Writing with Power, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Writing with Power is a guide for the student writing an essay, the professional writer working on a story, or the manager writing a memo for a tight deadline.

As Elbow explains, "Writing with power doesn't just mean getting power over readers.

It means getting power over yourself and over the writing process: knowing what you are doing as you write; figuring out what you really mean; being in charge, having control; not feeling stuck or helpless or intimidated.

I am particularly interested in this second kind of power in writing, and I have found that without it you seldom achieve the first kind".

For the second edition, Elbow has written a new introduction in which he discusses in detail the "mysterious" dimensions of "Writing with Power" - voice, quality and bad writing, wrongness and felt sense, and sharing written work with others.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages, bibliography
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Writing & editing guides
  • ISBN: 9780195120189



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

An older book, but the best book about the writing process I've ever read. This is the book that gave me permission to be a writer.

Review by

I've read several books on the writing process during the last year - most aimed at academics (How to Write a Lot, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day) - hoping to find one that would help me to abandon the frenzied, agonizing paper-writing process that had become my default after several years of graduate coursework. This is the only one that has actually altered my writing habits in an immediate and (so far) lasting way. Unlike authors who offer step-by-step, phase-by-phase approaches to certain kinds of writing projects, Elbow offers one idea that can be adapted for all kinds of tasks: writing time is most productive when you separate your freewheeling, word-generating, creative side from your hard-nosed inner editor, and alternate them. You can devote minutes or days to either of these modes, but trying to write while editing what you're writing is slow going.This book trains you to pry these modes apart, and to use each one to its fullest advantage. Elbow explains how you can strengthen your writing and editing modes and intersperse them on different kinds of projects, and he includes dozens of prompts and hints to aid both parts of the process for when you're feeling stuck. He does all of this in such a kind voice that it actually feels manageable.I can't say enough nice things about this book - I find myself recommending to colleagues and students all the time.

Review by

Revisiting this classic of the genre and enjoying it all over again.