Monday, October 30, 2017

Extraordinary Approach to Writing Guide by Diana Raab, PhD

Writing for Bliss is a Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life... One of the results of reading this book may be that readers will decide to write their memoirs...

That may be what you buy the book for, and I believe, if you do write that memoir, you will succeed using this book...

First, I was surprised at the content. Yes, this is a book about writing, but it is so much more! I've read a number of books that technically helps you through the mechanics of writing... Raab, though, uses her professional credentials and research in the fields of therapy, psychology and more to merge with her own writing development and reading to create a truly extraordinary nonfiction book about writing...about bliss... Emphasis on Bliss!

With that I point out that, although I write continuously as a book reviewer, I don't consider myself a writer, one who wants to write a book, although after reading this book, I just might! I point that out because there is so much more in this book that I will recommend it to anybody who wants to know more about...yourself...


If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are--if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
--Joseph Campbell

Most writers will confess that they write because they have to write, not necessarily because they want to write. They write out of necessity because either it makes them feel better or they want to share their story with the world. I fall into both these categories: writing makes me feel good; when I don't write, I feel as if something's missing from my life, plus I also yearn to share my stories with others in the hope that they will resonate in a way that brings healing and a deeper way of knowing and understanding...

Basically, my research examined how life-changing experiences have inspired some well-published authors to write the narratives of their lives... The actual decision to write a memoir depends on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The intrinsic factors on both related to the individual's emotions, and the extrinsic factors may pertain to what occurs in his or her world. Writing about certain experiences helps provide an understanding of one's unique self, as well as of one's relationship with others and the world at large... --Diana Raab in the Preface


Beginning with her introduction of Maslow into her conversation, I began to see how Raab would begin...to help individuals know more about their inner needs and goals...their secrets, their inner thoughts...and, yes, that outer individual we all present to others.

Keeping a journal was the beginning of Raab's writing. Her first journal was given to her by her mother on the event of one of her most traumatic early experiences. As well as throughout the remainder of her life. Many of her journals were the beginning of books she has published, merging writing into a number of different issues that could or would face many of us.



Writing for Bliss. I had never used the word before reading this book. As I thought about it, I can name only one time when I would consider I was in a state of Bliss... Perfect Happiness... Great Joy... Raab suggests that readers go through her book the first time without taking the time to go through the numerous writing exercises that is inserted frequently. That's what I did, but I also read the exercises of what readers who use the book as a study guide would be involved with. 

Diana Raab's first journal included the writings of Kahlil Gibran; I bought mine in 1978 and did start to use it as a journal, but I've spent more time reading his wonderful words while I began working and following Maslow's guidance in loving work that energized me and which I enjoyed. Raab speaks of many authors, including Rumi, Jung and many others, quoting their words as it relates to you, to her life, and to life itself... 

If I were to say, that Raab uses her writing as a tool, in order for each of us who is interested and willing, to help us in getting to know ourselves, it is the best way I can think of to share the magic she presents as she guides us to write that which is inside each of us, that which needs to be acknowledged by ourselves, first...and, perhaps, then, to be shared with others. She is striving to do just what her title says, transform your life. Doing this by guiding readers through our life's joys and bad times, remembering our own stories, recognizing them as our truth. If we decide to share those truths, she then proceeds to help you do that as the book comes to a close...

This book may have a profound impact on your life, what writing you may do. In my own life, for instance, I had two books in my mind to write but the material was so traumatic that I could not deal with it without flashback and nightmares... Raab noted that this often happened and she'd known writers who had not been able to write their book for years...and that was alright! Suggesting that writing about it in a journal could help bring the reader to the point of acceptance of what had happened, even if a book was never written...


Raab presents an excellent study guide for early writers as well as the experienced. but it is in the area of self-help that I found my interest, more to garner and experience. Writing may be the tool she uses for those who don't have that desire to write books. Her guidance in journal writing is superb and her expertise in therapy and self-help is extraordinarily well written. I strongly suggest that, in considering this book, you check out the extensive table of contents. Briefly, here are the seven steps to be used: One, Preparing to Write; Two, Cultivating Self-Awareness; Three, Speaking Your Truth; Four, Examining your Life; Five, Finding Your Form; Six, Unleashing with Poetry; and Seven, Sharing Your Writing. There was much in her book I had discovered in my own reading, but her merge of sharing that through our own writing was entirely new for me.

The appendix includes an extensive Writing Prompt List in addition to what you'll find in the book. A Reference list of her research, a further reading of books on writing list, as well as recommended Memoirs to be read for those wishing to write their own. The all-important index for non-fiction books is also provided. 

The writing is exceptional as she merges her research into the specific topic she is covering. The attention to detail and the inclusion of additional references is the best I've seen in recent nonfiction books - an impressive display of her caring contributions. For me This book will stay as an active book...now taking the time to reread and consider the suggested activities... but also considering what she has to teach me about my own transformation based upon her much broader knowledge and expertise she shares to readers! This book is added to my personal favorites for 2017...

Highly recommended both as a writing study book as well as a self-help book on getting to know more about ourselves and possibly transforming your life...no matter what age and whether you are a writer or not.


GABixlerReviews