You know the experience of reading a book that is exactly the kind of book you would want to write for yourself? One that seems to know the questions and needs and interests that live deep within you, and that speaks in a voice that feels like an old, dear friend?

Page after Page: Discover the Confidence and Passion You Need to Start Writing and Keep Writing, by Heather Sellers, is that kind of book.

“If you love writing, it helps you stay in a good mood, a happy mood. Writing helps you know who you are, and how you think, and what you need. For many of us, it’s not just a way to express, impress, or vent, it’s a whole spiritual practice. The stuff you have to do to get good at writing is the exact same stuff you do when you want a relationship—with a lover, a parent, a child—to go well. It’s how you become a better, healthier, more balanced person—it’s the same work, this work we have to do to become ‘real’ writers.

“The life part is hard.

“The writing part does not have to be hard.”

The book is in three parts:

  • Part 1. Blank Pages: Creating a New Writing Self
  • Part 2. Turning Pages: How To Maintain Your Commitment to Writing
  • Part 3. New Pages: Finding Your Place in the World of Writing

Each part has relatively short chapters and several writing exercises, such as this one:

“Ten minutes, in your journal. Write about your unwritten projects. Interview yourself and find out what it is you really want to write. Ask yourself questions, the same ones you’d ask a Famous Writer on a panel. What is your next book going to be about? What projects must you get to before you die? What themes have developed in your work over the decades? (Pretend you are very prolific, very adored, and very famous, in the high-middle of your fabulous career). Ask yourself anything!”

The book’s size is nicely portable, and the layout and fonts are delightful. What I appreciate most, though, is the supportive tone that leaps off every page.

I have a bad habit of skimming books first, then devouring them like a half-starved animal, often getting to the end far too quickly for optimal satisfaction. This one, however, I am going to ration, slowly, doing the exercises along the way (which I will occasionally share here), so that I can benefit daily from the words and chapters and advice written just for me.