How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play

Front Cover
Writer's Digest Books, Aug 30, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 272 pages
2 Reviews

Athletes practice. Musicians practice. As a writer you need to do the same. Whether you have dreams of writing a novel or a memoir or a collection of poems, or you simply want to improve your everyday writing, this innovative book will show you how to build your skills by way of practice.

Through playful and purposeful exercises, you'll develop your natural aptitude for communication, strengthening your ability to come up with things to say, and your ability to get those things into the minds (and the hearts) of readers. You'll learn to:

  • Train and develop your writer's powers—creativity, memory, observation, imagination, curiosity, and the subconscious
  • Understand the true nature of the relationship between you and your readers
  • Find your writer's voice
  • Get required writing projects done so you have more time for the writing you want to do
  • And much more

Empowering and down-to-earth, How to Be a Writer gives you the tools you need, and tells you what (and how) to practice so that you can become the writer you want to be.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I love this book! I haven't finished the whole book but after reading the welcome chapter, I know this is the book I'm looking for so long. I want to be a writer and that's it. But the problem is I dare not consider myself a writer as I didn't have any book in my title. Hey! I'm dead wrong. This book is telling me that I can be a writer and what I really need is the writing skill, not any more waiting. Thank you, I love this book and I will finish reading it. I will come back for more comments once I finish the reading.
Sumit Punnakari

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

(Reviewed by Libby for
"How to Be a Writer" is a necessary addition to any writer’s toolkit. It’s clear, concise approach appeals to writers of all levels and expertise
. Writing teacher and author, Barbara Baig, postulates with training and practice, anyone can learn to write. In this book, she emphasizes the importance of both daily writing and keeping a personal commitment to challenging one’s existing skills.
An aspiring writer myself, I was encouraged by Barbara’s discussion of performance vs. practice writing. Performance writing is done within the constraint of a deadline or an assignment. This type of writing, taught in schools, is how most of us learned to write. With this training the author says, “We are so conditioned to feel that every idea we come up with, no matter how slight, must be turned into a completed piece” (44). My personal struggle with performance writing makes free-writing a challenge. But, free-writing is precisely what Barbara means by practice writing. She says, “When we devote ourselves to practice rather than performance, then we can explore our materials with complete freedom” (67). Exploration and development is exactly what "How to Be a Writer" is all about.
Of course, the first step in the writing process is to collect material. You will learn just how to do this in the section titled “A Writer’s Powers”. Each chapter introduces a specific writing concept, such as creativity, observation, and curiosity, and the author encourages you to explore each one. Working with this book has helped reveal my strengths and weaknesses as a writer; it’s provided me with the focus necessary to nurture my natural writing voice, thus strengthening my craftsmanship.
I highly recommend this practical guide to anyone interested in developing their writing. I found the easy-to-follow writing prompts and exercises to be very useful! "How to Be a Writer" will definitely inspire you to explore your inner writer.


Getting Started
A Writers Powers
Moving Toward Readers
Required Writing
Staying on the Path
Writers Bookshelf Some Books for Further Reading

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Writer and self-described "maverick educator" Barbara Baig has been helping adults and college students learn how to write since 1984. Barbara's real-world writing experience, combined with her passion for teaching, has enabled her to develop an approach that is innovative, practical, and empowering, helpful to amateur and professional writers alike.

Bibliographic information