Verdict: Full of science-backed suggestions for solving nearly any writing problem, THE WRITER'S PROCESS is a worthy addition to the collections of aspiring and experienced writers alike.
Anne H. Janzer utilizes cognitive science for writers to circumvent creative roadblocks in this handy guide.
THE WRITER’S PROCESS provides a well-researched overview of how the mind manages the various tasks it encounters during the creative process. Janzer helpfully frames these tasks as being in the domain of the Scribe (the conscious part of the mind that handles the technical details of writing) or the Muse (the unconscious mind which is responsible for most creativity). From there, she lays out a seven-step process for completing any writing project, complete with concrete suggestions for getting the Scribe and the Muse on the same page.
While there is already glut of writing books on the market, Janzer has managed to contribute something to the genre that is uniquely worthwhile for writers of any level. While most long-time writers will intuitively understand many of the concepts that Janzer explores in her book—like the benefits of freewriting or how the best ideas seem to strike in the shower—most books on writing offer very little on the cognitive science that explains those concepts. So while THE WRITER’S PROCESS could prove to be an invaluable resource for writers who are just getting started, more seasoned writers may be more interested in learning more about why their own processes work.
A good example of how THE WRITER’S PROCESS could be of interest to nearly any writer is the section covering the psychological phenomenon known as the Zeigarnick Effect. As Janzer explains, our unconscious minds devote energy to working through unsolved problems even after we have moved on with our conscious minds. A study she points to showed that the participants’ reading comprehension suffered after they were interrupted in the middle of solving a problem, ostensibly because their unconscious minds were still distracted. For writers, the upside to this is that their unconscious minds send up ideas well after they have stepped away from the keyboard. Janzer suggests that writers can use the Zeigarnick Effect to their advantage by priming their minds to think about specific issues with their work before moving on to other activities. So in this section, Janzer not only provides writers with a concrete suggestion for solving problems and generating ideas, but she also provides an answer to a question that has puzzled writers since time immemorial: why do the best ideas seem to strike completely out of the blue?
Full of science-backed suggestions for solving nearly any writing problem, THE WRITER’S PROCESS is a worthy addition to the collections of aspiring and experienced writers alike.