As a published novelist who has stalled on her second novel for nearly a year, I am delighted to have Pep Talks for Writers on my writing desk. Try browsing the "Try This" boxes at the end of the chapters; if you're anything like me, that alone will be worth the investment. Grant Faulkner, the head of National Novel Writing Month, has given us a whole's year's worth of inspiration here. I'll be recommending it to every writer I know, aspiring and otherwise.
What I enjoy most about Grant Faulkner's book, "Pep Talks for Writers" is that it's for writers by a writer. Grant Faulkner has truly been down in the trenches with us, beating his head at his desk, and you can tell that in the advice he gives, the empathy he offers, and the genuine good intentions he has. He truly does want to cheer us on.
Faulkner pairs beautifully written paragraphs about his writing experiences -- "It's as if I'm lost in a foreign city, and I'm trying to find my way home, but I can only follow hunches, scents in the air, touches of memory." -- with practical, actionable advice: "So find your way, embrace your way, but don't become too rigid. Experimenting with your process is a way to open yourself up to new possibilities."
I plan on reading one of his 52 "pep talks" every day before I start writing for the next 52 days, and I look forward to his encouraging words cheering me on.
The ideas and advice that Grant Faulkner puts forward in "Pep Talks for Writers" aren't just applicable to writers. I've been marking up my copy with ideas I want to remember when trying to motivate the people I work with who are struggling to get projects done or solve problems creatively. Deadlines do help us get things done and we do need to "Embrace Restraints" unless we want an ulcer! "Getting Feedback" is key in everyone's career and while failing isn't usually something we aim for, "Fail Often...Fail Better" helps us remember that it is often through mistakes that we get better at our craft, whether that is writing or dealing with an important business deal. And making a mistake is OK. A good read for people in all walks of life!
A book both fun to read and extremely useful, Pep Talks for Writers provides warm and interesting advice applicable to any writer at any point in her career. I found the exercises extremely useful for those days when I am stuck on what to write. I especially love the overall understanding tone of the book, in which the foibles, fears, and anxieties of writers are faced head-on with gentle, logical advice. This is a valuable book to use over many years, keeping at bedside or on the desk for just those moments when you need a pep talk, a new approach to your writing practice, or a quick anecdote from the accomplished Grant Faulkner to keep you moving in your writing work. I recommend without reservation!
This was not a book I could read from cover to cover. It motivated me to get about the business of actually writing so I would read a few pages and then put it on the shelf until I needed inspiration again. Reading Faulkner's "pep talks" helped me finally turn off the discouraging inner narratives that had always kept me from persisting at writing. He is positive without being saccharine, dealing with themes like rejection, fear, melancholy, boredom, and distractions. He effectively ties writing (and this could apply to other creative processes as well) to life itself, drawing on his own experience as a writer and the experiences of other writers he has read and/or met.
I wrote my first novel during NaNoWriMo 2017 and Grant’s book helped me get inspired to get it done. It has such wonderful advice on how to make it through your creative blocks and fight the resistance all writers face. My favorite pep talk was that “You Are A Creator. Create.” That single bit of advice was something that drove me to write my 1,666 words a day and win NaNoWriMo 2017!
If you write, then you should pick this up to get inspired to keep writing even when resistance comes knocking.
I am both a writer and a songwriter, and this book provides inspiration and motivation for both crafts. It can both help you find fresh ideas, and to see a project that is already underway from a new angle. More generally it inspires confidence and a sense of purpose for the life of an artist. Highly recommended.
The print edition of Pep Talks is a thoughtfully crafted package for the writing inside. Each chapter is essentially a short essay about an aspect of the writing life with encouragement at the end for how you can put it into practice. The tone finds harmony between being broad enough to be applicable beyond Faulkner’s writing, yet familiar enough to recognize patches of my own creative journey. I’m only a few chapters in but thoroughly enjoying reading and reflecting on each pep talk.