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Writing to Change the World [Paperback]

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Item Number 392331  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   253
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.2" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.73"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Riverhead Trade
Age  18
ISBN  1594482535  
EAN  9781594482533  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Integrating practical instruction with inspiration and reflections, the author of Reviving Ophelia explains how to convey a meaningful message through one's writing, describing the various steps in the writing process--from brainstorming to publishing--as well as the various forms of advocacy writing and practical how-to-advice. Reprint.

Publishers Description
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other

Words are the most powerful tools at our disposal. With them, writers have saved lives and taken them, brought justice and confounded it, started wars and ended them. Writers can change the way we think and transform our definitions of right and wrong.

Writing to Change the World is a beautiful paean to the transformative power of words. Encapsulating Mary Pipher's years as a writer and therapist, it features rousing commentary, personal anecdotes, memorable quotations, and stories of writers who have helped reshape society. It is a book that will shake up readers' beliefs, expand their minds, and possibly even inspire them to make their own mark on the world.

Buy Writing to Change the World by Mary Bray Pipher from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781594482533 & 1594482535

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More About Mary Bray Pipher

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Mary Pipher, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the author of nine books, including the New York Times bestsellers Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Another Country, as well as Seeking Peace and Writing to Change the World. She lives in Nebraska.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Changing the world  Aug 27, 2008
I bought this for myself and then for my honors class. All said it was the best writing they had ever read that makes a case for writing to change. So far, their essays have improved enormously with this genuine, well-written perspective. I plan on ordering more for the next class!
"Grow A Soul and Use It In The Service of Humankind"  Jan 4, 2008
A woman in my writing group said she wanted her writing to change the world. Right away, I knew that was possible. I remembered Nelson Mandela's speech for instance, written by Marianne Willliamson; the words of Martin Luther King; and the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. I thought of poetry like Mary Oliver's Wild Geese: "Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination..."

I also thought of "writing to change the world" in another way. As we observe the world inside us and around us, we are also changing the world. In becoming aware of who we are and how we affect and are affected by people and events around us, we are conscious and in tune. With all these mind deliberations and imaginings on the subject of saving the world through words, I was pleased to hear Mary Pipher had written a book on the subject. Reading Writing to Change the World affirmed my belief that stories and the written word are healing and necessary.

As a therapist and a writer, Pipher's listening and observational skills are especially acute. As she points out, "Psychotherapy has a great deal to teach us about making connections and fostering change." Very often, we can label people different from ourselves as "other" and set out to proclaim our way as the only way. "A writer's job," Pipher says, "is to tell stories that connect readers to all the people on earth, to show these people as the complicated human beings they really are, with histories, families, emotions, and legitimate needs. We can replace one-dimensional stereotypes with multidimensional individuals with whom our readers can identify."

Pipher's advice is gentle and understanding, yet firm. If we are to proclaim our stance on something, there probably will be people opposed. To approach the subject, we need to relate to the people opposed so as to find some common ground. I kept thinking of Pipher's words in relation to my own city, where downtown residents were opposed to a breakfast program in their neighbourhood. As I composed a letter to the editor of our daily newspaper, I wanted to put a human face on the individuals who could use a free meal and some companionship to begin their day. That heart opening was natural to me. It was the opposing neighbours I needed to find the common ground with, and that common ground, I realized, was fear.

"Writing to connect is 'change writing,' which, like good therapy, creates the conditions that allow people to be transformed. Its goal is not to evoke one particular set of ideas, feelings, and actions, but rather to foster awareness and growth."

Therapists have been described as purveyors of hope. Pipher sees change writers as purveyors of hope as well. Fostering awareness and growth is really key to this book, and when you think of it, key to our own writing life--for ourselves and for the people who read us. One of Pipher's suggestions in her chapter, "Know Thyself," is to take inventory of "your own early lessons about the world, your hopes and fears, your life themes, even your sense of calling" so as to think about how you came to be who you are today. She shares her story of being the oldest child "in a big, complicated family." Pipher is like the mentor you may not have had, encouraging you and reminding you that your particular life experiences mean you have something to say that no one else can. She offers assignments to help you find your voice. And she poses the question... What needs doing that only you can do?

"The Writing Process" is described in Part 2 of the book, wherein Pipher shares tips for getting started. It's all very helpful advice and reassuring to writers. You're not alone in having to face your internal critic for instance. She also discusses getting organized, doing research, and conducting interviews.

