I’ve had a brilliant idea for a novel. I’m not telling you what it is in case you steal my idea and end up winning the Booker. I haven’t written it yet because, well … because. Because although I come up with nuanced, clever sentences in my head, the words become wooden and lumpy as soon they’re on the page. Because I don’t have enough time. Because I could do it if only I wasn’t working/had a garden shed to retire to. And so I jumped at the chance to review this writing journal and planner – it’s very different from the books I usually look at but it was well worth it.
52 Weeks of Writing does what it says on the cover. By setting it out so beautifully, with each week given a focus and with plenty of room for notes, I can see that this is something you’d maintain over the year, rather than running out of steam halfway through. There are sections of goal-setting, writing prompts, planning, and reviewing. Each section starts with a quotation that taps into the mind of a writer who is yet to fully commit, but knows they’re possibly onto something. Week One’s ‘If It’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk‘ (Paulo Coehlo) had me nodding and feeling myself spurred on already. Her questions for the early sections are those a good friend who knows you all-too well might ask as they gee you out of a slump. Week Two asks you consider what it is that makes you a good person to write this particular story – what you bring to the table. Again, more nodding here. I’m now feeling more confident about why I should write the story. Small steps.
That’s another thing Smith knows is important. Sections, schedules and plans are broken down. Writing prompts are timed. This all begins to seem much less of an insurmountable task. You’re also spending time thinking about your idea, rather than just plunging in and drying up immediately. I am also much-heartened by the quotation which kicks off Week 32:
“The best work anyone ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing them. Always.” – Arthur Miller.
So if Miller said that, that’s ok – maybe other people do feel like that too when they try to write! And the writing prompt for Week 41 – ‘How often does your head get in the way when you’re writing’ – and the notes that she suggests – also struck a chord. There’s a good deal of sensible, practical advice here. Some of the questions are deliberately replicated so that you can reflect on progress and development; all of them show that reflection is key to moving forward.
I’m very glad I got to read this writing journal – whilst everyone approaches writing differently, I’m sure this could help any writer who is starting off and needs that calm guidance and encouragement. Maybe I don’t need to wait for the shed in the garden.
My thanks to Rachel @rararesources for my copy for review
52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner
Are you ready to become the writer you were always meant to be?
52 Weeks of Writing will get you cracking by making you plan, track, reflect on, and check in with your progress and goals an entire year long.
52 Weeks of Writing will help you dig deep by offering questions and writing prompts designed to unravel whatever truths about your writing you’re ready for.
52 Weeks of Writing will keep you inspired by delivering a thought-provoking writing quote every week.
– Do you struggle with setting goals that reflect your daily reality?
– Do you want to practise breaking goals down into manageable chunks?
– Would you like more insight into your writing habit(s) and figure out why you keep getting in your own way?
– And do you want to create a sustainable writing practice that honours your needs and desires as a writer?
Then the 52 Weeks of Writing: Author Journal and Planner is for you.
52 Weeks of Writing brings together every lesson Mariëlle S. Smith has learned as a writing coach and writer. Wary as she is of comparisonitis and unhealthy competition, this author journal and planner was designed to help writers develop and fine-tune a practice that works for them.
If you’re ready to get out of your own way and become the writer you’re meant to be, pick up your copy of 52 Weeks of Writing today.
Mariëlle S. Smith is a coach for writers and other creatives, an editor, (ghost) writer, and custom retreat organiser. In 2019, she moved to Cyprus, and island in the Mediterranean Sea, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.
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Giveaway to win….
• THREE paperback copies of the 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner,
• TWO paperback copies of Tarot for Creatives: 21 Tarot Spreads to (Re)Connect to Your Intuition and Ignite That Creative Spark, and
• ONE coaching session.