Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors by Sarah Stodola – Book Review
Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors by Sarah Stodola – Book Reviewed by Stacey
Author – Sarah Stodola
Publisher – Amazon Publishing
Pages – 270
Release Date – 20th January 2015
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest book review
Ernest Hemingway, Zadie Smith, Joan Didion, Franz Kafka, David Foster Wallace, and more.
In Process, acclaimed journalist Sarah Stodola examines the creative methods of literature’s most transformative figures. Each chapter contains a mini biography of one of the world’s most lauded authors, focused solely on his or her writing process.
Unlike how-to books that preach writing techniques or rules, Process puts the true methods of writers on display in their most captivating incarnation: within the context of the lives from which they sprang. Drawn from both existing material and original research and interviews, Stodola brings to light the fascinating, unique, and illuminating techniques behind these literary behemoths.
Sarah Stodola wanted to learn about the writing habits of not only the greatest authors living today, but those that have since died. With the help of author’s documents, she has managed to do just that.
Her book is split into nine sections, each section featuring two authors, from the ‘Nine-to-Fivers’ to ‘Two Takes on the Digital Age’. Each author is given a mini-biography of their life and the way in which they write/wrote, along with how they got into writing. At the end of each biography there is a section named ‘A Day in the Writers Life’, that shows you what a typical day for that writer was like.
The book contains some very famous authors, from Hemingway and Orwell, to authors that I personally had never heard of such as Vladimir Nabokov and Junot Diaz. The authors, whether familiar to myself or not, kept me intrigued. It was astonishing to read how different some writers are in their writing process, to the way we think of a writer.
Most people have a vision of an author sitting at a desk, slaving away for numerous hours every day until their novel is finished. In reality most authors in her book don’t even have a desk. From writing in an armchair, or the bed, to writing lay down or standing up, Each were different. Some can write anywhere. Others have to have complete silence or specific items around them to write. Some write one novel at a time, whilst others can write more that one at any one time.
The book made me appreciate the work that authors do and how many years a lot of authors spend writing their novels. I have learned to appreciate each book that I read, and not to race them.
What Sarah does in her book is to not only inspire those would love to write realise that there is no ‘one method suits all’ approach, but also make us, the readers, appreciate what writers go through just to put pen to paper. It also makes you understand that there isn’t one type of person who suits writing over another.
I really enjoyed the book and I have since looked up the authors that I had never heard of. I have now been inspired, and plan to read some of their books. Readers who want to know more about their favourite authors, or those starting out on a writing career will love this book.
Book reviewed by Stacey
I’m Sarah Stodola, a writer and editor living in New York City, by way of Lexington, Kentucky, via Lake Placid, New York, where I was born.
I’m into literature, culture and travel, and my published work reflects those interests. At the same time, I believe that a good writer can make anything interesting, and I hope my published work reflects that as well.