The Courage to Write How Writers Transcend Fear

Ralph Keyes

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224 Pages



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Katherine Anne Porter called courage “the first essential” for a writer. E.B. White said that he admired anyone who “has the guts to write anything at all.” In The Courage to Write, Ralph Keyes assures us that anxiety is felt by writers at every level, especially when they dare to do their best. He describes the sequence of “courage points” through which all writers must pass, from the challenge of identifying a worthwhile project to the mixture of pride and panic they feel when examining a newly published book or article. He also offers specifics on how to root out dread of public “performance” and of the judgment of family and friends, make the best use of writers’ workshops and conferences, and handle criticism of works in progress. Throughout, he includes the comments of many accomplished writers on how they transcended their own fears to produce great works.


Praise for The Courage to Write

“Fresh and startling—one of the two or three best books on writing I’ve ever read.”—John Jakes

"Facing one's deepest fears resides at the very heart of any creative act, and Ralph Keyes has written thoughtfully and well about the roles of fear and courage in the writing process. Bravo!"—Lawrence Block

“Anyone who is a writer, wants to be a writer, or knows a writer will want to pick up a copy of The Courage to Write. It is one of the best books about the writing profession ever published.”—The Fresno Bee

“Here’s practical and positive advice that can help every writer capitalize on anxiety instead of knuckling under to it. Writers not only need this book—they know they need it.”—Judith Applebaum, author of How to Get Happily Published

Reviews from Goodreads



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The Courage to Write
{I}THE ELEMENTS OF COURAGE· 1 ·Writing as an Act of CourageIf we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.--Cynthia Ozick 
E. B. White was the most graceful of writers. A generation of imitators tried, but seldom succeeded, to match his casual self-assurance. We like to imagine White on his New England farm dashing off lighthearted essays and charming books for children when he wasn't slopping hogs or chopping wood. In fact, White worried over every word. He rewrote pieces twenty
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  • Ralph Keyes

  • Ralph Keyes is the author of ten books and numerous articles that have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, Harper's, GQ, Glamour, Sports Illustrated, and Writer's Digest. A writing teacher for more than thirty years, Keyes is a trustee of the Antioch Writer's Workshop.
  • Ralph Keyes Nindy Silvie