The Write Type, by Karen E. Peterson

It seems like there are millions of ‘how to write’ books out there.  Which do you spend your money on?  To help you out, Each Thursday I’m going to review them for you.

I’ve just finished reading Karen E. Peterson’s The Write Type.  She is a Psychology Ph.D. and this short book shows it.  To be fair, it’s billed as a ‘companion’ to her previous book – Write, which I haven’t yet read.

The Write Type is supposed to help you figure out…well…what type of writer you are.  Some of the categories Peterson explores are whether you’re an organized or a chaotic writer, whether you approach your writing sequentially or nonsequentially, and whether you like to write alone or at Starbucks.

To help you figure this out, Peterson provides the reader with a series of exercises.  She uses a ‘right brain’ vice ‘left brain’ approach.  For each exercise you will answer a set of questions, first with your ‘dominant’ hand, then with your ‘nondominant’ hand.  This is supposed to help you think more fully with one side of your brain, or the other.  She then tells us how she answered the same questions, and how she made compromises between what her left brain wanted, and what her right brain wanted.  This turns out to be quite helpful, because at first, I had no idea how to approach these exercises.

Finally, after completing the book, you should be able to come up with a ‘customized’ approach to your writing.  You should know what time of day is best for you, where you prefer to write, and how much to write.

Peterson has approached the writer’s dilemma in a unique way.  Personally, I found the exercises corny, and chose to skip them.  I did read her responses to them, so I knew what she intended with them.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is really conflicted.  If you suffer from writers’ block on a daily basis, then maybe you can get some relief from completing the exercises.  If you don’t have those kinds of issues, but simply want actual, “mechanical” writing advice…then skip this book.

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