A Writer’s Book of Days Book Review

This is part of a series of posts for authors and writers, reviewing craft, writing, and inspirational books for authors. With 30 years of DIY reading and some writing classes behind me, I’ve read many, many books on writing. These are just the best of the best. I don’t plan to spend much, if any time, on the ones I didn’t like.

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life, the Revised Edition by Judy Reeves is a book I picked up between 10-15 years ago at a bookstore. It was, in some ways, a whim purchase. I wasn’t sure how good it was, I hadn’t read reviews, and no one had recommended it to me. But, somehow, I picked it up, I purchased it, and then I read it, reread it, and have re-read favorite sections of it nearly every year since then.

Ideally, A Writer’s Book of Days is read from January 1 through the end of the year, given that it has 365 writing prompts within it. However, I’ve used it off season, or in sections. I enjoy the prompts, but I also enjoy the advice sections. Split into 12 months, with 4-12 sub-sections each, the book is full of helpful tips.

While I did purchase another writing prompt book by Judy Reeves, it doesn’t come close to this one in comparison. I love the combination of motivation, advice, quotes, quirky facts about writers, and prompts.

One of the parts of the advice is this book is that it is based on both experience and pragmatism. For example, this bit from the introduction section:

“At any given practice session, we all start with the same thing – the blank page.”

Judy Reeves, A Writer’s Book of Days, Revised Edition

Maybe that seems obvious and not like advice, but it’s one statement in a section about the effects of writing practice. Later, in that same section, she says:

“If you will practice every day, and be gentle with yourself, you may be amazed. Your writing will be fresher, livelier, more spontaneous. You will take more risks, write more passionately, and reach into places you didn’t know existed.”

Judy Reeves, A Writer’s Book of Days, Revised Edition

She also acknowledges bad days of writing and hard days of writing. The days we need to listen to our muse, and the days we need to ignore it. I especially love the part in the above quote where she says “be gentle with yourself” because although this is a 365-day book of writing prompts and advice, I know I have never actually fulfilled a 365-day writing practice. I may hope to, I may plan for it, but I usually take some breaks, and I remember to be gentle with myself.

The prompts in this book are short prompts. Some of them are quotes. I have found some easy to write to and some extremely challenging to write to, but all are worth writing to. From January, here are three of the prompts:

  • “Write about the passing of hours.”
  • “Write about a shade tree.”
  • “Things you know without asking.”

In every month’s worth of prompts, there are always extras at the end of every chapter, just in case one of the regular ones doesn’t speak to you, or you need/want more writing prompts.

I recommend this book if you like writing prompt books and books of gentle writing advice. I also recommend any writing advice you find, take it with a grain of salt. Always choose what works for your writing strengths.

It is always good to have inspiration at hand, especially when the cursor is blinking, and the page is blank.

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