor Hansen is a co-founder of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

    Brief Biography

    Santa Barbara, California
    Date of Birth:
    August 19, 1944
    Place of Birth:
    Fort Worth, Texas
    B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973

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    Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Writers 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I am a teenage writer. I practice writing everyday, like many of the contributors to this WONDERFUL book. I have a large 'sourcebank' of ideas and pieces that I can send out to contests and agents when I turn 18. This book inspired me to never give up and always write, for only I can tell a story from my heart! When I am stuick, I thumb through the pages, like receiving a hug from an old and dear friend. This book is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Chicken Soup for the Writer¿s Soul is a touching and powerful book. For those aspiring to be writers or in a field dealing with writing, this book will leave you truly inspired. The stories are told from different writers who have been through various struggles during their writing careers. This book was particularly helpful because it not only contained stories from amateur writers, but famous ones as well. When reading the stories of those who have already made it in the writing field, you realize that your dreams can come true too. Personally, I use some of the quotes in the book to inspire me whenever I begin a writing task. Chicken Soup for the Writer¿s Soul is a special book to me, one that I will treasure for many years to come.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book is exactly what the writer oredered. Rarely do writers -beginning and professional- enjoy such a wonderful book! This book is filled with endless stories to motivate writers of all ages.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    For years, I had talked about writing a non-fiction business book but I couldn't get started. After reading the stories in 'Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul', I was inspired to start. I go back and re-read a story every night to make sure that I don't lose my momentum. The book is stimulating, entertaining and easy to read. I highly recommend it.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    Chicken Soup for the Writer¿s Soul is different from the other Chicken Soup books. Bud Gardner solicited stories, usually autobiographies, from famous contemporary writers. The result is great writing and a celebration of authorship. Some of the 79 (not the usual 101 advertised) contributors are Sue Grafton, Steve Allen, Ray Bradbury, Barbara Cartland, Clive Cussler, Richard Paul Evans, Ernest J. Gaines, Art Linkletter, George Plimpton, Garry Marshall, Irving Wallace, Barnaby Conrad, Catherine Lanigan, Jeff Arch, Gene Perret, Hugh Prather, Bryce Courtenay, Dan Millman, Howard Fast and 61 more. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen started off with a general Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Then they narrowed the focus to teenage, college, Christian, pets, etc. Each year, the focus becomes narrower and narrower. Now we are down to writers. Next could be nonfiction writers, fiction writers, and screenwriters. Then mystery writers, sci-fi writers and, finally, Barnes & Noble Review Writers. Where will it end? Someday will there be a book for each reader¿s own personal soul? Bud Gardner has taught writing for more than 40 years. His mission in life is to turn the world onto the value of reading and (better) writing. He believes we don't write because we know what we want to say, we write to know, to learn, to grow, to understand. His students have prospered (selling more than 3,000 articles and 113 books, earning more than $3,000,000 from their writing), his readers have enjoyed and writers everywhere are the beneficiaries of his work. This book is more than a labor of love; it is monumental collection of the best of the best. Writers will find this book fascinating and an inspiration. It is the ideal gift for the writer in your life.