Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Writing Diet - Julia Cameron

Title: The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size
Author: Julia Cameron

Genre: Non-Fiction (Self Help)

Love/Hate?: Haaaaaaaaaaaaaate
Rating: 2/5
Did you finish?: Yes, with great effort

One-sentence summary: Cameron cobbles her creative writing shtick with more AA principles and other peoples' dieting tips

Why did you get this book?: I saw it at the library and felt v bitchy

Do you like the cover?: Despite myself, yes!

First line from book: I'm a creativity expert, not a diet expert.

Review: I have to confess I only picked up this book so I could shiver gleefully at the horrifying way Julia Cameron has continued to shill her particular brand of writing how-to. As I ended up having to admit mid-read, this book isn't nearly as hideous as I had anticipated -- and it might, for some, even be helpful.

Having become an amateur competitor in the world of weight loss, I'm familiar with many of the techniques Cameron proposes, and they come from reputable sources I like and admire, like WeightWatchers and Geneen Roth. She mixes her exercises -- particularly the Morning Pages and self dates -- with the mindfulness practices seen in successful diet plans, most notably keeping track of what one eats, and learning to honor when one is hungry versus searching for something emotionally.

The technique doesn't seem very harmful although I find Cameron's tone insufferable: she constantly crows about how effective her writing program is for weight loss, although she has nothing but her own anecdotal observations to back it up. ('X came to my workshop and by the end weighed less!' is the typical evidence Cameron offers.)

In the end, it wasn't the train wreck I wanted it to be, and many might actually find it helpful in their weight loss endeavors.

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