Part of C.S. Lakin’s “Writer’s Toolbox” series, Crank It Out is a fairly well known (fairly well received) book about increasing writing productivity. The focus is on how, as a writer, you can turn your productivity around and really start to…you guessed it…crank it out. That’s where I need to start….

At a glance…

Readability

Usefulness

Motivation

Value

Overall Score

I’m going to do something a little different here and write two “reviews” for Crank It Out: The Surefire Way to Become a Super-Productive Writer, by C.S. Lakin. The reason is that the theme of this book took a hard turn for me about two-thirds of the way through and it almost feels like two completely different books for me at this point. I also want to be very clear about what I got out of this book and why.  

The first part of this review is of the first two thirds of the book, and the second is a review of the last third. Because my reaction to those two different sections is so extreme that I don’t think it’s fair to judge them all at once.  

Ok, so “Part 1”:

Lakin’s advice is a reflection of what worked for her, in her life, to get more work done. It’s targeted at writing, but could be read as a general self-help or productivity book. That’s my problem with it. It is very general. I read this for writing advice, instead I got whole chapters about how I would feel better and be more productive if I exercise every day and drink lemon water. 

Which, don’t get me wrong, that is good advice! Well, I’m not 100% certain about the lemon water thing, but I should be exercising more…and, like she says, eating more healthy food, although I fundamentally disagree with her anti-coffee stance (Come on, a writer who doesn’t like coffee?! What are we doing here?).

But ultimately, as a writer, I was pretty disappointed with the book up to this point. Which brings me to the next part of the review:

“This book spoke to me in a way that no other writing book ever has”

“Part 2”:

This was life changing. Like she looked into my soul and diagnosed exactly what is holding up my writing. Never felt more seen than by this woman. Spoke to me in a way that no other writing book ever has. Address the issue of procrastination, of what it means to be a perfectionist. 

I came to a better understanding of myself by reading this book. She made me see why I do the things I do. 

Everyone who wants to write should read this. If you have anyone in your life that you love and they have goals that they aren’t working towards then buy this for them too. 

Ultimately, I simply can’t recommend highly enough the last few chapters of this book. Utterly changed my approach to writing. However the beginning and middle were not that useful to me, and can be skipped through if you aren’t looking for more general life advice.

Looking for some inspiration?!

The bookspry team wrote a book of writing prompts and it’s available now! Weird and wacky prompts to bust you out of that rut…or to distract you from your real work.

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