By Barbara Abercrombie
New World Library, $15.95, 400 pages

“The trick is not in becoming a writer it is in staying a writer. Day after week after month after year.” – Harlan Ellison.

Ellison’s words could be the theme of Barbara Abercrombie’s newest book A Year of Writing Dangerously. Abercrombie is an author and creative writing teacher at UCLA. In the book, she takes her personal experiences and those from her classroom and combines them with quotes from writers in all walks of life to make a daily guide for anyone trying/hoping to write.

This is a marvelous concoction of personal anecdotes and thoughts done in a way that is both practical and imaginative. For each day Abercrombie has a paragraph or two about writing — the practice, the process, her personal experience. Underneath is a relevant quote. Combined they are thought provoking as well as call to action. They suggest, cajole, motivate, encourage, and applaud. If that’s not enough to awaken your inner writer she also includes 52 weeks of writing prompts and a comprehensive bibliography of books on writing. This is wonderful for everyday inspiration but don’t be intimidated by the format. You can just as easily flip open to a random page and use that as your starting point. A great resource for anyone interested in writing.


Reviewed by Catherine Gilmore,