Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bryan Cohen Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Let's welcome Bryan to e-Volving Books. Just leave a comment with your email id below to enter the Giveaway!

The Happy Writer
By Bryan Cohen

Writers get a bad rap. We are often portrayed as brooding, secluded types with sullen faces and alcohol problems. There have obviously been some famous writers who were riddled with depression like Poe and Hemmingway. Is it inevitable that writers must go to some of the dark places they write about? In addition, even if you aren’t a successful writer, can you still be a happy one?

During my sophomore year of college, I met my real-life acting guru, Joan Darling. Joan talked a lot about how some actors get stuck within some of their acting choices. An actor playing a sad role or a junkie role might get depressed from continually accessing those dark parts of himself. While a writer might not go through the exact same process as the actor, writers still access some pretty heavy stuff personal or otherwise to get words onto the page. If the writer or actor cannot pull himself out of the muck, depression, anger and hate can consume him. The cure, as Joan put it, was getting back to zero.

Before and after a scene or performance, Joan recommended that we try a relaxation exercise. When heading into a scene, this helped us to be more in the moment while acting. After a scene, the exercise was meant to shed the feelings and memories we had been accessing for two main reasons. One reason was so that the emotions didn’t affect our later scenes and we could start fresh when our characters returned. Another reason was to give our brains a rest from these emotions so they didn’t take over. I believe that this can be directly applied to writing, and to ensure mental health a writer should engage in relaxation practices after every writing session.

But what if you’re struggling with writing and before you even put pen to page you’re a generally unhappy person? Joan always said that as you work on relaxation you can build it up like a muscle. The same is true in practicing happiness. Many people assume that they will be happy if they become successful. All too frequent drug issues and divorces among the rich and famous prove that success does not breed happiness. Happiness is something that you have to train independently of your success. It comes from gratitude, taking responsibility, helping others, living healthily, and the support of friends and family. It does not come from circumstances like winning the lottery or getting a book published.

By employing relaxation techniques after dealing with the heavy stuff in writing and life and by utilizing happiness exercises to raise your emotional set point, a funny thing happens. Those who are trained in relaxation and happiness are not bogged down by everyday problems. This gives them free reign to take on opportunities that might have been lost if they were mired in their own pity and negativity. In short, a happy writer tends to become a successful writer, as opposed to the other way around.

Research techniques in relaxation and happiness (which I discuss a bit in Writer on the Side and Sharpening the Pencil) and incorporate them into your life. With these tools at your disposal, you can write the saddest stories in history and still be the happiest person at seeing them succeed.
Bryan Cohen is giving away 100 personalized writing prompts to one giveaway entrant chosen at random during the blog tour. Personalized prompts are story starters that cater specifically to a writer’s subject matter, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Cohen will create the prompts to cater exclusively to the winner. He is giving away free digital copies of his book The Writing Sampler to everybody who enters, which includes excerpts from each of his four books on writing. The book contains essays, writing prompts and tips and tricks to enhance your writing skills. In addition, for each of Cohen’s books that reach the Top 500 on Amazon during his blog tour, he will add a $50 Amazon gift card to the drawing (up to six $50 cards in total)!

To enter, simply post a comment to this blog post with your e-mail address. Entries will be counted through June 2nd, 2011.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he has written four books (1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Sharpening the Pencil: Essays on Writing, Motivation, and Enjoying your Life, and Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job), several plays (Something from Nothing and Chekhov Kegstand: A Dorm Room Dramedy in Two Acts) and he was the head writer for an un-produced Web series (Covenant Coffee). His writing and motivation website Build Creative Writing Ideas has had over 100,000 visitors since it was founded in December 2008. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Follow Bryan on Twitter @buildcwideas.
Pin It!


  1. I'm excited to have Bryan here on his blog tour, and hope we win some great stuff :D
    Play nice, everyone!

  2. Thank you so much, Deepali for letting me be a part of your blog today. Have a great day everyone!
    - Bryan

  3. Thank you for the thoughts you have shared here today. You have definitely left an impression with me and I shall seek out some of these methods for relaxation and positive outlook that you suggested.


  4. Thank you so much for these amazing tips! And the chance to win the book.
    Thank you to Bryan and Deepali!

  5. Wow this is a great giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win all those great prizes!


  6. I admire your dedication to excellence. Your content is very obviously well-researched. I got so involved in your article that I couldn’t even make myself quit reading. Thank you for producing such great quality work.


Thank you for the comment! I will always reply to each comment, and if you leave a link, comment on your site as well.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular Posts