Monday, August 6, 2007

Writing for the Soul: Instruction and Advice from an Extraordinary Writing Life

by Jerry B. Jenkins

Available in hardback. Writers Digest Books, 2006; ISBN: 1582974179; 241 pages.

I am in the small club of people who have not read a single book in the Left Behind series. I do, however, recognize the success Jerry Jenkins has had as a result of writing those books. I also recognize that his journey as a writer didn't start with that series.
This book is a combination memoir and writing guide. Excerpts from a number of his works are sprinkled throughout the text. The tone is conversational, making this a quick read. It's great for writers and readers.
For fans of Jerry Jenkins, this is a sort of autobiography offering insights into his writing process and his path to success as an author. He starts in his teen years and goes through to the present.
For writers, this is a valuable resource. He details keys to balancing family with a writing career, maintaining authenticity in your spiritual walk and basics of getting published and polishing your craft. As a writer, I must say parts of his story were annoying. The man had a paying writing career before he was old enough to drive. Because I've started this journey much later in life, I am facing many struggles he seems to have skimmed over. He's got the most picturesque office. I know he's worked hard for it, but still ... my sinful nature (a.k.a. "jealousy") kept my eyes rolling as I read portions of his story.
The title is misleading. There was not much in this book on addressing soul issues through writing. It offered little help toward reaching others with the Gospel or even encouraging them in their spiritual walks. As noted above, it is for both readers and writers, more of an autobiographical work than a guidebook for "writing for the soul". If you're looking for something like that, see my review on James Watkin's book: Communicate to Change Lives.
Final Thoughts: Overall this was a great read. I recommend it both for fans of Jerry Jenkins and for those who hope to mimic his success.

2 comments:

Sally Ferguson said...

Tanya,
I'm glad I'm not the only one left, who has not read Left Behind! I appreciate your take on the approach of the book. Jerry Jenkins has quite a story. But I am not looking for an autobiography. It helps me to know that I can still look to Jim Watkins for writing advice.

Tanya said...

Glad you found the review useful! :) I think you'll really enjoy Watkin's book.