Book Review: Joy Writing by Kenn Amdahl
Clearwater Publishing Company
As a business man, creative writing has never been my forte. Sure, I have written my fair share of poetry in the past, but the majority of my writing falls under formal communications such as business e-mails and technical papers. Seeing as I wanted to venture into the world of blogging, I felt that the only way to capture the reader’s attention was to write articles that are fun to read. To help open my mind to the world of creative writing, I decided to read Joy Writing by Kenn Amdahl.
For those of you who are not familiar with Kenn’s work, the best way I can describe his style is “quirky.” In addition to publishing two novels, Kenn has published books on algebra, calculus and electronics with his own unique flair. He is a wizard when it comes to metaphors and analogies, and his books transform learning into a fun and memorable experience.
My first exposure to his work was “There Are No Electrons: Electronics for Earthlings”, an introductory book on electronics. If you have ever attempted to learn electronics on your own, you quickly realized that the majority of available books are dry and boring. This is the antithesis of Kenn’s approach, where he instead describes electricity as Greenies, and voltage with the “need-to-party.” Needless to say, one pass through the book and I am finally comfortable with the basics of electronics.
Joy Writing is no different, walking you down a path of creative enlightenment that is both informative yet refreshing. Although the book covers the basics of writing quite well, it never makes you feel like your back in English 101. The sections are short and concise, enabling you to capture a lot of information without digging through wordy explanations. It covers just enough to ensure you aren’t going to break any of writing’s cardinal rules, while focusing more on techniques and exercises to help stir up your creative juices.
One example is his recommendation to write badly first, pushing off any revisions until after the first draft is complete. By introducing the revision process into the creative writing session, you may start to second guess yourself, in essence, revising out your creative voice from the very beginning. Simply allowing yourself to write the first draft without the thought of a revision allows you to better record your personality, giving your work a unique style that in the end is truly you.
In spite of all its positive attributes, Joy Writing does have some room for improvement. The page margins seemed minimal, and required me to change the way I held the book while reading so I could see the words blocked by my fingers. I am also not a fan of how the quotes are presented. The indentation is nice, but the increase in font size gives the quoted text a heavy feeling, perceptually increasing its weight and importance.
If there was only one thing that I could take away from Joy Writing, it’s that I must write in a style that I enjoy to read. Although I never really gave this much thought before, the book really opened my eyes and has changed the way I read others’ work. I now dissect the writing styles that I enjoy reading, and determine if my findings are something I can use to improve my own works.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the thought of creative writing, but never had the confidence to try it; to those individuals that want to share their thoughts and opinions with the world, but never felt they had a solid grasp on the written english language. Joy Writing delivers what you need to write well, but more importantly offers ideas to get your creative juices stirring. If you are looking to share your creativity with the world, but are unsure of your literary prowess, what are you waiting for? Open up your mind and a copy of Joy Writing.
- Page margins too small
- Concise and packed with great content
- Fun to read