When I heard that best selling author Jennifer Probst was releasing a book on writing, I immediately knew that I was going to purchase it.
I actually tried winning it (to no avail) on several Facebook giveaways- but luck is rarely on my side with those contests (Except for when I won the Kelley Armstrong T-shirt I happily sleep in…. but I digress…) so I just went over to Amazon and placed an order. Two days later I was happily ripping open the envelope and snapping a picture for my Twitter and Instagram feed.
My excitement for this particular book revolves around a life long dream – I started writing when I was young. As a child and throughout elementary school I was constantly writing- I’ve mentioned this before in a previous blog– I was certain that when I grew up, my life would somehow revolve around writing- whether it was as a journalist, a children’s author, screenplay writer, novelist……
Long story short: To the back-burner that idea went.
After my first child was born, I felt very confused about my path- and suddenly the muses started to whisper ‘Write’.
For the most part-I ignored that voice inside my head until my second daughter was born. The voices by 2010 were extremely loud. I truly did feel like I had an angel sitting on my shoulder with a bullhorn telling me to at least try to write something- after all- What was there really to lose?
I always dream, vivid dreams- some are like movies. My brain constantly creates scenarios- and my notebooks started filling up. There were days where my youngest was napping in her swing and I was pounding away at the keyboard- bringing what I had dreamed to life on my computer screen. I have a few finished rough drafts of novels and short stories just itching for revisions, edits and maybe one day…. the world to read.
I finally summoned enough courage to share some of that writing with friends and a few family members. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, even from one of my most trusted and honest bibliophile friends – who I knew would tell me point blank to give it up if it sucked.
(She liked it…..She really liked it!)
I still kept my writing aspirations mainly to myself and a select group of friends- after all I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it.
A couple of years ago- I decided it was something I was going to pursue on a more full time basis after my youngest went off to school. I originally had plans to take writing courses at the local college- but plans changed when we moved. I went with the flow and here we are.
I don’t just like to write- as my blog readers know -I am a voracious reader and I also suffer from health problems that like to get in my way. Since sitting in a classroom isn’t going to happen anytime soon- and I don’t actually do well with online schooling (I tried that once….didn’t work out) I decided to use writing guides such as ‘Creative Writing For Dummies’ ‘Crafting a Novel’ etc…. to learn more on how to succeed at the craft and apply the advice to my stories.
I even started this blog- A place where I could share MY writing, gain some practice, dip my toes in and write in all kinds of ways- a personal essay here, a short story or poem there….Sometimes I write things and I don’t know even know what to label it as.
Write Naked to me is an absolute God-send. It showed up at a time in my life where I truly needed it. I can read all the other books on the craft that I want- but the fact that this particular book is written by an author who’s work I collect and admire? THIS is what I need! The voice of someone who’s work I am familiar with. Someone who’s opinion I not only value but trust.
I have never been one to really look up to anyone or want to be anyone. I recently had this conversation where the topic of mentors and idols came up and I could honestly say that I have never in my life wanted nor felt like I had or needed a mentor. I will admire people for accomplishments, kindness, humanitarianism etc…..but I really don’t do hero worship or place people on pedestals or strive to be like them.
That said, while I have never met her or conversed with her (With the exception of the odd tweet about how I am reading something of hers…..) through ‘Write Naked’ – Jennifer has indirectly and undoubtedly become a role model in my life.
As an author who’s input I value- having her book give me knowledge of her journey, her struggles, her secrets, advice and even each exercise placed at the end of the chapters………. this means everything to a ‘quadruple N’ writer like me. (New, Nervous and in Need of a Nudge)
So Thank You Jennifer Probst.
If you ever read this I want you to know that as a fan, how truly grateful I am.
Thank you for taking the time to create a guide for those of us just starting to get our feet wet.
Thank you for being a role model.
Thank you for your honesty and your advice.
Thank you for the words of encouragement that you provide in your book.
Thank you for the fun and romantic fiction that you have written!
Now that I have got that out of the way-
‘Write Naked’ – A Review
The first time I cracked Write Naked open- I was excited and just wanted to read it. I wanted to erase my mind, my doubts, my fears- take away all the pressure I feel at the moment and just read her words.
Now that I have done that it is time for the fun part! This week, I will return with a highlighter and start highlighting points that speak to me. Also, I will be participating in each exercise she gives at the end of each chapter. They are small- but they will be worth it (and trust me, right now I appreciate any inspiration and encouragement I can get) -I even purchased a special notebook to write in and take notes as I go.
I will be referring back to Write Naked A LOT.
This book is exactly what you want it to be and more. In my opinion, it’s a perfect reference book for any writer- and I am not going to just lump in just romance authors to this. I have read quite a lot of books, blogs and reference material on the craft- and perhaps I am slightly biased since I am a Jennifer Probst fan- but Write Naked is written in such a friendly, easy reading manner. It’s not complex, or dull like others that I have read- it’s full of humor, personal stories and real encouragement.
Reading Write Naked is like going out for drinks with your girlfriends and having a productive conversation- compared to reading other writing guides, which sometimes are so sterile they feel like their narrated in your head by Ben Stein.
Jennifer Probst breaks down a lot of what it takes to be a career author (which is much appreciated) and gives advice on how to navigate -not only your writing- but your strategy as you try to publish and market your book. She covers the whole indie/self-published/publishers dilemma, social media, writers block…etc…
She teaches the craft- You learn about hooks, building characters, themes, even how to write those sexy scenes, plus so much more.
Chapter 16 is actually called ‘The Right to Suck’ which in all honesty is probably going to be the Chapter that I wear out the most. As small as this part of the book is- it packs a big punch. Her words are exactly what writers need to hear.
She quotes and refers to a lot of romance writers in this book. Many of whom I am already a fan of and others I am not familiar with- I plan on taking names of the ‘new to me’ authors and exploring their work for myself now!
Like I mentioned above, I don’t think you need to only be a romance writer to take lessons from Write Naked, but I certainly think that if you are writing in this day and age- and if you are interested in venturing into publishing one day- that you need to grab yourself a copy of Write Naked and learn what you can from best selling author Jennifer Probst.
There are so many great tips and sound advice to take away from Write Naked.
Take it from someone who is feeling rather lost. Thanks to Write Naked– I think I have finally found a bit more direction and a renewed sense of purpose. I think it is time to dust off those rough drafts sitting in my closet and bring them back to life.
The next time someone asks me “What do you do?”
I am not going to say “I’m a stay at home mom”
I am not going to say “I am a blogger”
I am going to say “I am a writer!”
(And if they are confused, I will point fingers at Jennifer Probst because she made me say it out-loud!)
Please check out her website for more information: http://www.jenniferprobst.com/