January 31, 2012

Review of “Becoming a Writer”

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , , at 4:18 am by Christine Rice

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande is written from the perspective, and with the skill, of a fiction author. Brande uses fluid, creative, imaginative prose that takes the reader on a journey through her thoughts about how one becomes a writer.

I picked up the book because I was interested in learning about, and learning how to overcome, the difficulties a writer has with their personality and work structure (i.e. being a writer and writing regularly). Brande reveals a unique perspective on how to develop a daily writing routine, how to tap into the state of mind of a writer partaking in their craft, the different “parts” of a writer’s perspective, as well as others.

Becoming a Writer was first published in 1934, so while it is not a current book, the strategies and perspective are still viable today. All of the ideas Brande presents in the book are possible and helpful.

I enjoyed the book and I recommend it. It is short and easy to read, as well as enjoyable to read. I would read it again, but for now it will be on my bookshelf to use as a reference guide in my career.



  1. I read this book years ago, it was recommended by the author Trevor Hoyle when I was doing a creative writing course. I think I will search through my thousands of books and read it again after reading your review. Many thanks.

    • I’m sure you will enjoy the book the second time around. I ended up with two copies of it in my book collection, because I didn’t know I already had a copy! So I must have read it before, but when I read it recently I didn’t recall the book’s content, so it was like reading it for the first time :)

      • I feel so much better knowing that I am not the only person who has more than one copy of a book and doesn’t realise it. Also, my son finds it amazing that I can’t remember whether I have read a book or not sometimes. Although an avid reader himself, at 14, he hasn’t had the experience of reading thousands of books and that often the memories of them seem to fly away like little sparrows on the windowsill.

      • Some of the books I have on my bookcase I didn’t read in entirety; I read just the chapters that mattered to me (most of my books are nonfiction). I even have a few books that I didn’t read at all – I picked them up at a discount and then changed my mind (sometimes I also bought several books at a time meaning to read them all, but then I lost interest in a book by the time I got to it). Like you, I’ve read a lot of books, and it’s hard to remember them all clearly. Plus, depending on where I am in my life, I won’t remember a book because my perspective is different; for example, when I read a book my mind is subconsciously looking for certain information that applies to me at the time, so if I am at a different place in my life when I read it the second time, which is likely, I will be on the lookout for different information and will get a different perspective on the book. Plus, I simply end up forgetting what a book is like, because I read it so long ago! The book I’m currently reading is one that I’ve read once before!

      • I have to say it honestly hadn’t occured to me that depending on where I am in life wil make me focus in on certain issues, if not reading especially for specific isssues, when reading books. (Sory about the convoluted sentence but my son is shouting me) I read mostly fiction, however, I can see that it would happen whilst reading fiction also. Now you have mentioned it, it seems obvious. We do need people to point things out to us at times though. Thanks for that.

      • You’re welcome :) Happy reading!

  2. bibliopirate said,

    Sounds like a great book, I hope it helps.

  3. Mark Keller said,


    I have the book, but haven’t read it yet. Now I should! I remember I picked it up because it looked interesting and struck a chord with me when I read the table of contents. The dizzying, wonderful world of words. It’s so intoxicating and wonderful to get lost in its mists.

    • It’s definitely a helpful book that is filled with lots of good ideas, ones that I hadn’t heard of before. I hope you find the chance to read it. I love to read! Almost as much as I love to write!

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