Holiday Gift Guide: <i>A Year of Writing Dangerously</i> by Barbara Abercrombie

The idea behind A Year of Writing Dangerously (New World Library) is to provide, as the subtitle says, “365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement.” And it does.

Every day, seasoned author Barbara Abercrombie offers a single page that contains a relevant quote plus an essay, anecdote or even a question or thoughts, all about writing and all intended to get your juices flowing. As Abercrombie writes in her introduction:

Why a year?

Because if you want to write a novel or a memoir or an autobiography, you’ll need at least a year of focused work to get from the idea in your head to the reality of a first draft …. This is a book about writing your way through 365 days.

And it’s a lovely way. Abercrombie’s stories are rich and sharply detailed and well told. They are mostly intensely brief — the better to get you going writing your own stuff, I suppose — but they lift and inflate the reader. Sometimes in unexpected ways.

Some of the chapter headings tell the story. Why Writers Get Scared. Our Baggage. Imaginations Going Nuts.

A Year of Writing Dangerously would be a rich gift, indeed. And it is almost dangerously inspiration, with some witty and wise thrown in for good measure. It’s a very good book. ◊

Monica Stark is a contributing editor to January Magazine. She currently makes her home on a liveaboard boat somewhere in the North Pacific.

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