Cover image for A writer's workbook : daily exercises for the writing life
A writer's workbook : daily exercises for the writing life
Sharp, Caroline.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxiv, 144 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN147 .S4627 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Aspiring doctors have medical school. Karate students have belts of different colors. Pianists have scales and arpeggios. But what system do writers have for getting and staying "in shape," to help them focus, practice, and make progress?

A Writer's Workbook is Caroline Sharp's ingenious collection of exercises to inspire, encourage, warm up, and jump-start anyone who writes. A wise and funny friend who will cheerlead you through even your darkest can't-write days and "every idea I've ever had is awful" nights, she provides encouraging suggestions, hilarious observations, and an amazingly vivid catalogue of writers' neuroses (with advice on overcoming them, of course).

From "Roget's Resume" and "Emulating Ernest" to "End Well," "The Rewrite Rut," and "Dear John," the exercises in this generous, wry workbook will keep your ideas fresh, your mind open, and your pen moving.

Author Notes

Caroline Sharp has a degree in psychology from Princeton University, an MFA from Columbia University, and is a graduate of the Writer's Boot Camp. The mother of two, she lives and writes in New York City.

Table of Contents

Elizabeth Gilbert
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Forewordp. xv
Introductionp. xix
How to Use This Workbook: A Few Suggestionsp. xxi
Obstacle Pages, or...Reasons Why You Just Can't Write--Todayp. xxv
Warm-Upsp. 1
Warm-up, Stretch, and Extendp. 3
One-liners: A Quick Warm-up Exercisep. 5
Stop 'n' Shopp. 8
Roget's Resumep. 11
The Exercisesp. 13
Obstacle Page: What If You Don't Like Being Alone? or Writing in the Company of Strangersp. 15
Step One: Your Journal Pagesp. 17
Reviews: What Do You Think?p. 21
Character, Character, on the Wallp. 24
Picture Thisp. 28
Finish the Thoughtp. 33
Conversation Observationp. 37
Obstacle Page: Fear of Failure/Fear of Success, or "Fish of the Day"p. 40
Emulating Ernestp. 42
Your "Idea Book": A Lifetime Commitmentp. 45
To Outline or Not to Outline?p. 49
Where Have You Gone?p. 52
Don't Know Much Geography...But I Should!p. 56
A Small Snackp. 59
If Breakfast Be the Meal of Lovep. 62
Obstacle Page: Dyslexia and Other Physical Obstacles, or The Pen Is Mightier Than the Problemp. 66
Your Daily Grindp. 68
A Day in the Lifep. 71
The Time of Their Livesp. 75
The Wrong Date and Timep. 78
Objects of Desirep. 81
Reuse, Rethink, Recyclep. 84
Obstacle Page: Writer's Block, or Surviving a Big Chillp. 87
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtainp. 89
Triple Dare/Triple Scare, or How Low Will You Go?p. 93
The Wrong Brotherp. 97
Plot, Plot, Fizz, Fizzp. 101
X Marks the Spotp. 104
Obstacle Page: The Rewrite Rut, or "My Name's Russell and I'm a Perfectionist"p. 107
The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Ofp. 109
End Wellp. 113
Lost and Foundp. 117
Bad Appetitesp. 120
Obstacle Page: The Committee, or Bad Guys: 65/Good Guys: 1p. 124
"Dear John..."p. 127
7-Upp. 131
One Last Thoughtp. 133
Appendix Basic Etiquette for Reading and Responding to Your Peers' Work, or Miss Manners Comes to Your Writing Groupp. 135
Bibliographyp. 139
About the Authorp. 145