A vital part of any author’s tool kit is their personal library of books on the craft of writing. I have probably a hundred such books in my library right now. No, I have not read all of them. Some I’ve skimmed, some I will eventually read, and some I have read with a highlighter in hand.

This week I’ve added a new book to my library. Veteran author and veteran friend to thousands of aspiring and successful writers, Cecil Murphey has just written Unleash the Writer Within: The Essential Writer’s Companion.

I want all of you who wish to take the next step in your writing career to get a copy of Cec’s book. And take note, this is one for which you will indeed need a highlighter.

Cec grabs us in the very first chapter with the vital question “Why do you write?” I laughed in embarrassed agreement at his own answer: “I write because I’m so full of myself, I believe the world is waiting to read my brilliant thoughts.”

C’mon now. Some of you write for the same reason, I know you do! And how about this statement that follows a few paragraphs later: “Writing is one way to compensate for my feelings of inadequacy.”

Uh-oh. How does he know?

Well, he knows because he’s one of us. And in Unleash the Writer Within, Cec shares many of the reasons his books have sold so well and have appeared on the bestseller lists—even the coveted New York Times bestseller list.

What intrigues me about the book is that it’s really more about the interior life of the writer than the nuts and bolts how-to-write book. But that’s good. There are plenty of the latter, but not many that try to get the writer to write from the inside out.

Be warned, however. This book makes you really think through why and what you write. In fact, Cec says at one point: “Do you want to be authentic? If not, close this book. It’s not for you.”

The entire book takes us on a healthy introspective journey of ourselves as writers. We learn how to respond to our inner critic, when to go easy on ourselves and for many writers who are tired of being whipped with the self-discipline rod, Cec lets us off the hook with these words: “I’m not a slave. I love to create, but I have to do it with passion. I can’t force passion; however, if I’m enthusiastic, there’s no need to push myself.”

My guess is that those who do close the book are not going to make much headway in their writing career. Those who finish the book with a sigh of recognition that Cec is a kindred spirit will be that much closer to whatever writing success is to be theirs.

Oh, and in addition to picking up Cec’s book, he really ought to be one of the bloggers you regularly follow. Find him here:


8 replies
  1. Tom Blubaugh
    Tom Blubaugh says:

    I bought this book based on your blog. I’m familiar with Cec, but not from his writing, rather his past. We share the same history. I know why I write, but I like challenges. Thanks for sharing your experience with this book.


    Tom Blubaugh, Author
    Night of the Cossack

  2. Elizabeth M. Thompson
    Elizabeth M. Thompson says:

    Great review, Nick. I’m in the middle of Unleash the Writer Within and really enjoying it. Cec teaches writers to write authentically by writing authentically. I’ll be encouraging all the writers I know to get a copy!

  3. Mary Kay
    Mary Kay says:

    Thanks, Nick. Always appreciate recommendations. As a FB poster said this week, so many books, so little time. And it helps to hear what reliable sources suggest.

  4. Karen Barnett
    Karen Barnett says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing him speak at the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference this year. I’ll have to pick up this book first. It sounds like a great one!


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