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Book Review: Shut Up and Write, by Mridu Khullar Relph

Shut Up and Write: The No-Nonsense, No B.S. Guide to Getting Words on the Page

By Mridu Khullar Relph

Shut Up and Write, Mridu Khullar Relph’s newest book, is exactly what her tagline calls it – a no-nonsense, no b.s. guide to getting words on the page. Some of the statements and beliefs that are mentioned are things that most of us know. But even though we know it, too many of us allow ourselves to get stuck. We don’t write, we aren’t productive, or we keep stalling. Relph is correct in one of her early statements – reading and talking about writing is not writing.

shut up and writeRelph challenges and motivates us through 29 different chapters of ‘Picks.’ Pick Your Beliefs. Pick Your Excuse. Pick Your Days. Pick Your Responsibilities. Pick Your Tools. What’s consistent with all these topics is that WE PICK. We choose. We are in charge. We are ultimately the ones responsible for whether we get any words written or not.

My two favorite chapters were ‘Pick a Production Schedule’ and ‘Pick a Project’. Both spoke to issues that I’m currently dealing with in my own writing.

In Pick a Production Schedule, Relph discusses the realities of what we can and can’t get done. I think we both suffer from having an unrealistic idea of what we can accomplish in a year. The difference is, Relph has chosen to work through her difficulties of wanting to accomplish too much, and has learned to focus on what she can realistically complete. As with the other chapters, she always includes personal anecdotes throughout, showing us that she writes from personal experience, growth, and knowledge.

In Pick a Project, she states, “I have a habit of overwhelming myself with possibilities.” The finishing. That’s where she, I, and many others stumble. Consequently, we never push through to ‘The End’. Relph stands behind us, gently prodding, giving us that little nudge we need. She’s the slight push in the small of our back, as she whispers in our ear that she’s been there herself, she’s gotten through it, and she knows we can too.

I received an ARC of Shut Up and Write. But if I hadn’t read it first here, I’d be first in line to get my copy. She speaks to many writers, asking us to face our fears and assess our commitment. On that thought, I’m out of here. I have to go pick a project and then sketch out a production schedule for the rest of the year. Thanks to the motivation in Shut Up and Write, this is my year of ‘The End!’

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