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Everyday Writing by Midge Raymond

Everyday Writing: Tips and Prompts to Fit Your Regularly Scheduled Life by Midge Raymond is a slim volume with purpose — to get those writers back to the words on the page.  Raymond is a busy woman, like most writers, and she holds a full-time job in addition to writing.  Her advice is on point and should be taken to heart — by me especially.  The book is broken down into two main sections — tips on how to become a writer and stay in that mode and a series of writing prompts broken down my expected writing duration.

I’ve got a semi-unconventional review today.  This book offers me more motivation than ever.  With the toddler running around and the full-time job, plus the additional stress I’ve been under lately, I need a good kick in the butt to get me back to writing.

What I loved about Raymond’s book was her no-nonsense advice and her anecdotes about her own struggles with writing.  She even shares some of the best moments she’s experienced when she was procrastinating.  One major point that book bloggers already know, especially in this time of Twitter and other social media, that we need to disconnect from the Internet.  My book is overflowing with post-it tabs, but here are a couple of my favorite passages:

“Being an Everyday Writer is not about putting daily words on a page but about seeing the world as a writer and recognizing the myriad ways in which your everyday life informs your work.  And this, in turn, will put words on the page.”  (page 2)

“Writing exercises can help our writing in ways we don’t know until we do them.  They can, for instance, allow our minds to retreat from the puzzle of a current project and wander a bit, perhaps leading us back to the puzzle from a different angle and getting us closer to a solution.”  (page 6)

Some of her practical advice includes creating a schedule that works for you with your work and childcare schedule and that it doesn’t have to be every day.  Additionally, you have to remain open to revising the schedule and making sure that others in your life take your writing time as seriously as you do.  Writers also need to set bigger goals and break that down into more manageable goals, and these goals should be reassessed at least quarterly to determine how much progress has been made.  Another cool tool in the book is Raymond’s checklist for those writers who think they’ve finished a piece to make sure they’ve covered all the bases, including whether every scene is necessary and whether the point of view is consistent.

Everyday Writing: Tips and Prompts to Fit Your Regularly Scheduled Life by Midge Raymond is a slim book, just what writers need — practical advice, but not lengthy practical advice that causes them to procrastinate about their projects.  Raymond’s writing style as engaging as her advice, and the writing prompts can be used for any project.  What she offers most is the ability for writers to be flexible and not beat themselves up about it so long as they are meeting their own goals.

About the Author:

Midge Raymond’s short-story collection, Forgetting English, received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Indiana Review, North American Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, and many other publications. Her work has received several Pushcart Prize nominations and received an Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship.

Midge taught communication writing at Boston University for six years, and she has taught creative writing at Boston’s Grub Street Writers and Seattle’s Richard Hugo House. While living in Southern California, she held writing workshops and seminars at San Diego Writers, Ink, where she also served as vice president of the board of directors.

Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press.

  • I love how useful you found this book. I can’t imagine working full-time, having a toddler, blogging and trying to write. You’re amazing!
    Julie P.´s last blog post ..Review: Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler

  • Sounds like I could really use this book!

    • Hi Anna,
      I hope that you read and enjoy it! (And if you don’t want to buy, you can always see if your local library might acquire it!)
      As I mentioned to Amber, the blog is a good start — new prompts every Monday (http://www.midgeraymond.com/blog). Creating these prompts is one of the major ways I keep writing myself. 🙂
      Happy Halloween & happy writing!

  • Sounds like the kind of book I need in my life at the moment.
    Amber Stults´s last blog post ..All Hallow’s Read

  • Ti

    I’ve read Raymond’s work before. I enjoy her writing. What she said about a schedule is so obvious but how often is it actually followed? That is my problem. My follow-thru in most areas is pretty good but not when it comes to writing.
    Ti´s last blog post ..Review: 1222

    • I hear you about the follow-through problem. I think you have to dedicate yourself and get others to see you are serious about writing for it to work; otherwise there will be interruptions.

    • Hi, Ti! I know what you mean about the follow-through — always the hardest part, despite good intentions! That’s one reason I wrote EVERYDAY WRITING…so that when we find we’re not able to do other things, we can “keep writing” in myriad other creative ways. Hope you’re well!

  • I love using prompts. This sounds like it has some great advice, beyond just the prompts. The checklist sounds very handy.
    Janel Gradowski´s last blog post ..Blink, Blink, Hello?

    • I hope you check out her book…she’s got a notecard package available with the book on her site too….I think.

      • Yes, the notecard/book package is still available…thanks, Serena, for mentioning it!

  • I also have a review up today on a book about how to write! (love serendipity!) I love these kinds of books. They seem to offer more concrete help than the usual “self-help” books (if you can even compare them!)
    rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog post ..Review of “How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One” by Stanley Fish

    • That is hilarious! Another writing book…and one that I’d love to read and so have added it to my Pinterest list.

    • Loved your review or “How to Write a Sentence…” — this looks like a great book. I always get inspired by books about writing…especially ones w/ examples of how to do it well!