I picked up Cheryl St. John’s Write Smart Write Happy on a whim from the new release table at Barnes and Noble. I thought the cover is simple and attractive with bold imagery. On a quick flip through I noticed the focus on goal setting and motivation in the chapter titles. It seemed like a book for me, and with the Writer’s Digest seal of approval on the spine I knew it had to be good.
I have to say, it did not disappoint.
Author: Cheryl St. John
Published Year: 2018
My Overall Rating: 5/5 (I would recommend this book to someone even if they didn’t ask about it.)
Who should read it?
I would say the main audience for this book is new and beginner writers who have probably not been published yet. I felt like this book was written specifically for me. That being said, I think anyone who needs some help getting motivated and organized could benefit from this book. I love the action point sections that are woven throughout the book. If you follow along with the little ‘assignments’ she gives you, this book is a good workshop in goal setting, motivation, and overall joy in life.
This book is a kick in the butt for sure. It called me out on all my crummy writing or, let’s face it, non-writing habits. I’m tired. So is everybody else. It’s too late to write. My laptop isn’t going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight. I want to spend time with my husband. He’s not that much fun anyway (sorry hubby). Anyhow, you see my point, and that is her point. Stop making excuses. Something about the way she presents it feels like it got through to me more than all the other books on writing on my shelf. She knocks you down, but then she spends the rest of the book building you back up.
Maybe it’s because Cheryl St. John is not a proponent of the ‘writers must write every day’ mentality. She acknowledges that there are different approaches to writing and you need to find what works for you. Then, more importantly, you need to do what works for you. Whether it’s writing every day or locking yourself in a room for three days every month, if you are successfully setting and achieving writing goals, you are a writer.
My Main Take-away
When the writing process becomes too stressful… [I] ask myself, what would I rather be doing? (108)
I’ve been asking myself this periodically since reading this book and am finding that it really helps me center myself and assess my priorities. I think I might have one of those nice wooden signs made to put in my new office when I move.