Dinty W. Moore is a professor and director of creative writing at Ohio University and is regularly invited to speak and teach in the United States and Europe. He has divided this brief but enlightening book into four sections:
• The Writer's Mind
• The Writer's Desk
• The Writer's Vision
• The Writer's Life
Minty has taken the Buddhist understandings of mindfulness and applied them to the art and craft of writing where focus and being attentive to the present moment are required practices. Putting words to paper can seem like a simple task, but there are many challenges that come with it. That is why Minty affirms the proposition of Thomas Mann: "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." It takes ample reserves of discipline and determination to get it right.
Here is some more cogent advice:
• Don't wait around for inspiration, get right to work.
• Listen to your own voice and forget about psyching out what the public wants.
• You can't go wrong writing about everyday life and the experiences of ordinary people.
• Keep compassion alive in your own life as well as in your writing.
• Take your readers on an adventure.
• Savor the delight in the magic of the words you put together.
• Nothing — not even the plague of writer's block, lasts forever.
• Steady on even when you don't know where you are going.
• Be a listener and many good things will come out of it.
• Enjoy the chance to revise what you have written.
• Stay open to all that is happening within and around you.
Minty spices this book up with a smorgasbord of delicious quotations. Here are some examples:
• "Confront the dark parts of yourself. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing."
— August Wilson
• "You have to sweep the temple steps a lot in hopes that the god appears."
— Dean Young
• "We do not write to be understood. We write in order to understand."
— C. Day Lewis
• "The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new."
— Pema Chodron
• "Writing is the hardest way of earning a living with the possible exception of wrestling alligators."
— William Saroyan