Untold millions of writing projects--begun with hope and a little bit of hubris--lie abandoned in desk drawers, in dated files on computer desktops, and in the far reaches of the mind. Too often, writers get tangled in self-abuse--their self-doubt, shame, yearning for perfection, and even arrogance get in the way. In Finishing School, Cary Tennis and Danelle Morton help writers overcome these emotional blocks and break down daunting projects into manageable pieces.
Tennis first convened a Finishing School so that writers could help one another stay on track and complete their work. Since they weren't actually critiquing one another's writing, there was no jockeying for the title of best writer or the usual writing group politics; there was only a shared commitment to progress. Without guilt, blame, and outside critique, students were more productive than they imagined possible. Through this program, they were able to complete novels that they'd been struggling with for almost two decades, finish screenplays drafts, and revive interest in long-neglected PhD theses. In this book, the authors share this proven and easily replicable technique, as well as their own writing success stories.
- ISBN-13: 9780399184703
- ISBN-10: 0399184708
- Publisher: Tarcherperigee
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.45 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-10-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Tennis, a former Salon columnist, and journalist Morton (coauthor of Not My Boy! A Father, a Son, and One Familys Journey with Autism) seek to free writers from a near-universal burdenunfinished projectsby meticulously outlining Tenniss Finishing School writing program. Drawing on their own experiences and those of other writers, they explain how the program evolved out of Tenniss own difficulties completing a novel. It offers a support system designed to overcome six common emotional pitfalls: doubt, shame, yearning, fear, judgment, and arrogance. Members of Finishing School writing groups, which meet weekly, commit to writing for a certain number of hours and completing specific tasks. They also choose buddies to contact when they hit writing snags. It is this accountability, according to Tennis, that writers find particularly helpful. Unlike in more traditional writers groups, Finishing School members do not critique one anothers work; they listen to and learn from one another as equals, establishing clear goals supported by well-defined tasks. This book insightfully pinpoints the importance of time budgeting and management, and of setting reasonable expectations for completion. Its gimmicky at times, but its advice and methodology will be useful for countless writers and would-be writers, and for people wanting to complete unfinished projects of any kind. (Jan.)