Part 3 is all about calls to action. It describes the approaches you can take to get your particular message across most effectively, whether it's in the form of letters, speeches, personal essays, blogs, music, or poetry. I was reassured and inspired by this book, even more so as I made my way through it again to write this review. "The finest thing we can do in life," Pipher says, "is to grow a soul and then use it in the service of humankind." What a beautiful call to action.


Mary Pipher, Ph.D., lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her husband, Jim, near their children and grandchildren. She is the author of seven books, including the New York Times bestsellers Reviving Ophelia, The Shelter of Each Other, and Another Country. Her work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and she has lectured to groups and conferences around the world. Dr. Pipher is interested in how American culture affects the mental health of its people; her writing has been influenced by her rural background, her training in psychology and anthropology, and her years as a therapist.

by Mary Ann Moore
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
Helpful and Timely  Nov 7, 2007
Mary Pipher brings her strong sense of self-awareness and social activism to the world of writing. Her words and insights here are clear, and seem designed to motivate the aspiring writing to go for it. I appreciate Ms. Pipher's exhortations to make a difference by writing as authentically as i can. She also has a great list of resoures (books and websites) which are listed at the end of the book. I would recommend this volume to anyone who desires to write or speak in a powerful way that can effect change in the society around them.
Inspiring, Profound, and Unique Advice On Writing and Connecting   Jul 21, 2007
I've read a lot of books on writing, but never have I read one that inspired me as much as this one. Writing to Change the World has a bold title, but one that Mary Pipher, of Reviving Ophelia fame, more than lives up to. For anyone who gravitates toward writing but is looking for a bit of direction and inspiration, I urge you to check this out. Pipher reveals her own path toward writing later in life, and gives numerous examples of authors, poets, playwrights, and others who, in various forms, used words to inspire others. She means this both in the political sense of campaigning for a cause, but also in a wider way, giving us a way to look at the world around us and see the potential for change and connection. I especially liked that, while her own liberal politics are in full effect, this is not a manifesto or a guide to writing propaganda. In fact, it's the very opposite. "Writing to connect is `change writing,' which, like good therapy, creates the conditions that allow people to be transformed. Its goal is not to evoke one particular set of ideas, feelings, and actions, but rather to foster awareness and growth," Pipher writes. Through this lens, I was able to see the power of nuance, of not necessarily trying to know or say everything in any given piece of writing, but simply to reach readers, whether they're on "your side" or not.

Pipher makes this kind of writing accessible; she's not urging you to write the next Gettysburg Address (though that gets mentioned) or landmark social history, but to write something that feeds the world, and your soul. She also gives concrete advice about how to choose details to illustrate your points, how to be concise, and when/where you'll have the most impact (such as contrasting her letter with a friend's letter written to a board to save a local prairie from being turned into a motocross track).

Without overdoing it, Pipher brings her therapist training to work here. The very concept of "change writing," is, as she points out, daunting and difficult, but as she also points out, very worthwhile. When she write at the end, "The finest thing we can do in life is to grow a soul and then use it in the service of humankind," I was completely won over. These more philosophical parts of the book aren't only about writing, but when applied to the task, make perfect sense, because in order to want to change the world, you must first be aware of what is around you. Especially for those of us who often write out of duty or routine, or perhaps for whom writing has lost some of its initial magic, this book, with its many ways into the task, will get you back on track and believing in the potential for writing to, indeed, change at least a world, if not "the" world.
You CAN Connect With Readers!  Jul 11, 2007
Writers want to impact readers. We want to change minds, change behavior, change the way people see the world. Mary Pipher assures us that we can make a difference. But it doesn't automatically happen.

She challenges us first of all to know ourselves. Where did we come from? Why should people listen to us? What unique perspective do we bring to the literature table? Identify our passions, and we may be on the way to finding our voice. But Pipher does far more than challenge us. She offers an approach. She warns against spouting off without proper thought to the preparation of our argument.

Pipher helps us to write in a calm and gentle manner that will be palatable to readers and offers phrases to soften our approach. If we respect readers' viewpoints, they may come to respect us as writers--even if they disagree with what we say. Pipher points out tools, such as literary references, quotes and homey stories, which help to build a winning argument. Writing to Change the World is a must read for any writer who hopes to connect with readers in a way that makes a difference in our human experience.

To read stories of Christian women who have changed the world, check out Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference.

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